This southwestern corn casserole without Jiffy Mix strikes the perfect balance between a creamy and soufflé-like consistency. And it's laced with cheese and has a little kick of roasted poblano heat.
Use it as a perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner this year, or add some cooked black beans and serve it as a vegetarian main dish with a salad anytime of year.Jump to Recipe
Want to make this recipe perfectly the first time? I want to help with that. So, check out this Table of Contents to see which sections of this post will help you the most.
A corn dish that's a hit year round at our house is this southwestern corn casserole. It reminds me of tomalito, but it's not sweet like tomalito is. It's soufflé fluffy with little kick from roasted poblano pepper and is super flexible.
Although I make this all through the year, this side dish is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving holiday meal along with this green bean casserole. Or make it for your Christmas dinner or Cinco de Mayo.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- This recipe doesn't use Jiffy Mix, so it's easy to keep this dish vegetarian. (Regular Jiffy Mix has lard as one of it's ingredients. There is a vegetarian version, but it can be difficult to find.
- Super flexible dish that accommodates very well to adding additional veggies or beans.
- Great vegetarian main dish when you add cooked black beans to the casserole.
- Comfort food is always a win with the whole family.
- Make it year round with fresh corn in the summer and frozen corn at other times of the year.
- No fancy ingredients requiring a scavenger hunt. Yay!
🧅 Ingredients + Notes
The secret to faster and easier meals often lies in the ingredients. For example, store-bought items and ingredients you make ahead and store in the refrigerator (or freezer) can turn a 60-minute recipe into a 30-minutes meal or less.
For the all of the ingredients, measurements and directions for this great side dish, go to the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post.
- Corn - both fresh, frozen and canned whole kernel corn work great in this dish.
- Poblano pepper - or jalapeño peppers for less heat.
- Yellow onion - white onion is fine too, if that's what you have.
- Buttermilk - don't substitute regular milk. See below section for acceptable substitutes.
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder - be sure it's double-acting and aluminum-free. This ingredient gives the casserole its signature soufflé texture.
- Monterey Jack cheese - or Pepper Jack cheese for a little additional kick, or a mild cheddar cheese.
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📝 Instructions Overview
Detailed instructions for making this corn casserole without Jiffy Mix are in the recipe card below, but here's an overview!
Prep. Roast the peppers, and peel off the skins and remove the seeds.
Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and if using fresh corn, slice the whole corn kernels from the cob and set aside.
Purée. Place the roasted peppers and half of the whole corn kernels into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Purée and set aside.
Sauté. Sauté the onions and garlic. Add the puréed corn and poblano pepper, and continue to cook for a few minutes.
Remove from the heat to cool as close to room temperature as possible.
Whisk and fold. Whisk together the remaining ingredients, except the cheese and remaining corn, until a smooth batter forms. I recommend using the whisk attachment to an immersion blender. It does a fantastic job when whisking a lot of eggs with minimal effort.
Fold in the cheese and the remaining whole corn kernels.
Combine and bake. Either return the batter to the cooled skillet or combine everything in an oven-safe casserole dish.
Place on a baking sheet, and slide into the oven to bake.
🎯 Why This Recipe Works
- Without the poblano chile, this corn pudding casserole can be a little bland, IMO. Even with the cheese. But I'll admit, we like chilies in a lot of dishes.
- Combining baking powder with buttermilk contributes to this pudding's soufflé-like texture. And the cheese makes it creamy. So the finished texture of this dish is a fantastic combination that everyone will rave about. Seriously.
👩🍳 Preparation Tips
- Cool the batter in the skillet to close to room temperature before pouring in the egg mixture. Otherwise, if it's too hot, the eggs may start to scramble.
- Alternatively, pour it all into an oven-safe casserole dish, and bake.
⏰ Tips to Simplify and Save Time
- Use frozen corn, thawed, instead of cutting kernels of corn from the cob.
- Make this recipe up through Step 5 and cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days before continuing with the recipe.
👩🍳 Great Substitutions for Buttermilk
When buttermilk is combined with baking soda, you get a little lift from the sodium bicarbonate in the baking soda, but it also adds a distinctive tang to the finished dish. This tang flavor is fantastic with the corn, cheese and roasted pobanos. If you don't have any buttermilk on hand, here are some substitutions for 1 cup of buttermilk that work well with this recipe.
- 1 cup full-fat or low-fat plain yogurt.
- ¾ cup full-fat or low-fat sour cream + ¼ cup full-fat or low-fat milk.
- 1 cup of water + ¼ cup buttermilk powder.
💡Ideas for Possible Variations
- Add cooked black beans to turn it into a main dish.
- Swap out the poblano chile for jalapeño pepper for less heat, or red bell pepper for no heat at all.
- Substitute cheddar cheese for the Jack cheese for a cheesier flavor.
Southwestern Corn Casserole without Jiffy Mix
- Chef's knife
- baking sheet
- Food Processor
- Whisk or immersion blender with whisk attachment
- box grater
- 4 cups frozen or fresh whole corn kernels divided (about 4 ears of corn)
- 1 poblano pepper roasted, peeled and seeded
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup diced yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt or ¾ teaspoons sea salt
- 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese or mild cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the poblano pepper on the baking sheet and roast until blackened in most places. Turn the pepper a couple of times to get an even blackening. Transfer the pepper to a container with a lid, or wrap it in foil. After 10 minutes, you should be able to easily remove most of the skin. Slice off the top, and slice down one side of the roasted pepper to open it up. Remove the seeds and pith. The seeds and pith are the biggest sources of heat in peppers.
- Remove the kernels from the cob, if using fresh corn. To do this, lay a shucked ear of corn on a cutting board, and slice down one of its sides with a sharp knife. Turning the cob 90 degrees, and slice again. Repeat until all of the corn kernels are removed. Repeat with the remaining ears of corn.If using frozen corn, thaw before using. Alternatively, use canned corn that's drained.
- Place 2 cups of the whole corn kernels and the roasted poblano pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Purée and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet, or other oven-proof skillet. Add the onion and sauté until fragrant and translucent, approximately 5 - 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes. Stir in the puréed corn and poblano pepper, and cook for another 3 - 4 minutes.Set aside and allow to cool.
- Whisk the eggs in a large bowl using either a hand-held whisk, or an immersion blender with the whisk attachment.Add the buttermilk, flour, baking powder, and salt and continue to whisk just until a smooth batter forms.
- Using a silicone spatula, fold in the remaining 2 cups corn and the grated cheese. Either stir the batter into the cooled onion and garlic mixture, mixing well with a spatula to blend all of the ingredients, or combine everything in an oven-safe casserole dish. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 18 - 20 minutes, or until the top of the pudding is golden brown and feel set when you press on it with your fingertips.
- Serve warm.