corn fritters

We used to fritter on the regular. The earlier archives of this site are filled with favorites that got us through many snacky toddler meals and excesses of vegetables: broccoli-parmesan, zucchini, cauliflower-feta, cabbage and mixed vegetables with an okonomiyaki vibe, mixed vegetables with a pakora-spiced vibe, and of course, potato latkes in every shape and form. According to the date stamps, it’s been over 5 years since we last frittered, and this is unacceptable, especially as we are again deep in the toddler years.

three cobs for a half-recipe
cut the kernels off, scrape the cob

To me, the best fritters are mostly vegetable with just the smallest amount of egg and flour needed to bind them together. You should taste vegetable, not cake-y pancake-ness. They should be simple; ideally one-bowl. This is quick food you throw together. You shouldn’t have to think too hard, or even follow a recipe much after the first or second time. Applying this to corn was easier than I thought. The results are crispy and toasty and were mostly snatched off the table before we even started dinner because they smelled so good.

scallions and chives
draining, extra salt

Harder, for me, was controlling my impulses to make them every which way. I made these fairly classic American-style, with chives and scallions and cheddar. I’d put a little dab of mayo on them, were they not so good from the pan, it was not necessary. But should you feel inspired:

Street corn-ish: Work some lime zest into the batter, use cotija cheese intead of cheddar, keep the scallions, and use cilantro for the herb. Finish with a shake of chili powder or, even better, tajín, and sour cream or the sauce we dollop on here.
Miso-scallion with sriracha mayo: For this, I’d whisk 2 to 3 teaspoons white miso into the egg in the batter, skip the cheese, double-down on the scallions. I make sriracha mayo to taste, just the amount of each that tastes in good balance to you.
Cacio e pepe: I’d skip the scallions, use parsley for the herb, many many grinds of black pepper and sharp pecorino for the cheese.
Spiced: Try this with 1/4 cup minced red onion instead of scallions, cilantro instead of chives, and then add 1 teaspoon each ground coriander and cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric and cayenne or another red chili powder to taste. Finish with a cooling dollop of yogurt.

Have another tweak in mind? Tell me, tell me. Corn season has just begun, so there’s lots of time left to play with flavors.

corn fritters


One year ago: Confetti Party Cake
Two years ago: Peaches and Cream Bunny Cake
Three years ago: Green Beans with Almond Pesto and Very Blueberry Scones
Four years ago: Sticky Sesame Chicken Wings and Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches
Five years ago: Slow-and-Low Dry-Rub Oven Chicken and Grilled Bacon Salad with Arugula and Balsamic
Six years ago: Blackberry Gin Fizz
Seven years ago: Flatbreads with Honey, Thyme, and Sea Salt
Eight years ago: Zucchini and Ricotta Galette and Sour Cherry Pie with Almond Crumble
Nine years ago: Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes and Mediterranean Pepper Salad
Ten years ago: Project Wedding Cake
Eleven years ago: Roseanne Cash’s All-American Potato Salad and Ratatouille’s Ratatouille

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Split Pea Soup
1.5 Years Ago: Crusty Baked Cauliflower and Farro
2.5 Years Ago: Chicken Chili
3.5 Years Ago: Feta Tapenade Tarte Soleil
4.5 Years Ago: Roasted Grape and Olive Crostini

Corn Fritters

The photos show me making a half-recipe. We got 12 to 16 fritters from it, just enough for our family with a few leftovers. Serve these with a simple green salad, or as a side for a heartier meal such as grilled chicken, sausage, or pork chops. They’re also good with an egg on top for breakfast. See additional flavor suggestions above.
  • 6 ears of corn (about 3 cups corn)
  • 4 scallions, both white and greens finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped herbs of your choice (I used chives)
  • About 1 cup (6 ounces) grated sharp cheddar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 more tablespoons if needed
  • Olive or a neutral oil for frying (I used safflower)
Shuck corn and stand the first stalk in a large bowl. Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the corn into the bowl, then run the back of your knife up and down the stalk to release as much “milk” as possible into the bowl. Repeat with remaining ears. It’s okay if you get a little more or a little less than 3 cups of corn.

Add scallions, herbs, cheese, and many grinds of black pepper and stir to evenly combine. Taste for seasoning; I usually find I needed more salt and pepper. Add the eggs and use a fork or spoon to stir until they’re all broken up and evenly coat the corn mixture. Add 1 cup of flour and stir to throughly coat. My mixture at this point (especially with bi-color corn) looked precisely like egg salad, to give you an idea of what you’re looking for: mostly kernels and just a little visible batter to bind it. A scoop of it should hold its shape unless pressed down; if yours does not, add the remaining flour. (For reference, I needed it.)

Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once hot and shimmering, add your first scoop of corn fritter batter and press it gently to flatten it. (I used a #40 scoop, which holds a little less than 2 tablespoons. Tinier fritters are easier to manage.) Corn fritters cook quickly so keep an eye on them. When the underside is a deep golden brown, flip and cook to the same color on the second side. Drain on a paper towel, sprinkling on more salt. When it’s cool enough to try, taste and adjust the seasonings of the remaining batter if needed.

(Deborah Madison advises that if your fritter isn’t holding to add another egg and 1/3 cup flour to give it more “glue” but I didn’t find this necessary.)

Cook remaining fritters in the same manner, adding more oil as needed. Try to get them to the table before finishing them.

Do ahead: Fritters keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days, and freeze well too. I like to defrost and re-toast them in a 350 degree oven.


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