Cheese corn balls combine corn and gooey cheese for a snack that is perfect for any occasion. Using fresh corn, potato, and a blend of herbs and spices, these little golden balls are crispy on the outside with a delicious creamy center. Fry them in oil, air fry them, or bake them!
about these cheese corn balls
These cheese corn balls come from a meal I had from a restaurant in some small town in the middle of Ohio. I was out there for a baby shower weekend in a cabin in Hocking Hills. It was rainy and stormy, which I LOVED, but then… the power went out at the cabin.
So, without a stove or oven to cook dinner, we were a bit stuck. That meant hitting the closest town for dinner, where the hostess talked us into an order of their famous cheese corn balls.
Turns out, this was the best sell ever because they were AMAZING. I honestly had never heard of the recipe before and this opened my eyes to a whole new world of delicious fried goodness.
These particular cheese corn balls are crispy on the outside and oh-so tender on the inside. The base of the balls is a mixture of mashed potato, fresh corn kernels, cheese, and spices. It’s a simple enough recipe, particularly if you utilize the Instant Pot to cook the potato and corn in record time.
Who wants to sit around waiting for water to boil, am I right?
This is one of those recipes that totally satisfies, without being overly heavy. The lightness of the center is the ideal pairing for the fried exterior!
potato. I like to use a large russet potato for the base of the mixture. You could use 3 to 4 yukon gold potatoes as well.
corn. Using fresh sweet corn on the cob is best! However, if you only have frozen or canned corn on hand, you can use those options as well. Refer to my notes in the FAQs below for details on how to use both options.
cheese. All you need is shredded mozzarella cheese! There are other cheeses you can use, which I outline in more detail in the FAQs below.
spices. You will need black pepper, salt, dried oregano, garlic powder, dried basil, and red pepper chili flakes.
flour. I use all purpose flour for this recipe. You could also use a gluten-free 1:1 ratio flour instead.
bread crumbs. For this recipe, I recommend using plain bread crumbs. You could also use Italian bread crumbs for extra flavor! Gluten-free bread crumbs can also be used here.
oil. I prefer to use canola oil for deep frying. You could deep fry using vegetable oil!
this recipe’s must haves
here’s how to make cheese corn balls
cook corn and potato
Pour 2 cups of water in the bottom of an electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Place a trivet on top, then cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 5 minutes, before manually releasing any remaining pressure.
Let cool until you can easily handle them. In a large bowl, mash the potato well. Set aside.
Remove the kernels of corn from the cob with a sharp knife.
make corn ball mixture
Add corn kernels to the bowl of mashed potato, along with cheese, pepper, salt, oregano, garlic powder, basil, red pepper flakes and flour. Stir together until mixed evenly.
Pour enough oil into a heavy duty pot so that it is 3 inches deep. Heat over high heat to about 350˚F – 375˚F.
While the oil is heating up, for the corn mixture into balls that are about 1 to 2-inches in diameter.
Roll the balls in breadcrumbs.
Once the oil is hot enough, add the balls to the oil in batches, frying until golden. This will take about 5 minutes total. Make sure that you flip them over halfway through cooking to ensure even browning.
Remove the cheese corn balls to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce!
tips and ideas
grease your hands. Want to make rolling the balls easier on yourself? Grease your hands with olive oil or cooking spray so the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands.
drain on paper towels. Make sure to have a plate lined with paper towels ready before your start frying. By draining the balls on the paper towels, this will get rid of excess oil.
watch for oil splatter. Sometimes, the fresh corn kernels can burst in hot oil! Therefore, keep an eye on the oil and watch for splatter.
can I use a different kind of cheese?
If you’d like, you can change up the shredded cheese in the corn balls! You could use pepper jack for a spicy kick, colby jack for a sharper flavor, monterey jack for a creamy option similar to mozzarella, or even sharp cheddar. All of these cheeses go with the flavors in the recipe!
do I have to fry these?
For those who would like an alternative way to cook these corn cheese balls, there are a couple of ways you can do this!
First, and most preferred after traditional frying, would be air frying them. Grease the insert of your air fryer, then place the balls in the air fryer after rolling them in bread crumbs. You may need to work in batches depending on the size of your air fryer. Cook for 15 minutes at 350˚F, flipping them halfway through.
The other option is to fry them. Place the coated balls on a silicone mat lined baking sheet. Make sure to space apart the balls so they are not touching. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 375˚F, flipping halfway through, until golden brown.
can I use frozen corn or canned corn?
I prefer to use fresh corn, but you can definitely use frozen corn or canned corn in this recipe. Skip the step of cooking the corn cob in the Instant Pot in this case!
For frozen corn, thaw completely, drain, and pat the kernels dry with paper towels.
For canned corn, drain, rinse, and pat kernels dry with paper towels.
can I make this ahead of time?
If you want to make a large quantity of these cheese corn balls, you easily can! Form them into balls and then freeze on a cookie pan tray until frozen. Store in a resealable bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let them thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature on the coutertop. Dip them in breadcrumbs and fry them as instructed!
If you have leftovers, cool them completely before placing in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. I like to reheat mine in the oven at about 350˚F until they are warmed through again! You can also microwave them, but the texture isn’t as good.
Need more inspiration for appetizers? Check out my appetizer recipes page!
what to serve with cheese corn balls
I like to serve cheese corn balls a couple of different ways. You can easily serve it with your favorite dipping sauce, including ketchup, ranch, or secret sauce (I like to use a particular chicken chain’s secret sauce…). You could also whip up a simple garlic aioli or bacon aioli!
You can also drizzle the balls with honey or hot honey! It’s a little sweet and salty hit that is totally irresistible.
If you are looking for a summery cocktail to serve with this appetizer, check out the following recipes:
A refreshing watermelon vodka cocktail is just the summer refresher to pair with fresh corn balls!
This lavender lemonade cocktail hits just the right balance of sweet, tart, and floral.
Simply the best homemade vodka lemonade made in a big batch for patio sippin’.
how to store
Store. Cool any leftovers completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Store for up to 2 days.
Reheat. To reheat, place on a baking sheet and warm in the oven at 350˚F for about 5 to 10 minutes, until warmed through.
Freeze. If you intend to freeze these before serving them, make the recipe through shaping the mixture into balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet and freeze until frozen. Remove from the pan and place in a resealable bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw. Thaw frozen balls at room temperature for about one hour before frying them as instructed. You can also thaw the balls in the refrigerator overnight.
more delicious corn recipes
If you love corn on the side of your favorite summer BBQ recipes, this blackened corn is a must.
Corn gets elevated to a whole new level in this creamy summer corn tomato risotto.
This grilled salmon is so much better when smothered in a charred corn tomato salsa!
Finally, if you make this corn cheese balls recipe, please be sure to give this recipe a rating and/or leave a comment! I love to hear when you all make recipes, and I do take the time to respond to every single comment.
Feel free to drop questions below too, if you have them!
Oh and be sure to tag me on Instagram if you make the recipe! I love being able to see these recipes come to life in your homes – it’s my favorite thing to look through those photos. It really means the world to me!
- 1 large potato, peeled
- 1 large corn cob
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy!)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- Oil, for deep frying
- Flaky salt
- Add 2 cups water to the insert of an electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Place trivet in the insert, then place the potato and corn cob on top. Cook for 15 minutes on High pressure. Let pressure naturally release for 5 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure.
- Remove potato and corn cob to let cool. Once cool enough to handle, remove corn kernels from the cob with a knife. Add potato to a large bowl and mash with the back of a fork until smooth.
- Add corn kernels, cheese, pepper, salt, oregano, garlic powder, basil, red pepper flakes, and flours to the mashed potato. Stir to combine until mixed well.
- Pour enough oil into a heavy duty pot or Dutch oven so that it is about 3 inches deep. Heat oil in a large heavy duty pot over medium-high heat to 350˚F.
- Grease your hands with extra virgin olive oil and form the corn potato mixture into balls. The balls should be about 1 to 2 inches in diameter.
- Roll the balls in bread crumbs. Fry balls in batches without overcrowding the pan until golden brown, about 5 minutes total, flipping them halfway through cooking.
- Remove to a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with flaky salt.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce(s).