This fried corn is cooked with bacon and chives until golden brown and caramelized. The ultimate easy summer side dish that pairs well with grilled meats, fish and hamburgers. A Southern classic that never goes out of style!
You can never go wrong when you serve corn as a side dish; some of my favorites include black bean corn salad, slow cooker creamed corn, and this simple yet flavorful fried corn.
There’s nothing better than fresh, sweet corn in the summertime. While corn is obviously delicious enjoyed on the cob with a little butter, it’s even better when made into Southern fried corn. That combination of caramelized corn and savory bacon just can’t be beat!
Fried corn ingredients
- Corn: You can use fresh corn or frozen corn in this recipe. If you’re going with frozen corn, be sure to thaw it first.
- Bacon: I use standard slices of bacon here, as thick cut bacon will take longer to cook.
- Onion: The flavor of the onion complements the sweetness of the corn nicely, be sure to cut it into small pieces.
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper and sugar all enhance the flavor of the corn.
- Chives: A little bit of fresh herbs add color and an extra dimension of flavor.
How do you make fried corn?
Start by cooking your bacon in a skillet until it is crispy. The bacon is then removed from the pan and corn kernels and onions are fried in the bacon grease, along with some seasonings and a bit of sugar. The sugar helps the corn to get those flavorful caramelized bits. The final step is to stir the bacon back into the corn and add a sprinkling of chives.
Tips for the perfect Fried Corn
- You can use fresh or frozen corn kernels for this recipe. I don’t recommend using canned corn because it has added sodium and the texture isn’t as good. Yellow and white corn work equally well here.
- You’ll want to drain off some of the bacon grease, leaving about 1 tablespoon left in the pan to cook up your corn.
- If you’re concerned about adding sugar, you can omit it. That being said, this dish is not overly sweet, the sugar just makes the corn kernels brown better in the pan.
If you’re using fresh corn for this dish, you’ll need to remove it from the cob before you can proceed with the recipe. There are a few simple ways to remove corn from the cob without making a huge mess. One option is to buy a corn stripper, which is a tool designed for this exact use. If you’d rather not buy another kitchen tool, lay an ear of corn flat on a cutting board and carefully slice the kernels off. You can also stand the ear of corn inside a large bowl, then cut the kernels off so that they’re all contained within the bowl.
You can prepare this recipe in advance so long as you keep the bacon separate until you’re ready to reheat and serve the dish.
Leftovers will stay good in the refrigerator for 3 days. Be sure to store the food in an airtight container for best results.
Traditional Southern fried corn has just a few ingredients to really let the corn flavor shine through. That being said, there are many different flavorings you can add to your corn to make it your own.
- Vegetables: You can add diced red bell pepper, fresh tomato, or a can of green chiles to the mix.
- Herbs: Instead of chives, try parsley, green onions, basil or thyme.
- Meat: Swap out the bacon for diced ham.
Once you taste this dish, you’ll find yourself making it all summer long! It’s the absolute best way to enjoy fresh corn.
More delicious side dishes
Fried Corn with Bacon
- 6 slices bacon diced
- 1/3 cup onion finely diced
- 4 cups corn kernels
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chives sliced
- Place the bacon in a large pan. Cook over medium high heat until browned and crisp.
- Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel to drain.
- Drain grease off pan until approximately 1 tablespoon remains.
- Add the onion to the bacon grease. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until translucent.
- Add the corn, sugar, salt and pepper to the pan.
- Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until corn starts to caramelize and brown on the edges.
- Stir the bacon back into the corn. Top with chives and serve.
- You can use fresh corn, or thawed from frozen corn for this recipe. I don’t recommend using canned corn as the texture is softer and it contains added sodium.
- Use kitchen shears to make cutting the bacon go a little faster!
- No chives on hand? You can also use green onions, parsley or fresh thyme.
Made it for the first time tonight, fantastic! And, very versatile. I didn’t have chives, so used a bit more onion, instead of the sugar, I added cumin and garlic, along with black pepper. Everyone loved it, will make again!
How many corn on cobs makes 4 cups?
Typically it’s about 6 ears!
This is a very old school recipe and predates the Civil War and probably the Revolution too. I made it today with a recipe like yours but by Bettye Nelle Starr in her Cooking in High Cotton from Osceola, Ark in the sixties, last century. Only three strips of bacon. No chives or onion, but a cup of milk and sugar to taste. I loved it and ate too much. I like my veges so this was my entree. 6 ears of corn fried for 20 mnutes. A lot of stirring.
My husband doesn’t care for corn, but when I made this he liked it! I roasted the corn cobs on the grill first, then cut the corn off the cob and proceeded with your recipe directions. I left out the sugar and added a little Chipotle chili pepper which added a little smoky savory flavor to the sweet corn. This recipe is going into my repertoire for sure! Thanks!
Everything is better with bacon. This corn looks amazing.
Amazing recipe for BBQ parties! We loved it with pork chops and a green salad! Thanks for the recipe! 🙂
We love this side dish and make it often and of course everything tastes better with bacon!
I made this for family and it was a real hit! Will definitely make again. 🙂
How will it work with can corn
That should be fine!
My Aunt (who was born in Kentucky and lived in Alabama most of her adult life). She used to cook it in her huge cast iron skillet all day, and would make it tender and flavorful by adding some buttermilk over and over again – as the corn would soak up all of that flavor – cooking over a low heat. You have to watch it though, as the buttermilk can caramelize and burn pretty quickly if you let it get too dry too fast. It was an interesting process. At the end you can add a hint of cayenne pepper to your taste as well.
Does anyone know if this has to be served hot? Or is it ok to be made the night before
You could make it in advance and reheat it, but it’s best served hot.
Delish! This has become a staple in my repertoire as well as my friends’! The one thing we add to it is a finely diced fresh jalapeño pepper, no seeds. Sometime I just add half the pepper. It gives it zip that plays so nicely against the sweetness and the savoriness. And I’ve used scallions instead of chives if that’s what I happened to have on hand. It’s a great side at a barbecue or when you’re serving a southern style meal like baked ham and Mac and Cheese or sautéed green beans with shallots.
Very tasty! The bacon goes so well with the corn! Yum!
Sounds delicious. I am going to try this tonight.
This was a quick go to for me.. Didn’t have onion .. I cut 3 strips bacon in half.. Cooked em hecka crispy. Set aside.( Cuz I know from past recipes bacon does get soggy). And I had 1 can of corn ( not fresh). remove bacon drain however. Drain corn put in hot bacon grease. Add remaining ingredients. Cook /stir 8 mins. Was good with only 1 can. Gonna try with a lil syrup an cayenne next round.. Thanks Peace Out.. J. 2020
I made this last summer but added diced red bell peppers and substituted green onion for the chive as I had them on hand already. It was delicious! In fact I think I’ll make it tonight as I just happen to have all those ingredients on hand right now! Yummy 😋
If you wanted to prepare this ahead of time why not just set the bacon aside until you’re warming the corn to serve then add the bacon?
That would be fine!
This looks AWESOME! I can’t wait to try it out for Thanksgiving!! Can I make this a couple of hours before and the bacon still be crispy?
The bacon will soften, you can reheat it on the stove to crisp the bacon back up.
Can this be made ahead of time?
Yes, reheat on the stove until bacon is crisp.
This is a great recipe. Reminds me of corn on the grill. I added a pinch of habenero powder for an extra kick.