This creamy corn pasta with fresh basil is a bright meatless meal that's fast, simple, and makes the best effortless summer dinner! It's on the table in just half an hour.
Love summer pasta recipes? Try my Herb Butter Pasta.
Really simple creamy pasta with corn
I don't know about you, but I love impressing people with a pasta dish that looks fancy but is actually simple to make. This creamy pasta recipe has creamed corn vibes, and it's a great way to use up fresh summer corn! Hello, easy entertaining.
The sweetness of the corn in the cream sauce paired with cheesy parmesan goodness and the flavor punch of fresh basil... I'm in heaven. This pasta is basically summer in a bowl. It's filling yet light enough to enjoy on a lazy summer evening, and you'll find yourself making it again and again.
What you'll need
- Pasta - I used shells since I love how they're perfect little pockets for the sauce, but any shape is fine
- Butter and flour - to make a quick roux
- Garlic - always use fresh garlic. I used two cloves, but you're welcome to use more
- Chicken broth - to enhance the savory element of the sauce. Feel free to swap it out with vegetable broth or white wine!
- Lemon juice - for brightness and acidity
- Italian seasoning - it's a blend of dried Italian herbs that conveniently comes in a single jar. I include it in so many recipes since it's so versatile.
- Cream - heavy cream is best for the decadent sauce
- Corn - fresh summer corn cut off the cob is best, but frozen or canned corn totally works if you're craving this in the winter
- Parmesan - always grate your own block of parmesan for freshness and ideal texture
- Basil - fresh basil creates the perfect contrast to the creamy sauce
How to make creamy corn pasta
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Start by boiling some water for the pasta. When it's about 10 minutes from being ready, start the sauce. Melt the butter in a skillet, then add in the flour and make a quick roux.
- Stir in the garlic, followed by the broth (or use white wine), lemon juice, and Italian seasoning, then whisk in the cream and add the corn. Let it cook for a few minutes until it thickens up a bit.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese and basil and take the pan off the heat. Toss with the drained pasta and season with salt & pepper as needed!
Substitutions and variations
- Because of the acidity of the lemon, I don't recommend subbing out the heavy cream for something lower fat since it could easily curdle. You will also need to add more flour to the roux if you go that route since milk or half-and-half tend to yield thinner sauces that aren't as rich.
- Swap the broth for a dry white wine if you feel like opening a bottle. Try a pinot grigio, chardonnay, or sauvignon blanc.
- Have more fresh herbs in your garden? Throw 'em in!
What to serve with creamy corn pasta
- This pasta a meal in itself, but it would go well with some garlic bread or a slice of crusty bread. And a glass of wine on a patio with twinkle lights and good company. Ok, that's not strictly necessary.
- A side salad would be good too. Try this Super Simple Parmesan Arugula Salad or mixed greens with this Creamy Balsamic Dressing.
- It would also work great as a side dish. Pair it with these Garlic Butter Steak Bites!
Leftovers and storage
- Creamy corn pasta leftovers will keep for a few days in the fridge in a covered container, but keep in mind they will soak up the sauce a bit, and the basil will probably wilt.
- Reheat in a small saucepan over a low heat, using additional cream to give the sauce some new life if you like.
- Cream sauces don't freeze well, so avoid freezing leftovers.
Questions about this creamy corn pasta? Talk to me in the comments below!
Creamy Corn Pasta
- 8 ounces pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 tablespoon flour
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup chicken broth/veg broth or dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3/4 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1.5 cups corn (frozen or fresh) see note
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil torn/chopped
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
- When the pasta is about 10 minutes away from being done, add the butter to a skillet over medium heat. Once it melts, sprinkle the flour in and cook for a minute or two.
- Add in the garlic, followed by the broth, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning. Let it bubble for about 30 seconds.
- Whisk in the cream and then add the corn. Let the sauce cook for a few minutes until it has thickened to your liking.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese and basil. Take the skillet off the heat.
- Add the drained pasta to the skillet and toss until coated (add a tablespoon or so of the pasta water to the sauce prior to draining it, especially if it's become a tad too thick). Season with salt & pepper as needed (I am generous with both) and serve immediately.
- Frozen corn is partially cooked before it's frozen, and it will cook more in the sauce. If using fresh corn, you have 2 options: 1) Cut it off the cob and add it in as-is and it'll cook slightly (it'll have a bright and fresh flavor). 2) Boil the cobs beforehand then cut the corn off and add it to the pasta if you prefer it to be fully cooked.
- I don't recommend subbing the heavy cream for anything with a lower fat content (e.g. half-and-half or milk) because the lemon in the sauce may curdle it.
- This recipe will serve 2-3 hungry people or make 4 reasonably sized portions (like if it's served with an appetizer or side).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
I was looking for something to make with pasta and corn, and I happened to find your recipe. I made it as written, and it was wonderful! My family loved it. It will going into my regular rotation of recipes. Thank you!
Yay!! That makes me so happy, TJ!
Delicious!! I just made it for the first time and it was so good. I used white wine for the broth/wine component, 4 cloves of garlic, and canned unsalted corn (just drained out and dumped it in). So tasty and doesn’t require a lot of work, will definitely be making this again. Thanks!
Excellent! Glad it was a hit! 🙂 Thanks for your review, Kate!
Hi, do you thaw the frozen corn first or add it in still frozen? Thanks!
I just add it in frozen. Hope you like the recipe!
It turned out amazing!! I used coconut cream instead of regular heavy cream and it worked perfectly. The flavor was just so good! Thanks for the great recipe!
Great!! You're very welcome, Jenna!
This recipe was a hit for dinner! Added spinach with the corn for extra veggies and it was perfect. Definitely will make it again soon. SO tasty, easy, and quick for when I'm in a time bind.
Awesome!! I'm so glad it was a hit!
Had this for supper tonight and there’s none left. Made it exactly as written, and it was DELICIOUS. Can’t wait to make it again.
Yay!! I'm so happy to hear that!! 😀 Thanks for your review!
Tiffany Dale says
This is delish!
Thank you!! Glad you liked it!
This was so good, made exactly as the recipe called for and wouldn’t change a thing.
Fantastic!! Appreciate your review. 🙂
Super good! I used Cheese Ravioli for the pasta 🙂
Fabulous!! I'm glad you enjoyed it, Autumn!
made this last night but added hot sausage and used truffle noodles. it was absolutely amazing! fresh corn cut off the cob took it over the top!
Oooh now that sounds amazing!!
Cheryl P says
Alessandra Loiacono says
EXCELLENT!!!! Made this last night exactly as is, and OMG, it was DELICIOUS!!!! My daughter and husband inhaled!!!! The only problem is that it was all gone!!! LOL Definitely making this again this week!! Absolutely amazing pasta dish! And I love how simple, practical and fast it was! Thank you so very much, Natasha! Love your recipes! Do you have a book?
I'm so happy to hear that, Alessandra! Thank you for your kind comment. 🙂 I don't have a book at this point, but maybe someday!
Can this be made ahead and held? I want to make it for a gathering, but don't want to be making it while guests are here.
Hi! I haven't tried making this one ahead. My first instinct is to say that it won't be quite as good when it's warmed up. The basil will wilt a lot (and possibly turn a dark unsightly color), and cream sauces don't always reheat too well, unfortunately. You could try making it and adding the basil just before serving and warming it up slowly on a low heat. I usually do a test run before trying a new recipe on guests, so you may want to do that and see how it works out. Let me know!
Haley B says
I loved this recipe! It was so easy and quick and had so much flavor. I used extra basil because I am a big fan, and it was so summery with the basil and corn. I usually get tired of leftovers, but I ate every last bite of my leftovers of this dish. Will definitely be making this again!
I'm so pleased to hear this, Haley! 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!
Amanda G says
Should I cook the corn before I cut it off the cob? Or should I just cut it off and will
It cool in the sauce?
Hi Amanda, you're the second person to ask this, so I will clarify in the recipe notes. It's totally fine to eat corn raw straight off the cob. It'll cook partially in the sauce, leaving it with a bright, fresh flavor. If you prefer it to be fully cooked, then by all means boil it first. Hope you enjoy the recipe! 🙂
Hello. Love your recipes. Simple and quick.
Question about the corn/pasta one.
Do you first cook the fresh off the cob corn?
Seems like the few minutes its simmering will not do the job.
Hi Brett! Thank you!! I'd just throw it in as-is (it's totally fine to eat it completely raw even), but you could boil it first if you prefer. I hope you enjoy this recipe!