Sweet Corn Spoonbread Casserole




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corn casserole out of the oven

Sweet Corn Spoonbread Casserole with (or without!) roasted chiles is one of the best side dishes you’ll ever taste, it goes with everything from pulled pork and meatloaf all the way up to the Thanksgiving turkey!

spoonbread casserole in glass baking pan

This is Kentucky spoonbread meets Southern corn pudding meets your favorite comfy casserole!

For me this is the ultimate side dish, it’s a soft spoon-able cornbread enriched with eggs, buttermilk, cheddar cheese and, of course, loads of fresh corn. We topped it with some fresh roasted poblano chiles, which gives it that little extra zest which we found irresistible, but you can easily leave them off for a classic version.

Developing this recipe was a labor of love, I’ve adored corn since I was little, and I’ll eat it every way I can.  I tried several versions of corn pudding/spoonbread/casserole before landing on this perfect recipe that combines the best of all three.

Fresh corn kernels in a bowl

Fresh corn makes the best corn pudding

Fresh raw corn kernels bake up so sweet and tender in this casserole, there’s nothing like it.  But if you’re making this out of season, frozen corn will work well too. I don’t recommend canned, though, the flavor and texture isn’t up to snuff.

Strip the kernels from the cobs, you’ll need about 4 cups, There’s no need to pre cook it, the corn steams to perfection as the casserole bakes ~ it retains its bright color too.

But frozen corn beats canned corn in a pinch

Making batter for sweet corn spoon bread pudding

What you’ll need to make a spoonbread casserole

I love the batter for this casserole, it’s the kind of thing you just know is going to be good, with this set of ingredients it can’t be anything but!

  • fresh corn kernels from 3-4 ears of corn
  • corn meal ~ white or yellow, but don’t use coarse ground or polenta.
  • eggs
  • milk
  • buttermilk
  • sugar
  • butter
  • sharp cheddar cheese ~ white or yellow, aged has the best flavor.
  • salt and baking soda

 

corn spoon bread pudding batter in casserole dish

Spoonbread is a Southern traditon

The batter for this casserole is inspired by classic Kentucky spoonbread ~ spoonbread is a soft spoon-able cornbread traditionally made by separating the eggs and whipping the whites to fold into the batter.  I skip this step and beat the whole eggs for about 3 minutes, which incorporates air without the extra effort.  The result is a thick rich creamy spoonbread with a light texture.

Did you know? The annual Spoonbread Festival is held in Kentucky every September!

corn casserole topped with roasted chiles

How to roast your own chiles to top your spoonbread casserole

Of course you can open up a can of fire roasted chiles to top this casserole, and that’s great, but if you want take it a step further, roast your own.

  • Start with clean dry whole chiles. You can use any fresh chile pepper you like, sweet, or hot…even bell peppers.
  • If you have a gas grill or a gas stove top you can roast them right over the open flame.  Hold the chile by the stem with tongs and hold over the flame until it blackens.  Use caution, and turn the chile to blacken it all over.
  • You can blacken chiles under the broiler, too.  Put the chilies on a sheet of foil and place on a rack set closest to the broiler heat element. Turn the chiles as the blacken to get them charred all over.
  • Put the chiles into a heavy duty zip lock baggie and zip the bag closed.  Let the chiles steam for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the chiles and slice them in half lengthwise.  Remove the stem and scrape out the veins and seeds, then gently scrape off the charred skin from the outside.
  • Chop the roasted chile flesh as needed for your recipe.

corn casserole topped with roasted chiles

Comforting casserole side dishes for fall

 

corn casserole out of the oven
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5 from 11 votes

Sweet Corn Spoonbread Casserole

Sweet Corn Spoonbread Casserole with (or without!) roasted chiles is one of the best side dishes you'll ever taste, it goes with everything from pulled pork and meatloaf all the way up to the Thanksgiving turkey!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups cultured buttermilk
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 heaping cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 cups fresh raw corn kernels (you can use frozen as well, no need to thaw.)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F Butter a 2 1/2 qt casserole (use an oblong pan, not a deep casserole.) You can also use a 9x13, but the cooking time will be shorter.
  • Beat the eggs in a stand mixer or with electric beaters until very light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes.
  • Whisk together the corn meal, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Heat the milk and buttermilk in a large heavy bottomed saucepan until bubbling around the edges. Sprinkle in the cornmeal mixture slowly, while whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and then turn down the heat, still whisking or stirring, for about 5 minutes, until thickened.
    making cornmeal mush for spoonbread casserole
  • Remove from the heat and sprinkle in the baking soda, and stir in the butter until it melts. Fold in the cheese
  • Whisk or stir a little of the hot cornmeal mixture to the beaten eggs to temper them, then gradually add the rest, stirring gently to combine well but not deflate all that air you've beaten into the eggs. Fold in the corn.
    the batter for sweet corn spoonbread, in a mixing bowl
  • Turn the batter into your prepared casserole dish and spread out evenly.
    corn spoon bread pudding batter in casserole dish
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes until puffed and beginning to turn golden on top. The exact baking time will depend on the size and depth of your casserole dish. Serve asap, while hot, but we found that single serving leftovers heated really well in the microwave.
    corn casserole out of the oven

Notes

Check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer to be sure, but a little under or over cooking will not hurt this casserole.  Just make sure it's turning golden on top, and doesn't feel too soft or wobbly in the center.  (A slight wobble is good.)

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16 Comments

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  • Reply
    P. Horneman
    November 29, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    5 stars
    This is a very forgiving recipe. I looked hard for a a sweet corn spoon bread recipe that didn’t call for a mix like Jiffy. I wanted to get it in the oven in 20 minutes, too. I made changes left and right to use the ingredients I had. This really worked for me. I had the milk, but no buttermilk. I always have greek yogurt, so in it went. Jumbo eggs, not large. My biggest sin was no mixer but I do have a very effective balloon whisk. I baked it until it was golden brown in a 9×13 pan, 50 minutes. Four people ate 2/3 of the pan. The texture was a bit more resilient than mousse. Lots of compliments. I will keep this and try it the way it’s written next time.

  • Reply
    Pam
    September 15, 2020 at 7:02 am

    5 stars
    Well, how perfect is that timing! We have just been talking about making spoonbread, but hadn’t started looking for a recipe. Now we don’t need to.

  • Reply
    Beth
    September 15, 2020 at 6:30 am

    5 stars
    Yummy! My daughter and her boyfriend are going to love this recipe! Looks so delicious and so good! Can’t wait to try this!

  • Reply
    Beth Sachs
    September 15, 2020 at 6:27 am

    5 stars
    Perfect side dish to my slow cooker pulled beef. The kids gobbled it up!

  • Reply
    Angela
    September 15, 2020 at 6:23 am

    5 stars
    This looks so good! Love all of the fresh corn you used in this recipe. Perfect for this time of the year. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 15, 2020 at 6:30 am

      The large amount of fresh corn is my favorite part 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer Allen
    September 15, 2020 at 6:00 am

    5 stars
    I first had spoonbread years ago and have been craving it ever since. This recipe is the real deal! Easy to follow and the flavors were great!

  • Reply
    Chichi
    September 15, 2020 at 5:57 am

    5 stars
    Never tried spoonbread before. It looks so gorgeous and delicious. I can’t wait to try it. Yum!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 15, 2020 at 5:58 am

      I think you’ll love it Chichi 🙂

  • Reply
    Jordan
    September 15, 2020 at 5:29 am

    5 stars
    Made this last night to raves from the fam, thanks Sue! I’ve never had spoon bread and now I’m hooked!!

  • Reply
    Jessy
    September 14, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    Hi Sue – I made this tonight. Did you correct the recipe? – when I printed it this morning- the list of ingredients listed baking soda and in the instructions it said baking powder – I used baking soda because of the buttermilk.
    I don’t know spoonbread and don’t know what the consistency is supposed to be but mine was quite runny in the middle. I cooked it longer (one hour at least).
    With four cups of liquid and three eggs for one cup of cornmeal, maybe it is not supposed to be firm or perhaps I didn’t cook the cornmeal long enough. I reduced the sugar to one tablespoon plus one teaspoon and added half a teaspoon of pepper. Otherwise followed the recipe exactly.
    I am a new subscriber and am really loving getting your recipes.
    Thanks

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 15, 2020 at 5:22 am

      Hi Jessy, yes, the instructions were correct, use baking soda. Spoonbread isn’t supposed to be firm, it should have a soft, almost custard like consistency, but not runny, so it sounds like your center did not cook long enough. Could have been your pan? If the spoonbread is cooked in a smaller or deeper pan it will take longer. And as for cooking the cornmeal, it should be quite thick at the end.

  • Reply
    Ellen
    September 14, 2020 at 9:44 am

    You have given me the perfect accompaniment to the pulled pork that is already cooking in my crockpot! I immediately printed the recipe! Unfortunately I do not have fresh corn, so the frozen will have to do for today. Fortunately, all of the other ingredients are on hand. Thank-YOU!!

  • Reply
    Alex
    September 14, 2020 at 8:03 am

    Good Morning! Any reason why polenta can’t be subbed in for cornmeal in this recipe? Thanks so much and I love all your recipes. Your photos are descriptions/instructions are always wonderful. Keep up the great work and stay safe.

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 14, 2020 at 8:06 am

      I think that should be fine, just keep in mind that polenta tends to be coarser and cooks up a little ‘grittier’ than cornmeal. The texture will be a little different, but it will work.

      • Reply
        Alex
        September 14, 2020 at 9:19 am

        Thanks so much for the quick reply. I have so much polenta and this looks so good. ?