Give the ultimate comfort food a summertime update! Summer Corn Mac and Cheese is the perfect celebration of this bounty of the season.
Macaroni and cheese can be elegant and elevated such as my Pear and Roquefort Macaroni and Cheese or it can be the perfect family friendly treat. This version makes one of the summer’s most beloved produce the star of the show. Whether you’re looking for a dish to bring to your next barbecue or something to serve for Labor Day, this is sure to be a hit.
With just a few simple ingredients you probably already have, this creamy baked Summer Corn Mac and Cheese comes together with minimal effort.
- Shell Pasta – This shape of pasta is idea for capturing and hugging all of the sweet kernels of corn.
- Bacon – Bacon adds a smoky, savory, and salty component that compliments the sweetness of the corn.
- Garlic – The savory and aromatic flavor of garlic balances the richness of the cheese sauce.
- Fresh Corn – Fresh corn adds both natural sweetness as well as the pop of texture to each bite.
- Jalapeno – A little minced jalapeno adds a sassy kick that compliments the sweet corn and balances the richness.
- Salt and Pepper – With fresh and bold flavors, you don’t need much extra seasoning to accent this creamy macaroni and cheese.
- Cumin – Earthy, a little citrusy, and deeply aromatic, cumin adds a depth of flavor to this mac and cheese that will have you going back for another bite.
- Heavy Cream – Skip making a roux for a béchamel sauce. Heavy cream naturally thickens as it reduces and helps emulsify the cheese into the sauce.
- Cheddar Cheese – The undisputed queen of macaroni and cheese, cheddar adds that familiar flavor to every bite.
How to Make Summer Corn Mac and Cheese
Unlike many macaroni and cheese recipes that require making a roux, this creamy and delicious mac and cheese comes together with minimal effort. You will be serving up this creamy mac in less than an hour!
Time needed: 1 hour
You’ll never reach for the boxed mac again once you make this fresh, easy, and delicious macaroni and cheese.
Cook your pasta according to the package directions and allow it to drain well. Cook your bacon until crispy and remove it from the pan.
Add your garlic, jalapeno, and fresh corn into the pan and allow them to sauté in the bacon drippings. Cook for five minutes, allowing the corn to cook through but keep its crunchy texture.
- Getting Saucy
Pour the heavy cream into the pan and add your cheese. Whisk until the cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened.
- Cheese Please
Add your shells and bacon into the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Pour the macaroni and cheese into an oven safe baking dish. Top with extra cheese
Bake your Summer Corn Mac and Cheese for 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and it is bubbly.
- Frozen Corn – If fresh corn is not in season, this same recipe can be made with frozen corn that has been defrosted.
- Pasta Shape – Use your favorite shape of pasta for this macaroni and cheese recipe. You want one that will allow the sauce to cling to it while also capturing the corn kernels.
- Spicy – Give your baked macaroni and cheese an extra kick by replacing the jalapeno pepper with a serrano pepper.
- Gluten Free – Use your favorite Gluten Free pasta to make this recipe Gluten Free. Because there is no flour in the sauce, the sauce itself is already gluten free.
- Herbaceous – Add fresh minced cilantro to your finished mac and cheese for a bright and herbaceous pop.
- Stockpot – You need a stockpot large enough to boil your pasta in.
- Colander – Make sure your pasta is very well drained before adding it to your sauce so you don’t water it down and dilute it.
- Skillet – Pick a skillet that is big enough for adding your pasta and mixing your sauce.
- Oven Safe Baking Dish – This creamy macaroni and cheese gets finished in the oven. Pick an oven safe baking dish or a cast iron skillet.
Top Tip for Summer Corn Mac and Cheese
When it comes to making anything with grated cheese, you always want to hand grate your cheese. Pre-grated cheese has a powdery coating on it that prevents it from sticking together, but also gives it a grainy and lumpy texture when it’s melted. Take the extra time and grate your cheese.
Summer Corn Mac and Cheese
- 1 stockpot
- 1 colander
- 1 large skillet
- 1 oven safe baking dish or cast iron skillet
- 8 oz shell pasta
- 6 strips bacon, chopped
- 2 cups fresh corn
- 1 jalapeno, diced, remove seeds for less heat if desired
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated, plus extra for topping
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cook your pasta according to the package directions for al dente and then drain well.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon. Allow it to cook until crispy and then remove from the pan to a paper towel lined plate.
- Add the garlic, jalapenos, and fresh corn to the bacon drippings and sauté for 5 minutes until the corn is cooked through but still crisp.
- Add in the heavy cream and shredded cheese. Whisk until the cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened.
- Add the bacon and pasta into the sauce. Stir to combine.
- Pour the macaroni and cheese into an oven safe baking dish. Top with extra shredded cheese.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown and the mac and cheese is bubbly.