I love when a meal totally surpasses my expectations.  I had this recipe saved for quite a long time but unlike the majority of the recipes I save, where I am certain we will love it and just need to find the right time to make it, this one was more of a question mark.  It looked intriguing and different but…I just wasn’t sure.  I can’t even tell you how many times I scrolled past it only to almost remove it from the list and then decide at the last second to keep it just in case.  Finally I ended up deciding it was now or never.  It turned out to be perfect timing with Indiana sweet corn coming into season.

This meal was a major win.  We loved both the corn cakes themselves as well as the relish on top.  That’s saying something for me, considering I normally go to great lengths to avoid avocado.  The combination of flavors just works.  I made this as a main dish and it was great that way, but I can also imagine these being a very well received first course or plated appetizer for a summer get together.  They still tasted delicious as leftovers too, though of course a bit of the texture is lost over time.  Summer may not be around much longer but while corn is fresh, sweet, and cheap, take advantage of it and enjoy this awesome dish.


For the corn cakes:

  • 3 large ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp. buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

For the relish:

  • 1 large tomato, cored and chopped
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1½ tsp. olive oil
  • 1½ tsp. white wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced

Ranch dressing, for serving (optional)


  • 01

    Cut the corn kernels off of the cobs and place in a large bowl.  Place 2 cups of the corn kernels in the food processor and pulse several times, until the corn is slightly pureed but still chunky.  Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the remaining corn kernels.  Add the flour, cornmeal, onion, basil, baking powder, and baking soda to the bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to mix well.  Add the eggs, buttermilk, and butter, and stir just to combine.

  • 02

    To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients except the avocado in a medium bowl and mix well to combine.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 days.  Just before serving, mix in the avocado.

  • 03

    Place a large skillet over medium heat.  Add just enough oil to barely cover the bottom of the pan and heat until sizzling hot.  Scoop the batter into the skillet a heaping tablespoon at a time, cooking the cakes in batches of 4 or 5 so that they are not touching.  Fry 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown.  Transfer the cooked cakes to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining batter.

  • 04

    Serve immediately topped with the relish and drizzled with ranch dressing, if desired.


  • Looks like a lovely summer meal! And adding avocado to anything is always a good idea. Except maybe cookies. Or ice cream. Well, it’s a good idea to add to anything savoury, anyway!

  • These corn cakes look fantastic! Fresh corn is one of my favorite summer produce items, so I will need to make these while it is still in season.

  • Oooooh, that’s a new cookbook from Sara Foster, isn’t it?

    With our heat here in Oklahoma, corn isn’t as readily available this year. I visited and fell in love with Columbus, IN in October 2002, and among other delights, I’ve never forgotten the vast fields of corn and the pumpkin stands at every corner!

  • I love these corn cakes! They look fantastic and perfectly crispy on the edges.

  • Great recipe, Annie! I’ve always wanted to make something like this!

  • This looks great!

  • Cindy Lou

    Do you cook the corn before cutting it off the cob?

  • Yum! These look dreamy. Thanks for making such a good-lookin dinner cake.

  • Annie

    Nope :)

  • I rarely copy anyone’s recipe, but we’re still getting some really nice fresh corn. I want to try this on the weekend after we visit the farmers market.

  • I’ve had this same recipe bookmarked forever too…. maybe I’ll finally get around to making them one of these days. I love the addition of ranch!

  • What I wouldn’t give for some Indiana sweet corn right now! Love the way you plated this Annie. Really makes me want some.

  • whendejo

    Any recommendations on how to use or preserve for future use the extra buttermilk? Pancakes is the only thing that comes to mind.

  • whendejo

    Also, how to you keep track of all your recipies? I struggle with the best way to do this and I am sure you have some great ideas?

  • This looks amazing, different and fresh. Yum!
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  • These look so good! Might even be something my hubby might like, especially with the fresh tomato salsa on top! Yum.

  • Annie

    Cake, muffins, doughnuts, scones, fried chicken, really tons of things. Maybe just do a search for buttermilk and see what comes up. I believe you can freeze it but I would Google that to be sure.

  • Annie

    I’m planning a post about this eventually.

  • Jenn

    About how many cups of corn should you end up with?

  • Annie

    I’m not sure but I think there is plenty of wiggle room in this recipe so I wouldn’t worry about it.

  • Oh my! This looks SO good! Need to make this stat! I didn’t know about your aversion to avocado… hmmmm… :)

  • Your photos look so gorgeous! Corn, avocados, and tomatoes are three of my favorite ingredients, so this sounds phenomenal.

  • Ana

    Good thing I just bought a bag of avocados! I keep Saeco’s powdered buttermilk on hand which I use for baking. It’s mixed with water to make a watery “buttermilkish” liquid to react with baking powder/soda, but could I use that as a substitute? Or should I use heavy cream? In other words is the buttermilk more for flavor/binding or more as an acid? Thank you!

  • Nicole Arnold

    First, I have to start out by saying – I am a big fan!! I ALWAYS look forward to reading your blog and trying out the receipes, you make it VERY easy – THANK YOU!!! To the matter at hand…I am allergic to avacados, and I would LOVE to try this receipe, what would you recommend as a sub to the avacados?

  • Wow…this sounds and looks amazing! I LOVE fresh corn in the summer. I’ll be making these soon. Very soon.

  • Annie

    I would probably just look for a different type of topping or mix in whatever sounds good. I don’t necessarily think there is a “substitute” that would be similar.

  • Annie

    I believe it is used for both binding and leavening.

  • These look so tasty! Thank you for sharing. :)

  • Carina

    Thanks for this recipe! I made it last night alongside your herb marinated porkloin. What a hit! I halved this recipe and it came out perfectly! (admission: I did add a little sugar b/c the corn I got was not that sweet) Next time I might add in a few chopped sweet red peppers in the corn cakes too. The salsa was perfect on both dishes :).

  • Charlie

    Hi Annie:

    These sound great!
    They would make a great side, with steak or chicken.
    I think also they would go great with a blue cheese dressing.
    Or with just the relish.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Liz N

    I love how colorful this dish is! This makes me want to run out to the grocery store RIGHT NOW and get some corn. We have some Olathe sweet corn here in Denver right now and this would make a fabulous meal this weekend. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

  • Looks delicious Annie and your presentation of it is so inviting.

  • Darlene

    I made these, they were yummy. I froze one as an experiment. My daughter was really wanting that last one….I see what you mean about the wiggle room, I am definitely going to make them again! Thanks Annie, I think you’re the greatest!

  • The moment I saw this, it struck me! I had to come look, and even more-so, the photos make me want to eat now! I really really love that it’s a corn cake. That was totally unexpected and excited! Really digging this one!

  • These corn cakes look amazing. Can’t wait to try them.

  • Beautiful pictures! I love anything with avocados in it and the corn cakes look so golden brown and crispy. Yum!

  • Wow. These corn cakes look super yummy! All the ingredients sound perfect, and that relish sounds awesome. Lovely shots too!

  • Tara

    I made these corn cakes this weekend and they were great ! i had to add some frozen corn because the 3 ears i had didnt even produce 1 and a 1/2 cups of corn so i must have used smaller ears than i realized ! But…the frozen corn was just fine. The recipe made a ton and i served them over a simple salad with the homemade ranch dressing. YUM !!!

  • What a great way to enjoy one of my favorite veggies…corn! I cannot wait to try this recipe!

  • Madonna

    I made these on Thursday. They were so delicious my husband and I wanted to make them again tonight. This time we are going to pair it with mango black beans as a topping. So it’s not the exact same dinner less than a week apart :)

  • Lisa

    I made these last night as an appetizer for a cookout we had! Everybody loved them! I directed them to your blog! Thanks for the recipe : )

  • Melissa

    I made these last night for my family. Wow and Wow:) We had it as a main dish and it made a great light supper. and everyone loved it. Thanks so much for featuring such great recipes. You truly keep me inspired.

  • Allison C

    Made these yesterday and they were a hit! Which means a lot since my hubby is SUPER picky. Yah, its annoying. Thanks for the great recipe as usual!

  • Lydia

    We made these tonight, and they were a great summer treat with the fresh corn and basil. I’m actually sick and have had varied ability to taste things over the past few days, but I could taste enough to know these were worth repeating!

  • Traci

    I made these for my family and neighbors tonight and everyone LOVED them! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Bianca P.

    I made these last night and they were so good! It will go in the keeper binder :)

  • Kristin

    I just made these tonight- they were excellent! My basil went bad overnight so I used about a tbsp of dried parsley- I’m sure the basil would have been better but the parsley worked in a pinch. I’m also now hooked on your ranch dressing!

  • A local restaurants makes a tamale corn cake appetizer that is sort of like this and I have made a copy of it. Yours looks better!

  • Angela

    Wow, craved these from the moment I saw them and finally made them tonight. Husband was a little skeptical but they were a hit here, everyone just loved them. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jennifer

    Annie, Have you tried the Indonesian corn fritters at the Uptown Cafe in Bloomington? I was pleasently suprised at how much these taste like them! Delicious.

  • Annie

    I haven’t been there in a while, but next time I’ll have to keep my eye out for those. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Elizabeth

    This recipe totally delivered! It was just… satisfying. Everyone was impressed, including my vegetarian friend who is a little tired of the few recipes I prepare for her on a regular basis. We have a new favorite!

  • These look great. I recently made something like this as well, but I added tuna: http://lifecurrents.dw2.net/?p=5531

    Thanks for sharing yours. :)

  • Stacie A.

    I just wanted to say, “OH MY!”. These were amazing. Seriously. My new favorite meal. Not too complicated to make, and oh so delicious. I love the crispy, sweet corn cakes placed on top of a healthy bed of greens, then drizzled with delicious dressing and relish. Heavenly! I have eaten them for lunch as left overs twice now, just popped them under the broiler for about 3 min/side and then crisped right back up. Next time I’ll sweeten them a little more with 1 T sugar, and maybe decrease the garlic in the relish (my hubby has a hard time with garlic). Thank you for this awesome recipe!

  • This was AWESOME! The corn cakes were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The vinegar in the dressing worked so well with the sweet corn (I was a little worried about the combination). It was DElish!

  • Trace

    I’ve never bought fresh corn before, could I make this recipe with canned sweet corn?

  • Annie

    I suppose you could but it would definitely be better with fresh.

  • Harold

    This recipe looks wonderful. I was wondering is it possible to make this into a gluten free recipe?

  • Annie

    I am not familiar with gluten-free substitutions but there are many other websites out there with great info on the topic. I recommend searching the internet and investigating further. Good luck!

  • Harold

    Thank you!

  • Saz

    Just made this and it was wonderful!!! I’m new to your website and wanted to say I’m so excited to have found it. It’s beautiful and makes my mouth water! Can’t wait to try more recipes!

  • Belinda

    These look so good .Im on WW and this recipe has a few of the power foods in it .it looks to be pretty health .do you think they would be as good baked or fried in a tiny bit of olive oil?

  • Linzcarranza

    This looks so yummy but my husband is allergic to avocado, does anyone have any ideas for a substitution or do you think it would work well without it?

  • annieseats

    You can omit it or substitute any other vegetable of your choosing.

  • Mitchandmel

    While it wouldn’t taste as good, do you think whole kernal canned or frozen would work?

  • annieseats


  • Jennifer Pace

    Just made these last night and they were awesome!! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Kellie

    Made these tonight and both my husband and I gave them an A + rating! Annie your recipes truly never let me down. Cooking from one of your recipes gives me confidence because I know I will be happy with the final product. I’ve been following alone for close to 2 years now and I truly cannot thank yo enough! You inspire me and have changed the way I cook forever. I always strive to make everything I can from scratch because of you. Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough!

  • annieseats

    Wow, thank you! I am so glad you have found good inspiration and recipes here. Keep it up!

  • Amanda

    Found this dish on Pintrest. It was excellent! I subbed cilantro for basil. It was wonderful. Thank you!

  • Blair

    These are amazing! I’ve made them twice in the past week (once to test out the recipe before serving them to guests). I followed the recipe both times, except I drizzled with a chipotle ranch (added chipotle Tabasco to store-bought ranch) dressing the second time — they were even more delicious, if that’s even possible. Thanks for another great recipe, Annie!

  • Melanie Perez

    Hi, how do you think the corn cakes mixture would hold up if prepared a few hours in advance and refridgerated? Also, cook the corn before adding to the food processor right? THanks!

  • annieseats

    I think the mixture is probably best made fresh but I can’t say for sure because I haven’t tried making it in advance. You don’t need to cook the corn first. Enjoy!

  • Katie F

    I made these tonight and they were SOOOO good!! I made homemade ranch with greek yogurt to go on top as well.

  • Mira Thomas

    I’m going to try to make a gluten free version of these this week. Wish me luck! <:)

  • Mira Thomas

    I just made these with gluten free flour and they are delicious. I just used a gluten free flour from the health food store. Nothing fancy. =)

  • Megan

    What are your thoughts on baking instead of frying?

  • annieseats

    I don’t think these would bake well because the batter is so loose, it really needs that instant contact with a hot pan to set up. It’s not quite deep frying though, this can be done with a small amount of oil in a well seasoned pan to cut down on the fat.

  • These are so good! I think I could eat these almost every day and not mind at all! I’m sure I will be making these all summer since there’s no need for an oven. Thanks!