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36 Corn Recipes for Thanksgiving, From Traditional Sides to Inventive Appetizers

It’s corn—and we have a hunch you’re serving it somewhere in your holiday spread. While the starchy vegetable is technically in season in the summer, it happens to freeze beautifully, making it a no-brainer side dish throughout the holidays. Here, 36 corn recipes for Thanksgiving that you should add to your menu, from classics like creamed corn to irresistible appetizers like corn jalapeño poppers.

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1. White Risotto with Corn, Carrots and Kale

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, gluten free, special occasion–worthy

Psst: Risotto is easier to make than most of us believe, and it makes an impressive side dish or vegetarian main. Swap in your favorite seasonal produce, but don’t skip the sweet corn.

2. Sausage, Corn and Poblano Chowder

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, crowd-pleaser, <500 calories

Make like a fancy restaurant and serve a first course of soup. This winter warmer is spicy, sweet and (hot tip!) easy to freeze, so you can totally make it ahead.

3. Cast Iron Cornbread

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, one pan

It wouldn’t be a real Thanksgiving spread without copious amounts of carbohydrates. This one-skillet beauty features brown butter for depth of flavor, and since it’s baked in cast iron, it has an irresistibly chewy crust.

4. Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Corn Chowder

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegan, gluten free, crowd-pleaser

We call this one a creamy soup miracle. Instead of heavy cream, the base starts with pureed sweet corn and cashews, for a plant-based bowl that’s surprisingly luxurious.

5. Julia Turshen’s Skillet Cornbread with Cheddar and Scallions

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, one pan, <10 ingredients

If classic cornbread isn’t your thing, try this gussied-up version, featuring sharp cheddar and scallions. It’ll have a more complex flavor (and, you know, delightfully gooey cheese).

6. Easy 5-Ingredient Corn Soup

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, gluten free, vegetarian

A crunchy sesame seed–brown butter topping takes this soup over the top. The recipe says it serves one as a main, but it can easily be scaled up to serve a crowd as a small side or appetizer.

7. Sweet and Spicy Cornbread

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian

Whether you prefer sweet, savory or both, this eye-catching cornbread checks both boxes. If you can’t find Fresno chiles, you can substitute jalapeños, no problem.

8. Market Corn Chowder

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, gluten free, ready in <30 minutes

Remember when you froze bags upon bags of fresh corn in the height of summer? You get a gold star, because now you have a recipe to make with it. Swap the out-of-season savory (a type of summer herb) for thyme to take it into fall and winter.

9. Corn and Tomato Salad with Feta and Lime

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, ready in <30 minutes, gluten free, <10 ingredients, vegetarian

We know what you’re thinking: This is a summer salad! Think again, friend. You can use frozen corn in place of fresh, swap the tomatoes for cubed winter squash and the feta for goat cheese—and voilà, a Thanksgiving corn salad. (Or leave it as is and enjoy your life.)

10. Vegetarian Succotash

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, one pan, crowd-pleaser

We’re all for bacon-laden recipes, but sometimes it’s good to go vegetarian. This interpretation of the classic succotash is packed with fresh flavor from corn, lima beans, peppers basil and onion, but feel free to riff with other veggies as you see fit.

11. Chili Lime Creamed Corn

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, one pan, vegetarian

No offense to creamed corn, but it can be a little snoozy. Kick things up a notch with a dash of chili powder here, a squeeze of lime there and plenty of fresh herbs. Suddenly, the Thanksgiving side feels fresh.

12. Creamed Corn Mac and Cheese

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, vegetarian

Even better idea: Combine two holiday side dishes into one creamy, cheesy mash-up. It calls for a blend of Swiss and cheddar for flavor and meltability, but you could trade in another cheese (like Fontina or Gruyère).

13. Corn Casserole

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, make ahead

Save a spot on your Thanksgiving table for this corny casserole. It’s studded with bacon and plenty of cheese (and better yet, can be made ahead and stored in the fridge or freezer).

14. Dairy-Free Creamed Corn

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: dairy free, gluten free, kid-friendly, one pot

As it turns out, you don’t need dairy to make corn taste creamy—it does it itself. BTW, this skillet side comes together with just three ingredients.

15. Vegan Corn Pudding

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegan, crowd-pleaser, dairy free

Whether you know it as corn soufflé or corn pudding, we can all agree that it deserves a spot in your holiday spread. This vegan version is closer to cornbread than the classic custard, but it’s just as scoopable and crowd-pleasing.

16. Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, special occasion–worthy

This stuffing (or is it dressing?) is bursting with flavor, thanks to sausage and oodles of fresh herbs. You can omit the cheese to make It dairy free, if desired.

17. Garden Fresh Corn Salad

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, ready in <30 minutes, vegetarian

You know what the Thanksgiving feast is always missing? Fresh, light salads and sides that balance out the rest of the hearty meal. This fresh corn salad fits the bill, and you can swap in your favorite raw vegetables to customize it to your own taste.

18. Southern Fried Corn

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, one pan, crowd-pleaser, ready in <30 minutes

Sweet kernels of corn pan-fried in bacon fat with a pinch of sugar and plenty of salt and pepper—need we say more? Yep: It’s also a one-skillet deal that comes together in all of 30 minutes’ time.

19. 5-Ingredient Corn Casserole

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly, vegetarian

Consider this a lesson on how to get a side dish into the oven in five minutes flat. The dish has a few tricks up its sleeve, like store-bought muffin mix and canned corn.

20. Sweet Potato, Corn and Feta Salad

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, vegetarian

Say hello to the flavor combination you wish you thought of sooner. The sweetness of the corn and sweet potato is complemented by fresh dill and salty feta—expect your guests to ask for the recipe.

21. Chipotle Creamed Corn with Garlic Breadcrumbs

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

Want to know the secret to get everyone on board with a new Thanksgiving side dish? Shower it in garlicky breadcrumbs and fresh herbs. (Even the kid’s table will go wild.)

22. Corn Spoonbread

  • Time Commitment: 51 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian

Southern spoonbread is like a lighter, cheesier cornbread with a creamy texture that your guests will adore. Add chopped vegetables or spicy peppers to make it your own.

23. Corn Cheese

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, kid-friendly

Corn cheese is already a Korean barbecue staple, so why not welcome it to your holiday menu? It has the ideal balance of sweet, salty, savory and cheesy (and it takes almost no time to make).

24. Sweet Corn Risotto

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, special occasion–worthy

The secret to making this creamy dish ultra-flavorful is to simmer the spent corn cobs with (store-bought) vegetable broth before you begin the rice. (If you’re using frozen corn, we suggest swapping in chicken stock for richer flavor.)

25. Corn and Leek Bisque

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, vegetarian, crowd-pleaser

Bisque is really just a word for a creamy puréed soup, but it sounds fancy enough to impress all your dinner guests. Top it with microgreens to get even more gussied up.

26. Creamed Corn

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, vegetarian

A chilly night calls for plenty of cheese and butter, and this traditional Thanksgiving dish has all of that and then some. We like this version because the sauce is thickened with flour instead of loads of cream cheese, and the shallot and Parmesan keep it sharp.

27. Creamy Sweet Corn Cauliflower Grits

  • Time Commitment: 21 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, vegetarian

It’s the holidays and you should indulge if you want, but if you’re looking for something low carb-ish, these “grits” have your name on them. They’re made with our favorite veg, cauliflower.

28. Bacon Wrapped Cheddar Corn Jalapeño Poppers

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <500 calories, gluten free

What’s a holiday feast without a selection of appetizers? These poppers get a major upgrade from corn, which adds a touch of sweetness to balance the smoky heat.

29. Homemade Poblano Corn Casserole

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pan, gluten free, dairy free

You wouldn’t know it by taste alone, but this skillet dish is gluten and dairy free. Serve it straight from the oven like a spoonbread, or let it cool for ten minutes before slicing and doling out.

30. Stovetop Bacon Creamed Corn

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients

We would like to faceplant into this skillet of creamy corn and crispy bacon bits, but we know we have to share. Be warned, it will go fast.

31. Slow Cooker Corn Chowder

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, <10 ingredients, gluten free

Thanksgiving is the ultimate time to break out your slow cooker, because it frees up your stovetop and oven for turkey and all the fixings. Just make sure to plan ahead so this soup is ready by the time you sit down to the table.

32. Sweet Kentucky Bourbon Corn Pudding with Candied Jalapeños

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

You had us at Kentucky bourbon, and again at candied jalapeños. Used frozen corn if fresh isn’t available to you.

33. Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread with Tomatoes and Scallions

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, one pan, special occasion–worthy

Try this pinkies-out skillet once, and you’ll be putting vegetables on your cornbread from here on out. We like using cherry tomatoes since they’re available year-round, but try sautéed squash or caramelized onions, too.

34. Corn Cakes

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Don’t save the cake just for dessert. These savory bites are buttery and drizzled with honey, and they give canned biscuits a run for their money. The queso fresco is optional, but encouraged.

35. Crispy Prosciutto and Charred Corn Arugula Salad

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, beginner-friendly

This salad has a bit of everything: Smoky charred corn, shatteringly crisp shards of prosciutto, peppery arugula and a Parmesan vinaigrette. Bagged salad could never.

36. Fried Corn with Bacon

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, ready in <30 minutes, kid-friendly

While we firmly believe you can’t go wrong serving corn as a side dish, a little bacon (or a lot) makes it *that much* better. You can use fresh or frozen corn here (and even better if it’s fresh corn you froze months ago).

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Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City restaurants. She used to sling sugary desserts in a pastry kitchen, but now she’s an avid home cook and fanatic baker.