Monday, November 4, 2019

Dairy Free Corn Casserole (Small Batch Thanksgiving)

Dairy Free Corn Casserole (Small Batch Thanksgiving)

This recipe makes a light (and dairy free) corn casserole. Skip the boxed mix and control your own ingredients!

close up of a Thanksgiving plate laden with side dishes including dairy free corn pudding casserole

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I am all about inclusion. Is that because I have a disabled kid? Because I love people who are LGBTQ? Because I share meals with folks who have different eating styles? Because I have lived in a country where I was a minority? I dunno. The result is that I strive to make everyone feel welcome at my table.

close up of a spoonful of dairy free corn pudding casserole

That doesn't mean I choose the lowest common denominator. My octogenarian house is accessible for my son but not for his sled hockey teammates. I won't plan an entirely meatless Thanksgiving meal for the lone vegetarian at the table--but I will choose vegetable stock over chicken stock in stuffing or in my Silken Turnip and Potato Soup so that more of the dishes on offer are appropriate for the folks who come together to share the meal.

This recipe combines roasted corn and caramelized onions in a light (and dairy free) corn pudding. Perfect for Thanksgiving or holiday dinners.

This recipe came about because of two things:  my conflicting desires to have a lot of side dishes and a small batch Thanksgiving, coupled with my neighbor hosting her extended family for the holiday and having less control over the food on her table. Her son has a severe dairy and nut allergy, and even well-meaning relatives don't always think it through.
"There's no milk or nuts in these Rice Krispie Treats!"  "Did you butter the pan?"
"Yes! Oh . . . I didn't think of that." 
Since I was thinking it through, and wanted the challenge of re-imagining a corn pudding without using a box of corn muffin mix, I offered to bring over a dairy free corn casserole for her table.

I figured I could divvy the mixture between 2 dishes so that we'd get variety in our side dishes while she'd get another dish that she knew was safe for her son.

This recipe combines roasted corn and caramelized onions in a light (and dairy free) corn pudding. Perfect for Thanksgiving or holiday dinners.

When we get corn in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share, I have my kids shuck it and get it cooked as soon as I can. [I am not always successful in this goal, but it remains the goal.]

The Instant Pot has been a game changer in our household--ears of corn cook just 2 minutes under pressure and the kitchen stays cool!  We'll enjoy some on the cob, but the rest I cut off the cob and freeze. This provides me with room in the fridge/crisper during the abundant summer months as well as a supply of local foods during the winter months.

image of a spoonful of dairy free corn pudding casserole with roasted corn and caramelized onions

For more Thanksgiving recipes, I made a Clickable Collage of 10 Favorite Thanksgiving recipes. For more recipes using corn, please see my Recipes Using Corn Collection. It's part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.

I'm sharing more recipes on my Pinterest boards, follow me there. If you like a good peek behind the scenes like I do, follow me on Instagram. Need a good read? I'm sharing articles of interest on my Facebook page, follow me there. Want to know How to Use This Blog?

Ok, so while looking over the old photos I had to laugh. This was how I used to separate eggs, back before I got a job as a prep cook. Now I'm separating a dozen or more eggs at a time, and I grab a pair of gloves and just use my hands. I still remember how silly I felt on my first day, when I didn't really know how to separate eggs without a tool. So I'm sharing this to show how far I've come. And to show the gorgeous yolk color of a locally-produced egg.

separating eggs for dairy free corn pudding casserole

Note:  This casserole is not very "small batch" like the rest of my Small Batch Thanksgiving recipes. If you only want a small portion, I'd suggest seeking out a source to receive the rest of your batch. Maybe another family has a dairy free guest for the holiday. Perhaps a soup kitchen has guests with dairy allergies. I can tell you that the leftovers reheated well, so there's always that option.
Another Note: I call for caramelized onions. I'm partial to Dorothy's slow cooker method of caramelizing onions, and make a large amount that I freeze in small portions for uses just like this. However, if you want to chop up about ⅓ to ½ cup of onions and sauté them until translucent that would be an excellent substitute for caramelized onions. Those can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a couple of days until you're ready to assemble the casserole.

If you've got any kind of frozen corn, that will work just fine in this recipe. You don't have to roast it.

ingredients for dairy free corn pudding casserole

This recipe is inspired by one in Savor Maryland's Flavor, Food Experiences with 4H Friends ©1989 Maryland 4H Club Foundation, Debbie Chambers, Allegany County.

Make Ahead Tips:

  • You can streamline the prep for Thanksgiving by chopping the 2 cups of corn and cooking the onions ahead of time and storing in the fridge. (Same with the onions you're cooking for your stuffing!) 
  • You could even separate the eggs ahead of time, storing the yolks in one container and the whites in another in the fridge. 
  • However, this recipe should go into the oven within 30 minutes of being assembled--so it's one of the last sides I put together while the turkey is in the oven on Thanksgiving day.


sneaking bites of turkey while I photograph dairy free corn pudding casserole
Behind the scenes: as I was taking photos, my girl was sneaking some turkey.

This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated and republished.


  1. Thanksgiving is coming up, isn't it? I feel so unprepared. Thanks for the recipes. It seems like you have a lot to juggle, and it's amazing how you're able to work around it all.

    1. Thank you! I'm a planner at heart, which helps a ton.