Zucchini Corn Fritters with Basil Buttermilk Sauce

4.84 from 6 votes
1 hour 15 minutes
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When you don’t know what else to do with a garden abundance of zucchini, these Zucchini Corn Fritters with Basil Buttermilk Sauce are a delicious way to use up that abundance.  Best of all, they’re freezer-friendly!

For a lovely, light summer meal, serve with my Easy Fresh Tomato Salad. Or, add some protein to the meal with Tuscan Cherry Tomato and White Bean Salad.

Zucchini Corn Fritters with Basil Buttermilk Sauce on parchment paper lined tray on white background.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper:

Finding creative ways to use an explosion of zucchini from the garden can be challenging. While it’s possible to freeze zucchini (link to tips from The Food Network), how great would it be to be able to pull something out of your freezer when you’re short on time this winter that just needs to be reheated?

Although the Basil Buttermilk Sauce is not freezer-friendly, Zucchini Corn Fritters do freeze and reheat beautifully. Thawing is not necessary so you can pull what you need out of your freezer this winter for a quick and easy vegetarian entree or side dish.

So, enjoy some now and enjoy some later! Let’s make ’em!

Zucchini Corn Fritters with Basil Buttermilk Sauce on cooling rack garnished with fresh basil.

How to Make Zucchini Corn Fritters with Basil Buttermilk Sauce:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this zucchini fritter recipe along with how to prep. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Zucchini Corn Fritters with Basil Buttermilk Sauce in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Corn: Fresh corn is ideal but frozen corn will also work. If using frozen corn, you’ll need approximately 2 cups. Rinse it under cool running tap water to thaw, then drain well.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne pepper is optional here and adds a nice little kick. If you don’t like spicy food, leave it out.
  • Oil: I used canola oil but any all-purpose cooking oil such as vegetable or corn oil will work.
  • Mayonnaise: We love Duke’s! Definitely use Duke’s if you can find it in your area.
  • Buttermilk: Full-fat buttermilk will have the best flavor but if you want to cut the fat and are used to it, a lower fat-content buttermilk is fine to use.
  • Lemon Juice: Fresh is best!
  • Chives: Substitute a small finely chopped scallion for the chives if desired.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  • Gather, prep and measure out all your ingredients.
  • Start by grating the fresh zucchini and place it in a colander over a bowl, plate or in the sink. Give it a generous salting and let it sit while blanching and prepping the corn. It will start to wilt and release water.
  • Prepare an ice bath.
  • Bring a pot or large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Carefully drop the corn into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove with tongs and drop into the ice bath to cool.
  • Remove the corn kernels with a sharp knife.
  • Combine the zucchini, corn and the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. The batter should be sticky.
  • Place a cooling rack over a baking sheet or spread some aluminum foil or parchment paper over your countertop to catch any drips.
  • Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Using a measuring cup, place approximately 1/3-cup of the batter into the hot oil.
  • Cook the Zucchini Corn Fritters for approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Adjust the heat as necessary so the cakes cook and brown evenly.
Three Zucchini Corn Fritters in nonstick skillet.
  • When nicely browned and firm in the center, transfer to the prepared rack/surface to drain.
Ten Zucchini Corn Fritters on rack set over baking sheet.
  • Combine the ingredients for the Basil Buttermilk Sauce in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
Basil Buttermilk Sauce in food processor.
  • That’s it! Serve the Zucchini Corn Fritters immediately or cool and reheat later.
  • MAKE AHEAD:  Cook as directed.  Cool thoroughly and refrigerate.  When ready to serve, reheat at 350 degrees in the oven or toaster oven until thoroughly heated through, 15-20 minutes.
Stack of three Zucchini Corn Cakes with more in the background.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • Zucchini contains a fair amount of water.  As shown above, it’s important to extract as much as possible.  Thorough salting helps the process along and you’ll have significantly less water than when you started, but then you’ll need to remove the excess water. Ways to do this include:
    • Squeeze the water out with your hands.
    • Enclose it in a clean kitchen towel and twist it.
    • Squeeze the water out in a potato ricer.
  • So that you can easily remember which cake you placed in the hot oil first (also the one you want to flip first), place it at the handle of the skillet then add more in a clockwise pattern.
  • Because there is a fair amount of oil required to cook these cakes, flip them away from you to avoid being splashed with hot oil.
  • Draining the cakes on a wire rack instead of on paper towels will help keep the exterior of the cakes crispy. Allowing the fritters to sit on oil-soaked paper towels will cause them to be soggy.
Zucchini Corn Fritters with Basil Buttermilk Sauce on white background garnished with fresh basil.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you freeze zucchini cakes?

After cooking, cool thoroughly then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put in the freezer for about an hour. When they are frozen solid, transfer the cakes to zipper-top bags or another airtight container. Freezing them first in this way allows you to easily remove one or two at a time.

How do you reheat zucchini cakes?

Zucchini Corn Fritters don’t need to be thawed before reheating. Just pop right into a 350-degree oven or toaster oven and heat for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

What’s another sauce I could use if I’m freezing these, reheating later and don’t have buttermilk or fresh basil?

Other accompaniments that will go well with the Zucchini Corn Cakes are ranch salad dressing, sour cream or yogurt.

Make it a meal with:

More zucchini recipes you’re sure to love!

Get all my vegetarian recipes at Vegetarian / Vegan Entrees – From A Chef’s Kitchen

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Zucchini Corn Cakes with Basil Buttermilk Sauce on cooling rack garnished with fresh basil.

Zucchini Corn Fritters with Basil Buttermilk Sauce

4.84 from 6 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
When you don't know what else to do with a garden abundance of zucchini, these Zucchini Corn Fritters with Basil Buttermilk Sauce are a delicious way to use up that abundance.  Best of all, they're freezer-friendly! For a lovely, light summer meal, serve with my Easy Fresh Tomato Salad. Or, add some protein to the meal with Tuscan Cherry Tomato and White Bean Salad.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Vegetarian / Vegan Entrees
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 920 kcal

Ingredients
  

Cakes

  • 4 medium zucchini - 2 to 2 1/2 pounds, ends trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons salt - plus more for blanching the corn
  • 2 large ears of corn - husks and silk removed (or 2 cups frozen, thawed corn kernels)
  • 1 bunch scallions - white and light green part only, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper - optional, to taste
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour - plus more if needed
  • 2 large eggs - beaten
  • 1/2 cup canola oil - for frying

Sauce

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice - (2-3)
  • 4 large sprigs fresh basil - leaves removed, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup loosely packed)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives - or 1 small scallion, white and light green part only, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic - chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Instructions
 

Cakes

  • Grate the zucchini into a colander using a large-holed grater. Toss zucchini with salt. Place in the sink and let stand 30-45 minutes to drain.
  • Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Salt if desired. Add the ear of corn and cook 1-2 minutes. Remove with tongs and run under cold tap water to cool.
  • Scrape kernels into a large bowl.
  • Squeeze as much water as possible from the zucchini. (You should have 3 1/2 — 4 cups when finished.)
  • Add to the bowl with the corn along with the scallions, garlic, black pepper, cayenne pepper if using, flour and beaten eggs. Mix well. The batter should be sticky and hold together. Add additional flour if necessary.
  • Heat canola oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches of two or three, place about 1/3-cup of the zucchini mixture into the hot oil, flattening to create a pancake/flat cake/fritter.
  • Cook 2-3 minutes per side or until golden and the center is set, adjusting the heat as necessary so the fritters don't burn and brown nicely. Drain on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining zucchini mixture.
  • SAUCE: Combine ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Add a little extra lemon juice if desired. Serve with cakes.

Notes

Other accompaniments that will go well with the Zucchini Corn Cakes are ranch salad dressing, sour cream or yogurt.
MAKE AHEAD:  Cook as directed.  Cool thoroughly and refrigerate.  When ready to serve, reheat at 350 degrees in the oven or toaster oven until thoroughly heated through, 15-20 minutes.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY: Cool thoroughly. Freeze on a baking sheet until solid, then place in plastic bags or another storage container.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 920kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 76g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 34g | Monounsaturated Fat: 29g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 1646mg | Potassium: 916mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1048IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 3mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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Recipe Rating




13 Comments

  1. These look absolutely sensational! I love the addition of corn, and the dressing sounds so perfectly creamy-tangy-wonderful! What a stellar recipe to celebrate the end-of-summer bounty of corn and zukes at all the local farm markets!

  2. 5 stars
    This was SO GOOD! I made this for dinner with sliced tomatoes and fresh bread. A new summer favorite! I left out the buttermilk from the dressing because I didn’t want such a thin dressing. Still very good flavors.

  3. 5 stars
    This was SO GOOD! I made this for dinner with sliced tomatoes and fresh bread. A new summer favorite! I left out the buttermilk from the dressing because I didn’t want such a thin dressing. Still very good flavors.

  4. Used chopped fresh garlic scapes for these, as well as whole wheat pastry flour….yumm!! Can be served with fresh mango/peach salsa too!! Summer heat in SLC has brought these cakes back again, and again…always to rave reviews!
    Thanks!!