Corn cheese is exactly what it sounds like: corn and cheese. The two are mixed with a bit of mayo to create a creamy, cheesy, and crunchy side dish that’s super popular at Korean BBQ restaurants and easy enough to make at home.
This recipe is as easy as it sounds—mix all the ingredients together and heat until the cheese is melted. I like to incorporate a bit of parmesan cheese for extra salty savoriness, and a sprinkle of gochugaru and green onions for spice and color. It’s so simple to put together that it makes for a fantastic side dish for any meal.
Though it isn’t traditional to eat with Korean BBQ, it’s a must-have, especially since it pairs so well with soju (a clear distilled Korean spirit often enjoyed with BBQ) as an anju, drinking food in Korean.
Corn is prevalent in many Korean dishes, which may seem odd considering sweet corn is not native to the country. The type of corn that was traditionally grown in Korea is savory and chewier than the bright yellow ears we find in the U.S.
Through Western influence, sweet corn has become super popular in Korea as a topping on pizza, in flavored corn milk, or in crunchy puffed corn crackers. If you can’t find fresh corn, I encourage you to use canned corn.
How to Cook Corn Cheese
Many Korean BBQ grill pans have wells around the perimeter specifically for cooking corn cheese—the cheese slowly melts while the meat grills.
If you don’t have a grill pan, use a small cast iron skillet or nonstick pan on the stove, or an oven-safe casserole dish and melt the corn cheese in the oven. You can also broil or blow torch the cheese topping for extra smokiness.
Other variations I like:
- Toss in diced onions or bell peppers for extra color and crunch
- Mix in cubed Spam or diced bacon to add a smoky and savory flavor
Prepare the corn:
Shuck the corn, removing the husks and silks.
Set a large, shallow bowl in the sink. Hold a shucked ear of corn by the stalk end and position it upright with the tapered end steadied against the bottom of the bowl. Use a sharp knife to shave the corn kernels from the cob, working in long strips down towards the bottom of the bowl.
Mix the corn cheese:
Add the corn to a small nonstick or cast iron skillet, or into the well of a Korean BBQ pan, and mix in the Parmesan, mayonnaise, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 teaspoon gochugaru, green onions, and salt.
Melt the corn cheese:
Place the skillet over low heat, stirring until the cheese melts. Turn off the heat, and top with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon gochugaru. Cover the skillet with a lid for a few minutes until the cheese is melted, and serve immediately.
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