And why you should make it tonight.

Hector Manuel Sanchez

When sidling up to a Southern buffet, we’re never sure how it will be presented, but we can always count on the presence of hot corn. Southern hot corn takes several forms—it can be a dip, a casserole, or a relish-style side. In every preparation, though, there are two constants: It just isn’t a classic Southern hot corn dish without corn and heat. (Or heat and corn, depending on your preferred spice quotient.) This is a formidable duo that can jazz up any Southern dinner, especially when the corn is in season and it’s cooked up fresh from the farmer’s market. Below, check out a few of the hot corn preparations we’ll be working into our menus this season.

Our favorite style of hot corn comes from the pages of Southern Living, and it’s this recipe for Corn and Jalapeño Dip. The dish is creamy and spicy, a slow-cooker marvel with an ideal sweet-heat balance. Also, because it’s made in the slow cooker, you can set it and forget until time to garnish and dig in.

The Pioneer Woman also makes a delicious Hot Corn Dip that bakes up a big batch and is notorious for disappearing as soon as it’s placed on the table. You can prepare it ahead of time and are free to use whatever corn you have on hand, as both fresh and frozen varieties work with this recipe.

Betty Crocker has an easy recipe for Hot and Spicy Corn that takes the form of a side which you can serve in a bowl with a spoon for mealtime scooping. This recipe calls for frozen corn, sun-dried tomatoes, chipotle chiles, and salt. Corn and heat, heat and corn—this culinary combo will never lead you astray.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for delicious corn dishes sans heat, check out our recipes for Tee’s Corn Pudding and Golden Corn Fritters.

WATCH: Tee's Corn Pudding

What’s your go-to preparation for classic Southern hot corn? There’s just something about that blend of spicy and sweet that we can’t get enough of.