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Skillet Fried Corn: A Quick and Tasty Side Dish

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Skillet Fried Corn

Skillet fried corn is a delicious and simple side dish perfect for any meal. It’s a classic favorite in Southern cooking and can be made using fresh, frozen, or canned corn. With just a few ingredients like butter, garlic, and perhaps some bacon drippings, you can whip up this dish in no time.

What makes skillet fried corn stand out is its versatility and amazing flavor. Whether you’re cooking up a summer barbecue or preparing a cozy holiday dinner, this dish pairs well with many main dishes. Imagine the sweetness of the corn blending beautifully with the savory flavors of butter and seasonings.

You’ll love how quick and easy skillet fried corn is to prepare. In about 15 minutes, you can serve up a side that everyone will enjoy. It’s the perfect combination of convenience and taste, making it a go-to recipe for home cooks of all levels.

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

For skillet fried corn, you’ll need some basic ingredients:

  • Corn: Fresh off the cob is best, but frozen corn works too.
  • Butter: Adds richness. You can use margarine if needed.
  • Salt and Pepper: For seasoning.
  • Sugar: Adds a hint of sweetness (optional).

Optional Extras

  • Bacon Drippings: Adds flavor. If you don’t have any, use a bit more butter.
  • Garlic: Fresh or powdered.
  • Onion Powder: Adds depth. Fresh minced onion works too.
  • Smoked Paprika: For a smoky taste.
  • Sage Leaves: Fresh or dried, if you like herbs.
  • Cornstarch: To thicken. Flour can be a substitute.
  • Milk: Adds creaminess.

Possible Substitutes

  • Frozen Corn: Use if fresh corn isn’t available.
  • Margarine: In place of butter.
  • Vegetable Oil: Instead of bacon drippings.
  • Fresh Onion: Instead of onion powder.
  • Regular Paprika: If smoked paprika isn’t on hand.
  • Oregano or Thyme: Instead of sage leaves.
  • Flour: To thicken if you have no cornstarch.
  • Cream: Works in place of milk for a richer dish.


Ingredients Needed:

  • Fresh corn (or frozen corn)
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Onion powder
  • Optional: Sage leaves

  1. Prepare the Corn:

    • If using fresh corn, remove husks and silks.
    • Cut the corn kernels off the cob.
    • Scrape the cob to get out the juices.
  2. Melt the Butter:

    • In a large heavy skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.
  3. Cook the Corn:

    • Add the corn, garlic, smoked paprika, onion powder, and optional sage leaves.
    • Stir occasionally for about 2 minutes.
  4. Reduce Heat:

    • Lower the heat to medium.
    • Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until the corn is bright yellow and tender.


Keep stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

  1. Final Touch:

    • If desired, add more butter right before removing from the heat.
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Serve:

    • Serve the skillet fried corn hot.

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Choose Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh corn whenever possible. The flavor is much better than canned or frozen corn.

Prep Smart: Cutting corn off the cob is easier with a Bundt pan. Place the cob in the center hole and slice. The kernels fall right into the pan.

Seasonings: Experiment with different seasonings like smoked paprika, garlic, or onion powder to add more flavor.

Butter & Bacon Grease: Butter adds richness, but bacon grease gives an extra tasty twist. You can use both for maximum flavor.

Stirring: Stir frequently to prevent the corn from sticking to the skillet and ensure even cooking.

Cooking Time: Fresh corn usually needs 15-20 minutes to cook. If using frozen corn, it might take a bit longer.

Don’t Overcook: Keep an eye on the corn to avoid overcooking. The goal is bright yellow, tender, and slightly crispy kernels.

Storing Skillet Fried Corn

  1. Refrigeration: Let the corn cool completely, then store it in an airtight container. It will last for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

  2. Freezing: For longer storage, place cooled corn in a freezer-safe bag. Remove as much air as possible before sealing. Frozen fried corn can be kept for up to 2 months.

  3. Reheating: Warm the corn in a skillet over medium heat. Add a little butter or oil to prevent it from drying out.

Tip: Label and date your storage containers to keep track of freshness.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

To add flavorful twists to your skillet fried corn, try out these variations:

  • Add chopped bell peppers or jalapeños for a spicy kick.
  • Include diced onions or garlic for extra aroma.
  • Sprinkle in some smoked paprika, cumin, or chili powder for a smoky taste.

Sweet Corn Delight

For a sweet spin, mix in a tablespoon of honey or brown sugar. You can also try adding a splash of vanilla for a unique flavor combo.

Cheesy Corn

Top your fried corn with shredded cheddar cheese, parmesan, or crumbled feta. It turns the dish into a creamy, savory delight.

Bacon Boost

For a richer taste, cook the corn in bacon grease and add crispy bacon bits. This gives the corn a smoky, salty flavor.

Herb-Infused Corn

Enhance your corn with fresh or dried herbs like thyme, basil, or parsley. These add a fresh, earthy touch.

Serving Suggestions

Serve your skillet fried corn as a side dish with grilled chicken, steak, or fish. It’s also great with tacos, burritos, or BBQ dishes.

Topping Ideas

  • Fresh Lime Juice: Adds a zesty touch.
  • Cilantro: Chopped and sprinkled on top.
  • Cotija Cheese: Crumbled for a creamy and salty finish.
  • Avocado Slices: For a creamy, fresh bite.

Experiment with these ideas and find your perfect skillet fried corn recipe!

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.