Smoky Creamed Corn with Green Chiles

September 29, 2011

Confession: when I was little, my mother used to serve me creamed corn out of the can. And I liked it.

I didn’t love it like my sister did–she craved the stuff–but if Mama spooned it onto my plate, I would willingly consume it.

Then I grew up, and promptly forgot that creamed corn existed. I certainly never put it on a grocery list or plopped a few renegade cans in the Kroger cart. Maybe it’s because the only canned vegetable I ever buy at all is the occasional jar of artichoke hearts or crushed tomatoes, so it’s not like I’ve been hanging out in the canned veg aisle with the mushy peas and carrots.

Frozen vegetables? Sure, no problem. But canned? I don’t know. Something about canned vegetables reeks of desperation. Maybe I spent too many snowy winters trapped with Mama indoors, pillaging the pantry shelves for something vegetative and edible.  I do recall several occasions when we actually had to deign to open the fruit cocktail can–clear evidence of dire straits.*

Anyways, my point is: I’d forgotten about creamed corn. Nor did I miss it, not one little bit. But then the Wednesday food section of my newspaper printed this little recipe, along with the grim reminder that summer corn season is almost over, and suddenly, I needed to make creamed corn.

Not just any creamed corn, though–this creamed corn is zingy with chiles and has a lovely, rich, smoky flavor from the paprika.  It’s not a caloric gut-bomb, either, which my thighs appreciate.  There’s actually zero “cream” in it, although if you like a denser, creamier version, you can substitute cream for some of the milk and be just fine, I think.

I’m pouting a little, watching the bins of fresh corn start to dwindle at the supermarket, but I know I have a few weeks left of corn goodness. And heck, I can forget about creamed corn again until next summer…it’s not like I haven’t done it before.

Smoky Creamed Corn with Green Chiles

from The Denver Post

serves 4

1 teaspoon butter

1 4-ounce can green chiles (I used medium, but mild is fine for those with tender tongues)

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika**

3 cups fresh corn kernels, divided (about 7 cobs)

1 1/4 cups low-fat milk

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the butter. Add the chiles and paprika and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a blender, place 2 cups of the corn, the milk, the cornstarch and the salt. Blend until smooth. Transfer the puree to the saucepan with the chiles and add the remaining 1 cup of corn. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a simmer, about 10 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

*What is up with the freaky, naked grapes and the neon cherries in fruit cocktail? What kid would eat those things? Eww.

**You can find smoked paprika in the spice section of your grocery store.

~ Have a happy weekend, readers! I am very excited, because my dear friend, who had to postpone our earlier scheduled visit because of that damned Irene–argh!–is flying out to spend a few autumn days with me.  Mother Nature is not going to mess with us this time.  At least that’s what I’m praying for. Wish us luck.

{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer September 29, 2011 at 7:04 am

When I was growing up my mom, grandmother and aunts would actually use a corn cutter and hand cream all of the corn (field corn, not sweet corn). It is like a long board with this blade thing in the center. You push the corn down the board and all of the “cream” from the kernels goes into the pan. Then they would blanch it (basically just heat it up) and then freeze it. That’s the kind of cream corn I like.


TKW September 29, 2011 at 4:08 pm


I didn’t have the fancy contraption, but I scraped those cobs clean–that starchy liquid is gold!


Amy Tucker September 29, 2011 at 7:10 am

Is laughing because I am sure you would die if you knew I have been eating little cans of fruit cocktail with my coffee and calling it breakfast for over a week now :)


Pamela September 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Wow. I always wondered who bought that stuff.
:) Kidding. (Don’t tell anyone, but sometimes I still eat canned peaches with my dad).


TKW September 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Miss Amy,

That is not breakfast, girl. Protein! Okay, I’ll shut up now.


Kim at Let Me Start By Saying September 29, 2011 at 7:15 am

This looks delish. I love me some creamed corn, and haven’t had it in ages. Thanks!


MKCountryman September 29, 2011 at 7:31 am

You are going to somehow turn all of these posts , recipes and stories, into a book one day, right?
One of my favorite meals growing up was fish sticks, cream corn, and canned peas.


Kristen @ Motherese September 29, 2011 at 10:16 am

Another vote for TKW: The Book (hey, and maybe even TKW: The Movie, starring…hmm…Diane Lane as a plucky Rocky Mountains chef/teacher/writer/mama…).

I love you, D, and want to drink up that soup on this cool, autumn Midwest day. xo


TKW September 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm


You ate canned peas? I am awestruck. I never could down those suckers, even in London, accompanied by fried-fish goodness. You win. Hands down.


Gale @ Ten Dollar Thoughts September 29, 2011 at 8:10 am

I’ve never been a huge fan of creamed corn. Something has always seemed to bland and sweet about it. But this smoky version appeals to me. Makes me think that it might also be amenable to some pureed chipotles in adobo? Mmmmm.

Also, forgot to commento on your veg soup post but wanted to mention that you’ve got me craving soup in every possible way. Good thing maternity leave is coming up and I can live on pot after pot of the stuff!!


TKW September 29, 2011 at 4:28 pm


I wish you lived next door. I love making soup–it’s such a reassuring thing, puttering around the house with a pot of good stuff bubbling on the stove all day, and you check on it and stir it and fuss on it, even though you know that soup is dead easy, and it will forgive you if you don’t stir. It’s one of the few comforts I find in winter, and yet, I don’t eat soup often myself. So I need soup eaters nearby. Please call your realtor now. xo


Cathy September 29, 2011 at 8:39 am

Creamed corn. Man, I haven’t thought about that stuff in years. Weird. My mom used to serve it up as well and I kind of liked it. I wonder if it was as “fad” food back in the day.


TKW September 29, 2011 at 4:29 pm


Probably along with those casseroles that had potato chips on top, right?


Tiffany September 29, 2011 at 9:07 am

My parents were the king and queen of canned veggies…so I also ate a lot of creamed corn. I’ll have to give this one a try…seems like it would be better than the canned version!! Have fun with your friend this weekend. I had a dream about you last week…you came to visit me for math tutoring! LOL!


TKW September 29, 2011 at 4:31 pm


You prophetic son-of-a-gun. If anyone needs math training, it’s me! :)


Jody September 29, 2011 at 9:20 am

Make sure you tell Holly about this.


TKW September 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm


Miss you. Need new V. pics. And I had forgotten about Holly’s affection for the creamed corn–no bleu cheese here, though! Maybe not so nasty?


Naptimewriting September 29, 2011 at 9:27 am

Oh, honey. Creamed corn is foul. I’m sorry they tricked you with chiles, for I’m sure if there were a recipe with naked grapes and neon cherries AND chile you’d try it.

Ah, fruit cocktail. Isn’t that the state fruit of the midwest? They put that stuff in everything to make it festive.


Stacia September 29, 2011 at 9:41 am

Creamed corn reminds me of my great-grandmother. And cornstarch? I’m terrified of the stuff. It hates me.


TKW September 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm


Cornstarch is weird but flour is grosser, to me. How does cornstarch hate you? I am eager to hear.


Jenna September 29, 2011 at 9:57 am

I know what you mean about canned veggies being gross. Except for (like you mention) tomatoes and artichokes, I can’t stand the stuff. Frozen or fresh, say I! And I love your recipe. I just made and experienced creamed corn for the first time over the summer, and I love the stuff. But I think I would love it even more with paprika and chilies.


Kelly September 29, 2011 at 10:22 am

I hate creamed corn (and corn casserole) because it buries the lead: the fresh, delicious corn kernel. But this looks really interesting and I like that it’s pretty healthy. I think I’ll try it with the last of our peaches-and-cream corn!


elizabeth September 29, 2011 at 11:21 am

In my personal annals of picky eating, anything but corn on the cob is tasty to me–I’m weirded out by the texture of separate corn kernels in things. Weird, I know.


TKW September 29, 2011 at 4:46 pm


Darling, you are a purist! No shame in that. ;)


BigLittleWolf September 29, 2011 at 11:26 am

May I second what Kristen has to say? TKW: The Book, or better yet, The Movie?

Just, um… don’t ask Bruce to direct. Or there may be Soup-Sucking Zombies, in place of those that suck our souls…



pamela September 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Ugh. I hated creamed corn. But this looks good!

Have a wonderful time with your friend – happy fall! xoxo


Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday September 29, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I completely forgot about canned peas for about 10 years. I almost always use frozen peas when I do cook with peas (which is basically never). But I cracked a couple cans and heated them up with a splash of cider vinegar and a couple knobs of butter and then I mushed them up a bit with a fork and it was SO good. (I think making them mushy on purpose actually helped)


Meister @ The Nervous Cook September 29, 2011 at 6:02 pm

“Frozen vegetables? Sure, no problem. But canned? I don’t know. Something about canned vegetables reeks of desperation.”

This is so funny: My mother said this in response to my husband once telling her how he was raised on canned vegetables. “Oh, in our house we never ate canned…” [insert long enough pause for Brett & I to think she means she only bought fresh produce] …”only frozen.” Gee whiz!

I don’t think I’ve ever had creamed corn, actually, and have actually never really been sure what it is. But this sounds and looks like the perfect comfort food. Probably just what you need at the moment.


Kate September 29, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Okay, I do buy canned veggies – but just for my hurricane kit and then I try to give them away. Belch. Bland and mushy. Canned anything (other then soup, beans, pineapple and tomatoes) is just ick. Unless you’re camping. Then it’s all amazingly good.

I love corn though, creamed, casserole, but especially on the cob. Yum. I’ll try this if I’m feeling up to cooking. I’ve been a lazy kitchen lady lately.


TKW's Dad September 29, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Wow! You sure bring back the memories! Your Mom and I, being from the midwest, living in Chicago, Montana and North Dakota. All northern states, long winters, short summers with short growing seasons were brought up on canned peaches, canned pears, canned tomatoes, canned cream corn and yes, canned fruit cocktail. And I almost forgot that wonderful treat, canned fruit cocktail in jello! In today’s world, it’s hard to imagine that back in the olden days that is what we had. We had mom and pop grocery stores, not huge supermarkets with organic fresh food and rows of coolers with prepared meals, salad bars and take out. Not all of the “good old days” were that good, for sure.


TKW October 1, 2011 at 4:50 am


Fruit cocktail and jello, together…ah, the old days, right? And how about the ones with Miracle Whip in them? Aggg..


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes September 30, 2011 at 5:19 am

The only canned veggies that come into this house are chickpeas. Why, because I am a mother of two chickpea loving little monkeys and I don’t have time to soak them overnight in case the double trouble duo has a need for them.


TKW October 1, 2011 at 4:52 am


Your kids eat chickpeas? I am green with envy. Mine love hummus, but not a chickpea passes their lips. Those odd little minxes.


Velva September 30, 2011 at 7:56 am

I can’t say I grew-up eating canned corn or creamed corn. I too, just recently got a hunkering for the canned creamed stuff, when I was trying to figure out how to make cornbread moist. Funny, we were both thinking about creamed corn.

I like what you did with your can of creamed corn…That looks delicious. A nice twist on creamed corn.

Enjoy your time with your friend.



Katybeth September 30, 2011 at 8:29 am

Fruit cocktail!! Love those little naked grapes! And the heavy juice over ice. When I was really lucky my mom tossed some pecans in a with the fruit cocktail and added COOL WHIP. MMM Good,


TKW October 1, 2011 at 4:54 am


You drank the juice? Duuude. I must admit, Cool Whip is a guilty pleasure.


anneliesz September 30, 2011 at 8:38 am

I think you nailed it on the head. I ate creamed corn on occasion growing up, but I had forgotten about it too. Somehow this recipe seems like the creamed corn for adults. The creamed corn recipe that might make you swoon a bit. I did a variation of these flavors in a spoon bread. Very tasty stuff.


TKW October 1, 2011 at 4:55 am


You’re right–my kids wouldn’t touch the stuff (I do believe they ran screaming from the room), but the adults found it quite nice!


Shelley September 30, 2011 at 9:44 am

Creamed corn isn’t prominent in my consciousness either. I liked it well enough when it was served, but like you I’ve never missed it. Also, tinned veg – except for pork n beans and tinned tomatoes for sauces – are third in line after fresh and frozen in this house. But when I looked for it for a tuna chowder recipe, the price they wanted it in the UK supermarket – when I could find it – was eye popping. So a squillion thanks for a recipe on how to make the stuff myself! Hope you and your mom are doing OK!


Stephane September 30, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Ha! You (and Daddy-O) dredged up yet another memory: When my husband was a kid, he used to be offered canned Bing cherries ~or~ canned stewed tomatoes WITH SUGAR for dessert! Although eating canned Bing cherries was much like eating rubber balls, the cherries were preferred over the stewed tomatoes. : P I’ve never eaten creamed corn; I’ll probably have to give this a go.


TKW October 1, 2011 at 4:57 am


Sugared tomatoes for dessert? Aggggg… Kind of like Mama’s childhood dessert of sweetened condensed milk spread on saltines…


Stephane October 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Apparently, recent generations were spared some major-league horror. But I wonder, if you were to crush those saltines, add some butter, spread them over the bottom of a baking pan, pour some sweetened condensed milk over that and sprinkle chocolate chips–maybe some toffee bits–over the top and then bake it a bit, do you think that might turn the original concoction into something worthwhile? It seems like a lot of those bar recipes don’t have a whole lot to them. . .


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri September 30, 2011 at 9:28 pm

My mom makes a version of this, but it involves Indian spices minus the cream. It really tastes great. I will make your version – it looks good. Have a nice visit with your friend.


Barbara October 1, 2011 at 3:43 am

I think our parents used canned things way more often. In fact, I rarely use canned veggies or fruits at all. My dad used to LOVE creamed corn and I doubt very much if my mother made it from scratch, good cook though she was. He probably put sugar on it…he put sugar on everything.
Loving your soup….full of fresh flavors.
Have a fun weekend!


TKW October 1, 2011 at 4:58 am


Your dad put sugar on everything and my daddy-o puts salt/pepper. He puts it on watermelon, even!


Shelley October 3, 2011 at 1:59 am

Now, pepper only goes on fried eggs and on yoghurt, but salt? It goes on just about any fruit other than bananas, mango or papaya… I could just about give up air before I could salt – bad habit, I know. Fortunately low blood pressure is the norm in my family. Still, I think I know what I’ll be doing for Lent…


Privilege of Parenting October 1, 2011 at 8:50 pm

John Leland: “Poor societies worry about growing enough corn; rich societies can worry about being corny.” Perhaps creamed corn is the perfect integration of opposites—the new new cool. Happy Weekend


Chiara @ The Wandering Cook October 2, 2011 at 12:59 am

That dish looks wonderful. I’ve never had creamed corn in my life, but it sounds like I should try it as soon as possible!


Heather October 2, 2011 at 7:15 pm

We always had a garden and yet we always had canned veggies… hmmmmmm… Now you have me perplexed!
Now? You won’t find anything but canned beans in my pantry – mostly cuz’ I’m too damn lazy to soak the dry ones! Always with no extra added ingredients though ;)

My honey is delighted by this recipe. I believe it’s on the menu for next weekend.


camilla October 3, 2011 at 12:27 am

This sounds really yummy! Thank god our corn season is just starting (and no I am not rubbing it in..just over winter).

Have a great week with your friend!


Christine @ Coffees & Commutes October 3, 2011 at 9:59 am

Not a huge fan of the stuff, but I will admit that I prefer creamed corn in a shepherd’s pie!!


Salad in a Jar October 3, 2011 at 10:44 am

You’re so right about fruit cocktail!!! Ew-w-w!

I like creamed corn too–with a little doctoring. To one can of creamed corn I add the equivalent of one “can” of frozen corn. Throw in a couple tablespoons of butter and allow to cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will ever so slightly caramelize and get thicker.

BUT, this recipe sounds much better than that.


evanzuenda October 6, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Slurrp, Yummy. I am making different kind of soup and I should try this one for our family’s Sundays Big Event(Sunday lunch time is always special for us) and bring you back my comment about it. This looks so delicious.


grace October 10, 2011 at 1:58 am

i don’t know that i’ve ever tasted creamed corn from a can, but my imagination is running wild. this looks oh-so-tasty–the green chiles draw me in every time!


Alaine October 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm

This looks so delicious and I think I have to try this recipe this coming weekends…Thank you for the idea…I hope my family will like this…


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