Pennsylvania Dutch Baked Corn Pudding

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This is a long post for a simple dish, Pennslyvania Dutch Corn Pudding, and I hope you stick with it and discover a special piece of culinary Americana you may not know about.

Baked Corn Pudding with a Shallot Twist

I grew up in Amish country in a fabulous and diverse mecca of classic comfort food.  Central Pennsylvania was heavily settled by the folks who were  and still are referred to as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

The word  “dutch”  was a corruption of the word Deutsch or German.  They came either from Germany or the German speaking part of Switzerland and not from Holland. When they arrived in America they came with recipes for sausages, sauerkraut, noodles and dumplings.

Pennsylvania Dutch Corn Pudding from Spinach Tiger

Pennsylvania introduced  them to regional foods that they welcomed into their kitchens and put their own spin to. Tomatoes, pumpkins, squash and corn were heartily embraced and mastered by the Amish and the Mennonites.  As food cultures collided, a new generation of comfort food was born.

The Amish and Mennonites are referred to as the plain Pennsylvania Dutch and are most associated with dishes like corn pudding and corn pie.  Baked corn pudding  is generally made with eggs and milk and baked like a custard. My family always added a little cinnamon and vanilla, but still maintained a savory taste using salt and pepper.

Growing up in Pennsylvania,  the Pennsylvania Dutch defined American comfort food for me. Comfort food is the food we remember with a feeling of heritage, family and warmth.

 The influence of their cooking in Central Pennsylvania  is so strong that on certain days of the year, every household will be cooking at least one Pennsylvania Dutch dish no matter what their ethnicity.  On Fat Tuesday, everyone will eat fauschnauts, (homemade donuts) and on New Year’s Day, every household will eat pork and sauerkraut (for good luck).

One dish that is sure to be found at every Thanksgiving table is baked corn pudding.

I cannot imagine my turkey dinner without it, nestled right up against my mashed potatoes, because I like them in the same bite.

In looking through my cookbooks, I found a signed copy of  Good Earth and Country Cooking, Betty Groff’s first cookbook written with  Jose Wilson.  Mrs. Groff was a Lancaster county culinary celebrity who ran a restaurant at Groff’s Farm. Discovered by Craig Claibourne  and supported  by James Beard, Betty Groff made Pennsylvania Dutch farmhouse cooking famous.

Italian hospitality is rivaled only by Pennsylvania hospitality, and I was lucky enough to get the best of both worlds. Betty’s first chapter in her first book is titled “I Cook Because I Love People.” The second chapter is titled. “A food for Every Season.” These two statements are close to my own heart and why I have that warm, near tearful feeling realizing how much this part of Americana developed my food view. If Betty Groff read my tag line, she would agree and probably share many stories about food and love.

This is an authentic Pennsylvania Dutch Baked Corn Pudding Recipe

I found a recipe for Betty’s baked corn pudding and only slightly adapted it. By the book’s cover, I didn’t know it was recipes from Lancaster County, and I thought she should have called it Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking.  Eventually she did, when she wrote another book twenty years later, Betty Groff’s Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook. It’s on Amazon and on the way, and I can hardly wait to bring more of Betty Groff back into my kitchen

I could go on and on about the memories I have from my own childhood eating this kind of food. Not all comfort food and farm cooking is equal. The Amish and the Mennonites were blessed enough to settle on rich farmland and they made more than the best out of it.

Betty talks about her family in the book and their palate. Even the men would come in the kitchen and by smell know if a dish needed salt.  The standards were set very high and in this community food has to taste, smell and look delicious, although not foodie fancy, but amazing in its own rite.

Pennsylvania Dutch Corn Pudding from Spinach Tiger #cornpudding

There is nothing like the smell of baked corn pudding.

The corn pudding is baked in the oven and you’ll know when it’s done when it no longer shakes in the middle. I love to be the first one to dig in a with a big spoon and break the custard.  Corn pudding never goes to waste and is always included in the next day left overs. It’s just not Thanksgiving without it.

If you are looking for the no fail, no baste turkey, I use a cheesecloth to wrap my turkey. This is a tried and true, tested recipe.

Thanksgiving is the ultimate comfort food day and one of  the things I want to remain grateful for is the diversity of food I have been exposed to, and all the fabulous home cooks who have shaped who I am.

More Pennsylvania Dutch Recipes

Pennsylvania Dutch Sand Tarts by Angela Roberts

My Thanksgiving Tested Recipes

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4.44 from 30 votes

Pennsylvania Dutch Baked Corn Pudding

A traditional recipe for Pennsylvania Dutch baked corn pudding, a must for the Thanksgiving dinner in the Amish or Mennonite home.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Author: Angela Roberts

Ingredients

2015 Newest Version Corn Pudding

  • 3 cans of high quality canned corn rinsed and drained.
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper or white pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk can use whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg

Original Recipes Ingredients

  • 2 cans or 2 1/2 cups canned corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper or white pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg

Instructions

NEW VERSION: Corn Pudding Instructions

  • Drain corn if canned. Thaw corn if frozen.
  • Drain corn and rinse off with cold water to get sodium off.
  • If you have a vitamix, mix one can corn until it is creamed. (optional)
  • Add in eggs , buttermilk, and all ingredients except the two cans of whole corn, until all is incorporated.
  • Pour into your baking dish. Then add in the two cans of whole corn and stir.
  • Mix ingredients in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or when it no longer shakes in the middle, checking at 30 minutes.

Orignal Recipe Instructions

  • Spray baking dish
  • Mix all ingredients together and bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, checking at 30 minutes, until the center is set.

Notes

After experimenting in 2015, I changed added a new version of the recipe using buttermilk and 3 cans corn (one I cream) instead of the original two cans of corn.
Either is good. Write me at spinachtiger@me.com if you have any questions.

Please follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe,  please tag me #spinachtiger.

If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo

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67 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I just found this article because I want to re-create the corn pudding I was served at a retirement home outside Reading, PA. The pudding was similar to yours but had the distinct intense flavor of dried corn (Cope’s is the popular local brand). I am guessing the chef reconstituted some dried corn then pureed it like you cream a portion of yours. The the intact kernels were ordinary corn as in your recipe. This produced layers of corn flavor and evoked a rustic, oldtimey, comfort food vibe.
    Thanks for running this blog.

  2. 4 stars
    Used fresh corn from Lancaster that we froze in August. Would probably cut the vanilla in half or skip altogether next time. It doesn’t need it. This was my 8 yr old son’s favorite Thanksgiving dish.

  3. I came to baked corn very late in life. Although my mother was from Middletown, Dauphin County, she never made it. I just got back from a family reunion in Millersburg, right on the Susquehanna River, and your beautifully written post almost brought tears to my eyes. Thanks so much. Incidentally, one of my cousins brought baked corn to the reunion feast and it was stellar.

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve only had something similar years ago when I was a college student in MN. I worked as a cook in the college kitchen and our boss brought the recipe after her vacation. I have no idea where she went but I do remember scaling it up to feed 200. I need to make again. My husband would love it. He is a huge corn fan.

  5. 4 stars
    I put 1.25 cups thawed frozen sweet corn in the food processor with 1/3 cup of the milk and blended well. I then added the rest of the milk (2/3 cup) and another 1.5 cups whole corn kernels to the rest of the ingredient before baking.
    This came out very good. I covered with foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking so it wouldnt brown too much. Ommited the vanilla, but everything else the same.
    We loved it.

  6. My family has made corn pudding for Thanksgiving ever since I was small. We make it without the cinnamon and vanilla. We use a can of cream corn mixed in with the regular corn. An additional thing we like to do is to make a cracker crust on top when it is baked. We use saltine crackers mixed with melted butter. Probably could use unsalted crackers and adjust seasoning on your own. My entire family can not ever go without it for that holiday.

  7. Unfortunately, I have this in the oven now, and there is definitely a step missing. It is not rising at all. It is like soup.

  8. Finally a good baked corn recipe not using corn muffin mix. This is a recipe I used for years from a church cookbook from Amish country PA. I have misplaced the cook book in a move years ago and have been trying to find one just like it. I think I have. We’ll see tomorrow with dinner

  9. suggestion… the wording about the ‘extra’ can of corn is confusing. I finally figured out that it’s extra relative to the original recipe (First I considered using 4 cans). I appreciate seeing the original recipe but it would be easier to follow if you removed the word ‘extra’.

    You listed 1 tbsp sugar twice.

    I’m excited to make this. I searched for a recipe that didn’t call for sour cream or heavy cream– too rich! this is just right

  10. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I was looking for an accompaniment for chili for dinner. I was out of cornmeal, and your recipe turned out moist, substantial and yummy. It has a wonderful aroma too, which makes the house even more inviting. I would use your recipe again. Differences: (I used 1/2 tsp salt, 1/3 scant cup sugar, and omitted honey. I added a pinch of nutmeg, but maybe I should’ve used 1/4 tsp, as I don’t detect the flavor.)

  11. Some of my favorite family recipes come from my grandmother’s Amish friends in Iowa. The corn pudding sounds amazingly delicious, and it really does feel like the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. I can’t wait to try it.

  12. This I definitely something my grandmother used to make every Sunday. I grew up with PADutch grandparents who were from Lancaster Co. & spoke PADutch (broken German) at home. This dish is very similar to what my Oma made minus the pepper. She always put just a little cinnamon & nutmeg along w/vanilla too:)

  13. Corn custard. AWFUL. Cooking time is off by 20 minutes unless y out like raw custard. Way too much salt awful. Corn doesn’t blend nicely with the custard. Just plain terrible. Never use this site again,

  14. 5 stars
    Not to be that guy… but being PennDutch does not equal tl belonging to an Anabaptist faith…Mennonite faiths (including Amish) were and still are the minority religion in the PennDutch. Most culinary creations were also not done by the Amish. We are one big and diverse community, but we are all PennDutch, whether “plain or fancy.”
    I recommend many titles written by Wiliam Weaver. He nailed our food, culture, and history quite well.
    Again, Sorry to be that guy, but many proud and still very “dutchy ” PennDutch people feel the need to slowly but surely lift this confusing veil over our culture and history… it’s a lot more rich and interesting than most realize! 🙂
    About corn pudding…. welshkaan budding schmeckts so gud! Definitely grew up with it and this recipe definitely showcases it’s flavor!
    Also, a little late, bit hallicher faastnacht daag – happy fastnacht day! Hope you had some faastnachtkuche (fasting night doughnut)!

    Machts gud!

    1. OMG thank you. I was thinking the same thing when I read that part. Penn Dutch people are NOT necessarily Amish or Mennonite. There certainly are Amish who are also Penn Dutch. But a lot of the Penn Dutch folks I know are actually Catholic or even atheist (including myself). It would be very appreciated if that part of the article section could be corrected.

    1. I do not recommend using an egg substitute…. Cant wait to try this using eggs though, its probably really good!

  15. I live in Lancaster County. We make that corn only slightly different. We do not use the last three ingredients and we mix our corn pudding in a food processor. We also put cornstarch into ours….not flour

  16. Have visited inlaws many years now in Manchester, pa. And have enjoyed all of the dishes mentioned except corn pudding. Am looking forward to trying corn pudding next visit. Love that part of the country, absolutely beautiful!

    1. Manchester is where I was born and raised! I’m surprised you haven’t had corn pudding yet. I think most locals call it “baked corn” in our area.

  17. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I made it today for Thanksgiving & everyone absolutely loved it. There was hardly any left! It will be on the menu again for sure. (found your site through Pinterest)

  18. It is so strange that I came across your post while doing a Pinterest search. I grew up in Perry County, Pennsylvania and I was looking for a corn pudding recipe to make for Thanksgiving! This one seems very similar to the one that my Nana used to make and I am very excited to try it out on my guinea pigs, I mean, my family. Thank you so much for the post and the beautiful history lesson on Central PA and the PA Dutch cooking style!

  19. There is nothing Amish about this or dutch. This is a staple in many peoples homes for the last century. It’s also a classic thanksgiving dish. Some people eat it more frequently, some people *love* it but only eat it once a year.

    You did not use corn meal in this. There should be some cornmeal. The cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar are non needed. Why salt and pepper? This is almost a desert, the salt will just dry it out, and I’m not sure if people like a pepper taste in a dish like this.

    I’m all for comfort food as some will put it. Fact is it’s a good dish that has been eaten by everyone since someone mixed corn with some flour and baked it. No need to sub label it as a distinct ethnic food.

    Happy eating

    1. It is a regional PA Dutch dish. We don’t use cornmeal and we do use salt and pepper and some people do use cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. The salt does not dry it out. You will see cornmeal and cheese used down south in the US. And in Mexico you may see chiles and tomatillos. If you study food history you will see that this is not the same throughout the world. 🙂

  20. I actually grew up “plain” in south central PA and this dish is a staple. We called it baked corn. Never use canned corn! Cut fresh corn off the cob in August and freeze to use for this dish during the winter months. Also would never use nutmeg or cinnamon in it. Brings back great memories as my grandmother tried to teach me to make it from scratch. I had to make her measure as she made it and write it down.

    The best treats from that area has to be the whoopie pies and mince meat pie:)

  21. I grew up in Harrisburg, PA and know the pleasures of PA food – including PA Dutch. Always have pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s day. My mom didn’t make corn pudding, but her chicken and dumplings were the best, and shoo fly pie – oh it makes me nostalgic. Glad to find your site.

    1. I grew up there too and even though I’m Italian, I loved the regional food. Tomorrow we are having pork and sauerkraut.
      I would love a good recipe for chicken and dumplings; that’s something I’ve not ever made, and I sure do miss my aunt’s chicken corn soup with rivels.
      Thanks for stopping by. Angela

  22. Thank you for posting my favorite side dish. The smells that come from the kitchen when baking this dish is amazing. The story you post is very interesting to me because I love to read famish romance novels; they clean and exciting novels.

  23. Spent the morning looking for a recipe for corn pudding that did NOT call for a can of creamed corn (none in my pantry) . . . SO glad I persevered to find your post and recipe! Now off to the kitchen to add this to the Thanksgiving/husband’s birthday cooking in progress . . . Thanks!

  24. This looks delicious! We are going to make this for my parent’s 50th anniversary party (we are a military family, so the “theme” is “all the places they’ve lived”, with a recipe from each place.) This recipe is going to represent Pennsylvania :> It’s going to be a big party—do you have an estimate on how many this recipe serves as a side dish? Thank you so much!!

  25. Lovely post! Also, many thanks to you for sharing this recipe. This is the corn pudding that I remember from my childhood. I grew up in Ky., and I’ve been searching for the corn pudding that my Grandmother made. (No creamed corn, cheese, or baking mix. ) Happy Thanksgiving!

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  28. Great post! I really enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing your memories. This corn pudding looks amazing. I need to get a bag of corn!

    1. Thanks Erina. This was one of my favorite posts to write. I felt led to walk down that memory and now I want to go back and visit and go to Lancaster county.

  29. Thanks so much for sharing the Pennsylvania Dutch culinary traditions! The corn pudding looks just heavenly, I would love to try it!

  30. Angela,
    So exciting! I have been wanting to make a corn pudding forever and here you are with this delicious traditional recipe. What a treasure. I want a bite from that last photo:)
    Happy Thanksgiving to you!
    -E

  31. A little cinnamon in a savory corn pudding sounds terrific! I have had this dish with South Western flavors (which make it feel summerish) but the taste here (I imagine) is all autumnal and warm. GREG

  32. This is a dish that a lot of our Southern family and friends live for (and would die for as well). There are some differences between our recipes, but at the end of the day, it’s just a creamy, sweet, starchy side dish that rarely makes it to leftover status the next day. Yum.

  33. I grew up in Western Maryland and am well familiar with Menonite and PA Dutch cooking! I know exactly what you mean about the comforting aspects of it … my mom always made corn pudding for Thanksgiving and I was lucky to get her recipe before she died. (One of the few things she made from scratch!) Yours looks delicious, totally craveworthy.

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