February 07, 2021

HERITAGE RECIPE: Corn Oysters (from the 1930's!)

Today's heritage recipe was a win for sure. It was delicious! (I also learned a lesson the hard and painful way, which I'll explain later.) This recipe is from the Rockwood, Michigan Area Historical Society cookbook (produced in part by my most favorite aunt). Here are the other "Heritage Recipes" I've posted.

This caught my eye because of the "oysters"--I've never tried oysters, and I'm not sure I'm ready to make them, but once I read the ingredients I saw that there are no oysters involved.

And I love it when the recipes specify the date--this one said it was from the 1930's. I had all of the ingredients at home already, so I decided to go ahead and make it today--I had chili in the slow cooker for dinner, and these sounded like the perfect side dish for the chili.

My only regret is that I did not have raw corn; I didn't want to make the recipe with canned corn if canned corn wasn't a "thing" in the 1930's. I looked it up online, though, and sure enough--you could buy corn in a can back then. So I decided it was okay to use the canned corn.

Here is the recipe, as written. Thankfully, it was an easy one to read.

Here is a printer-friendly version! You can choose to print the pictures or not.

Corn Oysters

2 eggs
2 c. chopped raw corn or canned corn
1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. paprika

Beat eggs; add corn, then flour sifted with seasonings. Drop from tablespoon into hot fat and fry or cook on a well-greased griddle. Makes 15 medium-sized oysters. If corn is very moist, more flour may be added, or a little less if very dry.

My own notes (photos are at the bottom):

So, there weren't many variables here--just the texture of the batter; the depth and temperature of the grease; and how long to cook them. This is how I made them:

I mixed the ingredients as listed. For the "hot fat", I used shortening. Normally, I'd never use it because it grosses me out, but Jerry bought some for Christmas cookies and I figured it was probably better for this recipe than olive oil! I looked up shortening, and it was mentioned as far back as 1796 in a cookbook.

I didn't get the impression that these were supposed to be deep-fried, like corn fritters, so I used a skillet and added probably about 1/4 cup of shortening--it ended up melting down to about 1/2 inch deep. 

I am not familiar with deep-frying or even pan-frying, really, so I wasn't sure what temperature to set the stove. I went with medium-high, where it looked very hot (my dad makes deep-fried fish, so I've seen him do that). 

The texture of my batter looked how I imagined it should--kind of like pancake batter, only with lots of corn in it. 

I had to be VERY careful dropping the batter into the skillet. It started sizzling right away, and it was HOT. I dropped three in the skillet at one time, and had a plate lined with paper towels next to the stove to place the corn oysters when I removed them.

I made them a little too big, so I only got nine from the batch.

Almost immediately, I could see that the bottoms of the corn oysters were browned, so I tried to carefully flip them, but they still splashed a little. I stood back as far as I could.

Here is where the "fail" part comes in. I was standing next to the stove, just watching them cook (they cook fast!) when suddenly, one of them popped and basically exploded boiling hot grease on me. I screamed and jumped back, rinsing my hands and face with cold water. When all was said and done, I have a bad burn on the knuckle of my right thumb, in the wide space between my thumb and pointer finger, and on my eyelid. I'm very lucky I was wearing a long sleeved sweatshirt and that it didn't get IN my eye. 


After flipping, I cooked each for another 90 seconds or so and then placed them on the plate. They didn't turn out as crispy as I imagined, so I think I'd cook them a little longer on each side. Regardless, they were delicious!

I ate one as-is, and it was great--I LOVE corn! (If you like corn, you will love these.) But I decided to add a drizzle of honey (such a great combination!) and it took it to a whole new level. This was such a simple and delicious recipe, I'll definitely make it again... I will just be extra careful about the grease exploding! I literally just bought a splatter screen for my pan from Amazon, haha! (affiliate link)

This is the texture of my batter...

And this is the amount I dropped into a 10-inch skillet...

I flipped them after about 90 seconds to 2 minutes--as soon as they looked golden brown.

After removing from the pan, I set them on paper towels...

This is what the inside of them looks like...

And here they are topped with a drizzle of honey!

Enjoy :)


  1. Yum! These look very potato pancake-like! I'm curious if these could be made in the air fryer. Obviously it wouldn't be with the times of the 1930's but I kind of want to try it out!

  2. LOL the ad on this page is for Pepto Bismol! The internet knows me and my sensitive stomach ;) Looks delicious!!

  3. Ooooh, my Mom used to make these growing up! We called them corn fritters, and now I want to make these. :-)

  4. I'm glad you didn't suffer worse burns, Katie. 💜 These corn oysters look delicious, especially with the drizzle of honey! You beat me to the suggestion of a splatter screen -- I have to use one whenever I make latkes (or bacon). I've actually had good luck using my electric frying pan for shallow frying because I can select the temperature and it stays fairly constant.


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