Old-fashioned Canned Corn Custard, Mexican Style

corn custard in casserole dish

Today I often hear that fresh fruit and vegetables are best – and that canned vegetables aren’t as tasty. This differs from a hundred years ago when canned vegetables were considered a “modern” way of preserving food.

I recently came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Canned Corn Custard, Mexican Style that intrigued me, and – though knowing that canned corn is not trendy – decided to give it a try. Perhaps part of what intrigued me was the claim that this was an internationally-inspired recipe. Was it really Mexican style? – or did the recipe author just think that a humble dish seemed more enticing if it was billed as an internationally-inspired food?

I’m glad that I gave this recipe a chance. The Corn Custard was rich and silky, and brought back warm, fuzzy memories of family gatherings many years ago when a similar dish was served.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: American Cookery (January, 1919)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Canned Corn Custard, Mexican Style

  • Servings: 7 - 9
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1 pint corn (15-ounce can corn) – I used creamed style corn.

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Melt butter in a skillet using medium heat. Put chopped onion and green pepper in skillet; saute until tender.

In the meantime, in a bowl, stir together eggs, milk, corn, salt, and paprika; pour mixture into the skillet with the onions and green peppers while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the mixture is hot and steamy. Remove from heat and pour into a well-greased 2-quart casserole dish.

Place a pan of hot water (the water should be about 1/2 inch deep) in the oven. (I used an old aluminum baking sheet with sides for the pan.) Then set the casserole dish with the corn mixture in the water. Bake until the corn custard is firm in the center and lightly browned. The length of time this dish needs to cook will vary depending upon the depth of the casserole dish. (When I made this recipe, it took about 45 minutes for corn custard to get firm.) Remove Corn Custard from oven. (I left the pan with the hot water in the oven until it cooled to avoid the risk of burning myself.)

44 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Canned Corn Custard, Mexican Style

  1. I love corn puddings and scalloped corn, and this sounds healthier than the one with cornbread and sour cream that’s been so popular the past few years. I mostly don’t use canned vegetables, except for tomatoes, but there are some good brands of canned corn that are good.

    1. I don’t think that I’ve ever had the cornbread and sour cream version of scalloped corn. When I make scalloped corn, I use the recipe in a Betty Crocker Cookbook that I received as a wedding shower gift years ago.

      1. My friend who started making it for every holiday dinner said the same thing. Even better, it can be made the day before. Just take it out of the fridge, bring it to room temperature, and put it in the oven to warm. No muss, no fuss.

  2. “Mexican Style” means add peppers? Your analysis for their “marketing” efforts is spot on in my opinion! 🙂

    Just this week, one of my Korean colleagues made corn custard and brought me some. “Silky” is a great description. It was new to her (corn custard–she did not use the “International version”). I had not thought about corn custard, nor eaten it, in years, and it was delicious.

    1. The recipes that I find from a hundred years ago generally contain relatively small amounts of spices or peppers, so I think that you’re right that “Mexican Style” may have referred to the green peppers.

    1. Similarly to you, scalloped corn was a favorite at church dinners and family reunions when I was growing up in Pennsylvania. (I think that difference between corn custard and scalloped corn is that the dish of corn custard is put in a pan of hot water while baking, and for scalloped corn the baking dish is not put in hot water). It almost seems like a comfort food.

  3. I have my grandmother’s recipe for scalloped corn that is very similar to this one. And suddenly, it being a cold winter’s day, I’m hungry that scalloped corn. 😋

  4. This looks and sounds so yummy! It really does look creamy. I think this would be a great dish to replace corn ‘pudding’ as they call it, that is never creamy and more like bread stuffing. This may show up on my Easter dinner table. 🙂

    1. The way the recipe calls for putting the baking dish in a pan of hot water while it cooks results in a creamier and more custard-like dish than the typical recipe. The hot water bath slows how quickly the Corn Custard becomes firm, resulting in a creamier dish. This would make a nice dish for Easter.

    1. It’s nice to hear that you enjoy seeing the recipes I select. I generally make recipes that seem interesting to me for one reason or another. It might look like a recipe that I think that my family might enjoy . . . or I might not be able to quite picture what the dish would look like and decide to give it a try. . .

    1. It’s nice to hear that you enjoy it. I really enjoy making the hundred-year-old recipes. I’m often surprised by how many of them remind me of the mid-century recipes that our families regularly made.

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