Like mac & cheese but made with corn kernels and chunks of ham, this Cheesy corn will be your new favorite side dish! Perfect for holiday dinners or serving with everything from barbecue or grilled meat to roast chicken!
Table of Contents
When I was researching foods that Missouri is famous for as part of my American Eats series, I learned that Jack Stack BBQ is one of the most popular places to get brisket burnt ends in the Kansas City area. While looking at their site and browsing their menu (as one does), I noticed their cheesy corn bake and was immediately intrigued.
Turns out it is one of their most popular side dishes and I couldn't not try it at home when making our Kansas City bbq. This cheesy corn bake is so creamy and smoky and delicious that I highly recommend adding it to your menu the next time you are smoking or grilling meat for dinner!
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Corn - I used frozen yellow corn since that's what I had available, but I can't wait to make it again in the summer with some fresh sweet corn cut off the cob!
- Cream cheese - This adds a wonderful creaminess and richness.
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Ham - You can use leftover hickory-smoked ham (this is a great dish to make to use up Easter leftovers) or buy a ham steak from the store.
- Salted butter
- All-purpose flour - We're going to add this to the butter to create a roux that helps thicken the creamy cheese sauce.
- Garlic powder
How to Make Cheesy Corn
- Make the roux. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it's melted, sprinkle it with the flour and garlic powder and whisk them together. Cook for just a minute or two to remove the raw flour taste.
- Thicken. Whisk in the milk. Continue to cook while whisking until the mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes.
- Whisk in cheese. Add the shredded cheddar cheese and cream cheese. Whisk in, breaking up the cream cheese, until melted into a cheesy sauce. Remove from the heat.
- Add corn and ham. Stir the corn kernels and ham into the sauce until evenly coated, then transfer to a 2-quart casserole dish.
- Bake. Cover the cheesy corn with foil and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve warm.
Absolutely! Any good melting cheese that you would use in mac & cheese would be good in this cheesy corn casserole. Top of the list for me would be a good smoked gouda, pepper jack, monterey jack, or smoked provolone cheese.
Yes, this is a great make-ahead dish that would be the perfect side for a holiday dinner. You can make and assemble up to 2-3 days in advance, then cover and store in the fridge until you are ready to bake.
If you don't want to use the oven (or are trying to free up oven space), you can make the sauce, then add it to a crockpot with the corn and ham. Let it heat on LOW for 2-4 hours before serving.
Tips for Success
- Add some spice. If you want to kick things up a notch, try adding ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper to the cheese sauce, a can of diced green chilies, or a chopped jalapeno for a Southwest flair.
- Add more meat. Some crispy cooked bacon or leftover pulled pork or brisket would be delicious mixed into this. Basically any macaroni & cheese variation would be good here since it's essentially the same dish except with corn instead of pasta!
- Add a crumbly topping. Toss some crushed Ritz crackers or Panko bread crumbs in melted butter and sprinkle over the top before baking for a delicious textural element.
What to Serve With Cheesy Corn
- Smoked Brisket Burnt Ends
- Smoked St. Louis-Style Ribs
- Smoked Spatchcock Chicken
- Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
- Smoked Turkey
- Best Roast Chicken Recipe
Storage & Reheating Instructions
If you have leftover cheesy corn, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes until hot.
If you would like to freeze this recipe, I recommend doing it before baking, right after making the sauce and combining it with the corn and ham. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil, then freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before baking.
If you freeze the leftovers and reheat, there is a chance that the cheese sauce might separate. If so, try adding a splash of milk and stirring well until it recombines.
More Side Dish Recipes
- My Best Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- Easy Creamy Corn Casserole
- Easy Southern Cornbread Dressing
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows
- Grilled Mexican Street Corn
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter
- 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ cup milk
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 3 ¾ cups fresh or frozen corn (three 10-ounce bags frozen whole kernel corn)
- 4 ounces diced ham steak or leftover ham
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Sprinkle flour and garlic powder over the melted butter, then whisk together and cook for 1-2 minutes to create a simple roux.
- Whisk in the milk, then simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbly.
- Add cheddar cheese and cream cheese, stirring until melted and combined into the sauce.
- Stir in corn and diced ham. Transfer to a square baking dish or casserole dish. Cover with foil.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes until hot and bubbly.
- Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes until hot.
- Freezing: If you would like to freeze this recipe, I recommend doing it before baking, right after making the sauce and combining it with the corn and ham. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil, then freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before baking as directed.