Skillet Fried Corn – A Couple Cooks


This skillet corn recipe makes incredible pan fried corn! It comes out sweet, buttery, smoky, and absolutely irresistible.

Skillet corn

Got fresh, in season corn and want something outside the standard corn on the cob? Here’s a simple recipe that will have you absolutely smitten: Skillet Fried Corn! Pan fry fresh corn in a skillet with butter, garlic, and smoked paprika, and it comes out sweet, buttery and smoky. In fact, we couldn’t stop sneaking bites after we first made it! You’ll be amazed how just a few ingredients and 5 minutes transform corn into pure gold. Frozen and canned corn work as a swap too!

Ingredients in skillet corn

During corn season, we’ve been buying a lot of corn from the farmers market and we’ve been looking for creative ways to cook it “outside the cob.” Enter skillet corn! Just a few ingredients come together to make beautiful sweet corn magic. Cook corn in a skillet with seasonings and it’s ready in just 5 minutes. Because it’s such a simple recipe, you’ll need each one of these ingredients: no substitutes! Here’s what’s in skillet corn:

  • Fresh sweet corn (or frozen or canned corn; see notes!)
  • Salted butter
  • Garlic
  • Smoked paprika
  • Onion powder
  • Salt
  • Fresh sage and/or parsley (optional)
Skillet Corn

Tips for cutting corn off the cob

The only part of skillet corn that requires technique is cutting corn off the cob. This is a notoriously tedious process that often ends with kernels all over the floor (it always happens to us!) Here are a few of our favorite mess-free methods for cutting corn:

  • Bundt pan method. Place the corn cob right on top of the raised center part of a Bundt pan. When you slice downward, the Bundt pan catches all the corn kernels! Go to How to Cut Corn Off the Cob.
  • Inverted small bowl inside larger bowl. You can also use an inverted small bowl inside a larger bowl to catch the kernels (here’s a video).
  • Mandoline. If you have a mandoline, use it to cut corn off the cob. It slides right off without making a mess!

Tips for making skillet fried corn

This skillet corn recipe is very simple: if you’re ready to get started, scroll down to the recipe below! Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prep for the recipe:

  • Use the smoked paprika: no substitutions! Smoked paprika is Spanish version of paprika made of dried pimiento peppers that that are smoked over a fire, then ground. It adds an irresistible smoky flavor to this dish that’s irreplaceable. Smoked paprika is also sold under the names pimentón, Spanish smoked paprika or sweet smoked paprika.
  • Cook for just 5 minutes. All you need is a few minutes to get the corn bright golden and tender.
  • Fresh sage is optional, but adds intrigue (remove before serving). We happened to have some fresh sage on hand in our garden, and adding a few whole leaves imparts and interesting complexity. You can remove it prior to serving!
Corn in skillet

Variation: use frozen or canned corn

You can also use frozen or canned corn for skillet fried corn! Here are a few notes to keep in mind:

  • Frozen corn can be swapped in without any changes. It won’t taste quite as good as fresh sweet corn, but it still tastes delicious!
  • Canned corn works, but needs some modifications. Use 2 15-ounce cans, drained. Decrease the salt to starting with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, then add more to taste (canned corn has added sugar and salt).

Ways to serve it

Skillet corn is like a simple version of creamed corn, and pairs well with many types of main dishes! It’s fast, easy and relatively healthy, perfect as an easy side dish in the summer or anytime. Here are a few great ways to serve it:

More corn recipes

There are so many fun ways to enjoy corn in the summer! Here are a few more of our favorite corn recipes to enjoy:

This skillet corn recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For dairy-free, plant-based and vegan, use vegan butter.


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This skillet corn recipe makes incredible pan fried corn! It comes out sweet, buttery, smoky, and absolutely irresistible.

  • 4 cups corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 4 large cobs or 6 small)*
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter (or vegan butter)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • Scant ¾ teaspoon kosher salt*
  • 2 sage leaves (optional)
  • Fresh parsley, for serving (optional)

  1. In a large heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the corn, garlic, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt, and sage leaves, if using. Cook for 2 minutes,  stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat to medium and cook another 3 to 5 minutes until bright yellow and tender.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Sprinkle with parsley to serve (remove the sage leaves prior to serving). 


*You can also use frozen or canned corn here. If using canned corn, use 2 15-ounce cans, drained, and start with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, adding more to taste. 

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Skillet corn, corn in skillet


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