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.

Fried corn topped with bacon and chives in a pan.

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

Bowls of corn, bacon, herbs and seasonings.
  • 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.

Step by step process shots of corn and bacon being cooked.

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.

Recipe FAQs

How do you cut corn off the cob?

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.

Can you make fried corn in advance?

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.

How long does corn stay fresh in the fridge?

Leftovers will stay good in the refrigerator for 3 days. Be sure to store the food in an airtight container for best results.

A spoonful of fried corn made with bacon and onions.

Flavor Variations

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.
A serving bowl of Southern fried corn with bacon.

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

5 from 35 votes

Fried Corn with Bacon

AuthorSara Welch
Fried corn topped with bacon and chives in a pan.
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!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course Side
Cuisine American
Serves 6


  • 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.


  1. 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.
  2. Use kitchen shears to make cutting the bacon go a little faster!
  3. No chives on hand? You can also use green onions, parsley or fresh thyme.


Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 349mg | Potassium: 207mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.7mg

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  1. Thoughts on making this without onions? I have a bunch of non-onion eaters I’m thinking about cooking this for for thanksgiving.

  2. If I make this for Thanksgiving.. can I make it ahead of time and keep it on the counter covered in foil then add the bacon on top before serving? What is your advice on how to do it? Will have to triple recipe

    1. How far in advance are you planning to make it? I’d be concerned about keeping it at room temperature for an extended period of time.