Follow these tips to perfect this classic Southern side dish.

Corn pudding is a traditional part of a Southern Thanksgiving spread, but this decadent side dish is so good you shouldn't limit yourself to enjoying it once a year. Made with corn, eggs, heavy cream, butter, and a few pantry staples like sugar, baking powder, and flour, it's much more than the sum of its humble parts. This golden, fluffy casserole can even serve as the centerpiece of a meal, especially if you add ham, bacon, or sausage. However you like to serve it, follow these tips to up your corn pudding game.

Use Fresh Corn—If It's In Season

Corn can make or break this recipe. If it's in season, nothing beats the super sweet flavor and tender texture of fresh corn. Cut the corn from the cob into a mixing bowl by slicing from the top of the ear downward. Don't go too close to the cob; cut only half the kernel, then scrape off the rest with the back of the knife. If it's the dead of winter and you don't have any fresh corn stocked away in the freezer, opt for canned or store-bought frozen corn, which is generally harvested at its peak.

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Choose Whipping or Heavy Cream

When done right, corn pudding should have a rich, custardy texture. While some corn pudding recipes call for milk, but for the most decadent results, use whipping or heavy cream.

Add Dry Ingredients Gradually

Once you have whisked together the eggs, whipping cream, and melting butter in a large bowl, gradually add the dry ingredients, whisking until smooth. This will ensure that they are thoroughly incorporated and give the dish a smoother texture.

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Don't Overbake It

Corn pudding should have a soft, soufflé-like texture, not be dry and firm like cornbread. When the pudding is done baking, it should be golden brown around the edges and slightly jiggly in the center. Test for doneness by inserting a knife into the center of the pudding—it should come out clean.