Air Fry Canned Hominy For Deliciously Customizable DIY Corn Nuts

Despite being overshadowed by yellow sweet corn, starchier, more savory hominy has been a key ingredient in its native Mexico for centuries, comprising the masa formed into tortillas, tostadas, tamales, and countless other quintessential Mexican favorites. It even predates sweet corn in the U.S. as it was ground into grits, corn cakes, and corn pudding first by Native Americans, and later in Southern cuisine.

However, you don't have to break hominy down to enjoy its earthy flavor. A quick stint in the air fryer will transform a can of hominy into DIY corn nuts. Corn nuts themselves have a longstanding history as a beloved snack in South America, Spain, and the Philippines. Corn nuts have historically been made from dried hominy soaked for days to rehydrate them before deep frying them to an irresistible crisp. Canned hominy and the air fryer will reduce cooking times to under half an hour. Canned hominy is already rehydrated, needing only a drain and a rinse before adding them to the air fryer.

You can dry out hominy kernels by placing them into the air fryer as it preheats to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, you'll drizzle a bit of oil over the corn nuts, toss to coat, and stick them back into the air fryer for up to 20 minutes, shaking the basket every four to five minutes for even crisping. The result is crispier, healthier, preservative-free DIY corn nuts that you can customize with your favorite seasonings hot out of the fryer basket.

Seasonings and uses for air fryer corn nuts

You can use any canned or soaked hominy for DIY corn nuts, but the giant white corn variety is closest to the Peruvian maize that inspired the CornNut company's original recipe. Similar to roasting vegetables, it's crucial to not overcrowd the hominy. Spread a single layer of hominy in the air fryer basket for even crisping.

An air fryer is more like a convection oven than a deep fryer, requiring far less oil or fat to achieve the same crispy and tasty results. That said, the type of fat you choose to drizzle over the hominy will impart flavors of its own. Olive oil, butter, and bacon grease will add an underlying savory richness to complement the earthiness of corn. However, canola or avocado oil are good neutral options to let hominy's natural corn flavor shine.

Seasoning corn nuts opens up a wealth of possibilities for snacking and garnishes. The array of current corn nut flavors supplies plenty of fodder for DIY seasonings, from barbecue to garlic to chili lime. For added convenience, use spice packets like Ranch, taco, and Old Bay Cajun seasoning. Season generously while the corn nuts are still hot so the seasoning can stick and infuse the corn. You can season each batch with a different mixture for a variety of snacking flavors. Sprinkle seasoned corn nuts over salads, soups, and stews instead of croutons. Or, grind corn nuts into savory breading for meat, fish, and tofu.