Southwestern cheesy baked corn with bacon and jalapeño is so creamy you could enjoy it as a dip but it’s a wonderful side dish, too.
Why you’ll love it: It’s a nice departure from traditional corn casserole and it’s a really good appetizer too.
How long it takes: just over an hour
Equipment you’ll need: large baking dish, skillet
Just in time for Thanksgiving, add cheesy baked corn to your menu. A departure from the usual corn casserole with cornbread, your family will be bowled over by this southwestern version with bacon and jalapeño peppers. Thanksgiving dinner may never be the same!
Loaded with cheddar cheese, creamy baked corn (without Jiffy!) is so, so good! If you’re concerned that it may be too spicy because of the jalapeños, it’s not at all. My dad loves this casserole with bacon and he’s definitely not into hot peppers (or even bell peppers, for that matter).
And don’t reserve this recipe for Thanksgiving dinner. You won’t believe how great cheesy corn casserole tastes with barbecued ribs, chicken drumsticks, or air fryer BBQ wings. It’s a perfect side with pork carnitas, or meatloaf.
About this baked corn Recipe
For the tastiest corn casserole, you’re going to want to use the best sweet corn you can find because this cheesy baked corn is mostly corn — two whole pounds (or about five cups) of it. Freshly cut corn kernels are definitely at the top of the list but if corn isn’t in season, frozen or canned corn will work.
You’ll use a big skillet to get everything cooked, put it all into a nice casserole dish, and bake it for 20-25 minutes until it’s hot and bubbly, ready to serve.
I’ll get you started on the recipe here and give you lots of helpful tips. As always, look for the printable recipe card near the end of the post. It has complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.
What you’ll need
- Corn: Lots and lots of it! Fresh is best but canned or frozen corn is good, too.
- Bacon: Choose center cut bacon if you can. I like thick cut bacon because the chunkier pieces are better in this dish.
- Onions and Garlic: Any type of onion is fine for this dish. Yellow cooking onions are usually more economical and keep better in your pantry.
- Jalapeño Peppers: The heat index of these little green peppers can vary a lot. Try a tiny bit of the pepper you are using to determine how hot it’s going to be and adjust the amount you add accordingly. Bell peppers or poblano peppers can be used instead, if you prefer a milder flavor.
- Cheddar Cheese: Shred your own for the best results. If you’re not a fan of cheddar, Monterey Jack or even pepper Jack are good substitutes.
- Cream Cheese: Cream cheese melts smoothly and adds a delicious creaminess to the dip. Full fat cream cheese works best; low fat is okay but don’t use fat free cream cheese.
- Whole Milk: Milk is added to the dip to give it a good consistency.
- Paprika: I use regular (sweet) paprika but smoked paprika is a good choice, too. You may want to use a bit less unless you really enjoy the smoky flavor.
Make It Your Own
Man, it’s hard to think of changing a thing about this recipe! You could omit the bacon for a vegetarian side dish. Simply sauté the onions and peppers in a tablespoon of butter. If you want, substitute red or green bell peppers or poblanos for the jalapeño.
If you really have your heart set on the Jiffy cornbread casserole with creamed corn, try this recipe by our friends at Kitchn.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Leftover corn casserole is just as tasty the next day. Store leftovers in a covered container for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Reheat gently in the microwave.
Prepare corn casserole but don’t bake it. Cover and refrigerate in the casserole dish for up to 2 days. Remove from the fridge while oven is preheating, uncover, and bake as directed. You’ll probably need to add 5-10 minutes to the baking time.
More fun side dishes
Looking for more exciting new recipes to change up your normal menu? Try:
- Green Chile Baked Mac and Cheese
- Cranberry Sauce with Roasted Grapes, Apples, and Shallots
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Hash with candied bacon!
- Roasted Sugar Snap Peas
- Lemon Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan cheese
- Cheesy Brussels Sprouts AuGratin
- Roasted Cauliflower with chili powder
- Instant Pot Farro Stuffing with sausage and sweet potatoes
- Roasted Carrots with Cumin
- Crockpot Carrots with cinnamon glaze
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped into one inch pieces
- 1 cup finely chopped onion (1 small onion)
- ½ cup jalapeño peppers, finely chopped (2 peppers)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 4 oz. cream cheese, cut into small pieces (reduced fat is okay but not fat free)
- 1 cup (4 oz.) cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
- 5 cups (2 lbs.) fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
- Sliced green onions, for garnish, if desired
- Heat oven to 375°F. Prepare large (2 qt.) baking dish by spraying lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- In large skillet, over medium heat, cook bacon until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Remove bacon from pan with tongs, place on paper towel lined plate.
- Add onion and jalapeños to same skillet, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and tender, 5-6 minutes. Stir in garlic and paprika, cook one minute longer.
- Sprinkle flour over onion mixture and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened, 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from heat, add cream cheese slowly, stirring until melted. Stir in cheddar cheese to combine. Stir in corn and bacon.
- Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and bake until bubbling around edges, 20-25 minutes. Do not overbake.
- Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with green onions, if desired. Serve as a side dish or with tortilla chips as an appetizer.
- Freshly cut corn kernels are best but frozen or canned corn works, too. Use the best tasting corn you can find.
- For a vegetarian dip, omit the bacon. Use 1 tablespoon olive oil to sauté the vegetables. If desired, add 1 chopped red bell pepper.
- If desired, substitute Monterey Jack, pepper Jack, or another cheese of your choice for the cheddar cheese.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.