As the holiday season approaches, there’s one dish that always takes center stage on our Thanksgiving and Christmas tables – my family’s beloved Healthy Corn Casserole. It’s a delectably sweet, buttery, and creamy comfort food that secretly boasts good-for-you whole grains. 🤫 This game-changing recipe for make-ahead corn casserole without Jiffy or sour cream is a no-brainer, especially if you’re looking to get a jump on holiday preparations.
Imagine a cheesy cornbread casserole from scratch that’s both sinfully indulgent and incredibly nutritious. That’s exactly what this healthy recipe brings to your holiday feast.
I’ve swapped out traditional ingredients for wholesome alternatives that won’t compromise on flavor or texture. Whole grain flour and cornmeal replace refined flour, while Greek yogurt takes the place of heavy sour cream. To sweeten the deal, I’ve turned to the natural goodness of honey.
Aside from its wholesome makeover, what sets this baked creamy corn casserole is its supreme convenience. The holidays can be a whirlwind of activity in the kitchen, but with this easy recipe, you can breathe easy. Prepare it ahead of time and simply pop it in the oven when your guests arrive, leaving you more time to spend with loved ones.
But let’s not forget what makes any Thanksgiving corn casserole truly unforgettable – that ethereal, souffle-like texture. My better-for-you recipe delivers on that front as well, ensuring that every bite is a heavenly experience. It’s the embodiment of all you could ever wish for in a holiday side — and more!
Join me in the kitchen as I unveil the secret to a healthier, tastier, and even more satisfying holiday classic. Your Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations will never be the same once you’ve tasted the magic of my health-ified Southern cornbread casserole.
- What is Healthy Corn Casserole?
- What does it taste like?
- Why You’ll Love This Baked Corn Casserole Recipe
- Ingredients Needed
- How To Make Corn Casserole
- Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Success Tips
- Cheesy Corn Casserole Nutrition
- Pricing Info
- Other Thanksgiving sides:
What is Healthy Corn Casserole?
This casserole, which we sometimes call Grandma’s corn pudding, is like a warm, comforting hug on your plate. Picture sweet, juicy corn kernels all cozied up in a creamy, buttery embrace. It’s like cornbread’s fancier, creamier cousin, and it’s a staple at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners all across the country.
At its heart, corn casserole is all about showcasing the deliciousness of corn. You’ve got sweet whole kernels mingling with a rich, creamy base, usually held together with some eggs, and maybe a touch of sweetness. The result? A dish that’s sweet, but not too sweet, and oh-so-creamy. It’s like cornbread’s sophisticated souffle-like cousin, served up in a cozy casserole form.
What makes it special are those little tweaks you can make to turn it into your own signature dish. Some folks add cheese for extra richness (I did!), others toss in jalapeños for a spicy kick (I did that, too!), and, as you know, I’ve given it my own healthy twist.
Instead of using boxed Jiffy mix, I’ve opted for wholesome whole-grain flour and cornmeal, providing a hearty, nutty undertone that pairs perfectly with the sweet corn. Greek yogurt takes the place of sour cream, adding a luxurious creaminess and a boost of protein. And instead of refined sugars, I’ve sweetened this casserole with the golden nectar of honey.
What does it taste like?
Imagine the sweetest, juiciest corn you’ve ever tasted, wrapped up in a creamy, dreamy blanket of goodness. It’s like a warm, cozy hug from grandma’s kitchen. That sweetness from the corn, paired with a hint of honey, will have you thinking you’re biting into a sweet, sun-kissed summer day.
The whole grain flour and cornmeal add a delightful nuttiness that’s like a little surprise in every mouthful. And the Greek yogurt? It’s like a creamy cloud that floats through the casserole, making it velvety smooth.
You know how some dishes are so over-the-top delicious you just can’t stop eating? Well, this is one of them. It’s sweet, buttery, creamy, and simply enchanting. So prepare yourself, because once you try it, you’ll be falling head over heels in love with this cheddar corn casserole! 💫🌽❤️
Why You’ll Love This Baked Corn Casserole Recipe
Still on the fence about making this cornbread casserole? Aside from tasting like a delightfully corny fairytale in your mouth, this side dish is:
- Quick & Easy – My baked creamed corn casserole is your express ticket to a delicious side dish without the fuss. Whether you’re preparing it for a holiday feast or a weeknight dinner, this recipe won’t keep you tied up in the kitchen for hours. It’s as easy as mix, pour, bake, and enjoy! Plus, you only have to dirty one bowl. 😉
- Made With 12 Simple Ingredients – I’m all about keeping things simple and delicious. This simple corn casserole recipe is no exception. With just a few basic ingredients (many of which you probably already have in your kitchen), you can create a mouthwatering masterpiece that’ll have everyone begging for the recipe.
- Rich, Cheesy, & Spicy-Sweet – Despite being relatively healthy, this corn casserole without sour cream tastes like a real diet-buster. The rich tanginess of the cheddar cheese creates a luxurious contrast to the sweet corn, while the hint of spiciness from jalapeño adds extra oomph to each bite. In short, this is the best corn casserole recipe around!
As promised, you only need a few simple ingredients to make your corn casserole healthy:
- Finely Ground Yellow Cornmeal – This brings that classic cornbread-like texture and a bit of corn flavor to your casserole.
- Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – Made from a softer wheat than regular whole wheat flour, this pastry flour gives a healthy dose of whole grain goodness while keeping the consistency of your casserole nice and light. It also adds a slightly nutty flavor and helps bind everything together.
- Baking Powder – This is the magic ingredient that makes the casserole rise and become fluffy. No substitutes for this one, it’s essential!
- Plain Greek Yogurt – This adds the traditional creaminess and slight tang to the dish, without needing to use sour cream. As an added bonus, it also gives this holiday side a nice little boost of sweetness!
- Honey – For a lovely touch of natural sweetness.
- Avocado Oil – This is my go-to neutral oil. Its heart-healthy fat gives your casserole the perfect amount of moisture and richness.
- Canned Creamed Corn – For extra creaminess and intense corn flavor.
- Canned Yellow Corn – For sweet bursts of juicy goodness throughout the casserole!
- Eggs – For binding the dough and adding a bit of structure. Make sure you let them come to room temperature to make them easier to whisk into the batter.
- Red Bell Pepper – For a touch of extra sweetness and a bright, beautiful pop of color.
- Jalapeño – For a hint of spice and a yummy Tex-Mex flavor profile.
- Cheddar Cheese – For all the gooey, cheesy goodness that makes the dish even more amazing. By my estimation, cheese corn casserole > plain corn casserole.
- Chives – These add a fresh, oniony zing and a dash of color as a garnish.
If you’d rather shop your pantry than the grocery store, I don’t blame you. Here are some easy swaps to try:
- Finely Ground Yellow Cornmeal – While it’ll be a bit more textured, you’re welcome to swap in regular cornmeal. Alternatively, try using different colors of cornmeal (e.g. white or blue) to match your theme.
- Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – Feel free to use a 50/50 split of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour to keep some of the whole grain goodness. You can also use 100% AP flour if needed.
- Plain Greek Yogurt – You can also use Skyr or Labna if needed. Alternatively, use regular plain yogurt that you’ve strained through cheesecloth overnight in the fridge.
- Honey – While I love the light floral taste of honey, you’re welcome to use an alternative sweetener like maple syrup or agave nectar.
- Avocado Oil – Any neutral oil like canola or peanut will also work.
- Canned Creamed Corn – If you don’t have it, you can make your own by blending canned or frozen corn until creamy.
- Canned Yellow Corn – Feel free to swap in frozen or fresh corn kernels instead.
- Eggs – I haven’t tried it, but I *think* this recipe should work with flax eggs or the liquid vegan egg substitute of your choice (e.g. JUST Eggs). If you try it out, let me know how it goes in the comments below!
- Red Bell Pepper – I love the red-yellow-green color combo (especially for Christmas!), but you’re welcome to swap in yellow or orange bell pepper if you like. You can also omit it if you prefer.
- Jalapeño – Feel free to go milder by using canned diced green chiles, or go hotter with an alternative like a serrano or habanero.
- Cheddar Cheese – Tangy cheddar is a forever favorite, but any melty cheese will do. Try fiery pepper jack for added heat or mild colby instead.
- Chives – Green onions and/or parsley will also work!
How To Make Corn Casserole
This easy, cheesy creamed corn casserole comes together in a flash. Here’s how:
Prep. Preheat oven to 325° and grease a 2-quart baking dish.
Step 1: Dry Ingredients. Mix together cornmeal, flour, and baking powder in a large bowl.
Step 2: Wet Ingredients. Add Greek yogurt, honey, avocado oil, creamed corn, canned corn, eggs, bell pepper, jalapeno, and ½ cup of cheddar cheese to the bowl. Mix until well combined.
Step 3: Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 55 minutes, until edges are golden brown and the middle is cooked through. Carefully remove from oven.
Step 4: Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup shredded cheese. Place back in the oven and continue to bake for 5-10 minutes more, until cheese is melted and golden brown. Top with chives and serve hot!
To Make Ahead:
Want a make-ahead Christmas casserole? I’ve got you covered:
Step 1: Follow Steps 1-3 (Above), allowing the casserole to completely cool. Once cooled, cover and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reserve the ½ cup of remaining cheese for the day of.
Step 2: Reheat. Preheat oven to 300°, and bake the cold casserole for 45-50 minutes, until heated through. Sprinkle the ½ cup of cheese on top during the last 10 minutes of baking and allow to melt. Top with chives and serve hot!
Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
While I love this cornbread casserole recipe just the way it is written, there’s plenty of room for you to make it your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Gluten-Free – Swap in your favorite gluten-free all-purpose cup-for-cup flour alternative, making sure you opt for one with xanthan gum. Make sure to rest the batter 30 minutes before baking to give the flour time to properly rehydrate.
- Dairy-Free – Swap in your favorite vegan Greek-style yogurt and cheddar cheese for all the flavor and none of the lactose.
- Extra Mild – Carefully remove the seeds and white membranes from your jalapeño to take some of the bite out of it. Alternatively, use a milder pepper (e.g. poblano or green bell pepper), or omit the jalapeño altogether.
- Extra Spicy – If you love spicy foods, try using an extra jalapeño or swap in a spicier chile like a habanero or serrano pepper. You can also use pepper jack cheese in place of cheddar for an extra kick.
Once you try this amazingly delicious creamy corn side, I have a feeling you’ll find no shortage of ways to serve it. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Thanksgiving – Serve this healthy corn casserole alongside traditional Thanksgiving dishes like roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry relish, acorn squash salad, and green bean casserole.
- Christmas – You can also pair it with Christmas favorites like honey-glazed ham, roasted Brussels sprouts, and creamy mashed potatoes. It adds a touch of sweetness and creaminess to balance out any savory spread.
- Breakfast – Turn leftovers into delicious breakfast or brunch. Reheat a slice of your Healthy Corn Casserole, top it with a poached or fried egg, and sprinkle some chives on top. It’s a delightfully simple post-holiday breakfast that the whole family will love.
- Themed Dinner – Get nerdy and host a Cornucopia Dinner. Create a corn-themed feast with dishes like cornbread, corn chowder, and corn on the cob. Your guests will love the playful theme!
Recipe Success Tips
- Follow the Recipe: While cooking can be a bit like jazz sometimes (improv is fun!), baking is more like classical music. Stick to the recipe for the best results. You can add your own twists once you’re a pro!
- Room Temperature Ingredients: If your recipe calls for things like eggs and yogurt, let them hang out at room temperature for a bit before using. They mix into the batter more easily.
- Don’t Overmix: When you’re combining your ingredients, go easy on the mixing. Overmixing can make things tough or dense. Just give it a gentle stir until everything’s combined.
- Preheat that Oven: Don’t forget to preheat your oven – it’s like giving your casserole a warm, cozy welcome that helps with even baking.
- Cool Before Cutting: As tempting as it is to dive right in, let your casserole cool for a bit before cutting. It’ll hold its shape better, and you won’t burn your tongue – win-win!
Stick a toothpick or a knife in the center to check for doneness. If it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs, you’re good to go!
First off, corn casserole is supposed to be creamy and moist, but it shouldn’t be runny or gooey like soup. If your corn casserole is runny in the middle, a couple of things might be at play:
1. Baking Time: One common reason is that it might not have baked long enough. Even though the top might look perfectly golden, the center needs time to set. Try extending the baking time a bit and use the toothpick test mentioned earlier to check for doneness.
2. Ingredient Ratio: It’s also possible that the ratio of wet to dry ingredients wasn’t quite right. Too much moisture from things like yogurt or canned corn can make it runny. Make sure to measure your ingredients accurately.
3. Cooling Time: After taking it out of the oven, give your casserole some time to cool. It continues to cook a bit even outside of the oven, and this can help it set.
If you’re in the middle of baking and realize it’s still too runny, don’t panic! You can always pop it back in the oven for a bit longer. Cover the top with foil if it’s getting too brown too quickly.
You can absolutely prepare your corn casserole in advance to ease the holiday cooking frenzy!
Once you’ve followed the recipe up to Step 3, allow your creation to cool down. Then, wrap it up snugly with either plastic wrap or aluminum foil, ensuring it’s airtight, and let it rest in the refrigerator. It can hang out there for up to 2 days, which is fantastic for planning busy holiday meals. When you’re ready to serve, just place it in the oven. Just keep in mind that since it’s starting from a colder state, you might need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time.
If you’re looking for longer-term storage, freezing your corn casserole is a brilliant option. Follow the recipe up to Step 3, and once your casserole has completely cooled, give it a good wrapping. To ensure protection against freezer burn, consider using a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil. This frozen delight can safely reside in your freezer for a solid 2-3 months. When it’s time to enjoy, let it thaw gracefully in your refrigerator overnight. Then, reheat it gently in the oven at around 325°F (163°C) until it’s piping hot and ready to be savored.
Like most foods, corn casserole can be stored in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
Note: It’s never a good idea to keep heating and chilling a food, because it passes through the “danger zone” too many times. This can cause foods to go bad much more quickly than if they are only heated once or twice.
So as long as all your guests eat the homemade corn casserole after you’ve reheated it, you should be fine! I wouldn’t keep any leftovers after that, though.
You can reheat this corn casserole a couple different ways, both of which are insanely simple.
First, if you’d like to make it ahead of time and serve it 1-2 days later, it can be done really easily! Preheat your oven to 300 degrees, cover the previously cooked corn casserole with shredded cheese, and bake straight from the fridge for 45-50 minutes until it’s heated through. No mess, no fuss, it’s really that easy!
If you’re wanting to reheat it faster, pull it from the fridge about an hour ahead of time, it will heat much faster in the oven that way.
If you’re just reheating one serving of the corn casserole, you can microwave it for about 30 seconds, until it’s hot and steaming and the cheese has melted.
Cheesy Corn Casserole Nutrition
This healthy corn casserole recipe uses whole wheat pastry flour, heart-healthy avocado oil, and protein-packed plain Greek yogurt. These are much healthier ingredients than the traditional white flour, butter, and sour cream.
I also used honey instead of white sugar, and cornmeal instead of cornbread and without Jiffy mix. Yay for natural ingredients!
You can definitely cut the sodium down by using 1.5 cups of frozen corn instead of a 15 oz can of corn and using less cheese. I think this recipe would still be really good if you cut the cheese in half and only used 1/2 cup.
The only way reduce the carbohydrate content in this would be to reduce the corn or remove the honey. I did try this recipe without honey, and it just wasn’t the same, though.
Total nutritional content per serving is:
- Calories: 329 calories
- Total Fat: 14 grams
- Protein: 11 grams
- Sodium: 496 mg
- Carbohydrates: 43 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
*This nutritional information is an estimate and calculated based on the ingredients used to create the recipe. The nutritional value of your ingredients may differ slightly. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.
This is what I personally paid to make this recipe:
- ¾ cup cornmeal: $0.41
- ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour: $0.14
- 1 tbsp baking powder: $0.17
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt: $0.98
- ¼ cup honey: $1.05
- ¼ cup avocado oil: $0.89
- 14.75 oz can cream corn: $0.64
- 15.25 oz can yellow corn: $0.64
- 2 eggs: $0.78
- 1 red bell pepper: $0.79
- 1 jalapeno: $0.15
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese: $1.07
- chives for garnish: $0.49
The total for this recipe comes out to be around $8.20 or roughly $1.03 per serving!
Other Thanksgiving sides:
Tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating in the comments below! I would really appreciate your feedback!
Healthy Corn Casserole (Make Ahead-Friendly!)
- ¾ cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
- ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- 14.75 oz can cream corn
- 15.25 oz can yellow corn drained
- 2 eggs
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 jalapeno minced
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese divided
- chives for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325° and grease a 2-quart baking dish.
- Mix together cornmeal, flour, and baking powder in a large bowl.
- Add Greek yogurt, honey, avocado oil, creamed corn, canned corn, eggs, bell pepper, jalapeno, and ½ cup of cheddar cheese to the bowl. Mix until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 55 minutes, until edges are golden brown and the middle is cooked through.
- After the 55 minutes, remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup shredded cheese. Place back in the oven and continue to bake for 5-10 minutes more, until cheese is melted and golden brown. Top with chives and serve hot!
To Make Ahead:
- Follow instructions 1-3, allowing the casserole to completely cool. Once cooled, cover and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reserve the ½ cup of remaining cheese for the day of.
- To reheat the casserole, preheat oven to 300°, and bake the cold casserole for 45-50 minutes, until heated through. Sprinkle the ½ cup of cheese on top during the last 10 minutes of baking and allow to melt. Top with chives and serve hot!
Pin me for later!
If you end up making this and loving it, take a photo and tag me on Instagram! I’d love to see your versions of my recipes! And feel free to rate it down below in the comment section. I would really appreciate it!
If you’re looking for a healthier but delicious Thanksgiving side dish to bring to dinner, this corn casserole from scratch is sure to be a hit! I can’t wait to hear what you think!