Buttery Southern Fried Corn

Buttery Southern Fried Corn Recipe

The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
123 Calories
7g Fat
16g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 123
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 4g 19%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 311mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 4mg 20%
Calcium 5mg 0%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 166mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Fresh sweet corn is delicious enough on its own, steamed or even grilled, with butter, salt, and pepper. This recipe requires you to remove the corn from the cob and pan fry in butter or bacon fat in a skillet. The result is a sweet and slightly smoky side dish.

Sometimes, depending on how the corn is grown or the type of corn you buy, it can be a bit bland. If so, feel free to add a little bit of sugar or honey during the cooking process. That being said, if you can seek out local corn in season, you're likely to be rewarded even more with the sweet, sunny flavor.

If you've never removed corn from the cob before, it's not hard. The safest way to do it is to trim a bit off each end so you have two flat ends to work with. Hold the ear vertically with a flat side on a cutting board and, with your chef's knife, slice the kernels off the cob, turning it as needed to slice off anything you missed. Some people like to put it in a bowl (it catches all the corn easily) rather than a cutting board; it's up to you.

This recipe is easy to customize, too, depending on your tastes. Consider sautéing some finely chopped onions and sweet bell pepper in the butter before adding the corn. It makes a delicious and colorful side dish. Alternatively, add a small amount of finely minced jalapeño pepper or chipotle pepper for some heat. (A dash of cayenne pepper would be good as well.) Serve this alongside burgers, fried chicken, or any other favorite summertime grilled food.


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"The corn is sautéed with butter on the stovetop until mostly light golden and caramelized, which enhances its natural sweetness. Add some salt at the end for balance. Taste the corn and add a bit of sugar, if desired." —Diana Andrews

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels, scraped off the cob (about 3 ears)

  • 2 tablespoons butter (or use part bacon drippings)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make buttery southern fried corn recipe

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  2. In a large heavy-duty skillet, heat butter over medium-low heat until foamy. Add the fresh corn kernels in an even layer; cook, stirring occasionally and lowering the heat if necessary to keep the butter from burning, until the corn is light golden in places, about 15 minutes.

    corn cooking in a cast iron skillet

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  3. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper; taste and adjust seasoning. Add the sugar if desired. Enjoy!

    buttery southern fried corn in a cast iron skillet

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

Recipe Variations

  • Add 2 tablespoons of finely minced onion and 2 tablespoons of finely minced bell pepper, any color. Cook in the skillet for 2 minutes before you add the corn.
  • For some smoky spice, mince about 1/2 to one whole chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and add it to the corn a few minutes before it is finished cooking. 
  • A Creole spice blend such as Tony Chachere's is also good with fried corn.

Can You Use Frozen or Canned Corn in This Recipe?

You can use canned or frozen corn for this recipe, but you will have to drain the corn very well and pat it dry before it hits the pan. You may also need to adjust the sweetness and other seasonings, depending on the taste. The recipe is really best with fresh corn, but it will definitely work if you're looking for summertime taste and all you have is frozen or canned.

How to Keep and Freeze Corn

Cooked corn will stay fresh in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 5 days.

If you want to freeze uncooked fresh corn during the height of the season, you can follow the steps for removing it off the cob and transfer the corn to a zip-close bag. Flatten it to one layer so it freezes as separately as possible. Use within 6 to 8 months. Or freeze it right on the cob.