Corn fritters are a delicious summertime treat! Also known as corn cakes, these fluffy fritters are made with fresh corn, flour, eggs, and seasonings, then fried to golden perfection. They make a great appetizer, side dish, or even light main course.
What are Corn Fritters?
Corn fritters are a type of fried cornbread pancake made with corn, flour, and eggs. The batter contains grated or pulsed corn kernels, which provide both texture and sweet corn flavor. Other key ingredients include all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, milk, and eggs.
The batter is scooped and fried until crispy and golden brown on the outside while remaining soft and fluffy inside. Corn fritters are easy to make, customizable, and always a crowd-pleaser!
Corn Fritter Ingredients
The main ingredients needed to make delicious corn fritters are:
- Corn: fresh, frozen, or canned corn works. Grated or pulsed in a food processor.
- Flour: All-purpose flour acts as the binder. Cornmeal can also be used.
- Eggs: Eggs help bind the batter and provide structure.
- Milk: Milk or buttermilk adds moisture and tang.
- Baking powder helps the fritters rise with a light and fluffy texture.
- Salt and pepper: for seasoning the batter.
- Vegetable oil: for frying the fritters until crispy.
Tips for Making Perfect Corn Fritters
Here are some helpful tips for making the best corn fritters at home:
- Use fresh corn cut from the cob for the most flavor. Frozen or canned corn also works well.
- Grate or pulse the corn so there are both finely chopped and coarsely chopped pieces for texture.
- Don’t overmix the batter; just combine it until combined to avoid tough fritters.
- Chill the batter for 30 minutes to help the fritters hold their shape better when frying.
- Fry in batches at 350°F until deeply golden on both sides. Don’t crowd the pan.
- Let the fritters drain on a paper towel-lined plate. The paper towel absorbs excess grease.
- Season with salt and pepper right after frying, while the fritters are still hot.
- Serve corn fritters warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers and gently reheat them in the oven or toaster oven.
Serving and Storing Corn Fritters
- Corn fritters are best served fresh and warm, right after frying. Serve with condiments like honey, maple syrup, or your favorite dipping sauce.
- They can be kept warm in a 200°F oven on a wire rack set over a baking sheet if you are frying them in batches.
- To store, let completely cool, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3–4 days. Reheat in a 300°F oven or toaster oven until warmed through.
- You can also freeze baked corn fritters in a single layer on a baking sheet, transfer to a container or freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat directly from frozen.
Fresh Corn vs Canned
Here are some of the main differences between using fresh corn versus canned corn:
- Freshness: Fresh corn is, well, fresh. The sugars haven’t converted to starch yet, and it has a sweet, crisp texture when eaten right after picking. Canned corn has been processed and sits in the can, losing some freshness and flavor.
- Flavor: Fresh corn has a brighter, sweeter corn flavor. Canned corn can taste dull and starchy. The level of sweetness really drops off with canned goods.
- Texture: Fresh corn kernels have some crunch and juice when bitten into. Canned corn kernels are softer and mushier in texture.
- Appearance: The kernels and cornsilk visible on an ear of fresh corn contribute to its appetizing appearance. Canned corn looks paler and less vibrant.
- Nutrients: Fresh corn has higher levels of vitamins C and E, as some nutrients break down over the canning process.
- Convenience: Canned corn is ready to use straight from the can. Fresh corn takes more time to purchase, shuck, and chop the kernels off the cob.
- Price: Canned corn is typically cheaper to purchase than fresh corn by the ear or loose kernels.
So in summary, fresh corn has superior flavor and texture, but canned corn can work well for some recipes where appearance and budget are priorities over flavor. Adjust cooking times for the softer canned corn kernels.
Some tasty ways to vary corn fritters:
- Add minced jalapeño and cheddar for spicy cheese fritters.
- Use creamed corn for extra-creamy fritters.
- Add chopped green onion, bell pepper, or zucchini for veggie fritters.
- Stir in cooked bacon pieces or sausage crumbles for a heartier fritter.
- Substitute masa harina, or cornmeal, for a more cornbread-like texture.
- Top with avocado slices, pico de gallo, sour cream, or salsa verde.
The possibilities are endless for customizing corn fritters to your taste!
Get answers to the most common questions about making delicious corn fritters at home:
What kind of corn works best for fritters?
Fresh corn cut right from the cob has the sweetest flavor, but frozen or canned corn also works well. Avoid using dried corn, as it changes the texture.
Do I need to remove the corn skins?
No, keeping the skins on provides texture and visual appeal. Just be sure to grate or pulse the kernels so there is a range of coarse to fine pieces.
Can I use cornmeal instead of flour?
Yes, you can substitute fine cornmeal for the all-purpose flour. The fritters will have a stronger corn flavor and a heartier texture. Reduce any other seasonings slightly to balance.
Why does the batter need to chill?
Chilling firms up the starch molecules in the flour, so the fritters hold their shape better during frying. Even 30 minutes makes a difference. The corn will also absorb more moisture.
What oil is best for frying corn fritters?
A neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil works well. Olive oil can also be used, but it has a lower smoke point. Avoid frying at too high heat to prevent burning.
How do I avoid greasy fritters?
Frying at the proper temperature, 350°F, prevents them from absorbing too much oil. Letting them drain on paper towels also helps absorb excess grease.
Can I bake the fritters instead of frying them?
Yes, for a lower-fat version, drop spoonfuls of batter onto a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 18–20 minutes. They won’t be quite as crispy, but they’ll still be delicious!
How to Make Corn Fritters Step-By-Step
- 2 cups of fresh, frozen, or canned corn kernels
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1⁄2 cups of whole milk or buttermilk
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Grate the corn on the large holes of a box grater or pulse in a food processor until broken down into a mix of fine and coarse pieces.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Create a well in the center.
- Add the eggs and milk to the well and whisk together just until combined. Gently fold in the corn pieces. Avoid overmixing.
- Cover and refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes. This allows the flour to hydrate and makes the fritters crispier.
- Pour oil to a depth of 1 inch in a skillet and heat to 350°F. Carefully drop the batter by the tablespoon, without crowding, into the hot oil.
- Fry for 2–3 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Immediately season with salt and pepper. Enjoy it warm or at room temperature.
- Make sure the corn kernels are grated or pulsed to get the right texture in the batter.
- Be very gentle when mixing the batter to avoid overmixing and tough fritters.
- Chilling the batter for at least 30 minutes firms it up for frying.
- Carefully drop batter by tablespoonfuls into hot oil to ensure fritters keep their shape.
- Adjust baking powder and salt based on the thickness of the fritters and personal taste preferences.
- Adding some masa harina, or cornmeal, makes the corn flavor more pronounced.
- Fritters are best served right after frying while hot and crisp.
- Try fun flavor variations like Mexican street corn or bacon cheddar fritters.
- To freeze, cool completely, then freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet before storing.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.