Dairy-Free Creamed Corn

cast iron skillet filled with dairy free creamed corn with bacon and green onions
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Just three ingredients—fresh sweet corn, a pound of bacon, and a bunch of green onions—come together to make this dairy-free creamed corn recipe an easy summer side dish we just can’t get enough of. Serve it still warm from the skillet, and let the compliments flow. 

Creamed Corn (Without Cream but With Plenty of Bacon) By Any Other Name...

Would taste as sweet, right? We had a hard time deciding what to name this dish. We knew how to describe it—sweet corn kernels stripped from the cob, cooked in bacon fat until creamy—but weren’t sure what to call it. It’s a warm side dish, it’s cooked in a skillet—maybe it’s skillet corn side dish? Or, we asked ourselves, can we call creamed corn without cream “creamed corn”? We finally decided that yes, this is—despite its lack of actual cream—creamed corn. At least as far as we’re concerned. 

Corn is creamy, and when you cut the kernels off the cob, you can see that creaminess for yourself. Add a little fat—in this case bacon fat—to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a warm corn side dish that simply must be called creamed corn.    

corn on cob, green onions and raw bacon for dairy free creamed corn

Is Corn a Vegetable? Is Corn a Grain? A Fruit? But Seriously, What the Heck is This Stuff, Anyway? 

You know that corn is something you eat whole—off the cob—as you would a vegetable. But it’s also used—like a grain—to make baked, bread-y things like corn tortillas and cornbread. So which is it? A vegetable or a grain? Well, it’s both! And—prepare to have your mind blown—a fruit as well. Each fresh kernel of corn is a fruit (called a caryopsis), and when dried corn is ground up into cornmeal, it’s considered a grain. 

Fresh sweet corn is considered a vegetable because, when eaten fresh (as it is in this bacon-y skillet corn recipe), it fits the dictionary definition of a vegetable; “a usually herbaceous plant, grown for an edible part that is usually eaten as part of a meal”. And there you have it—corn is a vegetable, fruit and a grain. Crazy but true!

How to Shuck Corn

We could also call this “how to keep your kids busy for at least 15 minutes”, because corn shucking is a great task to pass off to the little people in your household. It doesn’t involve sharp or breakable objects, and it can be done outside—perfect! To “shuck corn” means to remove the husks (the outer green leaves) to reveal the delicious yellow or white kernels. Simply grab a piece of the husk from the top of the corn (the pointy end) and pull the husks down the ear. You should be able to just snap off the stem at the base. Then, under cold running water, use a brush or your hands to rub the ear of corn in a circular motion to remove the silk (the white stringy bits). Now you’re ready to cut the kernels off the ear of corn! 

How to Make Creamed Corn Without Cream

Creamed corn is (just as it sounds) usually made with heavy cream, milk and / or cream cheese. While we love dairy as much as the next person, sometimes we either don’t have it on hand or—especially when the weather is hot—don’t feel like something quite so, well, creamy. Enter this bacon-fat skillet fried corn! This dairy-free creamed corn recipe gets its creaminess from a bit of bacon fat and from the sweet corn juice that is released by the kernels as they cook. It has just three ingredients, and comes together in three easy steps: 

  1. Cook the bacon! In a big skillet, until it’s nice and crispy. 
  2. Swap the bacon in the skillet for those sweet corn kernels! Cook the corn in the fat that the bacon released as it cooked (we said it didn’t have dairy—we didn’t say it was low-fat!) until the corn is creamy. This takes about half an hour.  
  3. Add the crispy bacon and green onions to the creamed corn! Stir the beautiful pan-full of dairy-free creamed corn over low heat for a few minutes so flavors meld. Then dig in! 
dairy free creamed corn topped with bacon and green onions

Tools You’ll Need: 

  • If you’ve got a cast-iron skillet, this dairy-free creamed corn with bacon is its moment to shine! This dish was just made for cast-iron. 
  • Sharp knife, for removing the kernels from the corn cob. Sharpness is really important here—as counterintuitive as it may seem, a sharper knife is a safer knife because it requires you to work less hard. Less struggle is better! 
  • A heat-proof container for storing the bacon grease. Pyrex, for example, or any jar intended for canning (like a Ball or Kerr jar). 

Cream Corn Crazed: 

We’ve been going a little corn crazy around here lately. We’ve been loving: 

Corny to the Max—Just the Way We Like It. 

We hope you make this no-cream creamed corn recipe with bacon and that you love it! Snap a photo and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you share it with and then tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can see! Happy eating!

Dairy-Free Creamed Corn

Serves 4

Ingredients

6 cobs of corn
1 lb bacon, cut into 2" pieces
3 green onions, thinly sliced

Method

In a large skillet cook bacon over medium/high heat until crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; reserve the drippings in the pan into a heat proof container.

Using a sharp knife, shave the corn from cobs over a large bowl or pie dish. Using the back of the knife remove any remaining corn "cream" from the cob.

Return skillet to medium heat and add the corn and ½ cup bacon grease. Cook until creamy, stirring often, 30 minutes (add water 1 tablespoon at a time to deglaze the pan if it starts to brown).

Add in ¾ of the bacon, ¾ of the green onions, salt and pepper stir to combine. Top with remaining green onions and bacon. Serve warm.