A Healthier Southern Corn Pudding: The Best Creamy Side Dish

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I know I’ve lived in Tennessee for two and a half years now, but the fact that I live in the South still seems strange.

Vertical image of a wooden spoon holding a spoonful of corn pudding, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

People in the South are downright charming – but I find it’s hard to know when they’re being genuine. They like smalltalk, but this level of interaction can go on for years.

And here I am, this Midwestern girl who at first seems aloof and then pours her vulnerable heart all over the coffee shop, and it’s hard not to wonder where exactly I fit in.

Vertical image of a square baking pan with baked corn pudding.

I am convinced there’s great value in being a student of things you don’t understand. This includes health and nutrition, family relationships, frizzy hair, and entire regions of the country, like the parts south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Since I first started visiting Nashville in 2010, I’ve been exposed to increasing levels of Southern culture, and along the way I guess I’ve been taking notes. It’s easy to make generalizations about the South, but I know these places are made up of real people, and no two people are exactly the same.

It’s just interesting to look at the trades, foods, and backyard party styles of people in certain geographies. And that’s what I found fascinating about the cookbook Southern Living: No Taste Like Home.

Vertical image of a plateful of corn pudding, next to the baked dish in the background with silverware and a wooden spoon.

Besides having a puffy hardcover exterior and pages and pages of beautiful, colorful photographs, this cookbook is filled with information about this area called the South. It’s broken up into six sections – Heart of Dixie, Cajun Country, Texas, Piedmont and Mountains, Bluegrass/Bourbon/Barbecue Trail (that’s where our city fits in), and the Coastal South.

Southern Living No Taste Like Home: A Celebration of Regional Southern Cooking and Hometown Flavor

Reading the section intros was a little like touring different parts of America, and I found that to be an enjoyable way to explore the local food culture, and to discover new recipes.

The first one that we adapted from the book at home was this fresh corn pudding. Even after swapping out the cream for kefir, the refined sugar for coconut sugar, the all-purpose flour for einkorn, and cutting all of the quantities in half, the result was creamy comfort food – something the South has always done best.

Vertical close-up image of a wooden spoon holding some corn pudding.

The texture and flavor reminded me of creamed corn meets soufflé. To my brother-in-law, it was like a veggie version of a mac ‘n cheese. Either way, it’s one beautiful reason to love this place I’m continually learning to make my home.

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Horizontal image of a spoon holding a a large spoonful of a baked corn dish.

Healthier Creamy Southern Corn Pudding


  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

Healthier Southern corn pudding is a cross between a casserole and cornbread, making it a tasty addition to any gathering that you have planned.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 67 ears fresh corn, husks removed (about 34 cups corn kernels)
  • 1/8 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose einkorn flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk kefir, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease an 8-by-8-inch square ceramic, metal, or glass baking dish.
  2. Cut corn kernels from cobs into a large bowl, and discard cobs.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together coconut sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together eggs, kefir, and melted butter until combined.
  5. Slowly whisk sugar mixture into egg mixture, until smooth. Add corn and stir together until combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until set.
  7. Set aside for a few minutes before serving, and enjoy warm or at room temperature.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Keywords: corn pudding, corn, einkorn flour, kefir

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Remove Kernels, Melt Butter, and Measure Remaining Ingredients

Horizontal image of assorted measured ingredients in bowls and whole fresh corn.

Remove corn kernels from the cobs on a cutting board or slice them into a large bowl. Discard the cobs, or save them for another use.

Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. This will take about 15-30 seconds.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.

Note that you can use all-purpose flour, einkorn flour, spelt flour, or even whole wheat flour for this recipe. The alternative flours are healthier options, comprised of whole grains.

Horizontal image of fresh corn kernels in a metal bowl.

Kefir will retain its nutrients even when baked for 45 minutes at 350˚F, and I prefer this nutritious option versus regular whole milk.

Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Use cooking spray or butter to grease an 8-by-8-inch ceramic, metal, or glass baking dish.

Step 2 – Make Batter

Stir together the coconut sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

Horizontal image of a whisk in a pot with eggs, milk, and melted butter.

In a separate medium bowl, add the eggs, kefir, and melted butter. Whisk together to combine well.

Horizontal image of a metal whisk in a yellow liquid mixture with flavorings.

Slowly add the sugar mixture to the egg mixture, and whisk well until smooth.

Horizontal image of a wooden spoon mixing a corn and liquid mixture in a bowl.

Stir in the kernels until just combined.

Step 3 – Bake

Horizontal image of an unbaked corn dish in a metal square baking pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until set. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before serving.

Horizontal image of a square pan with a baked corn dish next to dishes, forks, a wooden spoon, and a towel.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

What Should I Serve This Dish Alongside?

I absolutely love serving this corn pudding for holidays or large family gatherings because it goes over like gangbusters. It is ideal alongside beef, turkey, or other types of poultry.

Horizontal image of a plate with a serving of a creamy vegetable dish with a fork.

The fresh kernels gives an added sweetness to the dish, so it’s a nice way to create that sweet and savory combination on any dinner plate. It’s compatible with so many different types of meat and poultry, or a protein-rich vegetarian main as well.

For more fresh corn dishes that you’re going to love, check out the following:

Horizontal image of a spoon holding a a large spoonful of a baked corn dish.

What will you serve this bread pudding alongside? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe once you try it for yourself!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on September 18, 2013. Last updated: October 6, 2019 at 11:34 am. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Yager and Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

15 thoughts on “A Healthier Southern Corn Pudding: The Best Creamy Side Dish”

  1. I have lived in the South for my entire life and even though it frustrates me sometimes it is a place that I truly love and I love when other people find things to love about it, too.

  2. This dish looks like my idea of heaven! And I love the sound of that cookbook… think I’m going to have to order a copy. 🙂

  3. Totally get what you mean about being confused even after almost 3 yrs living in Nashville! I’ve been based in Buenos Aires for the past 3.5 years, but it still seems like only yesterday that I flew off from Singapore to Argentina. And when my sister Valerie visited for two months in July, I enjoyed the comfort and familiarity of our sisterly bond so much that I missed home even more after she left. I feel part of where I am right now, but also as if a part of me never adjusted to it.

    sending love, and this pudding sure looks beautiful!

    xoxo,
    F.

    • Aw, I know you understand all too well, Felicia. I have so much more respect for people who relocate now. Ever now and then, a wave of homesickness hits you, and you have to acclimate yourself all over again.

  4. Delightful insight in this blog session! Corn pudding is indeed a southern favorite, as my Mom would make it nearly weekly. And the southern observation is interesting. Yes, charming and lovely to chat with, but Southern folk are still quite private about their dos and don’ts and especially their preferences. And thus, the genuine uncertainty. So, living in Nashville (not nearly the true southern soil) has enlightened you to a new culture! Chicago meets Nashville — I would definitely tune into the television pilot! lol Thanks, Shanna!

  5. Thank you so much for this post. It came at a perfect time. I’m from Cincinnati and moved to Nashville almost 2 years ago. While I LOVE Nashville and living in the South, I struggle to fit in somedays. But I’m starting to feel more at home here. When I visit my family in Cincinnati, I’m ready to come home to Nashville by Day 2 of my visit.

    I’m going to have to try your recipe. It sounds delish!

    • Oh, I know what you mean, Nikki. There are all these strange feelings that come with relocation. Where do I belong? This was home and is familiar, but now this is becoming home and is familiar, too… Sometimes I don’t even know how to explain how I feel. But you’re right that there are so many good things that are part of this, including a readiness to come back when you leave. We were just out of town for a few days, and when we walked back into our house, I told Tim, I like our place. It’s good to be back. : )

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