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Easy Grilled Corn on the Cob Recipe

There’s nothing quite like the taste of grilled corn on the cob during the warm summer months. The smoky flavor and slightly charred kernels make it the perfect side dish for barbecues, picnics, or family gatherings.

Grilled corn on the cob served on a tray and garnished with cilantro and lime

Delicious Summer Grilled Corn On The Cob

As the warm summer months roll in, there’s one dish that stands out as a true seasonal favorite: grilled corn on the cob. This simple yet delicious treat is a staple at barbecues, picnics, and family gatherings, and it’s no wonder why. The smoky, slightly charred flavor of the corn, paired with a variety of flavors and seasonings, makes it the perfect side dish for any summer meal.

Grilled corn is easy to make and perfect for backyard barbecues or outdoor gatherings. Its smoky, sweet, and slightly charred flavor pairs well with butter and seasonings and is often served alongside grilled meats, burgers, or as part of a vibrant summer salad.

Grilling corn brings out its natural sweetness and adds a smoky, charred flavor distinctively different from other cooking methods. The heat of the grill caramelizes the sugars in the corn, intensifying its taste and creating a unique flavor profile that is both savory and slightly sweet. This combination of soft and slightly crunchy textures adds depth to each bite and enhances the overall eating experience.

So, fire up the grill, gather your friends and family, and enjoy perfectly grilled corn on a warm summer day.

Selecting and Preparing the Corn

Before you can start grilling, it’s essential to prepare your corn properly. Here are the steps involved in getting your corn ready for the grill:

  1. Select the right ears: Look for corn with bright green, tightly wrapped husks and moist, golden silk. The kernels should be plump and arranged in tight rows.
  2. Shuck the corn: Remove the husks and silk from the corn by peeling back the husks and pulling them off the cob. You can leave the stem intact for easier handling.
  3. Clean the corn: Remove any remaining silk and dirt.
Grilled corn on the cob served on a tray and garnished with cilantro and lime

Grilling Techniques

There are several methods for grilling corn on the cob, each with its own unique benefits. Here are three popular techniques:

  1. Direct heat grilling: This is the most common method, where the corn is placed directly on the grill grates over medium-high heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until the kernels are tender and slightly charred.
  2. Indirect heat grilling: For a more gentle cooking process, place the corn on the grill grates away from the direct heat source. Cook for 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally, until the kernels are tender.
  3. Foil grilling: Wrap each ear of corn in aluminum foil before grilling. This method helps to steam the corn, resulting in tender, juicy kernels. Cook for 20-25 minutes over medium heat, turning occasionally.

Ingredients

  • Fresh corn on the cob: Look for fresh, sweet corn that is firm and plump with husk and silk removed. You can also leave the husk on if you prefer.
  • Unsalted butter: adds a rich and creamy flavor to the corn. You can either brush melted butter over the corn or rub a stick of butter directly onto the kernels. 
  • Salt and pepper: to enhance the taste of the corn. Adjust to your preference.
  • Optional toppings: fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, or chives), crumbled feta or cotija cheese, chili powder, lime wedges

How To Grill Corn

Catch the complete instruction on how to grill in the recipe card below. Summarily you will go through the following six simple steps:

  1. Preheat the grill
  2. Prepare the corn
  3. Butter the corn
  4. Grill the corn
  5. Rest the corn
  6. Add toppings (optional)

Grilled Corn Toppings Suggestions

Grilled corn on the cob can be enhanced with a variety of flavors and seasonings. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Butter: A classic choice, melted butter can be brushed onto the corn before grilling or drizzled on afterward.
  • Salt: A sprinkle of salt brings out the natural sweetness of the corn.
  • Garlic Parmesan: The combination of nutty parmesan and garlic adds a savory and aromatic touch.
  • Smoky Chipotle: The smoky and slightly spicy flavor of Chipotle complements the sweetness of the corn.
  • Avocado: Serve alongside sliced avocado for a creamy, cooling contrast.
  • Honey Lime: This combination adds sweetness and tanginess, creating a refreshing twist.
  • Cajun Seasoning: Sprinkle Cajun seasoning over the corn for a spicy and flavorful kick. 
  • Pesto: Brush the grilled corn with homemade or store-bought pesto sauce. 
  • Lime juice: Squeezing fresh lime juice over the corn adds a tangy and refreshing element.
  • Chili powder: Sprinkling chili powder over the corn gives it a hint of heat and a spicy kick.
  • Grated cheese: Sprinkle your favorite grated cheese, such as parmesan or cotija, over the corn for a creamy and cheesy addition.
  • Fresh herbs: Chopped fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, or chives can add freshness and aroma to the grilled corn.
Grilled corn on the cob served on a tray and garnished with cilantro and lime

Helpful Tips

  • While no specific size guarantees better corn, smaller ears are generally sweeter, more tender, and easier to handle and cook evenly.
  • To maintain freshness, buying corn with the husks intact is best. The husks also serve as a protective layer. Pre-shucked corn may have lost moisture and flavor over time. 
  • Corn is best enjoyed as soon as possible after purchasing. The sugars in the kernels convert to starch over time, reducing the sweetness. If you can’t cook the corn immediately, store it in the refrigerator with the husks intact and consume it within a day or two.
  • Avoid moving the corn too soon after placing it on the grill to allow it to develop a slight char and release naturally.

Husk or no husk

Leave the husk on while grilling or roasting to protect the corn from direct heat, preventing it from drying out and becoming overly charred. The husk acts as a natural steaming agent, creating steam that helps cook the corn evenly and keeps it moist. 

On the other hand, without the husk, the corn can cook more quickly, reducing the cooking time. Ultimately, it is about what you prefer. If you prefer juicier and more protected corn, cooking with the husk is recommended, while if you enjoy the charred flavor and visible grill marks, cooking without the husk is a good option. 

FAQs 

How Long Do You Have to Soak Corn Before Grilling?

Soaking corn before grilling is optional, but it can help keep it moist during the grilling process. If you soak the corn, leave it in cold water for 30 minutes to 1 hour before grilling. This allows the husks to absorb water, which helps create steam during grilling and prevents the corn from drying out.

Can You Grill Frozen Corn?

Yes, you can grill frozen corn. Ensure to thaw it before grilling for even cooking and to ensure the corn is heated. It may not have the same fresh flavor as fresh corn, but it can still be tasty.

How long does it take to grill corn?

The grilling time for corn can vary depending on the grill’s heat and the corn’s size. On average, grilling corn takes about 10 to 15 minutes, turning it occasionally until the kernels are tender and lightly charred.

Can I boil corn instead of grilling it?

Yes, boiling corn is another common cooking method. Boiling corn is a good option if you don’t have access to a grill or prefer a different texture.

Can I use an indoor grill or stovetop grill pan to grill corn?

You can use an indoor grill or stovetop grill pan to grill corn.

Do you need to boil corn before grilling?

No, it is not necessary to boil corn before grilling it. Grilling corn directly also yields delicious results.

Grilled corn on the cob served on a tray and garnished with cilantro and lime

Troubleshoot 

  • If the corn is becoming too dry while grilling, reduce the heat or adjust the cooking time to prevent overcooking and drying out the corn.
  • To prevent corn from sticking to the grill, ensure the grill grates are clean and preheated before placing the corn on them.
  •  If you prefer a charred flavor on your grilled corn, but it’s not getting charred enough, try increasing the heat on your grill. 
  • If the corn is cooking unevenly, ensure that you preheat and the heat is evenly distributed, and rotate the corn occasionally while grilling.

Storage and Reheating

Once the grilled corn has cooled down, remove any remaining toppings or seasonings and store the corn in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. Place it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days to keep it fresh.

You can reheat them on the grill. Brush the corn with some butter and place them back on a preheated grill for a few minutes, occasionally turning until heated. This method will help retain the grilled flavor. While reheated corn may not be as crisp as the freshly made ones, it can still be tasty.

What to serve with grilled corn

When it comes to pairing grilled corn on the cob with other dishes, the options are endless. Consider serving it alongside Grilled meats,   juicy burgers, flavorful steaks, lamb chops, marinated chicken, Fresh Salad, Coleslaw, Potato Salad, Fresh Fruit salad, or even as a topping for tacos. For drinks, a refreshing lemonade would be the perfect accompaniment.

Some Of Our Favorite Summer Recipes

Grilled corn on the cob served on a tray and garnished with cilantro and lime

Grilled Corn

Get smoky and charred flavors by grilling fresh corn, and enhance the taste with butter, salt, and optional toppings. Perfect for summer barbecues!
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 Corn on the cob
Calories: 77.4kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 ears of corn husks and silk removed
  • unsalted butter softened
  • Optional toppings: fresh herbs salt, pepper, cilantro, parsley, or chives, crumbled feta or cotija cheese, chili powder, lime wedges

Instructions

  • Preheat a gas (indoor or outdoor) or charcoal grill to medium-high heat (about 400°F to 450°F) 
  • Clean the corn by removing the husks and silk.
  • Spread a thin layer of softened butter on each ear of corn, making sure to cover all sides
  • Place the corn directly on the grill grates, perpendicular to the grates to prevent them from falling through. Close the lid and cook the corn for 15 to 20 minutes, turning frequently to ensure even cooking and charring. The corn is done when it is tender and has developed a slightly charred appearance.
  • Remove the corn from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes to cool slightly.
  • If desired, sprinkle the grilled corn with fresh herbs, crumbled cheese, and chili powder.

Notes

  • While no specific size guarantees better corn, smaller ears are generally sweeter, more tender, and easier to handle and cook evenly.
  • To maintain freshness, buying corn with the husks intact is best. The husks also serve as a protective layer. Pre-shucked corn may have lost moisture and flavor over time.
  • Corn is best enjoyed as soon as possible after purchasing. The sugars in the kernels convert to starch over time, reducing the sweetness. If you can’t cook the corn immediately, store it in the refrigerator with the husks intact and consume it within a day or two.
  • Avoid moving the corn too soon after placing it on the grill to allow it to develop a slight char and release naturally.

Nutrition

Calories: 77.4kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.8g | Protein: 2.9g | Fat: 1.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 13.5mg | Potassium: 243mg | Fiber: 1.8g | Sugar: 5.6g | Vitamin A: 168.3IU | Vitamin C: 6.1mg | Calcium: 1.8mg | Iron: 0.5mg

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