Southern fried corn with bacon is a sweet and smoky side dish featuring tender sweet corn kernels and crisp bacon sauteed in bacon drippings and seasonings.
Southern fried doesn't mean battered and deep fried. Just some down-home comfort food requiring your trusty cast iron pan, fresh sweet corn, a couple of 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 with bacon is a classic southern side dish featuring buttery corn kernels and crisp bacon pieces sauteed in butter, bacon grease, salt, and black pepper. A little sugar is occasionally added to provide a sweet contrast to the smoky bacon, and occasionally you will see additions such as milk or heavy cream to make it more of a 'creamed 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.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Bacon - Regular cut or thick cut bacon are both equally fine to use.
- Butter - This can be reduced to save on calories if desired.
- Sweet corn kernels - Fresh kernels are always best, but bags of frozen sweet corn are a great substitute. Canned corn is my least favorite option. Alternatively, making this easy recipe with smoked corn, or grilled corn on the cob would be a perfect way to use up leftovers.
- White sugar - This can be omitted. Otherwise, maple syrup is a good substitute.
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper - Fresh ground black pepper is best.
You can use this southern classic 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 bell peppers, green onions, or fresh chives would each be a flavorful upgrade as well!
How to make it
This southern fried corn with bacon recipe is a very easy side dish to make. Begin by cooking your bacon in a large skillet (bonus points for using a cast iron skillet) set over medium-high heat. Flip as needed and cook until the bacon is crisp, then remove the strips of bacon from the frying pan and drain on paper towels. Once the bacon is cool enough to handle, chop it into bite-sized pieces.
The butter and bacon fat is then melted in the skillet and 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. Then return the crumbled bacon to the pan and toss everything to combine.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
This southern fried corn recipe stores really well in the refrigerator to enjoy as leftovers throughout the week. It can easily be reheated in the microwave until heated through. For the best flavor, keep it in an airtight container and enjoy the leftovers within one week.
More Delicious Side Dishes
- Southern Fried Cabbage
- Southern Fried Potatoes
- Homemade Buttermilk Cornbread
- Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
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Southern Fried Corn with Bacon
- Large skillet
- 6 slices bacon
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 cups sweet corn kernels *
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Lay bacon in a 12" skillet in a single layer and cook over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and set it aside on a paper towel to drain, then chop into bite-sized chunks.
- Reserving 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in the pan, reduce the burner to medium heat and add butter, corn, sugar, salt, and black 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.