A little known fact about canned creamed corn, which is made from corn kernels, water, salt and a thickening agent, is that it doesn't contain cream. It's true - there's no cream in creamed corn. It's widely believed the name was derived from the liquid contents of the corn kernels when they're cut off the cob. Now that we've uncovered canned creamed corn's true identity, let's get into its many delectable uses. Creamed corn is versatile, used in soups, casseroles mixed with onions and bacon or as a standalone side dish. So what you substitute for creamed corn depends on how it's used.
Frozen or Fresh Corn
If the flavor of corn is the most important factor in your dish you can use an equal amount of fresh or frozen corn instead. Add the corn at the beginning of the cooking process to give it a chance to cook through. If you want to mimic the sauciness of creamed corn, put the fresh or frozen corn in a food processor first, giving it a whirl or two to break up the kernels. Then add 1/2 cup of milk and 1 tsp. of cornstarch. The cornstarch will thicken the juices released from the corn and the milk.
Use a cream soup in a flavor that complements the final dish. For example, cream of celery soup or mushroom soup work as a substitute for canned creamed corn in shepherd's pie, a combination of seasoned ground meat moistened by creamed corn and topped with mashed potatoes. A chicken chowder soup works for a dish that includes chicken. Some soups are condensed, which means you need to use half as much soup as the creamed corn and equal amounts of water or milk. Otherwise, the dish may turn out too salty.
Cream sauce is simply milk, salt and flour. A thin white sauce is 1/2 tbsp. of flour to 1 cup of milk, half-and-half or cream. Gravy consistency cream sauce is made with 1 tbsp. of flour to 1 cup of cream. Whisk the flour into the liquid then heat until the mixture slowly boils for two minutes. Use the white sauce to replace creamed corn when you don't need or want the flavor of corn.
Make your own creamed corn from scratch. Chop up two slices of bacon and fry until crisp. Toss in a chopped onion and saute over medium heat for three or four minutes. Then add two cups of frozen or fresh corn, letting everything cook for another three or four minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup of milk or cream. Finally salt and pepper to taste.