Sweet corn is all well and good, of course, but sweet corn simmered with milk and butter? Well, that's another heaven entirely.
Here is a slow-cooker version for this much-loved party side dish. Throw everything in the Crock-Pot for a few hours, then take it directly to the buffet table. You're a hero and you hardly had to do work at all.
Why Make Creamed Corn in the Slow Cooker
Traditionally, creamed corn is simmered on the stovetop for anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, until every kernel of corn is plump with cream and coated with sauce. Yum. Doing this simmering step in the slow cooker frees up your stove and also gives the corn some extra time to soak in that buttery bath.
I also like that I can put the slow cooker on its "warm" setting and keep the side dish nicely hot on a buffet table. Since the sauce tends to get thick and a bit gummy as it cools, this guarantees creamed corn perfection for the first person in line all the way to the last.
The Secret Ingredient Is Cream Cheese
On the stovetop, the milk or cream used to cook the corn gets a chance to slowly reduce into a thickened sauce. In the slow cooker, with its closed environment (read: no evaporation) and the long cooking time, getting the sauce to thicken properly can be tricky. And so we bring in cream cheese for some extra help to make sure the sauce gets creamy and thick!
Cream cheese is more than just insurance for a creamy sauce, though — creamed corn made with cream cheese is, if possible, even more delicious. The sauce is thick and milky, and cream cheese adds a more rounded flavor to the whole dish. An unsuspecting guest might not ever guess that it's your secret ingredient, but they'll definitely ask you for the recipe.
The Easiest Side Dish Ever
This is a true "dump it all in the slow cooker" recipe. You can even use frozen corn, fresh sweet corn, or canned corn — whichever you have in your kitchen. If you're around while things are bubbling away, give the corn a stir sometime during the second half of cooking — this helps start to work the cream cheese into the mix and also prevents a crust from forming around the outer edge, but the dish will be fine without it.
One thing to note: The sauce might appear a bit thin and curdled when you stir it at the end of cooking. Just keep stirring until the sauce comes together, then let everything sit for a few minutes to give the sauce a chance to thicken. If it thickens up a little too much for your liking, stir in a little milk.
How To Make Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
What You Need
2 pounds frozen corn kernels, 4 15.5 cans corn kernels (drained), or kernels from 5 to 6 ears of fresh sweet corn
1 tablespoon sugar, optional
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 cup milk, whole or 2%
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese
Black pepper, to taste
Measuring cups and spoons
3.5-quart to 6.5-quart slow cooker
- Combine the corn, sugar, and salt in the slow cooker.
- Pour the milk over the top of the corn.
- Dot the surface with butter and cream cheese. Cut the butter and cream cheese into small pieces, then scatter them over the surface of the corn. Do not mix them in.
- Cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, or on low for 4 to 6 hours. If you're around while this is cooking, stir the corn once during the second half of cooking to prevent a crust from forming around the edge and fold the partially melted cream cheese and butter into the corn. This helps prevent a crust from forming around the edge, but it's not strictly necessary.
- Stir the corn thoroughly at the end of cooking. When you first stir the corn, the cream cheese, milk, and butter might look fairly thin and a bit curdled. Continue to gently stir until they come together into a creamy sauce. Taste the creamed corn and add additional salt or sugar, as well as fresh black pepper, to taste.
- Adjust the consistency of the creamed corn: Let the corn stand for a few minutes, either with the heat off or on the "warm" setting, to give the sauce time to set. Stir again to check the consistency. If it seems thicker than you'd like, stir in some milk. If it's thinner than you'd like, let the creamed corn stand for a few more minutes before serving; it will continue to thicken as it stands.
- Serve the creamed corn: Transfer the creamed corn to a serving bowl, or you can serve it directly from the slow cooker. For buffets, leave the slow cooker on the "warm" setting to keep the creamed corn warm; check the corn occasionally and stir in more milk if it seems to get too thick.
- Extra-decadent heavy cream version: Is this creamed corn not quite decadent enough for you? I respect that. Just replace the milk with 3/4 cup of heavy cream and 1/4 cup water. You might as well throw in another 4 tablespoons of butter while you're at it — why not? Enjoy!