What Is Creamed Corn?

Corn! It’s as American as apple pie. We love it straight from the cob, popped in the microwave, and ground into a cake or bread. If you’ve ever seen any of those depressing food documentaries, you know that high-fructose corn syrup is in basically everything we eat and drink. And, in fact, there’s even a whole Corn Palace you can visit (I have been, and would say is well worth the trip if you happen to find yourself in the Mitchell, South Dakota area). But one type of corn that gets less praise these days is creamed corn. It just seems a little weird, but maybe that’s because we don’t know enough about it. So, what is creamed corn, exactly? What’s in creamed corn? What are we supposed to do with creamed corn? Let’s bring out some kernels of truth.

What is creamed corn?

Creamed corn is a form of sweet corn that is combined with a creamy mixture. In canned cream corn, the “creaminess” comes from a milky residue made from immature pulped kernels. Sounds delicious, no? The canned variety is probably the most well-known, but you can also make creamed corn at home, or presumably order it in a restaurant (although I’ve personally never seen one with this particular dish on the menu).

What is in creamed corn?

If you pick a can of, let’s say, Green Giant cream-style corn off a grocery store shelf and take a look at the ingredients on the back, you will find this: “Water, Whole Kernel Corn, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Salt.” It’s pretty simple. The “creaminess” is a milky liquid that comes from mushed up kernels, no additional ingredients required. 

But if you’re making creamed corn at home, you might see some extra ingredients in the recipe such as actual cream, milk, cheese, flour, and even sugar. So, what’s in creamed corn? The real answer is, it depends on whose creamed corn you’re talking about. 

What to do with creamed corn?

If you want, you can just pop open the top of your creamed corn can, stick a spoon in there, and chow down. The corn is pre-cooked so it’s perfectly safe to do so. But the thought of consuming an entire can of lukewarm, liquidy corn might not be the most appealing idea to everyone. Fortunately, there are a whole slew of recipes you can make utilizing that can of creamed corn that you might find more rewarding. 

The food publication The Pioneer Woman has a list of several delicious dishes that utilize creamed corn. These include corn bread, corn pudding, corn cakes, corn succotash, and some less-corn-forward dishes such as Southwest chicken and rice, and vegetable soup. 

Is creamed corn vegetarian?

“Cream” sounds like something that might be animal-based, right? But if we’re talking about canned cream corn, there are actually, typically no animal products in it whatsoever. The so-called cream is in fact a milky residue that comes from immature corn kernels. So, canned cream corn is vegetarian and vegan friendly. The one complicating factor is that recipes for creamed corn you make at home often do call for cream or another form of dairy. So, homemade creamed corn may not be vegetarian. Be sure to check the ingredients list before chowing down at a friend’s house!

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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