This easy recipe for bacon fried corn is a Southern classic. Fresh corn off the cob is cooked in the skillet & seasoned for a sweet, salty, crispy, & tasty side dish no one can resist.
When the summer and fall corn harvest arrives, this recipe will be all you dream about. My family loves this recipe & yours will too. All you need is 4 ingredients plus salt & pepper for the best-ever recipe for cast iron skillet corn with bacon.
It's a recipe that has been passed down for generations. This vegetable side dish goes with just about anything & was often a favorite with fried chicken. Serve it with other comforting Southern recipes like Crockpot Collard Greens or Skillet Fried Potatoes and Onions.
Ingredients for Bacon Fried Corn
Like my recipe for CrockPot Chicken & Corn Soup, sweet corn is the star of this recipe. Common varieties found at grocery stores & farmer's markets include Silver Queen, Jubilee, & Butter & Sugar. The tender kernels are crisp, sweet, & juicy. They need minimal cooking & other ingredients to make them even better.
Along with the corn, bacon & the drippings are key to skillet frying the kernels. That sizzle adds texture & flavor to an otherwise simple recipe. Plus some spices & this is the best homemade southern fried corn.
- Corn on the Cob - Use fresh off the cob for the best sweet flavor & both the kernels & "milk" will be used. Either white or yellow corn is fine.
- Pork Bacon Slices - The drippings & crispy crumbled bacon ensure the traditional flavor & fried texture that makes this a comfort food classic.
- Onion - sweet onion diced
- Salt & Pepper - for seasoning.
- Salted Butter - for richness & a bit of creaminess, a classic pairing with corn.
No sugar or added flour for this recipe. Just whole fresh ingredients. See the recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Fried Corn with Bacon
Making this recipe is so easy and done in one pan. Cast iron is my go-to skillet when making anything Southern. Why? Well because that is how my grandma does it & why mess with perfection?
Cast iron skillet fried corn takes only 20 minutes to make. Here are the steps to make this recipe for fried corn:
- Shuck & Remove the Kernels from the Cob
- Cook the Bacon in the Skillet
- Fry the Corn in the Bacon Grease
1 - Shuck & Remove the Kernels from the Cob
Begin by shucking the corn - removing the husks & silk from each cob. Next, comes cutting the kernels from the cob.
2 - Cook the Bacon in the Skillet
I recommend using a 10-12" cast iron skillet for this recipe. Cast iron will maintain a high heat that is evenly distributed.
Make sure you have one at least this size so the corn & bacon can spread out in the pan. This allows the kernels to crisp up in the bacon fat in as much of a single layer as possible - don't overcrowd the pan.
Dice the raw bacon into small pieces.
In the skillet on medium heat, cook the bacon until it reaches your preferred level of crispiness. (about 5-7 minutes) We love it extra crispy!
Hint: Use an inexpensive splatter screen to protect yourself & clothes from splattering bacon grease.
Once the bacon is cooked, remove it from the pan. Place the bacon bits in a bowl or on a plate lined with a paper towel. Do NOT drain or remove the bacon grease from the pan.
3 - Fry the Corn in the Bacon Grease
Once the bacon is removed, time to start pan-frying the corn in the bacon fat. The pan & the drippings will be hot so be careful.
Keep the pan on medium heat & slowly add the corn kernels. Stir to coat the corn in the bacon drippings. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the diced onion & cook for 3 minutes. Once it starts to soften, add the salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.
Now is the time to use the remaining corn cobs. Using the back of the chef's knife scrape down the cobs directly over the skillet. Removing the corn milk ensures you use every sweet drop of the sweet cob. Stir and continue to fry the corn for 2-3 minutes.
Turn the heat off & add the butter. Stir so melt the butter & let it coat the corn. Sprinkle the cooked bacon bits back in with corn. Stir to reheat the bacon in the hot pan - it will stay crispy by adding it here at the end.
Turn the heat off & season with additional salt & pepper to taste. The corn should be still crisp, slightly crunchy, & taste fresh - not mushy, soggy, or overcooked.
Top with fresh parsley, more butter, or any of your favorite accompaniments to eat with corn. Serve immediately while warm.
Substitutions & Variations
Here are some great recipe variations & ingredient substitutions that can be made. Add, omit, or use one of these alternatives for other delicious recipe ideas for Southern Fried Corn and Bacon. These may help you enjoy this recipe even with dietary, health, or personal nutritional preferences.
- Fresh Corn on the Cob - Instead of removing fresh corn from the cob, use canned corn (drained).
- Vegetarian/Vegan - Instead of bacon & butter, use vegan bacon which is very lean so replace the regular butter with 3 tablespoons of margarine or plant-based butter.
This corn recipe is already gluten-free, no adjustments are needed. Unlike other recipes that call for a roux to thicken it, this fried corn recipe is made without flour.
- Spicy - add ¼ teaspoon of chili pepper flakes while cooking the corn.
- Creamy - add a splash of cream at the end for a creamed corn & bacon version.
- Southwestern - add diced jalapenos or green chiles to the skillet along with the corn.
Here is what you need to make this pan-fried corn recipe. These are the ingredients & tools that will bring success & a delicious outcome.
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Storing & Reheating
Bacon-fried corn leftovers can be stored safely in the refrigerator. Place in a container with a tight-fitting lid & refrigerate for 3 days. I do not recommend freezing as the cooked bacon will get chewy once frozen & thawed.
Reheat in a hot skillet for 3-5 minutes. It will help melt the butter & bacon drippings, re-crisp the bacon, & reheat the corn.
All of these great tips are shared in the post. But these are so good and important they are worth mentioning again so you don't miss them.
- Use fresh corn & cut it from the cob (save the cobs to scrape the corn cream/milk too).
- Balance the cobs over the middle of a bundt pan to catch the kernels.
- Don't overcrowd the skillet.
- Use a splatter screen to protect you and your clothes from bacon grease.
- Do not drain or remove the bacon drippings from the pan.
- Season to taste & enjoy immediately.
The flavor from the bits of bacon & the creaminess from the grease is what makes this fried corn recipe a staple in the South. However, if you want to make it without bacon but have dripping saved in your fridge, go for it!
This fried corn recipe can be made with just the bacon drippings and not pieces of bacon. I have scooped out solid bacon fat leftovers & used it to fry corn in the skillet. I mean any form of bacon is amazing if you ask me.
May Southerners cook in a cast iron skillet & this recipe tastes best that way too. Bacon grease is also a staple in Southern cooking. So since the corn is skillet-cooked in bacon fat - it is 100% a Southern recipe!
What to Serve with Bacon Fried Corn
These are my favorite dishes to serve with fresh corn fried in bacon:
Bacon Fried Corn
- cast iron skillet
- 4 slices bacon diced into small pieces
- 4 ears fresh corn on the cob about 6 cups of kernels
- ½ cup onion minced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Begin by shucking the corn. Remove the husks and silk from the ears of corn. Next, using a sharp chef's knife remove the kernels from the cob. I like to stand the cobs up horizontally on the center of a bundt pan and let the kernels fall into the pan (see the image in the post above). Important - Save the cobs, they will be used later.
- Dice the bacon into small pieces. Over medium heat, cook the diced bacon in a large cast iron skillet. Cook until crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Using tongs remove the pieces and set them on a plate lined with paper towels. DO NOT DRAIN OR REMOVE THE BACON GREASE!
- Carefully, add the corn to the bacon drippings and stir to coat all the pieces. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the minced onion and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 3 minutes. Once the onion starts to soften, add salt & pepper. Stir to combine. The fried corn will be ready when the onions are soft & translucent plus the corn is tender but still crisp.
- Now is the time to add the corn milk from the reserved cobs. Using the back/dull side of the knife scrape it down after the kernels are removed to extract all that juicy goodness. Stir and cook for 2-3 more minutes. How to know it is done? - think al dente like pasta - soft but with a bit of a snap or bite to it - don't overcook it or it will be soggy and not that crunchy fried corn texture that is soooo good!
- Add the butter, salt, & pepper, to the pan and stir. Turn off the heat and let the butter melt & get all the kernels buttery. Sprinkle the bacon back in and stir so it will heat up a bit without making it soggy.
- Season to taste with additional salt & pepper if desired. Serve immediately.
- Store leftovers in a container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 16.5g||21%|
|Saturated Fat 6.3g||31%|
|Total Carbohydrate 40.4g||15%|
|Dietary Fiber 4.5g||16%|
|Total Sugars 13.6g|
|Vitamin D 4mcg||20%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
|Recipe analyzed by|