How to Fritter

while away almost any food (but not all that much time)

Asked to “fritter” away a sunny Sunday morning or an evening after work, all but the most compulsively energetic among us of would have no difficulty. Requested to make a batch of the identically named food item, we might be at more of a loss. Understandable, but unwarranted: no matter what you hope to fritter (fritt, to coin a verb?), the method of making is simple enough for even that lazy Sunday morning or evening after work.

These should be called happy patties. They really make me happy.Lucy, 8

A fritter can be different things in different places. In this author’s native food culture, it refers to a batter-bound conglomeration, typically of fruit or vegetables; pan fried, deep fried, or—joy of joys—waffle-ironed. (An innovation the world has evidently been enjoying since before his own recent discovery of it. Though the world would likely increase its enjoyment by branching out from zucchini its dominant main ingredient. Perhaps this master recipe will help.)

The secret, such as it is, is in the composition and proportion of the batter.

Fritter-Batter Composition

As batters go, fritter batter is far to the simplistic side of the spectrum: merely 1 part flour, 1/2 part milk, and 1/2 part egg, mixing up to a relatively thick consistency. For sweet fruit fritters, 1/2 part sugar is an option. Many recipes use leavening; while not strictly necessary, even this twist is as simple as substituting self-rising flour.

Fritter-Batter Proportion

You may select from a range of ratios, each returning a different result. Add a minimum of 2 parts of your chosen filling for a breadier fritter. This proportion is common when deep frying, where extra batter provides structural insurance and all the puffy, greasy, golden attributes of fried doughs. At an upper limit of 4 parts, filling flavors and textures dominate, with the batter providing more of a background supporting (literally and figuratively) role.

With that minimal math and science out of the way, you’re free to apply your art. What kind of fritters will you make, and where will you work them into the menu? They’re versatile and variable enough that reasonable responses might include “all of them” and “everywhere”.

[recipe title=”Anything-Fritters” servings=”anything-size” time=”hinges on filling prep” difficulty=”depends on cooking method” print=”true”]


  1. Beat up a batter:
    • part flour(s) optionally, self-rising
    • 1/2 part milk
    • 1/2 part eggs
    • (optional) 1/2 part sugar
  2. Stir in 2 to 4 parts fruit or vegetable or meat
    • with possible cheese or herb accents
  3. Fry until golden brown
    • Pan fry with as much oil as your pan and palate require
    • or, Deep fry if you dare (consider cleanup and heart health)
    • or, Waffle if you have the gear

Notesif you need ’em

  1. Classic constructions:1
    • Corn: bready & deep fried; chives & spice
    • Apple: bready & deep fried; lemon & glaze
    • Zucchini: salty cheese (Parmesan, feta), alliums (garlic, scallions)
  2. Filling considerations:
    • Doneness: fritters fry up fast, so added veggies and meat should be close to completion. Consider pre- or par-cooking.
    • Dampness: sweaty items like zucchini and meat will thin your batter away from optimality. Pre-cook; salt and sweat; perhaps add cornstarch as insurance.

They say you taste first with the eyes, and if you've given this recipe a go, we'd all love a visual nibble. What aggressive improvisation did you apply? Did it succeed brilliantly or fail spectacularly? To show off your marvel (or mess), dust off your smartphone:

Post your pic to Instagram, tagged with
to add your dish to the virtual feast below.
[instagram-feed type=hashtag hashtag="#kitchenminimal" includewords="#fritters" cols=4 num=8 showheader=false showcaption=false showbutton=false]

1Follow the links for pretty pictures and culinary micromanagement.