This recipe for Kansas City Style Cheesy Corn comes from the August/September 2020 issue of Cook’s Country magazine and is inspired by cheesy corn bake served at Jack Stack Barbecue at their many locations throughout the Kansas City area.
Cheesy corn is a more liquid-y version of mac & cheese. Use fresh corn when it’s in season, cutting the kernels from the cob. You can substitute frozen corn when fresh is not available, but the cheeses and spices tend to dominate, so use fresh corn if you can to make the sweet corn flavor shine through in this dish!
Video: Kansas City Style Cheesy Corn
This video demonstrates the process of making cheese corn described in this article.
Your Shopping List
- 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 4 ears corn, kernels cut from the cobs (3 cups)
- 4 oz ham steak, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 cup whole milk
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 oz yellow cheddar cheese, shredded (1-1/2 cups), divided
If substituting frozen corn, you’ll need 14 oz of corn. No need to thaw before use.
Use A Broiler-Safe Baking Dish
Since this cheesy corn gets browned under the broiler, you’ll need a 1.5 quart broiler-safe baking dish. Pyrex glass baking dishes are not meant for use under a broiler and may shatter due to thermal stress.
Making The Cheesy Corn
Cook the bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy, 5-7 minutes.
Add the corn, ham, milk, cream cheese, and spices. Break-up the cream cheese with a spatula.
Cook over medium heat until the cream cheese has melted completely and the mixture is bubbling around the edges of the skillet, 8-10 minutes.
About halfway through heating the corn mixture, get the oven setup for broiling. Move the oven rack to 6″ below the broiler element and turn on the broiler to get it preheated.
When the corn mixture is ready, move the skillet off-heat and stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese until it’s melted, about 30 seconds.
Transfer the corn/cheese mixture into a 1.5 quart broiler-safe baking dish and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
Transfer the baking dish to the oven. Broil until the cheese is melted and showing signs of browning on top, about 3 minutes.
The Finished Product
This side dish really delivers on the “cheesy” part of cheesy corn. You get the crunch of the corn, of course, but as I mentioned at the top of this article, the cheese and spices can really dominate. Using the freshest, sweetest, most tasty corn kernels possible will really take this dish over the top! And every so often, you get a meaty chunk of ham or a sliver of bacon…so good!
Cheesy corn from KCMO…definitely a unique part of the local barbecue scene, now a unique part of your barbecue table at home!