Fried Corn

published Jun 6, 2022
Fried Corn Recipe

This classic Southern side dish can be made with olive oil instead of bacon grease if you’d prefer to keep it vegetarian.

Serves4 to 6

Prep25 minutes

Cook10 minutes to 13 minutes

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Southern fried corn in a skillet
Credit: Maria Do

Fresh corn on the cob is one of my favorite summer harvests. It’s naturally sweet flavor makes it a breeze to cook, and the irresistible sound of kernels popping when they’re cut off the cob is music to my ears. Southern-style fried corn is a deliciously simply recipe that excels in maintaining those kernels’ natural sweetness. 

Despite what it sounds like, fried corn is not deep-fried corn on the cob. Fried corn is a homey dish where fresh corn kernels are cooked in a cast iron skillet with bacon fat and butter. It’s reminiscent of creamed corn, minus the cream and the can. 

This recipe only requires a few ingredients and one skillet. Shucking the corn is the hardest part of this recipe, and to make that even easier, I’ve included several tips to keep the process clean and efficient. I recommend prepping the corn cobs entirely in your sink (de-husking and cutting) to make cleanup super easy. Once the cobs are de-husked, I also suggest keeping the stems on the ends so you have something to hold while you cut the kernels off. 

An important part of the cutting process is making sure you get the entire kernel, including the parts that are leftover after you make the initial cuts. To do this, flip your knife over to its dull side and scrape all of the remaining kernels out. All of this extra creamed corn will add great texture and flavor to your dish. 

Credit: Maria Do

How to Fry Sweet Corn

Fried corn is made by pan-frying sweet corn cob kernels in bacon fat and butter in a cast iron skillet. 

What Kind of Corn Do You Use for Fried Corn?

Fried corn is best made with fresh corn on the cob that’s sweet and firm. Frozen corn kernels can also be used. 

How to Store Fried Corn

Refrigerate fried corn in an airtight container for up to five days.

Fried Corn Recipe

This classic Southern side dish can be made with olive oil instead of bacon grease if you’d prefer to keep it vegetarian.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes to 13 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 8 ears

    fresh corn, or 6 cups frozen corn kernels (do not thaw)

  • 1/2

    medium yellow onion

  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons

    bacon fat

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut 1/2 medium yellow onion into small dice. Shuck 8 ears corn. Cut the kernels from the cobs into a large bowl (about 6 cups). Scrape the back of the knife along the cobs to extract the remaining starches into the bowl. If using frozen corn kernels, measure out 6 cups.

  2. Heat a 12-inch or larger cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, and 2 tablespoons bacon fat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are lightly browned and translucent, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add the corn, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Cook until the corn is tender, 5 to 7 minutes for fresh or 8 minutes for frozen.

Recipe Notes

Bacon fat: Bacon fat adds a lot of important flavor to this dish. To make bacon fat at home, bake 6 to 8 thick bacon strips on an aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet at 400ºF for about 20 minutes. Collect the drippings from the bottom of the pan.

Bacon fat substitute: 2 tablespoons avocado, olive, or canola oil can be used in place of the bacon fat for a vegetarian alternative.