Crispy-edged and full of the buttery sweetness of summer corn. Enjoy a hearty meal of Sweet Corn Johnny Cakes featuring one of the season's best vegetables.
With each bite, corn kernels burst and the crispy edges crackle revealing the tender interior of the johnny cake. Add your favorite toppings, sweet or savory, for a meal any time of day.
What is a johnny cake?
Johnny cakes in the north and hoe cakes in the south, the recipe is the same. This early American food has a long and varied history, highlighting its reach across the country. Indigenous peoples are credited with showing settlers how to use ground corn to make the cakes.
No matter the region of the United States, the early recipe for a basic corn flatbread was the same - cornmeal mixed with boiling water and salt. Today many recipes feature buttermilk, flour, or baking powder. Johnny cakes are often fried in bacon grease adding a super savory note.
Fresh sweet corn recipe
While it is the inherent sweetness of corn that adds rich flavor to johnny cakes, it also provides texture. Each sweet kernel pops when you dive into a cake. The corn also provides moisture to the recipe.
- sweet corn
- fine ground corn meal
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- unsalted butter
How to make johnny cakes
This easy recipe comes together quickly. In a couple of minutes, you can have warm johnny cakes, ready for your favorite toppings.
- Cut 1 cup of kernels off a cob of fresh corn. Depending on the size of the corn cob, you may need more than one.
- Mince chives if you are opting for a savory version of johnny cakes.
- Melt unsalted butter and set aside to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a medium-sized bowl combine the dry ingredients - corn meal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt, Make sure to whisk the ingredients to remove any lumps in the flour.
- In another medium-sized bowl, combine the eggs and the melted butter. Add the buttermilk and the honey, whisking to incorporate.
- Add the corn kernels and the chives.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, only mixing until everything is combined. Resist the temptation to overmix the batter.
- Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a skillet over medium heat.
- Using a ½ cup measuring cup, add the batter to the hot oil.
- It takes about 2 minutes a side to cook the johnny cakes. Use medium heat while cooking so that the johnny cakes are not too browned before the interior is cooked.
- Add as many johnny cakes to your skillet that will fit with plenty of room for them to cook.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet before adding more batter so that the cakes will have crispy edges.
- This recipe will make 9 johnny cakes that are 5 inches in diameter.
- You can use canned or frozen corn. Make sure to drain the canned corn well. After defrosting, place the frozen corn on a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
- Leftover sweet corn can also be used.
- A cast-iron skillet will make johnny cakes with the best crunch.
- Again, don't overmix.
- Use the batter as soon as it is mixed. The baking powder adds a little lift to the cakes.
What to serve with johnny cakes
There are many garnishes or toppings you can add to this johnny cake recipe. Sweet or savory equally work in tandem with the corn.
- maple syrup
- fresh fruit
- fried or poached eggs
- crumbled sausage or bacon
- shredded barbeque chicken
- shredded or crumbled cheese
- guacamole and salsa
One of the best things about this recipe is its adaptability to many ingredients. Sweet Corn Johnny Cakes can be served at any time of the day. You can also vary the size, making small cakes for appetizers.
Maybe you are a purist, preferring just a pat of butter on top. Or embellish to your heart's content.
Other summer vegetable recipes
Sweet Corn Johnny Cakes
- 1 cast iron skillet
- 2 medium bowls
- 1 whisk
- 1 ½ cup measuring cup
- 1 cup sweet corn kernels (4.6 ounces/133 grams)
- 2 tablespoons chives, minced
- 1¼ cup fine corn meal (8 ounces/226 grams)
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour (3.7 ounces/106 grams)
- 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup buttermilk (237.6 ml)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- Cut the kernels off a cob of corn. If you are using canned corn, completely drain. If you are using frozen corn, thaw and drain the kernels on a paper towel. You do not want to add extra liquid to the batter.
- Mince the chives.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and set aside to cool.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients - corn meal, AP flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a whisk, mix to remove any lumps in the flour.
- In another medium-sized bowl, whisk together the melted butter and the two eggs.
- Add the buttermilk and the honey to the eggs and mix completely.
- Add the corn and the chives to the wet ingredients bowl.
- Start heating the cast iron skillet on medium heat.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Only mix until everything is incorporated. Don't overmix.
- Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the skillet.
- Once the oil is hot, add ½ cup of johnny cake batter to the skillet, using the measuring cup to spread the batter into a circle.
- Add as many johnny cakes to your skillet as possible but maintain enough room to flip the cakes.
- After 2 minutes, flip the cakes. The cakes should be golden brown and have crispy edges.
- Remove the johnny cakes after approximately 2 minutes. Make sure the cakes feel firm and that the center is cooked.
- Continue until you have used up all the batter.
- If you are serving the johnny cakes with maple syrup, you may want to omit the chives.
- If you are serving the johnny cakes with a fried egg, add your favorite toppings such as avocado, hot sauce, queso fresco, or tomatoes.