This Cheesy Corn Casserole is the holiday side dish of your dreams: seriously easy to make and filled with delicious flavor!
To be honest, I didn't really grow up eating corn casserole. We were generally pretty basic with our corn preparation. Salt and pepper for steamed corn (usually from the freezer) and salt and butter for corn on the cob. So figured I should mix it up a bit, especially for holiday gatherings.
Now I considered making a corn casserole with Jiffy mix, because I feel like Jiffy Cornbread tends to be a popular option as the based for this type of recipe. I also happen to have a ton of Jiffy mixes hanging out in my pantry right now for another killer recipes that I've been testing, which you'll see in the coming weeks. But I really didn't want it to have a bread-like base, I wanted it to be a deliciously creamy casserole, so a Jiffy corn casserole recipe was out.
But I am super happy with the easy corn casserole recipe that I landed on. It's super easy to make and the flavor is seriously fantastic. It's decadent without being overly rich and the smoky bacon and buttery crackers add even more great texture.
Tips for making Cheesy Corn Casserole:
- Be sure to fry the bacon at a lower heat (no higher than medium) because you won't be draining the pan between batches and it will splatter and burn you if the heat is too high.
- This recipe works best if you thaw the corn before adding it to the pan. I find it easiest to place the bags in the refrigerator the night before but in a pinch you can run it under some cool water for a few minutes just before adding it to the pan.
- For the Ritz crackers, I crush them up right in the package to try and eliminate the extra mess.
- Be sure to reserve some of the crumbled bacon for topping the casserole. I crumbled six slices for inside the casserole and used the last two for topping.
Helpful ingredient information:
- Corn: You can use fresh corn or well drained canned corn, but I like to keep it simple with frozen corn that I've thawed.
- Creamy sauce: I start by making a roux with the bacon fat and some flour. This thickens the milk and cream cheese and shredded cheddar add the perfect amount of creaminess.
- Flavoring: In addition to the smoky taste that the back brings, I included chopped onions, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper and buttery RITZ crackers to round it all out and add crunch.
Is corn casserole the same thing as Corn Pudding?
They're similar but not the same. Both typically use cornbread as the base (although mine does not). While they both have similar ingredients in their traditional bases, corn pudding typically features a thicker and creamer texture whereas corn pudding is more of a thickened liquid (often started with stewed corn and thicken water). Corn Casserole is traditionally served in the South and Corn Pudding is popular in the Appalachian region of the USA. To be clear- my version is NOT an authentic Southern Corn Casserole, but it is delicious.
Can this be made ahead?
Yes, but I would only make it up until just before putting it into the oven and then bake it off just before serving and store it covered in the fridge. You may need to adjust the baking time to be sure that it heats through after chilling as well.
Can this be frozen?
I wouldn't recommend freezing this recipe.
How long with the leftover last in the refrigerator?
They will last a few days but this definitely is best served right out of the oven.
Is corn casserole healthy?
No, not really. But it is delicious and it's generally not a dish you'd make to eat on a daily basis, so a little bit should be fine for most people.
This will last up to 4 days covered in the refrigerator.
Ingredients that can be prepped ahead:
- Fry bacon (make sure you reserve and save the bacon fat)
- Chop onion
- Thaw corn
- Chef's knife
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Large saute pan
- Wooden spoon
- 9" x 9" baking pan
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Cheesy Corn Casserole Recipe
- Cooking spray
- 8 slices bacon
- 1 cup onion, finely diced
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- ½ cup whole milk
- 2 16 ounce packages frozen corn, thawed
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you want it spicy)
- 1 ¾ cups crushed Ritz crackers, divided (basically 1 and ½ sleeves of Ritz crackers)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9" x 9" (or similar size pan) with cooking spray and set aside.
- Over medium heat in a large saute pan, fry 8 slices of bacon. Remove the bacon from the pan once crisp and leave all the bacon grease in the pan.
- Add diced onion to the pan and saute until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add flour and stir until there are no lumps. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add milk, corn, cream cheese, seasoned salt and cayenne pepper and stir frequently until the cream cheese has melted and everything is well combined.
- Add 1 cup (1 sleeve) crushed Ritz crackers, ½ cup shredded cheddar and crumble in 6 slices of the bacon. Stir until well combined.
- Pour into the greased pan and spread into an even layer.
- Top this with remaining shredded cheddar, remaining crushed Ritz crackers and crumble on remaining bacon.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve immediately.