This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my affiliate policy.
Last Updated on September 15, 2022
As an appetizer and side dish lover, corn nuggets have always had a special little place in my heart almost as much as my favorite keto spinach artichoke dip. These little balls of goodness are an absolute godsend. However, as good as they are, many don’t have the slightest idea how to make corn nuggets.
That’s why I’ve put together some simple recipes for this delicious sweet and savory dish. I’ve included both a classic version and a vegan version. So, see which want you want and get cooking!!!
Classic Corn Nuggets
As you will already know, it’s hard recreating the taste of your childhood. To tell the truth, it took me a lot of trial and error until I was able to make corn nuggets similar to the ones I ate as a child. Thankfully though, after tweaking a basic corn nugget recipe here and there, I was able to come up with the absolute best recipe for crispy, mouthwatering corn nuggets.
1 (15 oz) can of creamy corn
1 (15 oz) can of whole kernel corn, drained
3 tsp all-purpose flour ( for gluten-free, I recommend this flour)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground pepper
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup yellow cornmeal
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground pepper
½ cup milk
Panko Breadcrumb (optional) – For gluten-free, I recommend these breadcrumbs
P.S: If you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, you can exchange all-purpose flour with a gluten-free variety. The same goes for you lactose-intolerant people. Just swap the milk and heavy cream with lactose-free/plant-based milk.
How To Make Corn Nuggets, the Classical Way
Prep time: 70 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Step 1: Prep Your Ingredients
Before you start the actual cooking process, you should prepare your ingredients. First off, open your canned corn, then rinse and drain the sweet corn kernels.
Next, in a separate bowl, whisk your two eggs until they’re smooth and well-mixed. Then, melt your shortening over the stove or in the microwave until you can’t see any clunks.
Step 2: Add Your Wet Ingredients
In a medium bowl, stir together the beaten eggs, milk, and heavy cream. Then, stir together the creamed corn, drained corn kernels, and melted shortening.
Keep stirring, and once your corn mixture is thoroughly mixed, set it aside and move on to the next step.
Step 3: Mix Your Dry Ingredients
In a small or medium bowl, stir together the flour and yellow cornmeal with your salt, baking powder, and sugar. You can also add pepper, paprika, or cayenne pepper if you want a little kick to your corn nuggets.
Step 4: Mix the Wet and Dry Ingredients
Yup, it’s as easy as it sounds. Simply add your dry ingredients to your wet corn mixture until all the ingredients are well-incorporated and you’ve got no lumps of flour remaining.
Once you’re done, place your bowl in the refrigerator and let the batter sit for an hour or so before you start frying up the corn nuggets.
Step 5: Fry in Hot Oil Until Golden Brown
In a deep-fryer or large deep skillet, add your vegetable oil and heat it up until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil. Wait until the corn nugget becomes golden brown, then flip it on its side if needed. Once all the nuggets are that wonderful shade of brown, take them out and place them on some paper towels to drain.
Frying Instructions: Use a thermometer to check the temperature before you drop your first corn nugget in. if you don’t have one, simply place the end of your wooden spoon into the vegetable oil. If it doesn’t bubble, the oil hasn’t gotten hot enough for frying. However, if you see many bubbles forming around the handle, then you’re ready to start throwing in the nuggets.
Alternative Cooking Method
The method I’ve mentioned above is great for making corn nuggets on the go. You just have to wait an hour or so before you can fry up your corn nuggets, but that’s not too long in the grand scheme of things.
Its only downfall is that the corn nuggets may not hold their shape all that well, but hey, as I always say, it’s taste over looks.
However, if you’ve got guests coming over and you’d like your corn nuggets to look beautiful and have the delicious, gooey corn center, then I recommend you follow this cooking method. Just keep in mind that it’ll take more time than the first method.
Prep time: 180 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Step 1: Mix Your Corn and Freeze Until Firm
In a medium bowl, mix together your drained whole kernel corn and creamed corn. Then, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and spray it with a cooking spray.
Add teaspoons of your corn mixture onto the sheet, and once you’ve filled up your baking sheet, place it in the freezer for 2-3 hours. Only take it out when the frozen corn nuggets are firm.
Tip: You can use a silicone ice cube tray as a mold for your nuggets if you’re not that confident with your shaping abilities.
Step 2: Batter Up and Fry the Nuggets
Start heating your oil to 350 degrees. Until it gets hot, mix together the flour, eggs, milk, heavy cream, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. If the batter is a bit dry, add more milk until the batter has the same consistency as a waffle batter.
Then, take your baking sheet or ice cube tray out from the freezer. Dip frozen corn nuggets into the egg and flour mixture and coat them as evenly as possible. Finally, quickly fry them in hot oil until golden brown. Finish up by draining them on paper towels, and voila—one plate of delicious corn nuggets, ready to serve.
Vegan Corn Nuggets
For all my vegan friends out there, if the eggs, milk, and cream are bothering you, have no fear. There’s a vegan alternative for you that will have you licking your fingers after each bite. So, let’s take a look at what you need, shall we?
Use the same ingredients mentioned above. Just replace the eggs with a vegan egg substitute like flaxseed egg or chia egg to hold the batter together. Also, substitute the milk and heavy cream with 1 cup of plant-based milk. I prefer soy over almond as it’s slightly more viscous, but you can use the kind you like most.
How to Make Corn Nuggets, the Vegan Way
Again, you can follow either method I’ve mentioned above. However, if you’re going with the second method, make sure to check on the creamed and whole kernel corn mixture while in the freezer every 20 minutes or so.
If the nuggets are a bit runny and aren’t holding their shape, give them a little help. Re-shape them with a spoon or your fingers, and check on them after another 20 minutes or so.
Deep Fried Corn Nuggets
We're pretty sure you'll find our homemade deep-fried corn nuggets to be the juiciest, crunchiest, and most addictive thing you've ever eaten.
- 1 (15 oz) can of creamy corn
- 1 (15 oz) can of whole kernel corn, drained
- 3 tsp all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup yellow cornmeal
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground pepper
- ½ cup milk
- Panko Breadcrumb (optional)
1. In a skillet over low heat, add the creamy corn, whole corn, all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, and heavy cream.
3. Cook on low heat until it forms a dough. Turn off the heat. Add mozzarella cheese and mix until well combined.
4. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Take 1 spoon of the dough, place it on the parchment paper, and freeze for 45 -60 minutes
6. In a large bowl add the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, and milk. Whisk until combined to create a batter.
7. Take the individual nuggets and dip in in the batter and then roll in the panko breadcrumbs.
8. In a deep-fryer or large deep skillet, add your vegetable oil and heat it up until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil. Wait until the corn nugget becomes golden brown, then flip it on its side if needed. Once all the nuggets are that wonderful shade of brown, take them out and place them on some paper towels to drain.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Difference Between Corn Nuggets and Corn Fritters?
Quite simply, corn nuggets are a slight variation of corn fritters. The only difference I ever noticed between the two snacks is the shape, where corn fritters are a bit more on the flat side and corn nuggets are more round.
Where Did Corn Nuggets Originate?
Similar to corn fritters, corn nuggets come from the South of the United States. However, the idea for both corn fritters and nuggets is thought to originate from Native American cuisine. Corn nuggets are also found across the world in Asia, where they’re known in Indonesia as bakwan jagung or perkedel jagung.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Corn Nuggets?
Similar to other deep-fried dishes, this appetizer is best served hot and with a side of dipping sauce and are great with homemade truffle fries. I find honey mustard to be the best dipping sauce for corn nuggets. However, ketchup, ranch, and BBQ sauce are all excellent pairings as well.
What to Make Corn Nuggets More Interesting?
Personally, I like adding some mozzarella or cheddar cheese to the corn, flour, and egg mixture. Green onions are another great addition, and so are crumbled bacon bits.
If you’ve got an adventurous tongue, you can add lime juice, cilantro, and sliced jalapenos. However, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, then ramp up the sugar, remove the salt and pepper, and drizzle your nuggets with honey once they’re out of the deep-fryer.
As you can see, making fried corn nuggets is a walk in the park, be they regular or vegan.
To make corn nuggets, all you’ll need is some creamed corn, drained whole kernel corn, yellow cornmeal flour, egg, milk, shortening, baking powder, and seasonings. Once you’ve mixed everything together, drop spoonfuls of your mixture into a large deep skillet, and quickly fry the nuggets until they’re that perfect golden-brown shade.