Southern fried corn is a sweet and smoky side dish featuring tender sweet corn kernels sauteed in bacon drippings.
Southern fried doesn't mean battered and deep fried. Just some down-home comfort food requiring your trusty cast iron frying pan, fresh sweet corn, a couple simple ingredients, and 20 minutes of your time. This sweet and savory side dish would be a perfect pairing with grilled pork loin or stuffed pork chops.
What is it?
Southern fried corn is a classic southern side dish featuring buttery corn kernels sauteed in butter, bacon grease, salt, and pepper. A little sugar is occasionally added to provide a sweet contrast to the smoky bacon grease, and occasionally you will see additions such as milk or heavy cream to make it more of a 'cream corn' style.
If you want to appease the purists, keep this southern favorite simple with just corn, fat, salt, and pepper. But there is no reason you can't add any of your favorite ingredients (even garlic, onion, and peppers) to make it fit your tastes. I won't judge you either way.
How to Make Southern Fried Corn
This is a very easy side dish to make. The butter and bacon fat is melted in a large skillet (bonus points for using a cast iron skillet) then the corn kernels, sugar, salt, and black pepper are added. Saute the corn over medium heat for approximately 20 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.
What Corn is Best for This Recipe
Ideally, the best corn you can use is fresh sweet corn that is cut off the corn cob. Fresh ears of corn have the best flavor, however, that can be difficult to find many months of the year. The next best choice is using frozen corn kernels out of your grocer's freezer section. Lastly, try to avoid using canned corn if at all possible, it has a noticeably mushier texture.
If using fresh corn on the cob, place it on a cutting board and carefully slice off the kernels with a sharp knife until you have four cups worth of corn. The cobs can be discarded.
Southern Fried Corn with Bacon
Bacon grease is a popular cooking fat to cook in the south, many home cooks keep a ready supply of it in their refrigerator. However, if you do not have a mason jar full of delectable bacon grease, I recommend picking up a package of bacon and frying it up to extract the grease to use in this recipe.
If you are buying bacon for the grease, you may as well use the crispy fried bacon as well for even more delicious bacon flavor. Crumbled bacon makes an incredible addition to this recipe. Use an 8-ounce package, or to your tastes.
More Ways to Customize this recipe
You can use this as a base recipe to customize to your liking. Bacon isn't the only flavorful addition you can add. If you like some heat, sprinkle in a dash of cayenne pepper. Otherwise, fresh tomatoes, green peppers, or fresh chives would each be a hearty upgrade too!
More Delicious Side Dishes
- Southern Fried Cabbage
- Southern Fried Potatoes
- Homemade Buttermilk Cornbread
- Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
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Southern Fried Corn
- 4 cups sweet corn kernels *
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Melt butter and bacon drippings in a 12" skillet set over medium heat.
- Add corn, sugar, salt, and pepper and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until done to your liking.
- Serve immediately in a large bowl.
This recipe was originally published on FoxValleyFoodie.com on December 27, 2019.