I love casserole. And it’s very difficult, if not impossible for me to imagine any casserole more perfect than my cheesy Mexican corn casserole. It has everything I look for in a perfect meal and it’s all cooked together in one place.
This recipe is not complicated, but it does require the use of a food processor in order to puree a few of the ingredients. On the whole, this recipe is quick and delicious, yielding fantastic results that can last a few days if you decide to store leftovers.
Below is some info about why casseroles are so great and what makes this cheesy Mexican corn casserole in particular, so amazing.
More Cheesy and Corny than Your Dad’s Jokes
I don’t think I’m at all alone in this. When I hear cheese and corn together in any capacity (when dinner is the subject matter), I am already sold. Either one will do me in, but both in one dish is always a big win.
Corn is such a tasty component to add flavor and appeal to almost any dish.
Cheese will cover up virtually any culinary sin.
Not to say there is anything wrong with this Mexican corn casserole. On the contrary, the focus on these two elements together, supported by a variety of other flavorful components, is almost too perfect.
If you also are a lover of cheesy and corny meals (and I’m willing to bet that you are) then this recipe is going to knock your socks off. This casserole is bold and zesty and anything but bland.
The Mexican flavor enhances the casserole and promotes urgency while eating. The diversity of spice and other seasonings will keep you taking bite after bite. You will have to fight yourself to savor every mouthful.
Think I’m kidding? Make it and you’ll know I’m not.
The Genius Behind Casserole
The casserole is the most ingenious meal on the planet. Before Instant Pots, before skillet meals and before slow cookers, there was casserole. Nothing beats it. It has survived for decades as the best way to pile a whole meal into one dish.
Popularized in the 1950s casserole as we know it today was the product of advanced cookware brought to market. Nothing since has replaced the casserole dish, no matter how many bells and whistles we add.
Casserole dishes are easier to clean than any modern appliance and you don’t have to worry about them being dishwasher safe.
But wait, there’s more! Casseroles are the perfect meals for leftovers. They are conveniently stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Casseroles are impressively economical, which is another reason why they were so popular in the 1950s.
If you can feed your family two meals for the price and effort of only one, why not jump on it? The casserole is the ultimate “set it and forget it” dish and chances are, you have a casserole dish already in your cupboard.
You don’t need to buy another one of those high-cost, replace-every-appliance appliances to make this Mexican corn casserole!
By the way, how many all-in-one appliances do you own right now? Where are they in your kitchen and how often do you use them? Please share!
What Makes a Casserole a Casserole?
Here we come to a very technical question. Is a casserole just anything you bake in a casserole dish, or is there some other list of criteria?
The word casserole can be a noun or a verb. It can mean the dish you bake the casserole in or the meal that is baked in the casserole dish. As a verb, it means to make a casserole. It’s pretty self-explanatory, there. As for the criteria, casserole as a meal or side is defined as a stew that is cooked slowly in the oven. That’s it.
Now, traditionally stew is made of meat and vegetables and the best casseroles often are as well. However, casseroles often break out of this traditional mold to become veggie casseroles and even dessert casseroles.
The Mexican corn casserole we’re making is somewhere in between tradition and innovation.
Another piece of the puzzle to bear in mind is that casseroles are often covered. Likewise, stew is often covered, though it is cooked on a stovetop rather than baked in the oven.
Although it doesn’t match the image of your typical casserole, Lasagne is one of the earliest examples of casserole, first recorded as a recipe in the early 1300s.
The Five Essential Ingredients in Casserole
Although casseroles can ultimately be a variety of things, there are some common factors found in most traditional and popular casserole dishes.
The most successful casseroles as we use them today tend to be the dump and go meal variety that puts everything in one dish to cook together. These meals are often enjoyed on their own merits, but can also be supplemented by a side salad if you are so inclined.
The casserole itself will usually bear these five essential marks:
In short, it’s a complete meal. The cheese and the sauce are used to bind the other three elements which you typically would prepare and plate separately for any other type of dinner.
These rules apply not just to evening meals, but to breakfast casseroles as well. These often have sausage, potato, and fruit/vegetable components such as tomato, kale, onions, or even sweet, spicy or zesty peppers.
While these five components are not necessary for every casserole, they make a nice roadmap for a complete and balanced meal that is sure to taste great.
Desire! Desire! (Enhance Your Cheesy Mexican Corn Casserole)
Part of what makes this cheesy Mexican corn casserole so exceptional is the other ingredients that top of the cheese and the corn. There are two ingredients that are not required, but I added if desired to the list.
You may gloss over that part and only use those ingredients that are considered more essential to the recipe.
However, I strongly encourage you to use these two ingredients as they very strongly support the overall flavor of the dish and make the casserole more complete and satisfying overall.
Mexican Corn Casserole Ingredients
- Monterey Jack cheese or your favorite cheese
- all purpose flour
- baking powder
- cayenne pepper, if desired
- frozen corn
- green onions
- sour cream
- Parmesan cheese
- jalapeños, if desired
- unsalted butter
- fresh cilantro, if desired
How to Make Cheesy Mexican Corn Casserole
Grease 13 by 9 inch baking pan or dish.
Prepare some of the cheese in cubes and shred the rest.
Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne together in large bowl.
Pulse half of corn and green onion whites inside your food processor until coarse puree, about 12 pulses.
Stir pureed corn mixture into flour mixture.
Stir in sour cream, Parmesan, eggs, jalapeños, melted butter, remaining half of corn, and cubed cheese until blended together.
Transfer mixture to your prepared baking dish.
Sprinkle with parmesan and then shredded cheese.
Bake until casserole is slightly puffy and cheese is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes.
Transfer casserole to wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro.
Serve and enjoy every bite.
Cheesy Mexican Corn Casserole
- 13 x 9 inch cake pan
- 2 cups (1/2 pound) Monterey Jack cheese or cheddar, mozzarella or Mexican blend, more or less to taste
- 1/4 pound (4 oz) Monterey Jack cheese or cheddar, mozzarella or Mexican blend cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 pounds frozen corn, thawed
- 5 green onions, thinly sliced with white and green parts separated
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- ¼ cup minced jalapeños
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 13 by 9 inch casserole dish or baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. Cut 1/4 pound or 4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese into 1/2 inch cubes. Shred remaining 8 oz or 1/2 pound of cheese. Set aside until needed.
- In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne in large bowl.
- Whisk until blended.
- Pulse half of corn and scallion whites in food processor until a coarse puree, about 12 pulses.
- Stir pureed corn mixture into flour mixture.
- Add sour cream, 1/4 cup Parmesan, eggs, jalapeños, if using, melted butter, remaining half of corn, and cubed Monterey Jack.
- Stir until totally combined. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.
- Smooth top so as level as possible.
- Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Then cover with Monterey Jack or whatever shredded cheese you're using. As much or as little as you like!
- Bake until casserole is somewhat puffed up and cheese is a golden brown color, between 45 to 50 minutes.
- Transfer casserole to wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle with green onions and more fresh cilantro.
- Serve and enjoy every bite.