Southern Corn Cakes

30 Aug

Corn Cakes Overhead

I was at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and while walking down the produce aisle, I saw something I’d never seen before:  Red corn.   So, for no reason other than, “Oooh.  Pretty color.,” I plopped down the $3 for the 4 ears of corn and brought them home.

Now, to be honest, I don’t like corn really.  I mean, it’s fine, I’ll eat it, but never in my life have I ever craved corn.  In discussing this purchase with my husband, we came to the realization that in the 10+ years of being together, that I had never, even once, made corn at home.

Dekerneling corn

My lack of “corn enthusiasm” attitude does not go over well with my husband, however.  He was born and raised in the Midwest and is a self proclaimed corn connoisseur.  I’ve noticed this connoisseur trait with a lot of Midwestern friends of mine too, who scoff at my ambivalence towards their sweet, golden {or in this case, red}, produce.  I find it akin to Floridians like myself who have a refined palate focused on tropical and citrus fruits.

corn cake prep

So, now I was the proud owner of 4 ears of red corn and I needed to figure out something to do with it based on what ingredients I had on hand.  I was going to go down the path of corn bread {proudly representing my Southern roots}, but didn’t have the right ingredients in the pantry.  So I thought, “Corn cakes using grits?  Yes!”

corn cake cooking

{Gina’s Take}

Corn Cakes

After a bit of trial and error with the grits, I got that worked out per the directions below and set it aside to cool and then cooked the veggies.  For the veggies, I went with a yellow bell pepper since I wanted some variety in color from the red corn.  I think if I was using yellow corn, I’d give a red bell pepper a whirl.  The cake shaping went rather smoothly – I took the corn “batter,” kinda squished it together in the palm of my hand to shape a ball, then flattened and smoothed out the edges.  I was able to fit 7 corn cakes in the pan at the same time, so I only had to repeat the butter-then-brown step once.  I thought the jalapeno would really spice up the corn cakes, but I really didn’t notice any crazy heat in the dish.  Both my husband and I {to my surprise} really liked them and they got his vote as the favorite recipe of the weekend (stacked up against a fish dish and two curry dishes that I made).  And as a bonus, they could easily be prepped the night before, refrigerated, and stored in an air tight container until it’s time to hit the skillet.

{Pretty Little Tip}

See the images above for an easy dekerneling technique:  After removing the husk and silk, using a bundt pan, place the end of the corn of cob in the center hole to hold the cob in place.  Then, carefully slice the kernels downward and parallel with the cob, in to the the pan, where it acts as a catch basin.  Easy-peasy.

Oh – like the plates?  You can pick those up here from the talented AC Ceramics Esty Shop!

Recipe modified from

Southern Corn Cakes


  • 1/2 cup White Corn Grits (regular, not instant)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 cups fresh whole red or yellow corn kernels (or thawed frozen kernels)
  • 1/4 yellow bell pepper, seeded & finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded & finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped (white & 1/2 of the green part)


  1. In a small bowl, combine grits, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a small sauce pan, whisk together milk, eggs, and lemon juice and bring to a low simmer.
  3. Once simmering, add in the grits mixture. Stirring constantly, simmer for 3 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside for the grits to absorb the the liquid and cool down.
  4. In a medium sized skillet, melt 1 Tbsp butter over medium heat.
  5. Once melted, add corn, yellow pepper, & jalapeno, stirring occasionally, and cook for ~10 minutes. Once cooked, remove the skillet from the heat, mix in the scallions, and set aside to cool down. You will reuse the skillet.
  6. Once both the grits mixture and veggie mixture are cool enough to handle, combine together in a medium sized bowl.
  7. Take 2 Tbsp of the grits/veggie mixture, shaping the "cakes" with your hands, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until all the mixture is used, about 1 dozen "cakes."
  8. Reusing the veggie skillet, add 1 Tbsp butter to the pan and melt the butter.
  9. Add the corn cakes to the pan and brown each side over medium heat, about 2 minutes per side. Once brown, remove from heat and place on a serving plate. If all the corn cakes don't fit in to the pan, repeat the process of melting ~1 Tbsp butter and browning the corn cakes until all the corn cakes have been browned. You can keep the corn cakes crisp while cooking the rest of them by placing the cooked corn cakes on a baking sheet and placing them in an oven preheated to 200F.

2 Responses to “Southern Corn Cakes”

  1. Simon January 7, 2014 at 8:15 am #


    forgive me if I`m wrong, but I think in Step E, there`s a small mix-up.You talk about adding the scallions twice, but I assume the first time you mean the corn kernels, adding the scallions after having removed the pan from the heat.Is that right ?

    • Pretty Little Dishes January 10, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

      hey simon – thanks for the catch – yes you are totally right! glad i have pictures so you guys keep your sanity! i appreciate the feedback and updated the recipe accordingly! xo – gina

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