This Old-Fashioned Tool Makes the Best Creamed Corn

A favorite Southern dish with side of nostalgia.

cream corn tool
Photo: Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

In 1939, a Texas inventor named J.B. Lee came up with a tool that made creaming corn incredibly quick and easy. Not only was the gadget convenient, cooks also soon found its unique cutting method took creamed corn to a different level.

There are many recipes for Southern creamed corn. Most versions have some take on whole kernels cooked down with cream or milk, flour, bacon grease or butter, onion, spices or sugar, all in search of the velvety consistency that we associate with the dish. However, the beauty of creamed corn made with this old-fashioned tool is the simplicity: An addition of a pat or two of butter and a little salt, plus a little bit of low heat for just a few minutes yields a silky, smooth creamed corn beyond compare.

Manufactured to this day in Tennessee by the Lee Manufacturing Company, Lee's Corn Cutter and Creamer makes use of a patented shredding blade tucked in the middle of a long channel that is perfectly sized for a shucked ear.

Set across a dish to catch everything, it's effortless to slide the corn, turning to get each sweet morsel. The blade cuts the tip of the corn and scrapes the milk from the cob, coaxing out the sweet essence and leaving the kernel's hard parts behind. By making use of the best parts of the corn, the result is nothing short of Southern kitchen magic.

After all the corn is processed, it goes in a skillet on your stovetop's lowest temperature. Since there's very little hull in the corn that comes out of the shredder, it's important to constantly stir to keep it from burning. The longer you cook, the more the natural sugar converts to starch, limiting that highly desirable taste of sweet creamed corn.

The tool is also versatile. With a few quick adjustments to lower the blade and remove the shredder, the device cuts perfect rows of whole kernels, perfect for a dish of Southern Fried Corn or a batch of Sweet and Spicy Corn Soup.

The corn cutter and creamer quietly built a cult following over the years, with mentions in major publications. NYT Cooking featured it, as did Esquire Magazine after Chef Michael Mina recommended it for his Jalapeño Creamed Corn.

The original product was made from wood, but a concern for cleaning and durability made a stainless steel version just as popular. Other companies like Norpro manufacture a similar product and sell it on Amazon, but Lee's Corn Cutter is priced a little lower. It runs around $14.95 for a wooden creamer and $19.95 for stainless steel.

Any variety of fresh corn can be used, but keep in mind a sweet, seasonal variety like Silver Queen can make an already delicious side dish reach epic status. If you'd like a recipe to use with your new tool, this one for Creamed Silver Queen Corn is easy to use.

If you're inspired by J.B. Lee's story, the Lee Manufacturing Company accepts ideas for new kitchen tools from aspiring inventors looking to develop the next best kitchen idea. Keep in mind, you'd have to work exceptionally hard to beat this old-fashioned invention for incredible creamed corn.

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