Golden corn fritters are a deliciously easy way to repurpose leftover corn and there’s no need to deep fry. The simple sauce is optional but takes the fritters to the next level. Entertaining? Make appetizer-size fritters!
At the height of corn season every summer, I always receive several requests for a corn fritter recipe. I’m happy to report that after 10+ years of sharing recipes through the Fountain Avenue Kitchen, I finally have a recipe that I’m really excited about.
(I know! What took so long??)
The sweet, tender kernels of fresh, in-season corn will elevate the fritters, although I’ve used frozen and thawed corn for an off-season fix and no one ever complains. A similar amount of canned and well-drained corn could certainly be used instead.
What to eat with the corn fritters?
A versatile side dish, the golden fritters will hold their own as the star of the plate. Recently, I served the fritters alongside a scoop of leftover Baked Brown Rice and a handful of halved cherry tomatoes. I topped with the Smoked Paprika Aioli, which made the whole plate shine. A few avocado slices offer a lovely topping as well.
I’ve even enjoyed the corn fritters for breakfast. A side of bacon would be delightful–which reminds me that I’ve added a few slices of crisp, crumbled bacon to the fritter batter before sautéing.
While enjoying them for breakfast or a meatless meal is fare game, the corn fritters are equally at home when served as a traditional side dish to chicken, fish, beef, or a protein of choice. In that case, a green vegetable like roasted asparagus adds colorful balance.
A brief rest before sautéing helps the fritters hold together when cooked. For convenience, I often mix the batter earlier in the day, form the fritters, and refrigerate until ready to eat.
At that point, the corn fritters take about four minutes of hands-off cooking per side to reach crisp, golden deliciousness.
Tips for making the best corn fritters:
If using frozen corn kernels, thaw them completely and drain any excess moisture.
I usually make the fritters with leftover corn on the cob, although you may use kernels cut from uncooked cobs. In this case, it’s best to use very fresh corn.
Don’t skip the chilling time, as this gives the flour and cornmeal a chance to absorb some of the egg, thickening it, making it easier to work with, and producing a more evenly shaped, crisper fritter.
Make sure your skillet is heated before adding the fritters and let them cook without moving to develop the best color and crispness. (Do peek underneath just before the 4-minute mark to determine the proper time to flip.)
Time to cook!
Common fresh and pantry ingredients make this a recipe to return to. While the golden fritters are especially delicious with fresh corn in the summer, I’ve made them throughout the winter with frozen and thawed corn. Alternatively, well drained canned corn may be used.
If using frozen or canned corn instead of fresh, the batter will be wetter. Do make a point to drain the corn very well, but don’t worry if the batter consistency varies a little from one batch to the next. That said, if the batter seems especially loose, you could add an extra sprinkle of flour. Alternatively, if the batter seems too dry, you may stir in a tablespoon or two of milk or water.
I generally make 6 fritters, although you can form 8 smaller ones – or try appetizer-size fritters. You can eyeball the size, or for more uniformity, use a kitchen scale. Shaping with a ½-cup measure works well too.
Once shaped, chill the fritters for at least 10 minutes, longer is fine. I often prep them earlier in the day, cover, and refrigerate until ready to cook.
The uncooked fritters may not seem to stick together really well, but the egg will bind them as they cook. I use a spatula to gently nudge in any loose side pieces after placing them in the pan.
For best browning, let the fritters cook, undisturbed except for a quick peek to check color, for about 4 minutes per side.
Enjoy the corn fritters as a side to virtually any protein or let them take a starring role on your plate. (I’ve included serving ideas.) They’re delicious eaten unadorned or dipped into the quick aioli.
The speedy Smoked Paprika Aioli is optional but takes the fritters to the next level. Endlessly versatile, any leftovers are delicious on fish, chicken, roasted potatoes and other roasted vegetables, burgers, sandwiches, and more.
Corn Fritters with Smoked Paprika Aioli
Prep Time:10 minutes (plus rest time of 10 minutes–longer is fine)
Cook Time:8 minutes
Total Time:18 minutes plus rest time
Yield:6 large or 8 medium fritters
Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, these flavor-infused corn fritters are a deliciously easy way to repurpose leftover corn on the cob. Entertaining? Make appetizer-size fritters!
While I like to use leftover streamed corn on the cob, you may cook the corn according to your preferred method. Alternatively, just-picked corn that is very sweet and tender could be used without cooking first.
Prepare the batter: Mix the corn, eggs, cornmeal, flour, scallions, Parmesan, cilantro, lime juice, zest, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika in a large bowl. Chill the mixture for at least 10 minutes, longer is fine. I often make it earlier in the day, cover, and refrigerate for several hours. (Helpful hint: For added speed later, you may portion the batter into patties now and refrigerate on a parchment-line pan.)
For more evenly sized fritters: While you can drop the batter straight into the pan, I like to portion it out using a large ice cream scoop or greased ⅓ or scant ½ cup measure. Note that the batter will not fully stick together until it is cooked.
Cook the fritters: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, scoop the batter into the pan, spreading it lightly into thick but flat circles. I also nudge the edges in with a spatula as needed. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate. If your skillet wasn’t big enough to cook all the batter at once, add another teaspoon or two of oil and repeat with remaining batter.
Serve: Enjoy with the Smoked Paprika Aioli, as is, or with sauce of choice. Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days and may be gently reheated.
*You may use fresh, canned, or frozen corn. If frozen, thaw before mixing with the other ingredients. If canned, drain well. The batter will still be somewhat looser than when using leftover corn on the cob
A few more options: • I’ve stirred cooked and crumbled bacon into the batter. Three strips is a good amount. You could try a ¼ cup or so of minced ham. Just beware of too many add-ins as they may affect binding. • I’ve also added 1 tablespoon of minced jalapeño or serrano pepper to the batter, which adds a nice level of spice. For less spicy, you could use less and/or remove the veins and seeds. • The small amount of lime and zest lightly enhances the flavor, but if you don’t have one on hand, omitting it will not be a dealbreaker. Alternatively, you could try using a lemon. • No smoked paprika? Use ½ teaspoon of regular paprika or ¼ teaspoon of ground cumin.