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Korean Corn Cheese combines sauteed corn with melted cheese, mayonnaise, jalapeno, scallions, sugar, and savory seasonings. The salty-sweet flavor of this hot and creamy corn dish is both unique and delicious!
What is Korean Cheese Corn?
It’s a simple and irresistible dish made with corn kernels, mayonnaise, and various mild and melty cheeses. Chopped jalapeno and fresh scallions add a fresh, zesty bite to the dish that cuts through the creamy richness – and a touch of sugar adds sweet undertones that perfectly balance all the flavors in this staple of Korean cuisine.
Korean Corn Cheese is typically served – hot and bubbly – as a side dish (or banchan) with Korean barbecue. But depending on how thick and creamy you make it; this dish is also fantastic enjoyed as a dip with chips or slathered on a slice of toast. It’s also sometimes referred to as a “bar food” – meaning it pairs well with alcohol – and particularly the popular Korean alcoholic beverage, Soju.
Jack and I were both totally surprised by the flavors in this recipe – and we couldn’t wait to share it here with all of you!
Korean Corn Cheese Origins
This dish is a believed to have been created in South Korea in the 20th century. As Western foods and ingredients became more available – particularly corn and cheese – Korean chefs and home cooks began incorporating new ingredients into their foods.
Korean Corn Cheese is believed to have been first created sometime around the 1970’s – but it became very popular in recent decades thanks to its delicious salty-sweet combination of corn and cheese and other ingredients.
Why you’ll love Korean Cheese Corn
- The rich and creamy, salty-sweet combination of flavors will have you craving more!
- It can be served as a side dish with grilled meats, and it’s also fantastic enjoyed as a warm dip served with chips.
- This is a great way to enjoy fresh summer corn, but other times of the year you can make it with canned or frozen corn.
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- Corn – We used fresh corn kernels cut from the cob, but you can also use frozen or drained canned corn for convenience, or when fresh corn isn’t in season. Use more corn if you plan to serve this as a side dish; less corn if used as a dip. (See Cooking and Serving Tips below – you may want to use more or less corn depending on how you plan to serve this dish.)
- Mayonnaise – If you have access to an Asian supermarket, buy Kewpie mayonnaise – which is a richer, thicker mayonnaise thanks to the addition of extra egg yolks. But if not – don’t worry – regular mayonnaise will work just fine in this recipe. (Truth be told, we used a mix of the two because we ran out of the Kewpie mayo.) The Kewpie mayonnaise is just going to make the dish a litter richer, but it will still be delicious made with a regular supermarket brand such as Hellman’s.
- Scallions – The whites of fresh scallions are added to the dish, while the green tops are sliced and sprinkled on each serving as a garnish. The fresh green onion flavor helps cut through and balance the richness.
- Jalapeno – Fresh chopped jalapeno pepper adds a nice little kick to the dish. Add more (or less) to suit your preferred spiciness level, leaving out any seeds if you want the mildest corn cheese. As the recipe is written (with two tablespoons of jalapeno added) there is gentle heat that is noticeable but not overpowering.
- Cheese –The dish traditionally uses mozzarella cheese, but any melty mild cheese is fine. We chose to use Fontina in our recipe because we like how it melts into a smooth consistency when hot without being stringy. (Depending on the brand, mozzarella would be stringy as the dish is spooned out.) This is just a matter of personal preference so either type of cheese is fine.
- Sugar – Granulated sugar really is a must for this recipe. It enhances the sweetness of the corn and the combination of sweet and salty in every bite is really what makes this dish so good. (However, if you can’t have sugar, feel free to omit it – you’ll end up with a more salty-savory flavor, but it will still be good.)
- Seasoning – We used sea salt and white pepper in our recipe, but kosher salt and black pepper could easily be substituted. (You’ll just see more little black specks in the dish with black pepper.)
Cooking and Serving Tips
This dish can be served two different ways: As a side dish or as a dip.
- For a dip, use four ears of corn (about four cups of corn). The finished dish will be softer and creamier.
- For a side dish, increase the corn to six ears (about 6 cups of corn). The finished dish will be chunkier but still creamy.
For either amount of corn, the preparation method and other ingredients remains the same.
Special Tools Needed
- Medium to Large Sauté Pan
- Cutting Board and Sharp Knife
- 8X8 Casserole Dish – or other 1-2 quart oven-safe dish.
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Wooden Spoon
- Rubber Spatula
- Non-Stick Cooking Spray
How do I make Korean Cheese Corn?
- Husk corn and remove kernels from cobs. (See How to Easily Cut Fresh Corn Kernels from the Cob.)
- Sauté corn with chopped scallions and diced jalapeno in melted butter.
- Mix cooked corn mixture with mayonnaise, shredded cheese, sugar, salt, and pepper.
- Pour corn mixture intoan 8X8 casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
- Bake 20 minutes, then broil to lightly brown the top. (Keep a close eye on the dish while broiling to avoid burning the top.)
- Serve as a side dish or as an appetizer with chips or toasted bread slices.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make Korean Corn Cheese ahead of time? Yes, you can mix and assemble it ahead of time, then bake later just before serving. Allow the dish to warm to room temperature before baking.
- How do I store leftovers? Store covered and refrigerated for up to four days.
- How do I reheat leftovers? Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave or put the baking dish back into the oven to warm through.
- Can I freeze? Yes, you can mix and assemble it in the casserole dish. Tightly wrap in plastic before freezing. Thaw completely before baking.
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4 to 6 ears of corn or 4 to 6 cups of frozen or canned corn (*See Notes below)
1 tablespoon butter
1 large bunch of scallions (3/4 cup of whites chopped and greens chopped as garnish)
1 medium jalapeno diced small (2 tablespoons)
1 cup of mayonnaise (or Kewpie mayonnaise for a richer flavor)
8 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded (can be substituted with mozzarella)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spray an 8X8-inch oven-safe casserole dish with nonstick pan spray.
- Husk the corn and remove kernels from the cobs.
- In a large saute pan over medium high heat, melt butter, and add corn, scallion whites and chopped jalapeno and saute for five minutes.
- While corn is cooking, in a large bowl, add mayonnaise, shredded cheese, sugar, salt and pepper.
- Add cooked corn mixture and combine.
- Pour into prepared casserole dish and bake uncovered for 20 minutes, then broil for a minute or so to brown. Top with sliced scallion greens for garnish.
- If you used the six ears of corn, serve as a side dish. If you used four ears of corn, serve with chips or toasted baguette slices.
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*The amount of corn you’ll buy depends on how you plan to serve this dish. For a dip, four ears of corn should be used. For a side dish, add two more ears for a total of six. Nutritional information is calculated based on 4 ears/cups of corn.