Old fashioned creamed corn in its purest form needs just a little salt and butter. Learn how to make it the traditional southern way. You will never eat canned corn again.
I hesitate to call this a recipe. It’s more of a tutorial, because the star ingredient is the fresh corn itself. Just a little salt and butter are added to taste, but you could actually make delicious southern style creamed corn with nothing but corn. If you’re looking for something with a little more bang, try our Blackened Corn.
No flour, no milk or heavy cream, no corn starch out of a box or can. You are using corn starch in its purest form. Let us show you how.
Who has an idea what this is?
These marvelous tools are called….. are you ready for this? Corn Creamers. I inherited one of mine and the other one I’ve had over 40 years. Where I am from in North Florida we used to buy them at the local hardware store. Maybe you still can, but I’ve found them on Amazon for you.
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This link takes you to a wooden corn creamer. I guess I’m an old-fashioned purist because I prefer my wooden one but if you like stainless steel you can order one here.
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Shuck and Clean the Corn
For true rookies, I want to go over briefly how to shuck corn. You grab a bit of the corn silks (that hairy stuff) sticking out the top and the top of the husks next to it and pull down.
Keep moving around the ear of corn until you’ve pulled all the husks down and as much of the silks as possible. Then grab that whole wad of husks and silks and break off the bottom.
Go back and pull off remaining silks. You will need to wash the corn and brush between the kernels for stubborn silks that are hiding from you, but it’s easiest to get as many off as possible while the corn is still dry.
Cream the Corn
Now, comes the fun part. Prop the creamer in a large container. You start running the ear of corn down the creamer. Keep going over it until no juice comes off the cob.
That last bit of milky goodness is what thickens your corn, naturally. You have to put a decent amount of pressure on the ear of corn to get it all.
This is a pretty messy job. The corn splatters as you’re creaming it. If at all possible, wear an apron and work on the porch. And, you want a glass of sweet tea close by. This process is a labor of love, but it is SO worth it.
For a standard sized dutch oven and I creamed 10 ears of corn. It made about 5 servings of old fashioned cream style corn, but that’s going to vary with the size of ears of corn.
How to Cook the Creamed Corn
In the raw state the liquid is very milky — opaque, in fact. At this point you can freeze it in bags, and anytime you want that fresh, creamed-corn taste pull out a bag to thaw and cook. On the farm, bushels of corn are “put up” on the same day. It’s an all-hands-on-deck family affair.
For cooking, you can heat it up over medium heat, but once it’s good and hot, reduce to medium-low. Cook, stirring constantly. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan often to prevent sticking and scorching.
After it’s hot the corn will cook in 10-15 minutes. The way you know it’s done is when the liquid thickens and becomes more translucent. I add about a teaspoon of salt for every 10 ears of corn, and at the end stir in a tablespoon of butter.
The real old fashioned southern way to season creamed corn is with bacon grease instead of butter.
You can use sweet corn (like silver queen) and it’s equally delicious, but sweet corn tends to not thicken as much. I would love to hear how it turns out when you try it, and don’t forget to get your corn creamers.
Order the Stainless Steel one here. and theWooden Corn Creamer here
FAQs about how to make creamed corn:
The key is scraping the ear of corn very thoroughly. By doing so you are incorporating the natural corn starch and that will thicken your corn.
No. Sweet corn is a type of corn (the kind with white kernels) and creamed corn is a method of preparation that we have detailed for you here.
Yes. Another method often used by southern cooks is this: Take a wide, sharp knife and cut the very tops off the corn kernels. After going all the way around the cob turn the knife over and use the dull side to scrape. The results are similar to what you will get with the corn creamer.
Yes, of course. We kept our recipe very basic, but if you like a peppery kick to your vegetables feel free to add it.
Absolutely! Cook it up to 2 days in advance. Just refrigerate and then heat it up when ready to serve. If it’s too thick you may have to add a little water at the time as it heats.
For a look at all things Southern Food, you’ll want to check out this article. It’s about the history, the origins and a peek into what the future may hold for our favorite cuisine.
How to Make Creamed Corn
- 10 ears corn
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- Cream corn with corn creamer
- Heat in saucepan over medium heat
- Reduce heat to medium-low
- Add salt
- Cook, stirring constantly, being sure to scrape bottom for 10-15 minutes
- Corn is done when thickened and translucent
- Add butter and stir until melted
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Cindy Weidinger says
Patricia A Douds says
The picture you show of the corn is peaches and cream corn not queen
Hi Patricia and thanks for your comment. However, our only reference to “silver queen” corn is that you could make creamed corn from it but it doesn’t get as thick.
It looks delicious! I’m starving! My grandmother had a simple recipe for it, but she died with it. I’m sure it was a simple one because in those days, nothing complicated would be done as a farmhouse wife. Looks like yours is simple too….I like that.
Thanks, Florence. It’s not even really a recipe, just a method, I guess. I got to thinking I would hate to see it die out, so hopefully I can revive some interest in such a pure, simple dish.
My very favorite side dish is creamed corn, but I’ve never tried to make it. I thought cutting the corn off would be too time consuming. I have to order a corn creamer. I didn’t know there was such a thing! I am true southern woman who has never made my favorite dish. You have corrected what was wrong with that picture! Great post!
Thank you, Kim! It does take a few minutes, but it is so worth the effort. Hope you enjoy your creamer.
Mandy Williams says
Exactly how my southern mama makes it, however, she say’s she “can’t get the hang of those gadgets”…and cuts and scrapes with her favorite knife. It’s a lot of work but sooo worth it. Just found you through Southern Hospitality blog and can’t wait to read more.
Hahaha, Mandy. I’ve seen my Mama do it that way, too. She would just barely cut off the tops of the kernels and then turn her knife upside down to scrape with the dull side.
Seems we have a lot of grandmas who knew how to make creamed corn and have vague memories of the how. Mine used what was commonly called a burgers knifed and cut the kernel right into an iron skillet. And that’s all I remember. So thanks for the how to’s of this old southern favorite. Linda
Oh my goodness this looks delicious.
I have prepared corn this way as well and it is so satisfying and delicious.
Thank you for sharing such wonderful recipe at Thoughts of Home.
White Spray Paint
Thanks, Laura. You’re right. It is satisfying knowing you have scraped every last bit of goodness from an ear of corn!
I’ve never tried cream of corn. I know shocking ???? But in my defense I’ve only seen it come out of the can. Fresh corn, butter, and salt that sounds yummy to me. Now I’ll have to try it. Reposting on pinterest ????Thank you!!
Haha, Candace! You will love it — nothing like the stuff out of a can. No comparison at all. Kind of like comparing homemade pimento cheese and that stuff you get in a tub at the store 🙂 Hope you enjoy.
The best creamed corn starts with field corn …hard to come by…you add as much water as you have corn and then some….seasoned with bacon grease ….I could eat this everyday……farmers used to grow field corn for their farm animals…
Yes, exactly. That’s what I grew up with too, Sabra. I never actually knew why they called it “field corn”
Melissa Riley says
We put this up every summer and I still do . We used to put it in the oven and bake until thick and crusty on the sides. I have since learned to do it in the microwave . Doesn’t get kitchen so hot . Add 1/2 stick of butter to your corn , salt and microwave on high 15 minutes , stir , microwave and stir like this until thick . Be careful it is HOT
I’ve never heard of doing it that way. I’ll give it a try next summer. Thanks, Melissa!
We used to do this by the bushels from the garden dad planted. We would even put it in freezer bags and put in deep freeze to cook later. Just had to be sure to get all of air out of bags so it wouldn’t freezer burn. We had a couple freezers we filled up with vegetables from the farm to eat during the year. Boy was it good!
I was thinking today that all the knowledge of farming is dying out. Not a lot of people left around that know these things!
Absolutely. It was “all hands on deck” on corn “putting up” day. Trying to keep that knowledge alive is one of the many reasons we love sharing this blog!
My grandmother used to make this all the time. She also made it with tomatoes and baked it. It was awesome.
Sweet corn? Child please…take that outta here
Erica O. says
This was the way my grandma made it. She also used her knife to cut off the kernals then scrape the cob to get all the “cornstarch” out. That’s what thickens it. It was always a family favorite. I’m glad I found your recipe. I kept seeing recipes involving sugar and heavy cream. Noooo… you don’t need all that fat and calories for it to absolutely delish.
So happy you stopped by Erica. It’s always good to connect with someone who remembers and appreciates the pure goodness of the food itself. Don’t get me wrong, I love cream and sugar, but good old creamed corn just doesn’t need all of that. You are so right!
Amanda R says
EXACTLY the way I learned from both of my very southern grandmothers! I am very much a southern gal myself and I am tickled to see that there is someone else out there that appreciates the RIGHT way to make creamed corn!
Amanda R says
Oh yeah- I too am very attached to my wooden corn creamer. I think I found it in a hardware store somewhere in Alabama when I was in college.
Aw, thanks, for commenting Amanda. These old southern methods are just dying out, and that’s one of our goals with this blog. We want to keep them alive for our kids and grandkids.
Jackie Edwards says
I have lived in North Florida all my life (60 years) and this is exactly how we put up our corn every summer. We grew sweet corn and field corn and we loved to eat both! I grew up in Columbia County, near the Ichetucknee River.
Thanks so much for writing, Jackie! We love connecting with people who remember (and still do) the old ways with food. Our family is from Hamilton and Suwannee Counties.
Sujatha Muralidhar says
A must-bookmark recipe for this season. The creamy corn looks luscious, the simple and straight forward instructions motivates to me try out. Thanks for sharing..
Thank you! It really is simple and delicious!
Oh my. This looks SO luscious and right up my alley! Can’t wait to try it! Thanks for sharing!
Hope you enjoy, Jeannette!
Taylor Kiser says
Great tutorial!! This creamed corn looks so delicious!
I love creamed corn! It’s a delicious dish and so easy to make! I will definitely be making this for our BBQ this week!
Hope you love it like we do!
Thanks so much for sharing this. My only experience with creamed corn was from a can as a child and I hated it. This recipe looks delicious and I want to try asap.
From a can is totally diffferent. You’re going to love the real thing!
Jackie Edwards says
We always grew sweet and field corn. My favorite is field corn, Golden Dent, to be exact! We have always frozen our creamed corn but I’m wondering if I could pressure can it. Any wisdom anyone can share?
Field corn is my favorite too. I’m not sure about the pressure cooking. Maybe another reader can help.
I cooked some creamed field corn and it just doesn’t taste good to me. Don’t know what I did wrong. I used buttermilk like I do with my sweet corn, salt and butter. Cooked in the microwave for about 20 minutes. Help!!
I’m not sure Ann. I have never heard of putting buttermilk in creamed corn. As you can see in our recipe we believe in keeping it simple and letting the corn stand pretty much on its own. Maybe you’d like to give our method a try.
Terry Faith says
My grandma was a professional cook from South Georgia and her recipe was the same as yours. The exception was that she didn’t have a corn creamer tool. She would remove the kernels with a knife, then she would scrape the cob to get all the water and starch off the cob. She’d even wring that cob to get the starch. Thank you for posting your recipe! I make look for the corn creamer on Amazon.
Yes, Terry, I’ve seen my Mama make it that way too. In fact, we just posted a corn photo on Instagram last week and mentioned how some people did it that way. Thank you for visiting!
There is so much detail here, it is great to read. I am a huge corn fan and this recipe is right up my alley. Can’t wait to give it a go.
You’re going to love it!
This was such a helpful guide to making creamed corn!! Love your tips about scraping the ear of corn to get natural corn starch too – that’s so cool! I can’t wait to try your recipe this week!
Hope you enjoy. Thanks, Anjali!
I have got to get myself a corn creamer so I can try this recipe out. I’m from the UK so Never tried creamed corn before.
We predict you’ll love it!
Sara Welch says
Enjoyed this for dinner yesterday and it does not disappoint! Your post was very informative and the recipe is not only delicious, but easy to follow to boot!
Awww… thanks for letting us know, Sara!
Ohh gosh! My moms favorite thing in the world is corn! Can’t wait to make this for her this weekend!
She’ll love it!
Thank you showing real cream corn, not something with kernels in it. This dish is creamy and delicious. My husband is from North Florida and this is how his mother made it. Again thank you for sharing.
Awww…. thank you Ivette! We are from north Florida too, so I guess that explains our love of creamed corn!
ANNE B GLASS says
Love creamed corn! wish I could find the field corn like we used to make when i lived on a farm. When we ‘put up” corn, we poked holes in the top of a mayonnaise jar lid with an ice pick and used that to scrape the corn. Just wish I could figure out how to make the non-field corn less sweet.
I’ve never heard of creaming corn that way but I can see where it would work. Thanks for taking the time to stop by with a star rating and comment. It means a lot to us!