Charred Corn Fritters

5 from 1 reviews

Charred corn fritters are smokey, cheesey, spicy, and a little bit sweet. Grab this delicious vegetarian recipe today!



For the fritters:
2.5 C fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 Tbsp vegetable oil (or other neutral tasting oil) plus more for frying
1 jalapeno, diced small (leave the ribs and seeds in if you want it spicier)
3 sliced scallions, white and green parts separated
1 red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup milk
2 Tbsp polenta or coarse ground cornmeal
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1/3 C all purpose flour
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup grated pecorino cheese

For the avocado yogurt sauce:
1 ripe avocado
½ cup plain or Greek yogurt
Juice of half a lime
salt and pepper to taste


In a cast iron skillet (preferably, but nonstick is fine too, you just won’t get as much browning) heat oil over medium-high heat. Add corn and press into one even layer.  Cook, undisturbed for 5 minutes or until the kernels begin to turn brown.

Add the jalapeno, scallion whites, and red bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. While vegetables cook, combine polenta and milk in a large bowl and set aside. Once vegetables are spotty-brown transfer to a plate and put in the fridge or freezer to cool down (they don’t have to be cold, just not piping hot – this takes about 5 minutes in the freezer, 15 in the fridge).

Add the cooled vegetables, egg, spices, salt, pepper, flour and cheese to the bowl with the polenta/milk mixture. Stir to combine, adding more flour if necessary. You should have a sticky but cohesive mixture.

When you’re ready to fry, heat your skillet back up over medium heat and pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. I used about 3 tablespoons for a 10 inch skillet. Heat until shimmering.

This step is optional, but it’s a good idea to both test the oil temperature and the seasoning. Take a teaspoon of the fritter batter and place it in the hot oil, if it sizzles gently you’re in good shape. Cook for about one minute on each side and then taste it. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and continue.

Scoop out ¼ cup measures of the batter and place in the hot oil. Use the back of the measuring cup or a spoon to pat down the batter forming ½ inch thick patties. Mine were about 4 inches in diameter. Fry for 4-5 minutes per side, flipping when the first side is a deep, golden brown. The first batch usually takes the longest to brown, in my experience. Drain on a paper towel lined sheet pan or plate. You can keep these warm in a 250° F oven while you fry the rest, but I didn’t find it necessary.

Serve with sour cream or avocado yogurt sauce and garnish with scallion greens.


The polenta and milk step is optional, but I love the extra hit of corn flavor it adds. If you omit it, you may need a little extra flour.

It’s not necessary, but chilling this batter in the fridge for a bit will make it easier to work with. 

You can char the corn and cook the veggies ahead of time, but I wouldn’t assemble the batter more than 30 minutes in advance.

These need to fry a moderate to low temperature and will take a little longer than you think. They will get pretty dark and will be a little fragile at first. Use a thin spatula to flip these.

Keywords: charred corn fritters, charred corn, cheesey corn fritters, vegetarian, appetizer, summer corn appetizer, meatless meal