Also known as Johnny cakes or hoecakes, fried cornbread fritters are a staple side dish in the Southern U.S. They look a bit like a cross between cornbread and a pancake, and they don't take much effort to whip up for a quick side dish. You can make them as big or as little as you like; however, keep in mind that the smaller fritters are much easier to flip. Serve the fried cornbread fritters alongside chili, fried chicken, beans and greens, or any other Southern-inspired cuisine.
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup self-rising flour
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup bacon drippings (or 1/4 cup cooking oil)
- 1/2 cup milk (or 1/2 cup buttermilk)
- 1 large egg
- Neutral oil for frying
- In a medium bowl, mix cornmeal, salt, self-rising flour, water, bacon drippings, milk and egg to form a batter thick enough to drop out with a tablespoon.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet until it's hot but not smoking. Add oil and let it heat up.
- Drop batter by the tablespoon into the batter. Let it cook until the edges are bubbling and the center is set. Using a spatula, flip the fritters to cook on the other side.
- Remove the fritters to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil.
- Serve immediately with honey and butter, if desired.
- The age-old question is whether or not to add sugar to the batter. Some foods just don't marry well with sweet cornbread. If you serve the cornbread with honey and butter, the batter can stand up to the sugar, but chili is better with a savory cornbread on the side.
- For a bit more texture, add 8 ounces of corn kernels to the cornbread fritter batter.
- If the skillet is too hot, the cornbread will brown on the outside and not be done on the inside.
- If you're running short on time or don't have an ingredient in the pantry, you can make fried cornbread fritters using cornbread mix.
- Cornbread, fried or not, is a natural with chili, black-eyed peas, beans, fried fish, greens with smoked neck bones, stews, and gumbos.
- Use a neutral-tasting oil with a lower smoke point for frying, such as canola or vegetable oil.
- Southwest cornbread fritters: Add a 4-ounce can of diced green chilis, a half-cup of diced onion, and 1 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese to the batter.
- Orange cranberry cornbread fritters: Add 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cranberries and 1 tablespoon orange zest to the batter.
- Bacon scallion cornbread fritters: Add six slices of chopped bacon, a 1/2 cup of sliced green onions, and 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese to the batter.
- Maple cornbread fritters: Replace the water with a half-cup milk and half-cup of pure maple syrup.