Kid-friendly Crispy Corn Southern Hush Puppy Fritters + Corn Butter Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Crispy Corn Southern Hush Puppy Fritters + Corn Butter

Recipe: Crispy Corn Southern Hush Puppy Fritters + Corn Butter

Crispy Corn Southern Hush Puppy Fritters + Corn Butter

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by George W. Bailey/
prep time
20 minutes
cook time
10 minutes
12-14 servings

Fun Food Story

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Crispy Corn Southern Hush Puppy Fritters + Corn Butter

The crispy, crunchy fried cornmeal patties known as hush puppies are a beloved specialty of the American South! And there’s lot of myth surrounding the name. According to some, hush puppies are named for the practice of trying to quiet howling dogs with bits of fried cornmeal (“hush, puppies!”), but who did the hushing and for what purpose is hotly debated. Names aside, please note that today’s hush puppies are NOT dog-friendly because they call for scads of onions - enough to upset any puppy's tummy!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • grate :

    to reduce food, like a carrot, to very small shreds or pieces of the same size by rubbing it on a tool with an outside surface that has holes with cutting edges (a grater).

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • mix :

    to thoroughly combine two or more ingredients until uniform in texture.

  • pan-fry :

    to fry in a pan in a small amount of fat.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Large bowl
  • Small bowls
  • Measuring spoons
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Whisk
  • Small saucepan
  • Slotted spoon
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Grater
  • Pitcher


Crispy Corn Southern Hush Puppy Fritters + Corn Butter

  • 1/4 C unsalted butter, softened **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub Earth Balance soy butter)**
  • 1 yellow corn cob (uncooked), grated (divided between hush puppies and butter)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free flour)**
  • 1 1/4 C yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 1 T flaxseeds + 3 T water, whisked—more info below)**
  • 1 C buttermilk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk + 1 T lemon juice)**
  • 1/2 C yellow onion, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 C vegetable oil

Food Allergen Substitutions

Crispy Corn Southern Hush Puppy Fritters + Corn Butter

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute 1 C gluten-free flour for flour in Fritters.
  • Egg: For 1 egg in Fritters, substitute 1 T flaxseeds + 3 T water, whisked. Soak flaxseeds in warm water for 5 minutes or until fully absorbed and thickened.
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk + 1 T lemon juice for the buttermilk in the Fritters.


Crispy Corn Southern Hush Puppy Fritters + Corn Butter

butter: grate + whisk

Grate 1 cob of corn. Get as much corn as possible into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use 1/4 cup of the grated corn for the Crazy Corn butter and reserve the rest for the Crispy Corn Southern Hush Puppy Fritters. Whisk the 1/4 cup grated corn with 1/4 cup butter until the mixture is well combined and fluffy. The corn will make the butter a bit sweet, so make sure to season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then take a taste and add more salt if needed. Chill the butter for the best texture.

fritters: measure + mix + whisk

Measure 1 cup flour, 1 1/4 cup cornmeal, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon paprika and combine them in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients until well combined.

crack + chop + measure

Crack 1 egg into the mixing bowl of dry ingredients. Chop 1/2 cup onion as finely as possible and add to the mixing bowl.

measure + whisk

Measure 1 cup of buttermilk and pour into the mixing bowl. Whisk until well combined into a smooth and thick batter. (Tip: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice into 1 cup whole milk as a substitute for buttermilk.)

fry + garnish

Heat 3/4 cup vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until the oil bubbles when a small drop of batter is dropped in the center. Once the oil is hot enough to bubble, drop 1/4 cup scoops of batter into the hot oil. Leave the batter uncovered to cook for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown on all sides. Make sure to manage the temperature of the burner to ensure no oil boils out of the pan. Place the crispy hush puppies on a plate and garnish with a dusting of paprika, Corn Butter, and Sweet Jalapeño Jam (see recipe). Serve!

Surprise Ingredient: Cornmeal!

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Photo by Natalia Bostan/

Hi! I'm Cornmeal!

"I'm made from ground corn—either yellow, white, or blue! I can be coarse, fine, or somewhere in-between. Did you know that I'm in some of your favorite foods, like tacos, tamales, tortilla chips, corn puffs, and cornbread?!" 

  • Cornmeal is a coarse flour or meal made from grinding corn. Native Americans first ground corn in the Americas a few thousand years ago. 
  • The most common variety of cornmeal in the US is steel-ground yellow cornmeal, which is ground between steel rollers, and the germ and hull (or husk) are removed during the process. The cornmeal may be enriched to return nutrients to it. Because the germ has been removed, which contains the fat, steel-ground cornmeal will not spoil as quickly as other types if kept cool and dry in an airtight container. 
  • Other types of cornmeal include white cornmeal (from more delicately flavored white corn), blue cornmeal (from blue corn), and stone-ground cornmeal (ground between two stones, a coarser grain, and retains some of the germ and the husk). 
  • The size of the grind will determine how much liquid the cornmeal will absorb. The finer the grind, the more absorbent it is.
  • Cornmeal can be used to make cornbread, batters for fried foods (like corn dogs), corn fritters, and hushpuppies. Cheetos are even made from cornmeal that has had the germ removed and been enriched with nutrients.
  • Grits is a porridge made from boiled white cornmeal that originated in the Southern United States. In Northern Italy, boiled yellow cornmeal called polenta is popular. 
  • If corn is ground very fine, it is called corn flour. Masa harina or masa is finely ground corn that has been soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, such as limewater. Masa is used to make corn tortillas, arepas, and tamales. 
  • Whole-grain cornmeal, such as the stone-ground type, is a good source of fiber and protein. 
  • Cornmeal does not contain gluten, but due to its coarseness, you can only use it in a limited way to replace wheat flour in some recipes.

History of Hush Puppies!

Photo by Brent Hofacker/
  • The term "hush puppy" was first seen in writing in 1899. However, the origin stories for the name of these delicious balls of fried cornmeal batter cannot be proven, although they all seem to involve keeping dogs quiet for various reasons. For example, one story says that Confederate soldiers fed their dogs pieces of fried cornmeal batter and told them to "hush puppies" when Union soldiers approached. 
  • The dish may have come from the 1720s when French nuns in New Orleans, Louisiana, made "croquettes de maise" (corn croquettes) out of cornmeal. Or, it may have originated with former enslaved chef Romeo Govan and his "red horse bread" served with fish and was similar to hush puppies. 
  • Hush puppy ingredients include cornmeal, egg, flour, milk or buttermilk, baking powder, salt, and sometimes onion and sugar. They are usually served with fish, often fried catfish, or barbecue meals.

Let's Learn About the Southern United States!

Photo by In The Light Photography/
  • The southern region of the United States is also referred to as the Southern States, or just "the South." The area lies between the Western states and the Atlantic Ocean. Midwestern and Northeastern states are to its north, and Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico are to its south. 
  • From west to east, the states included in the South are Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. 
  • The term "Deep South" usually applies to Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.
  • Native Americans inhabited the region as early as 11,000 to 9,500 BCE. They lived on food they grew, hunted, and fished.
  • Eleven Southern states seceded from the Union from 1860 to 1861 and became the Confederate States of America. Their secession and the dispute about the expansion of slavery caused the Civil War (1861-1865), the war between the North and the South. At the war's end, the Southern states returned to the Union. 
  • Southern culture was influenced by indigenous peoples, immigrants from England, Spain, and France, and enslaved Africans. As a result, the area's language, food, music, architecture, and literature may include one or more of these influences.  
  • The climate in the region is diverse and depends on a state's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes and tornadoes are extreme types of weather seen in the South.
  • Animals that are unique to the South include the nine-banded armadillo, the cottonmouth (snake), the roseate spoonbill (wading bird), and the American alligator.
  • Stock car racing got its start in Southern states. NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Racing) was founded in 1948 and is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina. 
  • There are a wide variety of foods in Southern cuisine. Cajun and creole dishes originated in Louisiana. You can find Caribbean cooking influences in Florida, including Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican. 
  • Various types of barbecue are popular in the South, and each state has its own cooking or smoking techniques, dry rub, and BBQ sauce that make its barbecue style unique.
  • Other well-known Southern dishes are Southern fried chicken, red beans and rice, fried catfish and hush puppies, and Hoppin' John, a black-eyed pea and rice dish commonly served on New Year's Day.

Lettuce Joke Around

What is the most mythical vegetable?

The uni-CORN.

The Yolk's On You

Why didn't anyone laugh at the gardener's jokes?

Because they were too corny!

THYME for a Laugh

What do you get when a corn cob is run over by a truck? 

"Creamed" corn.

THYME for a Laugh

Why shouldn’t you tell a secret on a farm? 

Because the corn has ears and the potatoes have eyes.

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