This Corn Casserole recipe with cream cheese is topped with bacon and crispy Fritos for a decadent, yet easy side dish for your Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner or family gatherings.
This easy corn casserole recipe with cream cheese is loaded with corn, bacon, onions, and red peppers in a cheesy, creamy sauce and topped with gooey cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, and Fritos.
It's a cozy, comforting side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner that's happy to share the table with the Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, and Maple Glazed Carrots. Or serve with baked pork chops or baked chicken for the ultimate comfort food dinner.
You’re going to love this
- Classic side dish recipe that's always a crowd pleaser
- Delicious cream cheese corn casserole recipe that's easy to make ahead of time
- Great side dish to double or triple for holidays and family gatherings
- Easy dish to tailor to your family's tastes
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Cream cheese. For best results, use a brick of full-fat cream cheese, not cream cheese spread in a tub.
Flour. The little flour thickens the cheese sauce and holds the creamy cheesy corn casserole together.
Milk. Use what you have, I've made this with 2% and evaporated milk and both worked perfectly.
Thyme. Thyme and corn perfectly complement one another. You can use 1 teaspoon of dried thyme if you don’t have fresh.
Nutmeg. A pinch of nutmeg in cheese sauce adds warmth and complexity but not necessarily nutmeg flavor. You can also use mace.
Corn. You can use fresh corn kernels, frozen corn (thawed), or canned whole kernel corn.
Creamed corn. Cream-style corn adds creaminess to this sweet corn casserole.
Substitutions & Variations
Onion. I use white onion, but you can use yellow or red onion, shallots, or green onions.
Peppers. Swap out red pepper for any color of peppers you like. Or leave them out.
Garlic. If you prefer fresh garlic, add it during the last minute of sauteeing the peppers and onions.
Toppings. Fritos are the perfect topping because they're salty, crunchy, and made from corn! You can also use fried onions, potato chips, or buttery crackers.
Add-ins. Make it your own by stirring in add-ins like jalapenos or green chiles. You can even make it a main dish by adding leftover turkey or rotisserie chicken.
How to Make Corn Casserole with Cream Cheese
Step 1: Cook 1-inch bacon pieces in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and keep one tablespoon of the bacon grease in the pan.
Step 2: Cook the onion and red pepper in the bacon grease until softened, about 5 minutes, scraping up the browned baconey bits from the bottom of the pan as you go.
Step 3: Add the flour. Cook and stir for a few minutes. Add the cream cheese, milk, garlic powder, thyme, nutmeg, and pepper. Stir and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the cream cheese mixture has thickened.
Step 4: Add the corn, creamed corn, and bacon (reserve some for topping). Pour the corn mixture into a greased casserole dish and top with shredded cheese.
Step 5: Bake in a preheated oven at 425 for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Add the crushed Fritos and bake 5 more minutes and broil for 1-2 minutes or until the Fritos turn golden brown.
Step 6: Top with bacon, red pepper, and sliced green onions.
Let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then serve and enjoy!
Corn casserole with cream cheese is the perfect side dish to make in advance. Prepare the casserole all the way through baking it, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for a couple of days. Before baking, let it sit at room temperature for about an hour, then bake as directed. If it's still cold when it goes into the oven, it may need more cooking time.
Slow Cooker Instructions
If you're tight on oven space, use your Crock Pot! Instead of baking it in the oven, heat up the casserole in your slow cooker on high for 1-2 hours or low for 2-3 hours or until warmed through. Add the Fritos before serving or they’ll get mushy.
- Frozen (thawed), fresh, or canned corn may be used in this casserole.
- Use full-fat brick cream cheese for the best consistency.
- If possible, shred your own cheese. It melts much creamier than bagged cheese.
Store leftover casserole covered in plastic wrap or in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Yes, you can use frozen and thawed corn or fresh corn.
You can skip the bacon or replace it with more onions and peppers or other vegetables. Sautee the veggies in butter or canola oil instead of the bacon grease.
More Easy Side Dishes
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Cheesy Corn Casserole with Cream Cheese
- 1 pound bacon (divided)
- 1 red pepper, diced (divided)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- black pepper
- 6 cups corn
- 1 can creamed corn
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup crushed Fritos
- 2 green onions, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 425 and prepare a 2-2.5 quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Cut bacon into 1-inch pieces. Over medium heat, cook the bacon in a Dutch oven or large saucepan until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour out all but one tablespoon of the bacon grease.
- To the bacon grease, add the diced onion and ¾ of one diced red pepper (reserve the rest for the topping) and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, scraping up the baconey goodness from the bottom of the pan as you go.
- Add the flour. Cook and stir for a few minutes. Add the cream cheese, milk, garlic powder, thyme, nutmeg, and pepper. Stir and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese sauce has thickened.
- Add the corn, creamed corn, and about ¾ of the bacon (reserve the rest for the topping).
- Pour the corn mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with cheese. Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
- Add the crushed Fritos and bake for about 5 more minutes and broil for 1-2 minutes or until the Fritos turn golden brown.
- Serve with reserved bacon and red pepper, and sliced green onions.