Secret of the Best Southern Fried Corn Recipe

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Secrets of the Best Southern Fried Corn Recipe

I  am reposting this recipe today, as it’s one of the most popular and controversial. We think you’ll love it.

How to Make the Best Southern Fried Corn Recipe from Spinach Tiger

While I’m not originally from the South, I can claim a few southern roots. My grandmother was from West Virginia and she made the best fried chicken in the world. Here is her recipe.

After years of practice and patience it has been said that Spinach Tiger’s southern fluffy biscuits can’t be beat. Even the gluten free fluffy southern biscuit has gotten rave reviews from readers. (Both have videos to help you along).

Why then is something as simple as a southern fried corn recipe so hard to get right? TWO THINGS 

Childhood memories. This person’s grandmother made it this way with sugar and flour and who knows what? This other person had a grandmother who knew how to milk the corn to the last drop. Then there’s someone else who adds a cup of heavy cream. Everyone remembers their southern fried corn recipe differently.

Quality or Type of the Corn  It’s key to get very fresh, creamy sweet corn. Silver queen corn would be the corn of choice for this recipe. If you use other less creamy corn, then a little heavy cream will do. Having said that, I used peaches and cream corn for this and still loved it. (I find it hard to turn down any kind of fried corn).

Southern Fried Corn

What’s the best way to cut the corn off the cob?

If you don’t have a sharp knife, or you want the EASIEST WAY to cut corn off the cob, you will want this tool from Oxo.

What’s the best pan to make fried corn in?

Cast Iron Frying Pan – I practice what I preach. I have 13 cast iron pans (most are frying pans, a few are dutch ovens). I use them every single day in one form or another. They take the heat. They last forever. They go right into the oven. They are super affordable. I use my 12 inch lodge cast iron frying pan in this recipe, because I like the corn to get a little caramelized.tracking pixel

Best Southern Fried Corn Recipe from Spinach Tiger

More is not always more in a Southern Fried Corn Recipe.

I’m Italian, and it’s our food philosophy to make the best food with as few ingredients or disturbances as possible. Some of the Southern cuisine recipes (not all, just some) have more ingredients than necessary and sometimes too much cooking time. More is not always more.

Two sticks of butter is not better than one stick of butter for making Southern fried corn, unless you’re making shortbread.  A cup of cream is not better than a splash of cream when only a splash does the job. Editing is the absolute key to bringing balance to a recipe. Even this recipe might need your own personal tweaks, so taste taste taste and stop stop stop when you like it!

Do this if you like your fried corn super creamy.

If you like your corn super creamy, don’t let it caramelize. Cook it on very low, adding cream as you see fit. If you like your corn a bit browned and creamy at the same time, like I do, turn the heat up a bit, and use cream sparingly. Keep in mind you will be at the mercy of the type of corn you use, but I think with the proper tweaking, you can make any corn off the cob taste good!

Black Pepper is key to Southern Fried Corn

This southern fried corn recipe has few ingredients. Bacon grease, butter, salt, pepper and perhaps a splash or two of cream. You can opt out of the bacon grease and add more butter, but do not forget the black pepper, and use more than you think you should. If you have some white pepper, a dash of that would be nice too, but sparingly, as that can be harsh.

Some people add bacon to the corn. I prefer not, but feel free.

Left Over Southern Fried Corn can blossom into other recipes.

I’m a big believer in using leftovers. I used my left over corn in this southern fried corn cake recipe. They were light, fluffy, savory, full of flavor, texture and comfort. You have to make these corn cakes, even if you need to use canned corn. They should not be missed. You can also put the corn into this leek and corn quiche or simply scramble with eggs.   You can also throw them into these sausage corn muffins or use for this caramelized Onion Risotto with Sweet Corn.

Can I use Canned Corn?

If it’s past fresh corn season and you still want to make fried corn, it will take 6 cups of corn to make this recipes. Each ear of corn is roughly 3/4 cup of corn.

Southern Corn Cakes Recipe here.

corn pancakes

Pennsylvania Dutch Corn Pudding is one of my most popular recipes.

Here is one really cool idea just using corn with no butter or cream.

Creamed Corn Southern Style

Seven Ways to Grill Corn on the Cob

roasted corn on cobs

Sweet Corn Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream

Corn Buttermilk Quiche. I don’t know about you, but anything with buttermilk gets me.

There is also a corn, leek quiche that is simply heaven.

Corn Avocado Salad

corn salad in a bowl

So tell me, if you grew up in the South, how did your family make their southern fried corn recipe? Please follow me on instagram to see behind the scenes cooking and food prep along with recipes not yet published.

More Corn Recipes from Spinach Tiger

More Southern Recipes from Spinach Tiger

Southern Fried Corn
Print Recipe
4.14 from 65 votes

Southern Fried Corn Recipe

How to Make the Best Southern Fried Corn
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Angela Roberts


  • 8 ears of corn
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 4 tablespoons butter more if you need it
  • salt if you need it
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • splash of heavy cream


  • Cut the corn off the cob with a sharp knife.
  • Using the sharpest knife, cut down into the cob to get the milk of the corn.
  • Heat up the bacon grease and add two tablespoons of softened butter.
  • If you like the corn to be a bit caramelized, cook longer, stir less frequently.
  • If you like corn to be creamier, cook for about ten minutes, and at the end add the remaining two tablespoons butter.
  • At this point, you can add a splash of heavy cream if you want a creamier corn.
  • Add a little bit of salt, and a lot of black pepper.
  • Serve immediately.


Reserve cobs for making corn broth. Boil in water and reserve corn broth to add to soups, stews, casseroles.

Please follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe,  please tag me #spinachtiger.

If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo


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  1. Hi there! Hoping you will see this soon…is it possible to make this a little earlier than when guests arrive…so that I’m not tending it while here…make it an hour or 2 beforehand….leave covered on stove and then reheat upon their arrival?
    Thank you…just d your site today…running out of ink on my printer!😉😂

  2. 5 stars
    “Cut it twice and scrape it thrice” was my great grandmother’s secret to the best fried corn she said. Your recipe is right on. But if I could, I would add that white or field corn is best and cutting twice cuts the corn in half so it is so tender you can eat it without cooking! Scraping the cob three times means you always get every drop of milk from it.. Good corn, she said meant you didn’t need cream but she usually did put in a splash or two for taste. NO SUGAR. When she put the corn in it would ZIZZLE hence fried corn. It would cook no more than three or four minutes in the preheated bacon grease and butter while constantly turning and sprinkling with ground black butter and salt to taste. It should be slightly creamy, and the corn should be CRISP, NOT SWEET, NOT SOFT OR BROWNED OR GOOEY.

  3. 5 stars
    I made the fried corn for a dinner party and it was the favorite of everyone. I’ve been looking for a good recipe for several years. So, thanks for posting this! One thing I do remember from the early days was that scraping the corn with a sharp knife is important to get the milk from the cob. Love your blog!

  4. I’m born and raised in Tennessee and this is exactly how my mom made fried corn and how I make it as well. It’s absolutely THE BEST!!!!

  5. I have always frozen this in zip locks, but now I live alone and don’t have the freezer space any more. I’d like to can this in jars and put in the pantry. Have you done it that way. I know the canning process, but I wouldn’t want to do a bunch of work if it won’t keep well that way.

  6. This is how my grandmother made Fried corn. She used sweet corn on the Cobb and the secret was the corn milk. She would scrape until she had enough. Ive never used cream but its a good idea. You hit the nail on the head with this one and my grandmother was from Mississippi and moved to Chicago. This has always been a family favorite, I will be making this for Thanksgiving.

    1. I also use the corn milk . I fry bacon and set it aside crumbled to add to the finish product. I also add some onions , green, red, and orange peppers to add color to the corn and added taste when fried with the corn and like someone else mentioned I also add some heavy cream and a pinch of sugar.

  7. Fried sweet corn and fried field corn (dent corn ) are two different things, and fried field corn is so much better. Field corn is the stuff we feed cows and is starchy rather than sweet. It is only edible for about two weeks in its growing season before it is left to dry out in the fields before harvest bt giant combines. For frying, it must be picked very fresh within a four hour window and prepared.

    To prepare and cook it, one must get it ripe but not overly so tested by “popping” some kernels with your thumbnail as you would a pimple. If it oozes instead of pops, throw it away or feed it to the hogs. When you get the right batch, it must be dehusked and all the silks removed…a pita…then in a large bowl the tops of the kernels are cut off and the knife is run down the cob to harvest the starchy liquid left. The goo (starchy liquid & kernel tops) is next put in a skillet (preferably a cast iron one), water is added with salt and butter and sautéed at a medium-low temp. Water is added as it cooks down with perhaps some small amount of sugar added along the way. The final result is not cream corn and will be the best corn you ever tasted.

    My family, when lucky enough to find some, will put up a bushel or two at a time after shucking and preparing in packages in the freezer without any blanching of it. The frozen stuff is usually good but not great like it is fresh from the fields. Goes incredibly well with black-eyed peas, fresh tomatoes, corn bread & salmon croquettes.

    1. We actually are not fond of eating field corn. It is night and day from sweet corn I recommend. However, sounds like you all enjoy it. It’s not the corn recommended in this recipe though.

  8. Very delicious! I used canola oil in leui of bacon grease. I am proud of myself and the results! From one southern belle to another, thank you Angela

  9. 5 stars
    I made your Southern Fried Corn tonight, delicious. I was born and raised in Louisiana and this is how we made it. I had forgotten how special it is. Thanks for sharing.


  10. The true Southern way is to add a teaspoon of sugar. You are right about the portions of ingredients! Thank you.

    1. After you have cut the corn off the cob, take the knife and scrape into the cob to get the “corn milk” off the cob and into the pan. I cut the corn off the cob, stand the cob up and take the knife and scrape downward as I circle the cob around in order to get all of the corn milk.
      Good luck,

      1. Thanks for that tip. I should have known. My mom was a fabulous cook and one of her precepts was that a “spoonful of sugar makes [almost everything] go down [better] so to speak.

    2. Jill is absolutely correct, to be true Southern fried corn you have to use some sugar. Bacon grease is a must. It’s actually better than canola oil because bacon fat has no preservatives. You have to milk the cob for the corn milk. Great recipe!

  11. Can you please expand on “cutting into the corn to get the milk”- do u mean cutting into the cob, should we slash the cons, or do u mean cutting up the corn kernels?? Want to make this weekend but have no idea what u mean

  12. I’m sorry but , I’m from the south , a place called Yadkin county as a matter of fact, and not far from me we have a town that’s called Traphill, NC , if that’s isnt southern Idk what is?!?! Born and raised so about 39 years worth of the south , and I’ve never in my life heard of fried corn !!!! Furthermore , if your not from the south , and your an Italian from up north , why not make Italian recipes , instead of posting something your calling southern , and then trying to throw off on the way we cook ?! Why not just stick to what you know , because I had to make this recipe and try it since it was so southern and all !! Doesn’t taste anything like I’ve ever eaten from around these parts !! Wasn’t bad , but definitely not southern !

    1. Okay, you’re wrong. I live in the South. My grandmother on my father’s side was southern, so please do not tell me what to cook! My Italian mother made the best fried chicken in the world and I was raised with both cultural cuisines. Fried corn is very much a thing here in Tennessee. What would be the proof: 120,000 searches and visits to the fried corn recipe on my blog. If not a thing, no one would be googling to find it. You think you know everything from the way you write, but clearly you don’t know what we eat in Tennessee. This is America and I’m free to cook and blog any culture or cuisine I please. I’ve lived equally in Northeast California and the South, but no matter, as that’s not the point. You do realize that North Carolina and Tennessee do not have the same cuisine. We do barbecue very differently and have different takes on food. Educate yourself after you take some lessons in courtesy. There is no “we” in the south. I have lived here 21 years and am free to explore Southern cuisine and cook anything I please. You can move on to another FREE recipe on another blog and mind your own business.

      1. 5 stars
        Hear! Hear! I’m definitely not from the south and have only visited briefly over the years. However, one of my favorite things about the South are the Meat and Three restaurants, if there still are any (My last time through TN I was sad to see that many have gone out of business, as they couldn’t compete with franchises so the homogenization and concomitant flattening and cheapening of the regional differences of American “cuisine” was aptly demonstrated by the plethora of McDonalds, Burger Kings, Arby’s etc. everywhere. One beautiful Sunday morning my boys and I came across Apple Annie’s, an astonishingly clean bright white restaurant in rural TN, I think outside of Camden. We were there early and were among the first people to be there, but it gradually filled completely with people getting out of church. A very pleasant women came to our table and announced, “Hi, y’all. Your about to have the Best Fried chicken in your liiife.” I smiled but whispered to my boys, “We’ll see!” The food came on platters and it was not only the best fried chicken I’d ever had, but better than I had ever imagined. Everything was spectacular, but the fried corn stood out. Including my eating my way around the world, I’d have to rate Apple Annie’s as among th very best restaurants I’ve ever been to. As the place filled up my boys pointed out an older couple accompanied by a teener boy, who’d just come in and sat down, They were incredulous that the grandparents had thoughtfully provided a to go McDonald’s meal for the teener. Heaven forbid he be forced to eat world class southern cuisine. My daddy used to say,”Even Jesus couldn’t perform miracles in Nazareth.” Anyway the point of all this is I never have forgotten southern fried corn. Yesterday I brought home a couple ears of freshly picked sweet corn (the kind with both white and yellow kernels) and set about looking yet again for another recipe to get the best out of fresh corn-on-the-cob, when fried corn came to mind, to thankfully come across your recipe. My only regret was that I had to do with only 2 ears of corn. Next time I will make at least 6 and in memory of my mom, who totally lived, “A spoonful of sugar makes [everything] go down [better]”. (I really think that’s going to happen today) THANKS SOOOO MUCH! Wish there were more than 5 stars. BTW, I’m not Korean, Filipino, Russian, French, Greek, from the Middle East, etc., but I enjoy making dishes from all over the world. Knowledge is everywhere, rather than horded by a privileged elitist few. My daddy held, “You learn something every day!” and not a supper went down without him asking what we had learned that day. The only unacceptable answer was “Nothing.” Thanks for teaching me how to fix Southern Fried Corn. It will be a go to dish in our house for as long as I can stand long enough to keep cooking.

          1. 5 stars
            Tonight I used 6 ears, and a little bit of sugar. I didn’t cook it for as long, so it had the crisp sweetness of what I’ve always been looking for in the perfect corn-on-the-cob, but with a 1000% more flavor. FABULOUS! Thanks again.

      2. Right on ANGELA 👍🏽. The nerve🤣🤣🤣
        Thank you. I’m going to try this recipe. God Bless ❤️

      3. BRAVO!! Angela I couldn’t have said it better but I was about to try! Ha! I was raised in The Sip (MS) and fried corn is very much a thing even in Mississippi so thank you for the spot on recipe. I’m headed to the store to get some corn and make it. Please continue doing things your way lady although you sound a lot like me and that’s rude & uneducated comment probably makes you more adamant than ever!! I just found your recipe which I’m sure is delicious but your attitude is what will keep me around and coming back! So nice to see a strong woman taking up for herself esp against stupid comments by people who apparently don’t know all they think they do!! LOL

    2. So my family is from Arkansas, like literally my whole family, they talk about fried corn like my grandmother used to make it non stop… I made this corn with a few alterations from what I know of the original recipe and bam! Everybody loves it. Just because your southern is different, doe t mean her southern is wrong…

    3. This is definitely a Southern recipe! I have lived in the South my entire life, (SC and GA), and have always eaten corn prepared this way.

    4. Fried corn absolutely is a dish from the south!! My family is from Alabama and my grandmother made this all the time!! My mother made it and now I make it.

  13. 5 stars
    I can’t wait to make this! I’m a Southerner who’s been transplanted to Minnesota and so miss the Silver Queen corn.

  14. What would the cup amount be if using Frozen Corn when corn is out of season? Your recipe looks delicious! Thank you for sharing.

  15. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this recipe, I have never tried this before and this was so easy, my husband LOVED it!

  16. Pingback: Modish Taste | The South’s Secret to the Best Southern Fried Corn Recipe

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