Y’all know the Super Bowl is coming up fast! Every year I try to highlight a dish or snack for the fans of each team; something that’s famous in their area. This year I couldn’t resist making Kansas City Cheesy Corn in honor of the Chiefs.
I already made Philly Tomato Pie for the Philadelphia Eagles. Now that isn’t pie like you or I think of pie (unless you’re already in the know!) It’s like a big pizza without the Mozzarella. You might think you’re gonna miss that cheese but you won’t. Trust me on this – it’s fabulous!
About Kansas City Cheesy Corn:
I grew up in Iowa so it stands to reason I love corn. I know peeps argue over who grows the best corn but there’s nothing like taking a little cruise down a gravel road and stopping at a pick-your-own plot or stopping at a stand of a farmer who has picked it for you that day! But you won’t need summer corn for this recipe – almost any old corn can stand in.
It stands to reason, though, I have a lot of corn recipes on my site (use the search bar or click on “corn” in the tags at the bottom of the page, but Kansas City Cheesy Corn has got to be the king of them all. It is so rich, so decadent that it’s almost hard to describe in words. While some describe it as macaroni and cheese with corn instead of noodles, that doesn’t do this cheesy, porky deliciousness justice.
There’s bacon and ham and multiple kinds of melty cheese. And of course, I had to put a few touches of my own. If you’re from KC, please forgive me! But I think you’ll love this version.
In addition to the regular cheese, I add in little hunks of cheese which become pockets of melty cheese. I also changed up the typical spicing with a bit of Kansas City Beef Rub (you can use whatever you like along those lines) a touch of barbecue sauce (KC style, please – here’s mine ), and a few dashes of hot sauce.
Making Kansas City Cheesy Corn:
The recipe for Kansas City Cheesy Corn is super easy. Fry your bacon, remove. Add ham, remove. Dump off most of the drippings. Then add garlic, and let it cook til fragrant. Add milk, cream cheese, spices, some of the cheese. Then in goes the corn to heat through.
Now, you could stop there! It’s amazing at that point. But I just hafta go a bit overboard on everything. You could say I’m a little “extra.”
I like to add half the corn to a greased cast iron skillet, then layer in little chunks of cheese. They’ll melt and make the most amazing little “cheesy pulls.” Then in goes the rest of the corn mixture, it’s topped with more cheese and broiled. Garnish with green onion and bacon before serving.
What to Serve with Kansas City Cheesy Corn:
This dish can be served anywhere you might think of serving creamed corn or scalloped corn. It is especially at home with barbecued or grilled foods. It makes a great decadent side for a steak dinner. I served mine with Instant Pot Brisket Burnt Ends (recipe coming soon) but it will be fab with my Poor Man’s Burnt Ends, too.
This is an outstanding side for a special occasion meal, like Thanksgiving or Christmas. That is if your family will let you veer off of all their set-in-stone ideas!
If you want to just dress up a simple dinner quickly, just make the recipe up to where you would put it in the skillet and serve it as is; a stovetop version so to speak.
Storing and Reheating the Corn:
Cheesy corn stores well in the fridge for several days, but you’re gonna hafta be a bit careful when reheating. Don’t freeze this dish.
- This is a case where reheating too fast and too hot can cause the cheese to “break” and this happens especially if a larger amount is reheated. Basically, some will be overheated and the cheese can turn stringy and separate into a greasy mass.
- Reheat slowly in the microwave on a low setting and stir often- I sometimes use the defrost setting if I’m not in a hurry,
- Grocery Store Cheese is a great item to pick up at rock-bottom prices and keep on hand. It keeps for weeks, unopened, and can be frozen. After freezing, it will be a little crumbly but still great for casseroles and cooking.
- A little American cheese is used in this recipe, too. There are often big sales on this item – and it’s included in many sales where the grocery discounts when you buy so many items, you’ll get so much money off each. I do NOT recommend a store or generic brand. They don’t always melt well.
- Bacon will be on a big discount before almost any holiday, and especially low during holidays that are known for “brunching” like Mother’s Day and Easter. Stock up – it freezes well and doesn’t take up much room.
- Fresh corn is usually the cheapest in late summer and beats out the price of frozen and canned. You’ll hafta cook that a little before using. While I prefer frozen, good canned corn will work here, too. Use whatever is in your budget, but do thaw or drain well.
Kansas City Cheesy Corn
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x
- Category: Side
- Cuisine: American
- 6 slices bacon, roughly cut, divided
- 1 cup ham, chopped in about 3/8ths inch dice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup milk
- 4 ounces (1/2 block) cream cheese
- 3 ounces (about four slices) American cheese
- 1 cup grated cheddar, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon Kansas City Beef Rub (or other KC type rub or seasoning)
- a dash or two hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
- 4 cups corn
- 2 ounces block Cheddar cheese, in about 1/2″ x 1/4″ dice (optional)
- 2 or three green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish
In a large saucepan, add bacon. Heat over medium, stirring often, until fully rendered and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Let drain, then roughly chop into 1/2″ or so pieces. Set aside.
Add ham to the drippings in the pan and saute, stirring, until ham is warmed through and a little darkened and crispy in spots. Remove and set aside. (Keep separate from the bacon.)
Drain all but about 2 tablespoons of the drippings from the pan. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add the milk, cream cheese, and American cheese and stir until cheeses are melted. Add in about 1/2 of the grated Cheddar and stir.
Quickly while stirring often, add the salt, pepper, rub, hot sauce, and barbecue sauce. Add the corn, 2/3rds of the reserved bacon, all of the reserved ham, and stir. Keep an eye on the pan, stirring now and then (do NOT allow to scorch) while turning the broiler on.
Turn broiler on to low and set a rack so there is about 2 to 3 inches of clearance between the top of the cast iron skillet and the broiler.
Continue heating the corn, stirring as necessary, until hot and bubbly. Place half of corn mixture in an 8″ greased cast iron skillet. Layer in the diced cheese. Add the rest of the corn mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Place under broiler until browned in spots, about 10 minutes, but watch. (It will not be golden brown and will be spotty).
Remove pan from oven and garnish with remaining bacon pieces and green onion. Best served immediately; will thicken upon standing.
Keywords: American cheese, Barbecue Sauce, cheddar cheese, Cheese, Corn, Cream Cheese, Green Onion, Ham, hearty sides, hot sauce, Kansas City, Kansas City Beef Rub, milk, Side