Southern Fried Corn


This 15-minute corn side recipe is a summer classic.

Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
15 mins
Serves 4 (serving size: 1 cup)

From succotash to roasted corn salad, fresh corn works its way into our skillets as much as possible during Southern summers—and for good reason: Corn season is a thing of beauty. And while we love enjoying it fresh off the cob (whether grilled, boiled, or steamed), it's also an exquisite way of adding color to our frying pans and sweet flavor to our dinners.

Versatility of summer corn aside, there's something about skillet-fried corn that stands out in our books. Simple and speedy, this classic Southern Fried Corn recipe is certainly worth the shuck.

Southern Fried Corn
Caitlin Bensel

What Is Southern Fried Corn?

Southern fried corn takes advantage of two incredible elements of Southern cuisine: fresh local produce and a fearlessness when it comes to bacon grease! This recipe starts with fresh, sweet corn, which is sautéed in butter and bacon drippings. Seasoned with a simple combo of aromatics, salt, and pepper, after barely 10 minutes in the skillet, it's ready for a fresh herb garnish—and a generous serving spoon!

Southern Fried Corn Ingredients

This Southern fried corn recipe boasts a super-short ingredient list: A buttery base is used to sauté onion, garlic, and fresh corn kernels, which are then seasoned simply with salt and pepper.

Since this recipe is so simple, top-quality ingredients are the keys to success. Pick the ripest, freshest corn cobs for the best flavor.

ingredients for Southern Fried Corn on white marble
Will Dickey

This recipe offers the added option of including two optional ingredients: a chive garnish for a touch of freshness and bacon drippings to add richness and smokiness. The chives can also be swapped out for basil, if that's closer to hand, and if your bacon dripping stores are running low, feel free to skip them: Butter, garlic, onions, and the corn kernels will mingle for optimal flavor on their own.

How to Make Southern Fried Corn

To make Southern fried corn, start by heating the butter (and the bacon drippings, if you're using them) in a medium skillet until bubbly. Take your time melting the butter so that it takes on a slight golden color, which will lend a rich nuttiness to the final dish.

Next, add the onion, and when it just begins to brown, add the garlic and cook until aromatic.

onions and garlic in a skillet
Will Dickey

Finish with the corn, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until just browned—10 minutes, all told—before sprinkling with chives and serving.

Southern Fried Corn before adding chives
Will Dickey

How to Serve Southern Fried Corn

Southern fried corn is a simple side dish that brings out the best in this delicious summertime ingredient. It's perfect when served alongside equally seasonal mains like a rich salmon burger or charred, herby grilled chicken.

If you want to dress this Southern fried corn up as a main dish, try adding hickory-smoked sausage and tender shrimp for a skillet supper that demands seconds.

Editorial contributions by Emily Monaco.


  • 1/4 cup (2 oz.) unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings (optional)

  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1 medium [7 oz.] onion)

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (from 2 garlic cloves)

  • 4 cups fresh yellow corn kernels (8 ears)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives (optional)


  1. Cook butter and, if using, bacon drippings in a medium-size cast-iron skillet over medium-high until butter has melted and mixture is sizzling. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until onion begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Stir in corn, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender, about 4 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with chives just before serving.

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