Savory Zucchini, Corn, and Bacon Fritters are a versatile breakfast or side dish to use up that summer harvest! Fresh zucchini and corn paired with rich bacon for an easy Southern side dish made in minutes.
During the summer months, zucchini takes over the garden and the world! Vines bearing the fruit tangle and twist through backyard gardens, tower in piles at the grocery store, and maybe even appear on your front porch form a well-meaning neighbor. It can get a little hard to think about new recipes to use up this tender, easily perishable vegetable, but that’s where I come in!
Step aside, zucchini bread – it’s time for something new!
Zucchini, corn, and bacon fritters are a hearty side made in that Southern style. Serve these alongside chicken or fish as a side dish, next to eggs for a savory breakfast, or cubed as a fun crouton for soup!
Zucchini: look for small to medium, bright green and firm zucchini.
Corn: fresh or frozen is absolutely fine, and no adjustments need to be made to the recipe.
Bacon: center cut bacon is our favorite for more meat, less fat.
Buttermilk: a good fritter needs that bit of tanginess from the buttermilk.
Self-rising cornmeal mix: this mix has some flour and baking powder mixed in already to make a smoother, lighter texture.
Egg: the freshest egg you can get, the better!
Vegetable oil: you will use this for frying.
Step by Step Instructions
- Grate your zucchini with a large grater. You need to drain the zucchini by adding it to either a mesh colander or, my favorite, a mesh bag, then pressing or squeezing water out of the vegetable. The more water you remove, the better!
- In a cast iron skillet, cook your bacon. Rest the bacon on a paper towel lined plate. Drain the bacon dripping out of the skillet and wipe down. Do not wash the skillet, but make sure any little bacon drippings or pieces are removed. You are going to resuse this skillet, and if you leave those in, they will burn. Chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces when it’s cool enough to handle.
- In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and mix well.
- Heat vegetable oil in your skillet over medium high heat. Drop in your batter by the big spoonfuls, about 1/4 cup each, and slightly press down to flatten them somewhat.
- Cook for 2-4 minutes per side, flipping once. They should be golden brown and crispy. You may need to adjust the heat down a bit nearer the end of total cooking time.
- Rest them on a paper towel lined plate until you are ready to serve.
How do I choose the best zucchini?
Zucchini should be heavy for their size and have firm, green skin. Avoid any imperfections that have punctured into the skin, although little blemishes on top of the skin are okay. Look for small to medium sized zucchini as those have the best flavor. Store your zucchini in a paper or mesh bag, not plastic, to avoid sliminess.
How do I get out all the water from the zucchini?
My favorite way to do this is adding the grated zucchini to a resusable mesh produce bag and squeezing the life out of it with my hands over the sink. Kids can help with this part! If you don’t have a bag like that, pressing your zucchini through a mesh strainer or colander works. You can also salt your zucchini, let it drain, rinse it thorougly, and squeeze it again.
How do I make self-rising cornmeal mix?
You can easily mix up your own self-rising cornmeal mix. Use 2 cups of plain, finely ground cornmeal, 8 tablespoons of AP flour, 2 and 1/2 teaspoonse of baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of kosher sea salt. From this mix you can measure out the right amount for this recipe.
Can I make this gluten free?
You can use a gluten-free cornmeal mix, or you can make your own! Just use gluten free flour when you make the self-rising cornmeal mix.
Tips for Making
The amounts of zucchini, corn, and bacon can all be adjusted based on what you prefer. If you have some extra corn to use up, add it! If you want more bacon, hop to it! These freeze pretty well and store well in the fridge, so you can easily heat them back up for a future meal.
Use a good vegetable oil for frying. Olive oil and butter both have lower smoke points, so you might get burned or scortched oil, which will affect flavor. You can also use bacon fat for a heavier version of these fritters, but adjust your salt level too! Bacon fat will add more saltiness to your fritters.
Don’t overcrowd your skillet! I made 3 or 4 at a time, and that’s all my skillet can handle.
Making Ahead and Storing
Once the batter is mixed, you want to fry these up. You can store your fritters in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Lay squares of parchment paper between layers for the best results.
To reheat, add them to a skillet over medium heat for 3-5 minutes per side. You can also reheat them in the air fryer for 3-4 minutes at 350 degrees.
Love this Recipe? Try These Others!
These fritters are a great side dish paired with some of these other favorites!
Make sure to rate this recipe and drop a comment below! I hope you love it!
Zucchini, Corn, and Bacon Fritters
- cast iron skillet
- Strainer or colander
- 2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup packed, drained grated zucchini
- 1/2 cup corn kernals
- 1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying
- Grate the zucchini, then add to either a mesh bag or mesh strainer/colander in the sink. Squeeze the zucchini, allowing the water to come out of the vegetable. Allow to sit in the sink.
- In a cast iron skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Rest bacon on a paper towel lined plate, then chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces.
- Drain the bacon drippings out of the skillet, wiping the skillet to remove any lingering bits from the bacon. Be careful!
- Return skillet to stovetop and set over medium high heat. Add the vegetable oil, allowing the oil to warm while you mix the batter.
- Squeeze the last water out of the zucchini. In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and stir to combine.
- Carefully drop spoonfuls of batter (approximately 1/4 cup) into the oil. Cook for 2-4 minutes per side or until golden brown, flipping once. Remove from skillet, resting on a paper towel lined plate.
- Serve fritters warm.