With plenty of tender sweet corn available, this flavorful Skillet Corn with Spinach and Peppers returned to our menu. The addition of bacon and a pinch of red pepper flakes gave an amazing depth of flavor.
First made nearly a decade ago, I pulled out my cookbooks to hunt down one of the more memorable Corn Recipes I’ve served to my family.
How to Make Skillet Corn
This is a perfect recipe for summer, when fresh sweet corn on the cob is plentiful. We’d had our fill of steamed and buttered corn, and when a friend of my husband gave us a dozen ears of his tender, homegrown corn, it was time to try another corn dish.
The corn was already cooked and cooled, so the next step was to remove the kernels from the cobs. The husk and silk had already been removed, next hold an ear of corn with the tip side down in a large bowl, and with a knife, remove the corn by slicing from the stem end down.
After that, cook, drain, and chop the bacon. Prepare the other ingredients, chopping, and slicing as needed. A pinch of red pepper flakes adds some heat, but you can also add garlic or chopped herbs of your choice.
To cook, heat the butter in a skillet, cook the minced shallot until tender, then add the corn, peppers, and seasonings. Mix in the bacon and scallions before adding half the spinach until it’s wilted, then the other half. That’s it.
How do you cook fresh sweet corn?
There are many ways to cook corn on the cob, including steaming, boiling, grilling, and microwaving. Steaming is my preferred method, and with fresh corn, it only takes about 3-5 minutes in a covered pot. Freshly picked sweet corn can cook in as little as 2 minutes. Timing for the other methods can be found on this post for a delicious compound butter for corn.
According to the University of Illinois, adding salt to the cooking water can toughen the corn, so plain water is best. Just pass salt along with butter to serve.
Can you use frozen corn instead of fresh?
Absolutely. Frozen corn is preserved at its peak of freshness, so it is a wonderful substitution when fresh corn is unavailable.
How can you tell when fresh corn is done?
Pierce a few kernels with a sharp knife to see if they’re tender. The knife should insert easily indicating the corn is done. Older corn will take a bit longer to cook than very fresh corn.
How to make this vegetarian
This skillet corn is easily adaptable. Feel free to leave out the bacon for a vegetarian version. You may need to add a touch more butter to compensate, just a teaspoon or so.
More of the Best Summer Side Dishes
- Greek Farro Salad from Miss in the Kitchen
- Corn, Basil and Tomato Salad
- Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salad
- Summer Tomato Tart
- Spinach Almond and Berries Salad
- Plus more delicious Side Dish Recipes
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 to 3 scallions, sliced
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves
Cook the bacon in a large skillet on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Pour off the excess oil.
Add the butter to the skillet and melt. Add shallot and saute until soft. Add corn, bell pepper, and the red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until the corn is tender, 3-5 minutes.
Add the bacon, scallions, and half the spinach. Stir until the spinach has wilted, then add the rest of the spinach.
Adapted from The Mom 100 Cookbook.
Leave out the bacon for a vegetarian version.
Replace the butter (and omit bacon) for a vegan version. Use olive oil instead.
Toss in whatever vegetables sound good to you. Make sure they're cut into bite-sized pieces.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 245Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 492mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 8gSugar: 8gProtein: 14g
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