Published Aug 10, 2021•Updated Apr 07, 2023
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Hot and crispy corn fritters have crisp golden brown edges and tender bites of cheesy corn kernels on the inside. Top them with tangy sour cream and chopped green onions for an easy side dish, appetizer, or enjoy as part of a vegetarian dinner.
Fresh corn is hands down one of the best flavors of the summer. The juicy kernels that ‘pop’ in your mouth, the vibrant yellow color, and the addictive sweet taste. Don’t you wish it was corn season all year long?!
And when you want something besides corn fresh off the cobs, corn fritters are a favorite. This easy recipe comes together with just a few kitchen staples, and you can make it year round with frozen corn instead of fresh. When these sweet corn cakes come hot off the skillet, they are hard to resist. Thankfully, doubling this recipe is pretty simple, so you can have a stack of these fritters ready in no time.
What are corn fritters?
Corn fritters are lightly fried cakes made from a batter that is a mix of fresh sweet corn kernels and yellow cornmeal. This tasty dish originated in the Native American culture, which has been using maize (corn) for generations, but has since spread around the world, and for good reason. Sweet corn fritters make the perfect appetizer or snack, and they’re easy to make.
Corn fritters can be deep fried, but it’s simple enough to shallow fry them in a skillet using less oil.
How to Make Corn Fritters
- Make the batter. Stir all of the dry ingredients and the cheese together in a large bowl. Fold in corn kernels.
- Adjust the thickness of the batter. Add the water slowly to achieve the right consistency. You want the batter to be just thick enough so that it spreads out slightly when scooped and poured back into the bowl.
- Prep the skillet. Heat oil in a large skillet. Scoop even portions of the corn mixture into the hot skillet.
- Cook the fritters. Cook 3 to 5 minutes per side. The fritters should be golden brown and crisp.
- Serve and enjoy! Serve immediately with sour cream and green onions on top.
- White or Yellow Cheddar Cheese – Cheddar cheese melts into the cooked fritter for deliciously cheesy bites. Mild, medium, and sharp cheddar will all work.
- Yellow Cornmeal – Yellow corn meal thickens and binds the corn fritter batter together. Use a fine cornmeal so the batter doesn’t get gritty.
- All-Purpose Flour – Basic binding ingredient.
- Baking Powder – Adding baking powder to fried foods will help you achieve a perfectly crisp exterior.
- Kosher Salt – This recipe was made using Kosher salt, but if you use table salt, reduce your salt by half, because table salt has a higher amount of sodium than Kosher salt. If using Diamond Kosher Salt, increase by about 25%. Be sure to taste as you go to get just the right amount of salt for you and your family.
- Paprika – Mild, but slightly sweet spice that adds depth to the fritters.
- Corn Kernels – Fresh or frozen corn can be used in this recipe. Swing by your local farmers market and take advantage of the abundant fresh ears of corn during the summer months.
- Water – For the perfect batter consistency.
- Cooking Oil – When frying foods like these sweet corn cakes, use a high-heat cooking oil to prevent smoking in the pan. Neutral flavors like avocado, grapeseed, or vegetable oil work great.
- Sour Cream – Tangy sour cream is completely optional, but goes so well with the sweet corn and paprika flavors.
- Green Onions – For a nice fresh topping. Again, totally optional depending on how you like your corn fritters.
- Try to avoid crowding the skillet so the fritters don’t stick together.
- Don’t be afraid to add a little more oil to the pan as you’re cooking to prevent the batter from sticking to the skillet.
- While these can be reheated, they’ll be the most crispy when served right after cooking.
- Make them spicy – For fritters with a kick of heat, add chopped jalapeno peppers or green chilis. Or serve them with spicy salsa on top.
- Try a different cheese – Parmesan cheese, goat cheese, or feta all add unique flavor to the fritters. The last two will also give them some extra creaminess in the centers.
- Add dipping sauces – These pair well with dipping sauces. Make spicy aioli, fresh salsa, or even serve them with roasted red pepper dip.
- Enjoy with breakfast – Sweet corn cakes drizzled with a little warm maple syrup or honey butter make a mouthwatering breakfast.
Fritters are best served hot and crispy right from the pan, but if you’re short on time they can be made up to a day ahead. Reheat on a sheet pan in a 350°F / 177°C oven until warmed through, about 15 minutes.
Corn fritters and hush puppies use many of the same ingredients, but there are a few key differences between the two. Whole corn kernels are used to make corn fritters, while cornmeal is used to make hush puppies. The other difference between corn fritters and hush puppies is the shape. Corn fritters have a flattened pancake shape, and hush puppies are shaped like a ball.
The secret to making crispy corn fritters is to make sure the batter is the right consistency. If the batter is too watery, achieving a crispy outside will be tricky. The other secret is to fry these little cakes at a high enough temperature so that they cook to crispy perfection without burning the outside. Get the ultimate sweet corn crispiness by using a good cooking oil with a high smoke point that allows you to cook the fritters on a medium-high heat without burning the bottom. I like to use avocado or vegetable oil for shallow-frying.
Yes. Just use your favorite 1:1 gluten-free flour substitute in place of the all-purpose flour in the recipe.
More Easy Corn Recipes
- One Pot Orzo with Tomatoes, Corn, and Feta
- Black Bean and Corn Salsa
- Summer Salad with Peaches, Corn, and Crispy Prosciutto
- Pasta with Creamy Corn Sauce, Basil and Breadcrumbs
- Bacon, Corn and Avocado Salad
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Corn Fritters Recipe
- Mixing Bowl
- Large Skillet
- 1 cup grated white or yellow cheddar cheese
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (see note)
- 2 cups corn kernels (sliced off about 3 large ears of fresh corn or use frozen)
- 1 cup water (plus up to an additional ⅓ cup)
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil (see note)
- sour cream, for topping (optional)
- chopped green onions (optional)
- In a mixing bowl stir together cheese, cornmeal, flour, baking powder, paprika, and salt until evenly combined. Fold in corn kernels.
- Add water and stir to combine. The mixture should spread out slightly when scooped and poured back into the bowl, but if it still seems quite thick, add more water as needed.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.
- Spray a 1/4 cup measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray (this just helps prevent the batter from sticking). Use the measuring cup to scoop even portions of the corn mixture into the hot skillet.
- Cook until golden brown and crisp on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side. (Continue until all of the fritters are cooked, adding more oil to the pan if it starts to look dry.)
- Serve immediately with sour cream and green onions on top.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.