Side dish

Jalapeño creamed corn

Jalapeno creamed corn | Homesick Texan

“It’s all good, but whatever you do, you must get the creamed corn,” said the woman waiting in line behind me at Killen’s Barbecue. It was my first time to visit this new Pearland, Texas smoked-meat hot spot, and she and I had been discussing the menu. I’d heard good things about owner Ronnie Killen’s brisket, beef ribs, sausages—heck, all of the smoked meats had been lauded as some of the best new barbecue in the state. So her recommendation surprised me.

“I don’t usually order sides at a barbecue place,” I said. She shook her head and said, “Trust me. You don’t want to miss this corn.” She was correct. While I did enjoy the ribs, the turkey, and the brisket, it was the corn that I kept dipping into, savoring each sweet and creamy bite.

After my visit to Killen’s I went to visit a friend, and when I told her where I’d been the first thing she said was, “Did you try the creamed corn?” Then two weeks later, when I was back in New York, another person who’d eaten there said the same thing. Clearly, Killen’s much-lauded creamed corn merited investigation so I could cook something similar in my own kitchen.

Jalapeno creamed corn | Homesick Texan

A little research lead me to his recipe. Ronnie Killen had generously shared his technique with several Houston media outlets, and I discovered his method is quite simple. He uses fresh cobs of corn and after he removes the kernels, he infuses cream and milk with the cobs for a spell, so the cobs’ sweet corn flavor will enrich the dish even more. Lots of butter and a bit of sugar also add to the dish’s rich appeal.

Now, if it were September, I’d have no trouble finding fresh corn but since it’s November, my search was a little more difficult. But I wanted creamed corn, so I went about trying to make it out of season. After removing the kernels, I slipped the cobs into a mixture of half and half (which was my shortcut way of getting both cream and milk) and let them rest on low heat for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, I cooked the kernels with butter.

Because I wasn’t using the freshest corn, I also added some garlic and jalapeño to Killen’s basic recipe, two additions that nobody should mind. Likewise, he finishes his dish with Parmesan cheese, but to keep in tune with Tex-Mex flavors I added, I used salty Cotija cheese, instead. I also tried the recipe with frozen corn and even though you aren’t able to do the cob infusion, the addition of garlic, jalapeño, and cheese still made it a very fine dish.

So after my changes, was my jalapeño creamed corn the same dish I ate in Pearland? Not really, but this wasn’t a bad thing—the dish I made was just different. I chalk that up to not using the best corn at the height of the season, and look forward to making it his exact way next summer.

Jalapeno creamed corn | Homesick Texan

That said, I dare anyone to stop taking bites of this jalapeño creamed corn, as it’s a star in it’s own right. And because it can be made with frozen corn as well, this is a creamed corn I know you’ll enjoy year round.

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Jalapeno creamed corn | Homesick Texan
5 from 11 votes

Jalapeño creamed corn

Servings 8
Author Adapted by Lisa Fain from the Houston Chronicle


  • 8 ears of corn, shucked or 6 cups frozen corn
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, can use more or less, depending on corn sweetness
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese or grated Parmesan cheese


  1. If using fresh corn, with a knife remove the kernels from the cob. Place the cobs in a medium pot and pour in the half and half. Turn the heat on low and let the cobs and half and half cook for 15 minutes. Before removing the cobs and discarding, scrape the sides to release any more milky corn essence. If using frozen corn, skip this step, and simply add the half and half to a blender.
  2. Meanwhile, add the butter to a large skillet and turn the heat on low. Once the butter has melted, add the corn kernels, fresh or frozen, the jalapeño, and the garlic. Stirring occasionally, cook the corn for 15 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  3. Remove the kernels from the heat, and place 3/4 cup of the kernels in the blender with the half and half. Blend until smooth.

  4. Add the remaining corn kernels, corn puree, sugar, and cayenne either to a large cast-iron skillet or a medium pot. Turn the heat on low, and while stirring occasionally, cook until it’s reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  5. Turn on the broiler and place a rack six inches away from the heating element. If using a cast-iron skillet, sprinkle the Cotija cheese evenly over the creamed corn, place the skillet in the oven, and broil until lightly browned on top, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. If instead you’re using a medium pot to cook the creamed corn, lightly grease a 9-inch casserole dish. Pour in the creamed corn, sprinkle the Cotija cheese evenly over the creamed corn, and broil until lightly browned on top, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Serve warm.

  1. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Yep, positive that I need to make this immediately!! Such a yummy looking recipe!

  2. Lisa Fain

    Katrina–Yes you should! Just had some leftovers for lunch as a matter of fact.

  3. Ranch Wife

    Oh boy! I'm thinking this'll be a hit with the crew the next time we work cattle. Thank you – another Homesick Texan

  4. Lisa Fain

    Ranch Wife–It's definitely a crowd pleaser!

  5. Julie @ Texan New Yorker

    I'm fairly new to the world of creamed corn, despite growing up in Texas – I actually really didn't like it as a kid. I have NO idea why not. I love the addition of jalapenos, that's how my mom would always make hers. I like the heat to cut the richness.

  6. Lisa Fain

    Julie–Yes, the jalapeños add a bit of spark to what is usually a heavy dish.

  7. Don Devine

    And this is exactly why I LUV this blog!!! I will be preparing these recipes when I move back to Kentucky and become another "Homesick Texan"!!!

  8. Lisa Fain

    Don–Thank you, sir!

  9. This looks yummie!!! Can't wait to try it!

  10. Have you tried green chilis instead? My family isn't into really hot stuff!

  11. Lisa Fain

    DeLynn–Thanks! I haven't tried it with green chilies instead, but I bet it would be good.

  12. The key is scraping the cob to get the last bit of sweetness out of the kernel. Looks like a good recipe.

  13. Rocky Mountain Woman

    My son would love this!

  14. Tamara Lewis

    This is going on my Thanksgiving menu!! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Chris Coyle

    OK, I'll have to pin this one – lousy timing – I have to wait until Aug for the best corn in my area. Hmmm, I'm sure I'll have to try it before then, but it won't be as good. 😉

  16. Anonymous

    Do you recommend thawing frozen corn first?

  17. Lisa Fain

    David–Indeed it is!

  18. Lisa Fain

    Rocky Mountain Woman–Wonderful news!

    Tamara Lewis–You're welcome!

  19. Lisa Fain

    Chris–Yes, it will be even better in August but it's pretty amazing in November, as well.

  20. Lisa Fain

    Anon–I would thaw the corn first.

  21. Shelley

    That's a lot of patience.

  22. Anonymous

    I'm from Abilene, TX and live in KC now so I know how you feel missing all things Texan. I have made a similar dish that, in addition to your ingredients, also had cream cheese (plus butter, a dab of cream, jalapenos and a tad of sugar). So try adding some cream cheese to your dish and see what you think. I agree it's addictive! ~ Donna

  23. Selina Sauter

    I'm so glad you tried it. It never disappoints.

    From the woman standing behind you line that day 😉

  24. Lisa Fain

    Selina–What a treat to see you here! Thank you again for all your recommendations. Can't wait to be back in Pearland and enjoy Killen's barbecue again. Happy holidays to you!


    Is 2 1/2 cups of half and half correct? My corn was swimming! I had to drain most if it off before I broiled the cheese. I LOVE your site and refer to it often. Thanks,


  26. Lisa Fain

    Ben–That is the correct amount. Did you skip a step or use the right amount or corn? After simmering it, pureeing some of the corn with the half and half and then cooking it again to reduce, it shouldn't be soupy.


    Thanks Lisa, I am sure this is an issue with the chef! I will try it again. Thanks and I hope you had a Merry Christmas!

  28. Lisa Fain

    Ben–Merry Christmas to you, too!

  29. My Grampa, like a lot of other folks in the south, made what he called "fried corn." Lots of butter, be sure to scrape the cob. The enzymes in fresh corn will thicken the half-and-half naturally. When made this way, without puree-ing or a bechamel, it's not as milky/saucy as the stuff usually called "creamed corn."

    I remember ordering "fried corn" in one of those southern cooking chain restaurants one time–they brought me a cob of corn battered and deep fried. I wanted to cry and say, "Ya'll aren't from here, are you?" The next time I saw fried corn on a diner menu, I made the waitress describe it before ordering. She thought I was nuts. But it was real fried corn!

  30. Stella

    My dad is visiting me and I must surprise him with this new meal

  31. JessNeel

    My turned out extremely runny too.. I have read the ingredients and instructions over and over and am positive I didn’t miss anything, I just can’t figure it out. The only thing I could possibly come up with is maybe not thawing the corn 1st released water into the dish and made this happen?.

    • Lisa Fain

      JessNeel–I’m sorry it didn’t work for you! Curious, I just made a batch myself with unthawed frozen corn and it thickened up quite nicely. That’s so strange that yours didn’t! Perhaps your corn did release more liquid. When you puree the corn with the half and half, it creates natural cornstarch so it should thicken when you return it to the pan. You could puree more corn with the half and half to thicken it, if you like. Again, I’m sorry it didn’t work.

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