Bacon and Corn Fritters with Chipotle Aioli
These bacon and corn fritters are a total dream. With fresh corn, salty bacon, green onions, and cheddar cheese, they’re crispy, fluffy, and ridiculously delicious with a side of spicy chipotle aioli. This cozy recipe is definitely a go-to appetizer or side dish for dinner parties and BBQs!
Hot girl summer? Done. It’s over. Been there, done that. Hot CORN summer, on the other hand? Yeah, I can get into that.
In my effort to use summer corn in each and every way possible, I’ve moved onto bringing corn indoors. That is, not just throwing it on the grill and slathering it in butter. It’s appetizer time, a.k.a. my one true passion.
These fritters make for an excellent side dish, appetizer, or happy hour snack along with some marinated mozzarella balls and spicy deviled eggs. Enjoy them with a crisp glass of wine or a cold beer and enjoy the last few moments that summer has to offer.
About these fritters
It turns out that corn fritters are crazy easy to make. They’re basically a one-bowl recipe and everyone loves that crispy, crunchy crust. These ones are stuffed with corn, bacon, and cheese because everything’s better with a little cheesy-bacon action.
- These loaded corn fritters are simple and come together quickly.
- With cheese, bacon, and green onions, they’re full of flavor.
- The chipotle aioli is absolutely amazing. Creamy with a hint of spice!
- Serve them as a side dish, appetizer, or happy hour snack.
- Bacon – the bacon adds a lovely, smoky flavor to these fritters. Use something thick-cut for the best texture.
- Flour – a bit of all-purpose flour will bind the batter for easy frying.
- Baking powder – the baking powder will create little bubbles in the fritters, making them fluffy and soft in the middle.
- Sugar – I add just a bit of sugar to complement the sweetness in the corn.
- Spices – a mix of Kosher salt, white pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika adds flavor to the batter.
- Eggs – these bind the batter and make it light and fluffy!
- Whole milk – the milk will help loosen the batter just a bit so it’s thick but not too thick. You’ll want to use whole milk – the fat in the milk will help create a more tender fritter.
- Corn – I recommend corn fresh off the cob. It’s so sweet and the texture adds a nice bite.
- Green onions – the green onions add a pop of freshness to cut the richness of the cheese and bacon.
- Cheddar cheese – I like a sharp cheddar cheese so it really pops in these cheesy corn fritters. Make sure to use freshly-grated cheese for the best flavor and meltiness!
- Oil – fry the fritters in neutral oil with a high smoke point (like vegetable or canola) for those crispy edges.
- Mayo – we’ll use mayonnaise as a base for an easy aioli shortcut.
- Lemon juice – to add a bit of acidity and cut the richness. I always recommend fresh lemon juice!
- Chipotle peppers – you’ll want chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I use the kind that are already chopped, but whole peppers work too.
- Garlic – use fresh garlic to complement the chipotle peppers.
- Salt & pepper – a bit of Kosher salt and white pepper will round out the flavor.
- Corn – in the off season, use defrosted frozen corn or canned corn instead. Use paper towels to soak up any extra liquid before adding the kernels to the batter.
- Spices – you can use any spice combo you like. Try chili powder, onion powder, paprika, or a spice mix. Cajun or Creole seasoning would be delicious!
- Green onions – try chives instead of green onions.
- Cheese – I like a good sharp cheddar but mozzarella, gouda, pepper Jack, or any melty cheese would be great too.
- Vegetarian – sub the bacon with extra corn or green onions to make these veggie-friendly!
How to make these fritters
Cook the bacon
- To make the bacon, preheat the oven to 400°F. Lay the bacon side-by-side on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
- Then, cook the bacon for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until it’s nice and crispy.
- Place the cooked bacon on paper towels to soak up any extra grease.
- Once it’s cool, finely chop the bacon.
Slice the corn
- Now it’s time to prep the corn! Start by shucking the cobs.
- Then, wash the corn cobs to remove any extra silk strands.
- Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the kernels off of the cobs.
Here’s a fun trick I learned when I was in culinary school. To keep the kernels from flying everywhere, cut the corn using a bundt pan! Just place the top of the corn cob in the hole in the middle of the bundt pan. Hold the top of the cob (near the stem) and cut diagonally down the cob. The kernels will fall neatly into the bundt pan!
Make the batter
- To make the batter, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.
- Add the corn kernels, bacon, green onions, and cheddar cheese. Gently mix.
- Then, add the flour to the bacon-corn mixture.
- Lastly, use a rubber spatula to combine the batter just until it’s mixed.
Fry the fritters
- To fry the fritters, heat the oil over medium heat until it’s very hot.
- Add a scoop of batter to the hot oil and use a spatula to press it flat. Cook 2-3 minutes until crispy and golden-brown.
- Flip and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes. Place the fritters on paper towels to soak up any extra grease.
To test the oil, add a small spoonful of batter to the hot oil. If it sizzles and the batter turns golden-brown, it’s ready to go! If the oil doesn’t sizzle much, it’s too cool. Or, if the batter burns, it’s too hot. You may need to play around with the temperature a bit!
- Place the mayo, lemon juice, chipotle peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor.
- Blend the aioli until it’s very smooth.
- Taste and add more chipotle peppers, salt, and pepper if needed. Enjoy with the hot fritters!
You can eat these corn fritters with bacon as an appetizer, side dish, or light meal!
- If you don’t want to use chipotle aioli, try garlic aioli, ranch dressing, or Sriracha mayo.
- Eat them with other appetizers at a party.
- Serve them with a light green salad or fruit salad.
- Top the fritters with a runny fried or poached egg.
- Serve them with cozy dishes like smoked tri-tip, red wine pot roast, or apple glazed pork chops.
Storing & freezing
Bacon and cheese fritters are best fresh, but if you have leftovers, you can still eat them later! To store leftover fritters, make sure they’re completely cool so they don’t steam and get soggy. Place the cooled fritters in an airtight container and refrigerate for 2-3 days. They will lose a bit of their crunch, but if you reheat them properly, they’ll crisp right up!
To freeze, place the fritters on a sheet pan and freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours. Place the frozen fritters in a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months.
If you have an air fryer, I highly recommend this method. It makes them so crispy! Just place the fritters in a single layer in the basket of an air fryer and cook at 375°F for 4-5 minutes until crispy. Flip them halfway through cooking so they don’t burn.
You can also reheat them in the oven! Place a wire rack on a sheet pan, and layer the fritters in a single layer on top of the wire rack. (This will help make sure that the bottoms get crisp too). Bake at 400°F for 12-14 minutes, flipping halfway through, until hot crispy. They may not seem super crunchy but will crisp up more as they cool.
You can also cook the cheesy corn fritters in the air fryer or oven straight from frozen! Just add 1-2 minutes of cooking time.
Tips & tricks
- Make sure to let the batter sit for about 5 minutes after mixing. This will give the gluten time to relax which will make for tender, crispy fritters.
- Heat the oil properly! The batter should sizzle and turn golden-brown when it hits the pan.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan, or the fritters will steam instead of crisp. I cook them 2-3 at a time.
- Drain the fritters on paper towels after frying. Otherwise, they might get soggy!
- To keep the oil from burning and getting gunky, use a spider spatula to remove any extra pieces of corn or batter from the oil.
- To keep the fritters warm while you’re frying, place the drained fritters on a sheet pan in the oven at 200°F.
Why do you add baking powder to fritter batter?
The baking powder will add tiny bubbles to the batter. These bubbles will make the inside of the fritters tender and fluffy!
What consistency should fritter batter be?
The batter should be fairly thick. It will also hold its shape once you scoop it into the pan! If the batter is crumbly, it’s too dry. If the batter is runny, it needs a bit more flour.
How can I thicken fritter batter?
If the batter is too runny, add flour 1 Tablespoon at a time until it holds its shape when scooped.
Why aren’t my fritters crispy?
If the spicy corn fritters aren’t crispy, it’s most likely because the oil isn’t hot enough. Make sure that the oil is nice and hot. The batter should sizzle and turn golden-brown when it hits the pan.
Why are my fritters falling apart?
If the fritters are falling apart, it’s mostly likely for one of two reasons. The first is that you don’t have enough binder holding everything together. Just add flour 1 Tablespoon at a time until the batter holds its shape.
The other reason is that you may not be cooking the fritters hot enough. You want them to ‘sear’ a bit and get a nice crust which will help the fritters stay together.
More cozy appetizers
Little Smokies in a Blanket with Puff Pastry
Beef Wellington Bites with Dijon Sauce
Tempura Fried Cheese Curds with Sriracha Mayo
Fried Burrata with Roasted Peppers & Pesto
Savory Palmiers with Parmesan & Everything Spice
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Bacon & Corn Fritters with Chipotle Aioli
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Bacon Corn Fritters
- 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups corn kernels (about 4 cobs)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (or freshly-ground black pepper)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
- Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor.
- Blend the mixture until it's very smooth. Taste and add more chipotle peppers, salt, and pepper if desired.
- Spoon the aioli into an airtight container. Refrigerate the sauce while you make the fritters.
Bacon Corn Fritters
- Cook the bacon. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Lay the bacon side-by-side on the parchment paper. Bake the bacon for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until it's nice and crispy. Place the cooked bacon on paper towels to soak up any extra grease. Once the bacon is cool, chop it finely.
- Cut the corn kernels. Shuck the cobs of corn and wash them to remove any extra strands of silk. Then, place the cob stem-side down on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the kernels off of the cob. Repeat with all of the cobs until you have 3 cups of kernels.
- Make the batter. Start by whisking the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, white pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Add the flour mixture and stir just until the batter is combined and there are no more streaks of flour. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes.
- Fry the fritters. Pour the canola or vegetable oil in a 12'' skillet until it comes up about 1/8'' on the sides of the pan. Heat over medium until the oil is very hot. To test the oil, spoon a small amount of batter into the pan. If it sizzles and turns golden-brown after a minute or so, it's ready to go!
- Using a #20 scoop, spoon mounds of batter into the pan 2-3 at a time. Use a spatula to gently press the mounds into a flat circle. Cook the fritters for 2-3 minutes until they're crisp and golden brown. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the other side is crispy and golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Drain & serve. Place the fried fritters on paper towels to soak up any extra grease. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and green onions if desired. Serve the fritters hot with the chipotle aioli. Enjoy!
xo Sara Lynn
Song of the day – Golden Hour by Glyders