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!
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 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
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.
- sharp cheddar cheese ~ white or yellow, aged has the best flavor.
- salt and baking soda
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!
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.
Comforting casserole side dishes for fall
- Cheesy Zucchini Casserole
- Broccoli Cheese Casserole
- Favorite Green Bean Casserole
- Butter Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole
- Butter Pecan Pumpkin Souffle
- French Potato and Onion Gratin
Sweet Corn Spoonbread Casserole
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Turn the batter into your prepared casserole dish and spread out evenly.
- 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.