Sweet Corn Fritters with a Spicy Kick

What’s this recipe all about?

Funnel cake meets corn cake meets happy dance.

Vertical image of a green-trimmed plate with a mound of deep-fried appetizers, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

I know. Sounds like something you want to get in on, right?

Let’s have a little chitchat about fritter batter.

(Wow. Writing that sentence was almost as fun as plunking these corn-studded rounds into hot oil…)

When it comes to all things deep fried, I typically steer my palate toward a savory route.

Granted, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth to begin with. But if we’re talking about immersing something in hot oil, when it resurfaces, I’d just about always rather have it showered in salt versus sugar.

That is, until I met these fritters.

Don’t get me wrong. I can get down with a funnel cake or two at a state fair (I wouldn’t trust somebody who couldn’t), but I’m team corn dog all the way. If I can get a little bit of sweet with my mostly savory treat, I’m a happy girl.

Vertical image of fritters shingled together next to a blue towel, yellow kernels, and a bowl of powdered sugar on a wooden table.

Now that vibrant corn cobs are lined up in the produce section of my local supermarket, I’ve found myself wondering what to do with this abundant veggie.

Let’s take a quick timeout for a ten-second fritter education. A fritter-cation, if you will.

What Americans know as a “fritter” comes from the word friture in Old French – which is also connected to the Latin word for “fry.” No matter what language it comes from originally, they are essentially deep fried morsels studded with vegetables, fruit, or even meat.

When I first came upon the idea of this recipe, I knew there were two directions I could take, the first being more along the lines of a savory cake (like these corn and cheese arepas).

In the past, my preferred fritter components have been starchy ingredients like potatoes or squash. I’ve prepared many a zucchini version in my day (tossing the silky shreds with a medley of briny feta and fragrant dill).

As I started to ponder how those flavors might jibe with corn, I realized something:

Potatoes and squash are fairly bland until enhanced with bold aromatics like garlic, herbs, and spices.

Corn, however, sings a sweeter tune.

Vertical top-down image of a pile of deep-fried morsels next to a bowl of powdered sugar, a blue towel, and a whole corn on the cob.

The golden kernels have an earthy presence that – when squished – explode with a juicy roar of sweetness. So I decided the only standout ingredient in the corn fritters should be the yellow veggie itself.

Since corn lends itself to mingling well with other sweet notes, a spoonful of sugar (as someone named Mary once said) certainly couldn’t hurt – and would help the fritter go down.

To ensure that the bumpy nuggets weren’t one-note, adding another element to tickle the senses was also important.

Enter: cayenne pepper. Just a dash will do ‘ya, and the fiery ground spice adds just the right prickle of heat.

Easily the most entertaining (and rather terrifying) part of preparing these fritters is the frying process. The batter is on the liquidy side, and as a dollop is submerged into the hot oil, the magic begins to happen.

And by magic, I mean hot oil splattering onto your forehead if you’re not careful.

Vertical close-up image of a deep-fried corn recipe on a wooden board.

This is nothing to be afraid of. I’m just giving you fair warning to lower the fritters gently into the oil, and step back while they do their thing. You could do this in a frying pan or Dutch oven like I have here, or in your deep fryer.

Once they are gloriously golden and removed from their sizzling bubble bath, they’re hit with a generous dusting of powdered sugar.

One bite into a finished fritter’s lush, puffy exterior (coated in that snowy sweetness) and your brain will scream, “We’re in funnel cake land!” But when that spicy pop from the cayenne-infused corn strikes, you’re brought right back down to savory town.

Who wants a one-way ticket to summery deliciousness? I know I do!

Print
Horizontal image of three deep-fried morsels with kernels on a blue and white plate next to whole corn on a wooden surface.

Sweet Corn Fritters with a Spicy Kick


  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings (about 4 small fritters per person, 24 total) 1x

Description

Looking for a fresh way to make the most of summer produce? These golden fritters are puffy, sweet, and stuffed with buttery corn.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (or substitute frozen or canned)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and milk until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. A little bit at a time, combine the wet ingredients into the dry, and then fold in the corn.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepot or Dutch oven, heat about 1 inch of oil over medium heat until it reaches 365°F (fill according to manufacturer’s directions if using a deep fryer). You’ll know the oil is ready when you drip in a small amount of the batter and it bubbles immediately.
  4. Working in batches so you don’t crowd the pan and lower the temperature of the oil, drop in several spoonfuls of the batter at a time, using about 2 tablespoons as your size guideline per fritter. When the bottom turns golden brown, after about 10-15 seconds, flip each over and cook the other side until golden.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, remove the fried corn fritters from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to sop up any excess. While they’re still hot, sprinkle them with powdered sugar and serve warm.

  • Category: Fritters
  • Method: Deep-Frying
  • Cuisine: Appetizer

Keywords: corn, fritter

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Husk the Corn Cobs and Remove the Kernels

Horizontal image of removing kernels from a cob with a metal knife on a wooden cutting board.
Using your hands, peel back, remove, and discard the green outer husks and silky threads from the cobs.

Trim one end so it stands flat. Using a sharp knife, cut down the cob (close to the core) on all sides so that the kernels fall away. Be sure to do this on a sturdy and stable cutting board.

Tip for easier cleanup: Invert a small bowl inside of a larger bowl. Trim one end of each cob so it stands flat and then stand it up (flat side-down) on the smaller upside-down bowl. Hold the cob at the top, and then carefully slice downward with a sharp knife so that the kernels fall into the larger bowl.

If you’re using frozen corn, defrost it completely before using and drain off any excess liquid after it thaws. If using canned corn, place the kernels into a colander in the sink, and rinse and drain completely before using.

Step 2 – Measure and Combine Wet Ingredients

Horizontal image of a whisk mixing a yellow liquid in a white bowl on a wooden surface.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and milk until thoroughly combined.

Step 3 – Measure and Combine Dry Ingredients

Horizontal image of a whisk and dry white ingredients in a glass bowl on a wooden surface.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper.

Step 4 – Mix the Wet Ingredients into the Dry and Fold in the Corn

Horizontal image of a whisk mixing a yellow liquid mixture together in a glass bowl on a wooden board.

A little bit at a time, combine the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir until combined.

Fold in the corn. The batter will be loose, but not very sticky.

Step 5 – Heat the Oil and Fry the Fritters

Horizontal image of two golden-brown morsels being fried in oil in a black skillet.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepot, cast iron pan, or Dutch oven, heat about 1 inch of oil over medium heat until it reaches 365°F. This will take about 5 minutes.

If you don’t have a thermometer, you’ll know the oil is ready when you drip in a small amount of the batter and it bubbles immediately.

You can also test whether the oil is up to temperature by dipping the handle of a wooden spoon in it. If the oil steadily bubbles, it’s ready. If the bubbles are very vigorous, it’s too hot. If there are only a few bubbles, it’s not hot enough.

Working in batches so you don’t crowd the pan and lower the temperature of the oil, drop in several spoonfuls of the batter at a time, using about two tablespoonfuls each. Stand back because it will pop and sizzle!

When the bottom of each fritter turns golden brown, in about 10-15 seconds, flip it over and cook until the other side is golden.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the fried corn fritters from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Step 6 – Dust the Fritters with Powdered Sugar

Horizontal image of deep-fried morsels on a green-trimmed plate next to corn and powdered sugar on a blue towel.

While they’re still hot, sprinkle the fritters with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

The batter will keep in the fridge for several days, but any fritters that have already been fried will get soggy after they’ve sat out for a while. You might try crisping them up again in the toaster oven.

Step Right Up and Get Your Corn Fritters!

There’s something about the smell of fried dough and powdered sugar that makes me want to ride a Ferris wheel and carry around a giant stuffed panda.

Horizontal image of three deep-fried morsels with kernels on a blue and white plate next to whole corn on a wooden surface.

Toss sweet, nutty corn into the mix and I’ve just died and gone to corn dog heaven. Although the simplicity of these corn fritters is what makes them addictive, feel free to doctor them up and let your imagination run wild.

Err on the savory side and bring boldness to the batter with jalapenos and shrimp. If you’re sticking with sweet, drizzle a sticky swirl of maple syrup over the finished fritters and thank me later.

Searching for new ways to turn your veggies into deep-fried rock stars? Check out these other fantastic fritter recipes next:

Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on August 14, 2012. Last updated: July 8, 2020 at 13:31 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Fanny Slater

Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”

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