In other years, the ones when it was safe to have guests, my favorite thing to ask when planning a Thanksgiving menu was for everyone to tell me what their essential dish is, the one if they come to dinner and it’s not on the table, they throw a (hopefully) muted, inner tantrum. This is where all menus should begin, right? It was from this question that I learned that after stuffing, naturally, and long before turkey (sorry, turkey), a dish I had not grown up with — corn pudding — is one of the most popular on American Thanksgiving tables. Because I usually respond, “Great! Now you know exactly what to bring!” and friends have delivered, I’ve since learned what I’d been missing and I’m now fully converted.
Corn pudding has Southern and Native American origins with innumerable variations throughout. The texture is often halfway between a quickbread and something more loose, better spooned than sliced (but not quite as fluffy as spoonbread). The one most friends grew up with was is a cinch — a box of Jiffy cornbread mix, and one can each of regular and cream corned, plus some eggs, milk, and a lot of butter. The version I’ve taken to at home is almost as simple, with a few tweaks. I enlist the corn that’s already in my pandemic freezer, brown butter, because corn with toasted butter is bliss, and for extra decadence, sour cream instead of milk or buttermilk. Half the corn is blended, the other half is left in intact kernels, and the result is something I’ve learned can disappear in under a day if you leave it on the counter with a spoon in it and plate next to it, i.e. the very best kind of food, the kind that makes itself right at home, as I hope we will all get to again with family and friends next year.
6 months ago: Beach Bean Salad
1 year ago: Roasted Cabbage with Walnuts and Parmesan
2 years ago: Drop Cornbread Biscuits
3 years ago: Endive Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Walnuts
4 years ago: Root Vegetable Gratin
5 years ago: Kale and Caramelized Onion Stuffing
6 years ago: Smoked Whitefish Dip with Horseradish and Sticky Toffee Pudding
7 years ago: Perfect Uncluttered Chicken Stock
8 years ago: Granola-Crusted Nuts
9 years ago: Baked Pumpkin and Sour Cream Puddings
10 years ago: Spaghetti with Chickpeas
11 years ago: Moroccan-Spiced Spaghetti Squash
12 years ago: Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic Chips
13 years ago: Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Sautéed Apples
14 years ago: Dreamy Cream Scones
- 2 cups corn kernels, frozen (from a 10-ounce or 283-gram bag; no need to defrost) or fresh
- 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup, 4 ounces, or 115 grams) unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 3/4 cup (180 grams) sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 7 tablespoons (55 grams) all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons (55 grams) cornmeal
In a food processor or high-powered blender, blend half — I just eyeball it — the corn until finely chopped.
Slice the butter into a few pieces. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter and continue to cook it, stirring frequently, after it has melted — in a few minutes, light brown flecks will appear in the pan and it will smell toasty and wonderful. Briefly remove the pan from the heat; it will continue to cook to a nutty brown color just from the existing heat in the pan.
Pour off 2 tablespoons of the brown butter into a small dish and set aside. [See alt brown butter hot honey drizzle suggestion at the end.]
Add whole corn kernels, blended corn, salt, and cayenne to the brown butter in the pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes, until the corn is tender and brighter yellow. Scrape the corn and every single fleck of brown butter into a large bowl and whisk in sour cream. If the mixture still feels piping hot, let it cool for 5 minutes. If the sour cream cooled it to warm, no need to.
Whisk in eggs until well-combined. Sprinkle sugar and baking powder over batter surface and whisk thoroughly to ensure it’s well-distributed through the batter. Add flour and cornmeal and mix until just combined. Scrape batter into prepared dish.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free. Immediately drizzle reserved brown butter over batter. Add a few flakes of sea salt too, if you wish. Eat warm
Do ahead: Corn pudding keeps fantastically; I’d limit it to just one day at room temperature or keep it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Rewarm in a low oven.
With a brown butter hot honey drizzle: Whisk 1 to 2 tablespoons, to taste, hot honey (both of these are great ones) into the reserved brown butter. Warm gently if the mixture is not runny/pourable before drizzling it over the finished corn pudding.
118 comments on corn pudding
Wow, I’m one of the first to post! My husband loves corn pudding, or as his family calls it, corn casserole, so I’m glad to have another recipe to try!
Is it 2 CUPS of corn kernels?
Yes — whoops. All fixed now thanks.
I think the list amount of corn ingredient got messed up. It doesn’t make sense. Sorry.
It should read “2 cups.” All fixed now — thank you!
In the list of ingredients, the first one says “2 corn corn kernels, frozen” – I’m assuming that should be 2 cups corn kernels, but wanted to check in case that was wrong! This looks amazing, and I can’t wait to make it.
It should read “2 cups.” All fixed now — thank you!
Corn pudding is NOT spoonbread. I grew up in the South( Virginia) and both were staples in my house and on holiday tables. The corn pudding I grew up with is like a baked corn custard, and is definitely not a bread. No cornmeal in it, and just a tablespoon or so of flour to thicken.
Yup – have to concur on that – two different things entirely. Here in the south (North Carolina) spoon bread is more souffle-ish and corn pudding more custardy. Similar flavor profiles but very different textures.
Thank you — will correct.
Definitely looks a lot dry for corn pudding; so glad to hear this was just the wrong name, coz when I need the best of recipes I come straight to SmittenKitchen :)
Oh yes! Same here! Custardy and corny and sweet and caramelized on top. Mmmm.
Deb, I want to make this right now! Can I use full fat Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream?
I used FF Chobani because it was all that I had – it still turned out incredible!
Can you use canned corn?
I didn’t test it with canned. A can has 1.5 cups, you could probably use that for 1.5 cups of the corn here.
Did you try it with canned corn? How was it? I’m planning to use canned for Thanksgiving.
My grandmother also made a dish called “corn pudding” but it was more of a custard than a spoonbread. I had no idea this other kind even existed! The one she made seems similar to this recipe: https://www.yummly.com/recipe/Corn-Pudding-1116787?prm-v1
As soon as I saw this recipe, I went to my kitchen to make it! I’ve been wanting to try a different corn casserole recipe this year but hadn’t started looking for one.
I made a few subs based on what I had and didn’t have in the kitchen already. I scaled the recipe down to 75% because that’s all the frozen corn that I had. I used fat free plain Chobani because I didn’t have sour cream, and I used 1:1 GF flour. I baked in a 9″ pie pan. This was awesome! Total keeper recipe. Don’t skip the hot honey step, it’s so good. We have Mike’s Extra Hot Honey, I’m going to try that next time.
Thank you so much for posting recipes by weight – it makes scaling a breeze.
Thanks for posting the gluten free option!
Ditto on posting the recipe by weight. It makes converting to gluten free flour so much easier with the weight. Half of my family is from the south but i’ve never made corn pudding, always just cornbread stuffing. This year i am trying something new and adding this dish along w regular stuffing (both gluten free in my case). Thanks for posting one that doesn’t call for creamed corn cans!
Could you do one egg and one flax seed egg? (My daughter can only have a certain proportion of egg to flour because of her egg allergy.)
I didn’t test it with a flax egg, so I can’t say for sure, sorry.
partially blending the corn is brilliant, i love complexity via different textures rather than flavors necessarily
Help! This sounds so good but I can’t have any dairy. What could I use instead of sour cream? I want to make this for Tday!
Try a non dairy yogurt?
Can I make it ahead on Wednesday, cover, refrigerate and bake on Tgiving? Trying to make my life a wee bit less chaotic the day of, but dang does this sound amazing!
I think I would bake it once mixed but it reheats well and easily, and keeps well.
I made this last year for Thanksgiving and my husband has not stopped asking about it. I’m bringing it to Thanksgiving this year to spread the corn love to my in-laws.
Do you think i could get away with a gluten free flour? Fewer people means I need to respect the celiacs this year hahaha
I think it would work here.
I’ve been checking your site everyday because I knew a new thanksgiving recipe was coming and I couldn’t be happier that it was this one. I normally make Paula Deen’s corn casserole (which couldn’t be easier) but this looks so much more delicious and what I’ve been craving out of a thanksgiving recipe this year. Very excited, thank you Deb!!!
Oh, man! I was a bit skeptical since I do love the milky/eggy version, but i forged bravely ahead and have NO regrets. This hits all my comfort food switches. I had to bake it a solid 25 minutes, but perhaps only because i am very undisciplined when it comes to sour cream. I had never heard of hot honey! I will have to look for it. Since i had none on hand, i tossed a dollop of a friend’s homemade pepper relish into the mix. Perfection.
I love corn pudding! What do you think would happen if I didn’t blend 1/2 of the corn and just left it all whole? Thank you!
It would be fine — just, of course, more whole kernels.
Here in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, we made something very similar, only for the corn, we only used this: https://www.paeats.com/feature/john-copes-dried-sweet-corn/
John Cope’s Dried Sweet Corn. My dad would grind it with a small food mill that clamped to the edge of the dining room table and Mom would rehydrate it by soaking in water overnight. Corn pudding made with this stuff is on a whole other level!
Yes, I was coming to say the same thing! Sadly I’m no longer in PA Dutch country and I’m the only one in my immediate family who loves dried sweet corn casserole, so probably none for me this thanksgiving.
I grew up in Pittsburgh and we made the “baked corn supreme” recipe on the back of the box. Basically the dried corn mixed with lots of milk and eggs. When I had my first Christmas without my family in 2006 I had no idea you couldn’t get Cope’s Corn in Brooklyn and promptly started crying on 7th Ave. Luckily my dad bought the entire stock out at a small grocery store called McGuinness Sisters because he couldn’t find it anywhere else and I’ll be making it in LA this year for a little taste of PA.
Hi! this corn pudding looks amazing and likely taste the same! Can canned corn be used in place of the frozen corn? Happy Thanksgiving!
Canned will contain 1.5 to 1.75 cups so you could use it for some of this.
This sounds delicious! After combining all of the ingredients per the directions, could it be cooked in a slow cooker? Thank you!
I haven’t tried it but if you’ve made other corn puddings in a slow-cooker, I believe this will work too.
The quality of the corn matters—some of the bagged frozen corn these days is tough. My grandmother added a small can of chopped mild green chiles and a bit of cooked chopped onion.
Made this last night and it was so delicious, I went back for sneaky spoonfuls more than once after dinner! To make a hot honey butter glaze, I took the reserved 2 T. browned butter and added a shake of cayenne, a big pinch of red pepper flakes and kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar, and 1 T. honey, and poured it on top of the pudding after baking.
This looks great! How many people does this serve (lets say 3/4 cup servings?)
It serves 6.
I thought my TG menu was set, but I must make this. I love anything corn! Thanks, Deb and best to you and your family.
I have not tried this yet, but I was wondering if this could be made more in the image of New England corn bread. A sweeter version is what I’m looking for. If so, how much more sugar would you add? And perhaps delete the pepper altogether? I think I would like a more custardly result as well
This looks delicious, however, I would still call your recipe spoonbread because it has cornmeal and flour in it. I do realize there are variations on the recipe, but the corn pudding I grew up on is more like a corn custard, with corn, eggs and milk and a little sugar.
Hi – what do you think of subbing sour cream with mascarpone? I have some leftover I’m trying to use up and would rather use that than a new tub of sour cream.
This is one of those times where I’m simply not sure if a homemade version is better than the dead-simple super processed one. I will have to try this and get back to you! We make ours with the jiffy method you mentioned as well as sour cream. The consistency is much softer, creamier, than what is pictured.
I will note, in celebration of holiday decadence, that leftover corn pudding, sliced and barely fried in a skillet, with a drizzle of maple syrup… is a salty/sweet breakfast wonder.
Deb! I have been waiting for this for YEARS! Thank you so much! Corn pudding is the one Thanksgiving staple I always want and never have a go-to recipe for. I was going to try Ina’s this year, but now… even better!
O.M.G. this is so good!! We had 4 ears of fresh white corn from our last CSA box, which looked to be just shy of 4 cups but I didn’t measure. I also opted for the extra egg and it cooked for 28 minutes in a 8×10 pyrex. I will definitely be adding this one to the regular rotation. We served it scooped into bowls and topped with Trader Joe’s turkey chili and cheese. It was a hit!
I meant 2 cups of corn, not 4 😉
I have a bag of Goya polenta that I bought back in the early supermarket sweep run days of lockdown. Can I use that instead of cornmeal?
Ever since your corn and tomato pie (which I love) called for running part of the corn through the food processor, I’ve used that technique for corn pudding and creamed corn. I love how it releases the milky cornstarch and adds more flavor to the pudding.
Thanks for another great recipe! Just tried this out and was soo happy with it! Possibly sacrilegious but I cut the butter down to 50 grams and and added an extra egg. Still delicious :)
Any suggestions for making this non-dairy?
I made it yesterday with Mykonos vegan butter (which will brown) and tofutti sour cream.
Can I use fine semolina instead of cornmeal, as I don’t have any?
I’d swap it by weight, not volume.
Is it possible to substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream?
She answered ‘yes’ to this same question in a previous comment. I’m guessing full fat is best.
Yes, no problem.
Will have to add this to my Thanksgiving table this year, even though it’s just my husband and 2 kids – still want to have a mini feast!
Question: Could I make this whole thing up to the point of baking the night before, keep in the fridge overnight in the pie pan, and then bake it off the next day?
Oh, never mind! I just saw you already answered this above. Ok, will bake the night before and reheat the next day.
I wouldn’t because the leavener will start working once mixed. Better to just rewarm it the next day — which works great.
Made this yesterday to good reviews from a skeptical family. They’ve requested no whole kernels next time, which is a thinly veiled request for me to make it again 😄
So easy, very delicious alternative to our ever-present cornbread.
Note: I made this with a full 16oz of corn, because that was the frozen bag size available. I also used a full cup of sour cream for the same reason. No other mods or substitutions and it turned out great. Cooked it in a 9.5″ glass pie dish, which was plenty big enough even with the extra volume.
How to make vegan? Thinking coconut oil/cashew butter instead of dairy butter (no browning), applesauce for egg and soy yogurt for sour cream. Or do you think I’ll just have a mess?
I made it yesterday with Mykonos vegan butter (which will brown) and tofutti sour cream.
If I make this a few days ahead, do you recommend saving the brown butter drizzle/sprinkle of salt for after reheating? (If so, should I refrigerate the reserved brown butter and microwave it before drizzling? Or just brown some more butter?)
Deb you never disappoint! This was delish I followed it to the t and it came out great. Thought that it would be fluffier but perhaps because I used a 9 inch square tin pan. Will defo use this as a side dish if we ever get a chance to have visitors at home.
Good Morning! If you’re making this ahead of time, should you do the brown butter when you first bake or after you reheat right before you eat?
I’m very curious about the multi-step incorporation of dry ingredients (“Sprinkle sugar and baking powder over batter surface and whisk thoroughly to ensure it’s well-distributed through the batter. Add flour and cornmeal and mix until just combined.”) Why not just whisk them together separately and then add to the batter?
I made your corn pudding recipe tonight and it was wonderful as a side dish to our split pea soup. I have always made cornbread when I served split pea soup but this was a very tasty switch! For those of you who might wonder, I defrosted the corn and used my immersion blender to blend half of the corn and it worked fine. I used plain full fat (not Greek) yogurt because that is what I had on hand and because I am lazy at heart, let the corn cool in the skillet and mixed the entire batter right in the skillet and poured it into the 9″ square baking dish. It took five or ten minutes longer to cook in the smaller dish, but it was so delicious!
Further as a plug for your cookbook, I baked the Smeteneh Kuchen/Sour Cream Coffee Cake ( I halved the recipe for the two of us) and it was unlike any coffee cake I have ever eaten and was hands down the best! We warmed it slightly in the microwave on the second day and with a cup of tea there is nothing more comforting. Thank you so much. I almost cook/bake exclusively from Cook’s Illustrated/Cook’s Country. Your recipes are the only others that I trust…plus your personality sparkles in your writing. Happy Thanksgiving!
Could I make this recipe in individual ramekins?
Yes, I was wondering the same thing! Thinking of making into muffins.
Yes! Love this idea.
Wonder if anyone has tried swapping buttermilk for sour cream? I think it would be perfectly fine although might make batter looser thus requiring additional cooking time? Thank you for all you offer us, Smitten Kitchen!
Yes, it would totally work.
made this, used AR’s Hot Southern Honey (cos we’re down south). MMMM.
note: i don’t have anything to do with AR’s. Just sharing the love.
I am making this one day ahead of Thanksgiving. Should I wait to pour the brown butter + hot honey over it until I reheat on Thanksgiving day? Thank you!
Yes, you could. But even if you pour it on right away, it will reheat very well.
I’m planning to make this for Thanksgiving tomorrow but want to pop it into the oven at the same time as my turkey, which I’ll be cooking at 325 degrees. Will it work at a lower temp and if so, how much cooking time should I add to the recipe? Thanks!
It will probably be forgiving, but I don’t know how much longer it will need in the oven without testing it.
This is so good! I ground up my 2 cups of corn in the Vitamix because it has fewer parts/easier to clean than the Cuisinart but next time I won’t be so lazy because it didn’t chop the pieces into equal sizes. I wanted no kernels and it was only halfway there. Next time I’ll go for uniform ground size via food processor. I did four eggs and baked it 25 mins and it was perfectly moist and eggy. Next time I’ll add more salt or do the hot honey because it needed a little more zip but that’s a perfect excuse to make this again!
If you bake a few hours ahead, do you still drizzle with honey brown butter right out of oven?
Could I brown the butter in a cast iron skillet and then just mix and bake it in there?
Thank you Deb once again for giving me a keeper!! This was easy and so yummy! Had planned to make the honey topping, but found that it was totally unnecessary. So good as is!!!!! I really trust your palate. Hope your harvest day is wonderful!
I made this today for Thanksgiving and it was the hit of the meal! I ended up using two cups of whole corn instead of grinding one cup because I tried to use my mini food processor and the frozen corn just bounced around gaily in the bowl when I tried to process it.
Long time reader, first time commenting. I made this as part of Thanksgiving dinner. My husband was initially skeptical (neither of us grew up with corn pudding, so it was uncharted territory), but after tasting it he immediately insisted that it become part of the regular menu. My kids loved it, too! Definitely recommend adding the extra egg, but also: *highly* recommend using TJ Everything but the Elote seasoning blend on top in lieu of the hot honey. I added mine after drizzling the extra brown butter, it was SO good! (I just had some for breakfast.) In combination with the SK challah stuffing and pecan pie, it was a very Smitten Thanksgiving. Thanks, Deb!
Delicious addition to my Thanksgiving meal! Thank you, Deb, for once again being a great resource. I can always count on your recipes (and I don’t even make it ahead of time to test it out – I just know it is going to be good).
Sorry if this has been asked and answered somewhere else but:
I made this yesterday following your instructions for a “softer/looser” pudding and it turned out very dense and not loose or soft at all. It was like cornbread. And I’ll be honest, using more eggs and cooking it longer did seem counterintuitive to me, since I use more eggs and cook longer in other recipes if I want a more cake-like texture. The flavor was good, I just wanted a more pudding-y texture. Any thoughts?
Julia, I thought the same and just now posted a query! I wondered if those instructions were a misprint, as they do seem entirely counterintuitive. I haven’t tried it yet but am going to opt for the recipe as written and see what happens; a friend reports that produces quite a loose texture.
I made it with 2 cups of canned corn and it came out great.
Wow I could not have messed this up more if I tried *AND YET* it still came out wonderfully! My husband and MIL raved about it and today, the day after Thanksgiving, both of them kept sneaking bites all day.
What I did wrong, but somehow it was ok:
-I blended ALL of the corn in the food processor, instead of just half
-I added the flour and cornmeal to the browned butter and cooked all of that on the stove for 5 minutes
-I accidentally added 3 eggs instead of 2 (thus more cooking time was required).
-I misread (lol are you sensing a theme here?) and put the 2 tbsp of browned butter from the beginning at the bottom of the baking pan instead of a small bowl to reserve- HOWEVER I just browned additional butter before serving. Highly recommend this step.
Somehow in spite of all of that (I swear I’m a good cook!) it was amazing. I was terrified it would be dense after cooking/activating the flour before baking, but it was magically ok, I think the extra egg might have saved it? Who knows! This is a magical recipe and I can’t wait to make it again- the correct way.
Franken-pudding was a hit! Other Honorable SK Mentions from Thanksgiving 2020: Brussels Sprouts/Pomegranate/Apple Salad, Pumpkin Pie, and Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Galette. Bravo Deb for fabulous, reliable recipes EVERY TIME!
I made this for thanksgiving dinner. So good. All the stars possible. 100% will make again.
I didn’t really think I was a corn pudding person. But I gave this recipe a try for thanksgiving this year, and Deb – it is nothing short of absolutely legendary. Thanks!
One of the best things I’ve ever made. I used light sour cream & baked it in a glass loaf pan for ~25 mins. Took the tip someone else mentioned & pan-fried 1/2 inch slices, then served in a scant pool of real maple syrup w/ a couple strips of Morningside “facon” – – heaven on a plate!!
This was great! Thanks for a new addition to the Thanksgiving repertoire! Easy to put together and got the sweetness of the corn ina dish that didn’t weigh you down. Will be making again.
I did make this and turned out good!
I was wondering if it would be fine to mix half sour cream and half cream cheese
This is what makes Thanksgiving and what his grandma always used to make(Jiffy box version) I grew up with scalloped corn with crushed crackers in it! I will be happy to make this and see what he thinks! Thanks for something new!
I had doubts this would come together, but it was perfect! Way better than any cornbread I’ve made and delicious with the skillet turkey chili!
Has anyone tried to make this at altitude? Wondering how to adjust the baking powder and time/temp for baking (I’m in Denver, 5280 ft and man I struggle to get baked goods right!)
Morning Deb! I’m wondering which kind of cornmeal you used? I have both a coarse grain cornmeal and a fine grain. Which would you suggest? Thanks!
I’ve been using medium. You can safely use coarse if you don’t mind more texture.
I don’t understand the suggestion at the very beginning (just before the ingredients list) about adding another egg and a few minutes’ more cooking time for a ‘softer/looser’ result. Surely another egg and more cooking time would result in the opposite: a firmer pudding? Was this a misprint, by chance?
The quarter teaspoon cayenne really goes a long way. It gave the corn pudding a nice kick. We thoroughly enjoyed this recipe.
Excessively sweet. If I make this again, I’ll cut the sugar substantially
Hoping this turns out- made a bunch of changes- used 2 120z bags frozen corn- one chopped up in processor, 1 stick butter, 1 medium onion diced 1 t salt 1 1/2 C heavy cream, 1.5 diced jalapenos added 2 handfuls shredded sharp cheddar, 5 eggs 1T brown sugar 4 1/2 t baking powder and 112 g each flour and cornmeal. Hoping for a stodgier pudding- texture looks good.
Hi I need to double the recipe for 11 people. Can I just double and use a 10 quart baking dish or will it be too deep? Any idea what the cooking temp and time should be? This will be my first holiday meal in a NYC galley kitchen so thank you for the make ahead suggestions!
Deeper is just fine. Same temperature. Not sure how long it will take but I’d start checking at the regular time and then every 5 to 10 minutes after.
Wow – this is awesome. In the past I used to make this ‘New Fashioned Corn Pudding’ but it was honestly way too heavy. Too much cheese, too much dairy. (https://food52.com/recipes/77539-new-fashioned-corn-pudding).
Deb’s recipe hit the spot. Absolutely perfect. Out of everything, my family said this was their favorite thing on the Thanksgiving table. I used a 9inch glass pie plate sprayed with Baker’s spray. I substituted full fat Fage Greek yogurt for the sour cream.
I did have frozen corn, but it wasn’t grinding in my cheap-o food processor. I warmed the corn up that I was going to process to soften it and it worked great. I was nervous it would taste gritty but it blended fine.
Would this work in an 8×8 Pyrex?
Also I can’t have chili pepper, will it be too sweet without?
Probably a bit late, but I use smoked paprika in place of the cayenne and it’s delicious.