Corn is an integral ingredient in American cuisine, which makes sense seeing how it's the largest crop in the country. Corn is common in many side dishes including corn pudding and corn casserole. Both of these creamy dishes are often served during the holidays, especially in households that embrace southern cooking. If you've ever had the joy of eating corn pudding or casserole, you might think the name is interchangeable because they're very similar, but there are subtle differences between the foods.
The main difference is the texture. Corn pudding has a similar gelatinous texture to dessert pudding, hence its name, so it's creamy and loose. In comparison, corn casserole has a thicker consistency and holds its shape better than the pudding because it uses thickening agents like instant cornbread mix. Both use similar ingredients including a variation of corn, usually either creamed corn or fresh, frozen, or canned kernels — but, of course, every recipe is a little different.
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The History Of Corn Pudding
Corn pudding is thought to have Native American roots because Native peoples showed British colonists how to grow the crop, and how to scrape it off the cob and mix it with water to use in dishes like cornpone. It makes sense that corn pudding blends these cultures, because it has a similar texture to custard which is an integral part of British cuisine. Sometimes the dish was referred to as spoonbread or hoppy glop, but corn pudding seems to be the name that's held on throughout generations. Today, it's commonly served across the southern United States.
Its core ingredients are creamed corn (usually canned), corn kernels, milk, sugar, butter, and eggs. Because it uses sugar, corn pudding can be sweeter than the casserole. Some recipes use flour or cornstarch to thicken the batter. It's baked in a casserole dish until it has the texture of custard or pudding. A spoonful of corn pudding will have a golden brown crust and creamy filling. You can mix it up and add cheese, green onions, seasonings like black pepper or garlic powder, or sliced jalapeños to kick up the heat of the dish.
Corn Casserole Is Thicker
There's not as much history related to corn casserole, likely because it's essentially a variation of corn pudding. However, the dish uses instant corn muffin mix which was introduced by Jiffy around 1950 in the U.S., so we can assume that it came into being sometime after that. The addition of the instant cornbread results in a thicker texture, and you may prefer using a fork to serve and eat it.
Despite the textural difference between corn casserole and pudding, the ingredients are similar. Most cornbread casseroles use creamed corn, whole corn kernels, Jiffy corn muffin mix, sour cream, and butter. Those ingredients like sour cream make it more tangy and savory compared to the sweeter pudding; plus keep in mind that there's no sugar. Some recipes add shredded cheese, mayonnaise (like our recipe), or eggs as a binder. For cooking, the casserole is usually baked longer than the pudding, but the result will look very similar with a golden-brown crust.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.