How to Make Corn Nuggets

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This homemade corn nuggets recipe is a tasty, vegetarian substitute for chicken nuggets; everything, including vegetables, tastes better when it is fried. With three variations of corn, it gives different flavors and texture, while the fried exterior gives the nuggets a good crunch.

Corn nuggets on a plate with dipping sauce.

Whether you are looking for a vegetarian snack or want to eat something savory and comforting, this is the recipe for you. Here are some tips and information on how to make corn nuggets.

What are Corn Nuggets?

Corn nuggets are similar to corn fritters: a savory snack that originated from the south. There are other variations of this dish, from Asia’s “pakoras” to Johnny cakes. What makes corn nuggets different from corn fritters are their corn ingredients, shape and preparation.

While corn fritters use corn kernels, are usually flat/round in shape and fried immediately, these corn nuggets are made from corn kernels, creamed corn and cornmeal, are shaped like nuggets and then frozen to keep their shape for frying.

Step 1: Prep Corn Nugget Ingredients & Tools

Corn nugget ingredients prepped on a light background.
  • 1 cup creamed corn
  • 1 cup canned whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal + 1 Tbsp (for the flour mixture)
  • 3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups canola oil (approximately – for frying)
  • Large frying pan
  • Baking sheet
  • Wax paper
  • Spider strainer
  • Baking grid
  • Paper towel

Step 2: Combine the Corns

Corn nugget mixture in a bowl.

In a medium bowl, add the creamed corn, whole kernel corn, 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal and chopped parsley. Mix well.

Corn nugget mixture in a bowl.

Step 3: Form & Freeze the Nuggets

Frozen raw corn nuggets on a baking sheet with wax paper.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and then grease it. Drop the corn mixture by the tablespoonful onto the greased wax paper. Try not to make them too high or the inside won’t cook as well. Freeze for at least 2 hours, or until firm.

Step 4: Prepare Breading

Raw corn nuggets on a wax paper lined baking sheet, bowls of egg and flour on the side.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tbsp. of corn meal with the flour, salt and pepper. In a separate small bowl, whisk the milk and egg together.

Step 5: Dip the Frozen Nuggets into the Egg Mixture

A raw corn nugget in a bowl of milk/egg.

Begin heating the canola oil in a large, deep skillet to 350°F. The oil should be about 1” deep. Dip the frozen corn nuggets into the egg-milk mixture.

Step 6: Dip the Nuggets into the Flour Mix

A raw corn nugget in a bowl of flour.

Next, coat them with the dry flour mixture.

A bowl of flour covering a raw corn nugget.
Raw breaded corn nuggets on a plate, a bowl of egg/milk on the side.
Raw breaded corn nuggets on a plate.

Step 7: Fry the Corn Nuggets

Raw corn nugget and a pan with oil.

Carefully place the nuggets in the hot oil (work in batches so that you don’t crowd the pan and cool the oil). Fry until golden brown all over, a few minutes per side.

Fried corn nuggets in a pan with hot oil.
Fried corn nuggets in a pan with hot oil.

Step 8: Transfer to Baking Grid

Fried corn nuggets on paper towel.

Transfer to a baking grid with paper towels underneath it to catch the grease drippings. Repeat until all of the nuggets are fried.

Step 9: Cool & Serve!

A plate of corn nuggets with dipping sauce, cilantro on the side.

They will be hot inside, so let them cool for a few minutes. Serve with a dipping sauce, if desired.

A plate of corn nuggets with dipping sauce.

Tips & Tweaks

When it comes to the best tips on how to make corn nuggets, they are the temperature of the corn nugget and timing of the coating. Keeping the nuggets frozen before breading is a must to keep the wet ingredients intact before frying.

As tempting as it is to coat them in the dry flour ahead of time, they will not fry properly when the time comes. If you coat the nuggets and let them sit, the flour will absorb into the nuggets and the nuggets will lose some of their moisture. The flour also crisps up the outside of the corn nuggets and holds the filling in once fried, which is essential in this recipe. So make sure you bread the nuggets just before popping them into the hot oil.

A plate of corn nuggets with dipping sauce.

Since corn nuggets are closely related to a southern dish, it makes sense to pair this dish with other southern recipes like fried chicken, pork chops, baked beans, or barbeque ribs.

If you would like your corn nuggets to be a little more on the sweet side, use canned sweet corn kernels.

Nuggets go well with a dipping sauce, and for these corn nuggets, you can go with honey mustard, ketchup, honey, or hot sauce for an extra spicy zing.

What dip will you serve with your homemade corn nuggets? Let us know your ideas in the comments and please share the recipe!

Corn nuggets on a plate with dipping sauce, cilantro on the side.

How to Make Corn Nuggets

Joss D
This homemade corn nuggets recipe is a tasty, vegetarian substitute for chicken nuggets.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 6 mins
Chill Hours 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 26 mins
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 16 corn nuggets
Calories 82 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 cup creamed corn
  • 1 cup canned whole kernel corn - drained
  • ¼ cup yellow cornmeal - + 1 Tbsp. for the flour mixture
  • 3 tbsp. fresh parsley - chopped
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt - or to taste
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups canola oil - (approximately – for frying)

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl, add the creamed corn, whole kernel corn, ¼ cup yellow cornmeal and chopped parsley. Mix well.
    1 cup creamed corn, 1 cup canned whole kernel corn, 3 tbsp. fresh parsley
    Corn nugget mixture in a bowl.
  • Line a baking sheet with wax paper and then grease it. Drop the corn mixture by the tablespoonful onto the greased wax paper. Try not to make them too high or the inside won't cook as well. Freeze for at least 2 hours, or until firm.
    Frozen raw corn nuggets on a baking sheet with wax paper.
  • In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tbsp. of corn meal with the flour, salt and pepper. In a separate small bowl, whisk the milk and egg together.
    ½ cup all-purpose flour, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. pepper, ¼ cup milk, 1 egg
    Raw corn nuggets on a wax paper lined baking sheet, bowls of egg and flour on the side.
  • Begin heating the canola oil in a large, deep skillet to 350°F. The oil should be about 1” deep. Dip the frozen corn nuggets into the egg-milk mixture. Then, coat with the dry flour mixture.
    3 cups canola oil
    Raw breaded corn nuggets on a plate, a bowl of egg/milk on the side.
  • Carefully place the nuggets in the hot oil (work in batches so that you don’t crowd the pan and cool the oil). Fry until golden brown all over, a few minutes per side.
    Fried corn nuggets in a pan with hot oil.
  • Transfer to a baking grid with paper towels underneath it to catch the grease drippings. Repeat until all of the nuggets are fried.
    Fried corn nuggets on paper towel.
  • They will be hot inside, so let them cool for a few minutes. Serve with a dipping sauce, if desired.
    A plate of corn nuggets with dipping sauce, cilantro on the side.

Equipment

Large frying pan
Spider strainer

Nutrition

Calories: 82kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 2gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 128mgPotassium: 70mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 267IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or sauces.

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Hungry for more? Try our Peach Tarte Tatin

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