This roasted garlic creamed corn recipe is lightened up and creamy as ever making it a smart holiday (or anytime) side dish option. The addition of roasted garlic is a simple step that adds so much to the flavor!
Like many things (fried okra, pimento cheese, banana pudding…) it took moving to the South to get into creamed corn. For one I never really saw it on restaurant menus and to be honest, I’m having a hard time even remembering it gracing our Thanksgiving menus.
That last part is probably because I was obsessing over the stuffing, but still. Not a whole lot of creamed corn in my memory bank.
Down here though, creamed corn is a side dish option all over the place, and I’ve learned that a) I really like it, and b) the thicker the better.
With our work schedules the last few Thanksgivings have been unconventional. One year we made a big pot of Sunday sauce and another we grilled turkey tenderloin – so this year we’re leaning more traditional with our festive eats.
Well, traditional as long as you allow the addition of garlic, and roasted garlic at that, to this classic side dish.
For starters, this is a lightened up and healthier creamed corn recipe without substituting any popular creamed corn ingredients.
The corn kernels cook along with the roasted garlic cloves in a mixture of melted butter, cream, sugar, salt, and pepper. That doesn’t sound very lightened up, I know, but we’re using two tablespoons of butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar, and just 1/4 cup of heavy cream. I say that’s pretty good for a side dish that serves six!
What helps this creamed corn thicken up without more cream are the final two ingredients: milk and flour. Read on for another tip that helps this recipe thicken up beautifully.
Roasted garlic is one of those things that sounds fancy but is seriously a breeze to prepare. Peel most of the skin off of one whole head of garlic, slice off the very top, then drizzle it with olive oil. Wrap it with foil and roast for forty minutes. That’s it! The garlic cloves become a deep golden-brown color and smell absolutely incredible.
More is more (usually) when it comes to garlic for me, but I also love the mellower garlic flavor that roasting it brings about. The roasted garlic cloves are perfectly mashable, making them a versatile addition to just about anything you’d typically use garlic in.
As the roasted garlic will stay in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, you can roast the garlic ahead of time to speed up this recipe prep on the day-of.
Once the garlic is roasted, melt two tablespoons of unsalted butter in a medium/small saucepan. Then add the roasted garlic cloves, corn, cream, sugar, salt, and pepper. Give everything a stir and let the corn kernels heat for five minutes or so.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour and mix until smooth, then pour it into the saucepan with everything else. Let cook for another five minutes, or until you notice the garlic creamed corn thickening up.
Now remove the pan from the heat. Carefully transfer about one cup of the corn to a blender and blend until mostly smooth. You can also use an immersion blender and just blend it up a little bit, until the texture is to your liking. This is my favorite tip to thicken creamed corn without the need for a bunch of cream. It keeps a bold corn flavor.
The roasted garlic flavor of this roasted garlic creamed corn isn’t designed to be overwhelming – four cloves of roasted garlic added a nice and mellow caramelized garlic flavor without it getting in the way of the other ingredients.
I think it plays really well with the natural sweetness from the corn and the tiny bit of sugar in here. At first I didn’t think sugar was necessary, but found this creamed corn missing something without it. It balances out the bolder savory flavors nicely, so please don’t skip it!
But do take a taste once it’s at the end of its cooking time and see if you’d like more added. Roasting really mellows the garlic flavor so you can safely add more to a recipe than you would raw or simply sauteed garlic. Just check out how many cloves I add to my homemade roasted garlic hummus!
- Please use your preferred variety of corn. I’ll be honest, I’m not a corn snob here and have used both canned sweet corn and frozen and thawed corn, so use what is convenient and available for you. Canned corn is my go-to for easy skillet roasted corn, a healthy everyday corn side dish favorite.
- Add as many roasted garlic cloves as you like. Four is just a starting point. Roasting seriously mellows out the flavor of garlic, so it’s nowhere close to adding the same number of raw or sauteed garlic.
Roasted Garlic Creamed Corn
For the roasted garlic:
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
For the creamed corn:
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 cloves roasted garlic, mashed (more to taste)
- 15 oz corn kernels, fresh, canned, or frozen and thawed
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
To roast the garlic:
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove all but the innermost layer of garlic skin and slice off the top 1/4" or so of the garlic.
- Set the garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle olive oil over the cut side of the garlic, making sure that the oil gets down into the nooks and crannies between the cloves.
- Wrap the garlic well in the aluminum foil and place in the oven. Roast for 40 minutes, or until the cloves are deep golden and very easy to insert a toothpick or tester into. Set aside.
To make the creamed corn:
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add mashed roasted garlic cloves, corn, cream, sugar, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Let cook for 5 minutes until the corn kernels are tender.
- Whisk milk and flour together until smooth and no lumps remain. Pour into the saucepan with everything else and stir to combine. Let cook for an additional 5 minutes or until thickened to your liking. Then remove from heat.
- Carefully transfer 1 cup of the roasted garlic creamed corn to a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth, or you can partially blend the creamed corn with an immersion blender. Add the blended corn back into the saucepan and stir to combine. Serve while warm.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.