5 Ingredients or Fewer

Sourdough Corn Fritters

July 20, 2020
6 Ratings
Photo by Anna Billingskog
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 8 minutes
  • Makes 8 to 10 fritters
Author Notes

Corn fritters, cakes, and breads—hinging on roasted and ground corn—have been staples of Indigenous American cuisine for centuries. In the generations since, corn fritters also took hold in the American South, where you'll find cornmeal-based hush puppies and fresh corn–filled pancakes. This streamlined version falls into the latter camp—mostly corn kernels, tenuously bound by a tangy, yeasty batter. These are just as happy alongside a summery lunch of lettuces dressed with oil and vinegar, as they are a puddle of warm maple syrup or honey.

If you don’t have a sourdough starter, all you need is flour and water and a little patience. This guide from Sarah Owens is an unintimidating place to start. Before you get fritter-ing, make sure your sourdough starter is active—which is to say, recently fed, lively and bubbly—and passes the float test. (Fill a glass with water and add a tablespoon or so of starter. If it floats, you’re good to go. If it sinks, your starter is hungry and wants to be fed.)

Instead of tossing those stripped, seemingly spent corn cobs, consider this instead: corn stock, which can and should be kept in the freezer, to preserve summer as long as we possibly can. Use any place you would use vegetable stock, as a sweet, subtle, and scrappy alternative.

This is one of our Big Little Recipes, our weekly column all about dishes with big flavor and little ingredient lists. Do you know (and love) a recipe that’s low in ask, high in reward? Let us know in the comments.Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
  • 2 ears corn
  • 2 large eggs
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup active sourdough starter
  • Unsalted butter
  1. Set a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
  2. Use a sharp knife to strip the corn kernels from their cobs. Save the cobs for stock (link in the Author Notes) or discard.
  3. Crack the eggs into a bowl, add a couple big pinches of salt, and whisk with a fork until smooth. Add the starter and mix until mostly cohesive. Stir in the corn kernels.
  4. Add a hunk of butter to the pan. Once it melts, it should generously lacquer the bottom (just like for making pancakes).
  5. When the butter is foaming, scoop in the batter—figure about 2 tablespoons per fritter, evenly spaced out so you have enough room to flip. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, until tiny bubbles form on top of the fritters and their bottoms are deeply golden brown. Flip and press down if needed to flatten. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until they feel firm-ish and slightly bouncy to the touch. Transfer to a cooling rack and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Cook the remaining corn fritter batter in the same way if needed. Let cool for a few minutes before digging in—these are too hot straight out of the pan.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Karen Brooks
    Karen Brooks
  • Taylor Downs
    Taylor Downs
  • Kathleen Stout
    Kathleen Stout
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

11 Reviews

Karen B. August 25, 2022
Yum! Definitely use fresh corn kernels, not frozen. For some variation add any or all of: chopped fresh chives, chopped fresh dill, or chopped crisp bacon.
Taylor D. September 15, 2020
Really like this recipe. I served these for dinner with a green salad. The only change I made to the recipe was roasting the corn on the cob to get a bit of char going. I think next time I would pump the batter up with black pepper, chili powder, or even crushed chili flake. It needs a little heat, in my opinion. They’re great plain, but I put some spicy aioli on them and they are A+!
Kathleen S. September 5, 2020
I’m planning on making these in a couple days. I’m thinking of doing them in a waffle iron. Thoughts?
Emma L. September 7, 2020
I'm not sure how this batter would hold up in a waffle iron, but if you give it a go, please report back!
Kathleen S. September 15, 2020
Worked great in a waffle iron!! More crispy edges.
Emma L. September 16, 2020
Amazing!! Thanks for letting us know, Kathleen! Gotta try it.
Ken K. August 3, 2020
These were very nice. I wish they were a little bit crisper, but that's probably on me.

I tossed in a couple of chopped scallions and a bit of black pepper, which added just the right amount of zip.
Jane E. July 28, 2020
These were delicious! I was worried because my starter was a little runny, but the fritters cooked up and held together fine. We ate them with sliced tomatoes, though they were tasty enough on their own. The sourdough starter gave them a really nice flavor - definitely a recipe that is more than the sum of its parts.
LaMar July 21, 2020
I'm going to guess these work well with sourdough discard, also...perhaps you won't get a bit of puffy rise since the starter/discard isn't active, but would still be mighty tasty. And since discard is what those of us keeping starters have a lot of, that makes it a recipe worth looking into!
Bonnie A. August 4, 2020
The King Arthur recipe for crumpets with sourdough discard adds 1 T of baking powder ... perhaps that would be a good addition if using discard?
MegBakes September 30, 2023
I tried it with discard and the batter seemed thin, so I ended up adding a couple of Tbsps of cornmeal and I like the outcome...might've worked without but I didn't feel like risking it. They had a little bit of a bouncy texture. Seems like they would be fluffier with the addition of baking powder