Baked Zucchini Corn Poppers — Celebrating the flavors of summer in these EASY poppers that are slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside! Layered with flavor thanks to not only zucchini and corn, but also shredded cheese, fresh herbs and spices, and serrano chili for a kick making you want to pop just one more! Air fryer instructions as well as vegan and gluten-free options provided.
Baked Zucchini Fritters with Corn
Summer is upon us and that means two ingredients are in abundance: zucchini and corn!
These baked zucchini corn fritters are just the thing to help you enjoy summer’s bountiful ingredients in a healthy, bite-sized popper that everyone in the family will enjoy.
Zucchini acts as the backbone in these oh-so-poppable zucchini poppers and as you know, zucchini is quite neutral in flavor.
The zucchini and corn fritters have a very subtle sweetness from the corn while the addition of serrano chiles adds heat. However, you can tone that down by using jalapño instead.
Combined with fresh herbs, garlic, and onion, there’s tons of flavor going on.
These baked poppers are a bit like a softer hushpuppy so they’re soft in the center and a bit crunchy on the outside.
Ingredients in Baked Zucchini Corn Fritters
When you’re ready to make oven-baked corn zucchini fritters, you’ll need the following easy to find and common fridge and pantry ingredients including:
- Shredded zucchini
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Serrano chile or jalapeno pepper
- Smoked paprika
- Onion powder
How to Make Baked Corn Zucchini Fritters
To make zucchini and corn poppers, follow these simple and straightforward steps:
Step 1: Preheat your oven and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray it with cooking spray.
Step 2: Grate the zucchini and then squeeze it tightly to remove as much moisture as possible.
Step 3: Add the zucchini to a bowl along with the corn, cheese, chives, cilantro, garlic, chile, paprika, onion powder, salt, and mix.
Step 4: Add the egg, flour, cornmeal, and stir to combine.
Step 5: Using a large cookie scoop, form the poppers, then squeeze into a compact ball with your hands.
Step 6: Bake the poppers for about 25 minutes and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving with your favorite dipping sauce!
What Should I Dip Baked Zucchini Corn Fritters In?
First, you don’t have to dip them in anything. They are finger-lickin’ good just on their own.
But, I am a dip and sauces person all the way! So I like to dip them in homemade Spicy Garlic Mustard or Comeback Sauce. Chipotle mayo is another option or try something more herbacious like Basil Vinaigrette.
What Kind of Corn Is Best for Baked Corn Zucchini Fritters?
Although summertime equates to lots of fresh sweet corn, if you don’t have fresh sweet corn feel free to use frozen corn that you thaw and drain.
A nice touch is to use fire-roasted corn. Trader Joe’s has a good one! You can also grill fresh corn and use that. The flavor of grilled corn is so lovely.
I don’t recommend canned corn as it’s a bit mushier and watery and could water down your poppers a bit.
Can I Air Fry Zucchini Corn Fritters?
You can definitely air fry your zucchini poppers if you have one instead of baking them.
I recommend lightly spraying them with olive oil cooking spray and then air frying them at about 360F for about 15 minutes, flipping once midway through.
Air frying time is dependent on your model of air fryer, exact size of your zucchini corn poppers, how crowded your air fryer is (don’t crowd them), and so forth so just keep an eye on them.
Making Zucchini Corn Poppers Gluten-Free and Vegan
You can make these baked corn zucchini poppers both vegan and gluten-free by doing the following:
- For the flour – Use a gluten-free 1:1 type of flour or use brown rice flour instead of all-purpose flour.
- For the egg – Use a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons hot water) instead of a real large egg.
- For the cheese – Use a vegan cheese such as Violife instead of shredded cheddar cheese.
What to Serve with Zucchini Fritters
Whether you want to make this recipe for zucchini fritters as an appetizer or snack, as a side dish to accompany a main dish, or as a healthy main, even picky eaters will approve!
If you’re looking for something to pair them with, any type of grilled chicken from Grilled Lime Cilantro Chicken to Hawaiian Chicken will work. Or try some of the other healthy sides listed below the recipe card, including this popular Grilled Mexican Corn and Black Bean Salad recipe.
How to Store Corn Zucchini Fritters
The corn zucchini poppers are definitely at their peak hot and fresh from the oven. They’re the best balance of slightly crispy outside yet soft and tender inside.
However, they’ll keep airtight for up to 5 days in the fridge. I haven’t tried freezing them so don’t know how they will survive the freezing and thawing process but my hunch is not the best.
Tips for the Best Baked Zucchini Corn Fritters
When you’re wringing out the zucchini, make sure you really wring it out well. You want it to be quite dry. For best results, use a cheese cloth or old dishtowel.
Paper towels can work but depending on the brand, they can shred and then you’re dealing with shredded paper towel amongst your shredded zucchini – no bueno.
I used a diced serrano chile pepper and didn’t remove the seeds so my baked zucchini corn peppers were somewhat spicy. For less heat, remove the seeds. And for even less heat, use a jalapeno pepper that’s deseeded. At that point there will hardly be any heat.
Do not confuse cornmeal, which is coarser and used in the recipe, for corn flour which is finer.
And definitely don’t use corn starch which is a totally different ingredient altogether!
For an even better crunch, rolling the poppers in panko bread crumbs before baking works very well. As I mentioned, they’re lightly crispy and crunchy on the outside as written, but panko will really boost the crunchiness.
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Baked Zucchini Corn Poppers
- 2 cups shredded zucchini, wrung very well in a cheese cloth or dish towel
- 2 cups corn, fresh, grilled, or frozen and thawed such as fire-roasted corn
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, or vegan cheese if desired
- ¼ cup chives, minced
- ¼ cup cilantro, finely minced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 serrano chile, finely minced (seed it and/or use a jalapeno pepper for less spiciness)
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, regular may be substituted
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 large egg, or use flax egg which is 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons hot water for vegan option
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour, or use brown rice flour or a 1:1 gluten-free flour to keep GF
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- Preheat oven to 425F and either spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper; set aside.
- Grate the zucchini on the coarsest blade of a handheld box grater. Wring it out very well in a cheesecloth or dish towel. Tips - Paper towels not advised for wringing as they shred and disintegrate. The zucchini should be very dry.
- To a large bowl, add the zucchini, corn (if using frozen corn, make sure it has thawed and is drained well), cheese (I like Violife as a vegan cheese option), chives, cilantro, garlic, serrano or jalapeno, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and stir to mix and combine well.
- Add the egg, flour, cornmeal, and stir to incorporate.
- Using a large cookie scoop, form approximately 18 popper-sized balls. Squeeze and rolls the balls tightly in your palms to make sure they are tightly formed. Tip - If the mixture is too dry and not coming together or the poppers aren't holding their shape, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
- Place the poppers on the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced and not touching.
- Bake* (See Notes) for about 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly golden browned and crisped on the outside. If desired, carefully flip each ball over midway through cooking, although this isn't absolutely essential but will provide more even cooking.
- While the poppers bake, prepare the dipping sauce if desired.** (See Notes)
- After baking, allow the poppers to cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet before serving. Poppers are best warm and fresh but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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More Easy Zucchini and Corn Recipes:
Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats — Skip enchilada wraps and use zucchini instead!! Easy, healthier and there’s so much FLAVOR between juicy chicken drenched in enchilada sauce, corn, peppers, and CHEESE!!
Grilled Chicken and Corn Salad – An EASY salad that’s ready in 15 minutes and you won’t be able to stop eating it!! Tender chicken, juicy corn, crisp bell peppers and tomatoes, creamy avocado, cilantro, and fresh lime juice for the WIN!!
Mexican Zucchini, Corn, and Peppers (Calabacitas) — An EASY Mexican-inspired recipe ready in 15 minutes with zucchini, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, and green chiles!! HEALTHY, vegan, and naturally gluten-free! When there’s an abundance of summer produce, this recipe is PERFECT!!
Creamy Mexican Grilled Corn and Zucchini Salad — A healthy EASY salad that’s ready in 15 minutes and so flavorful!! Corn, zucchini, cilantro, queso fresco and more are tossed in a DELISH creamy lime sauce!!
Grilled Mexican Corn and Black Bean Salad — An EASY corn salad with black beans, zucchini, red onions, cilantro, lime juice, and more!! So much Mexican-inspired FLAVOR in every bite of this family favorite recipe that’s sure to be a hit!!
Skinny Mexican Bean and Corn Salad – Two kinds of beans, juicy corn, tomatoes, peppers, and more tossed in a light chili-lime-cumin vinaigrette! Healthy, easy, ready in 5 minutes, and loaded with flavor!
Avocado, Black Bean and Corn Salad with Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette – Everything tastes better with avocado! Easy, healthy and tons of flavor!
Sweet and Sour Zucchini Corn Salad – Packed with big, bold flavors and tons of crunch! Healthy, light and not just another salad!