Savory Fresh Corn Cakes

If, by any chance you get bored eating fresh corn on the cob, try these savory pancakes.  They’re a favorite in our house, and I make them all year round, but fresh corn makes them extra specially good.  Corn cakes make the perfect brunch dish, or light dinner.  Serve some bacon, ham, or sausage along side and you’ll have a very hearty meal, indeed.  You can customize the flavor by adding hot peppers as well as sweet, and offering an assortment of toppings.  Fresh salsa, guacamole, and lime-scented sour cream are terrific with corn cakes.

Add lots of cilantro leaves for garnish; they bring a bright, fresh flavor to the pancakes.  Once the vegetables are cooked and cooled, the corn cakes go together quickly.  You can keep them warm in a low oven, and they reheat well (if you have any leftovers).

The corn kernels and colorful peppers make for a very attractive vegetable pancake.  The addition of a little cornmeal to the dry ingredients adds a pleasant crunch to the texture as well.  Now that fresh corn is abundant in the markets, give these pancakes a try.  Your family and friends will thank you.  Enjoy!

Savory Fresh Corn Cakes

A vegetable pancake full of fresh corn flavor.  Delicious for breakfast, brunch, or dinner, topped with salsa, guacamole, or lime-scented sour cream. 

Course Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner
Cuisine American, Canadian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Adapted from Mollie Katzen's "Sunlight Cafe"


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup minced sweet bell pepper (half the amount can be hot pepper, such as jalapeno or serrano)
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (when corn is not in season, substitute frozen or canned corn kernels)
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup buttermilk, or soured milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • Butter, for the pan
  • Sour cream, flavored with lime zest and juice, salsa, and/or guacamole, for serving
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet.  Add the onion, minced peppers, and corn, and saute over medium heat until the vegetables are tender-crisp.  Set aside to cool briefly.

  2. Whisk the dry ingredients and the shredded cheese together in a large mixing bowl.  In a small mixing bowl, or 2-cup glass measuring cup, blend the buttermilk and eggs together until smooth. 

  3. Add the buttermilk mixture and the cooked vegetables to the dry ingredients.  Stir together gently until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened.  Try not to overmix.

  4. Place a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.  Melt a little butter in the pan, and when it is hot, add the batter in 1/4 cup scoops.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown, adjusting the heat as necessary.  You should get about 12, 4-inch pancakes.  Serve hot or warm, with your choice of topping, and lots of fresh cilantro leaves.  Wrap any leftovers and store in the refrigerator.  The pancakes can be reheated, on a small baking sheet and covered with foil, in a 325°F oven for about 10 minutes. 

Recipe Notes

The inspiration for this dish is from the brilliant book "Sunlight Cafe" by Mollie Katzen.  I have tweaked and customized it over the years and it remains a family favorite.  You can find the original here, at Ms. Katzen's website.