corn pudding

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.

here's what you needblend half the cornmix with remaining kernelsbrown butter

cook corn in brown butteradd sour creamwhisk in remaining ingredientsbake, drizzle with extra brown butter

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.

corn pudding


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

Corn Pudding

  • Servings: 6
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen
  • Print

If you prefer a softer/looser corn pudding, you could add an additional egg and a few minutes of baking time.

  • 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

Heat oven to 350°F. Coat a 5- to 6-cup baking dish (I’m using this ruffly 10″ quiche pan) with butter or nonstick cooking spray.

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.

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74 comments on corn pudding

  1. Brandi

    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!

  2. Meghan

    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.

  3. Christine

    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.

      1. Manisha

        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 :)

  4. Stacey

    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.

    1. Ginger

      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!

  5. SG

    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.)

  6. laura maxwell

    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!

  7. Libby

    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!

  8. Gina Moore

    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!!!

  9. Waffler

    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.

    1. Rachel

      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.

      1. Dorothy Claire Hoover

        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.

  10. Sassafras

    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.

  11. Jessica

    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.

  12. John Liptak

    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

  13. Gail

    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.

  14. Emily

    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.

  15. Mary

    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.

  16. Chelsea

    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!

  17. Erica O’Brien

    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!

  18. Tracy

    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?

  19. Susan L

    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.

  20. Nicole

    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 :)

  21. Karen+W

    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?

  22. Abigayle

    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.

  23. 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?

  24. Bethany

    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?)

  25. Sophia

    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.

  26. Di

    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?

  27. Kandi

    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?