If you haven’t bitten into a sweet, juicy ear of Grilled Corn on the cob, with butter dripping down your chin and salt and spices on your lips, did summer even really happen? Don’t wait to find out!
Why You’ll Love This Easy Grilled Corn Recipe
- Amazing Flavor. Fresh corn is one of the first items that sells out at our local farmers market and for excellent reason: grilled corn tastes amazing. (Just check out the reviews on this Grilled Corn Salad.) In an act of culinary wizardry, the grill transforms a vegetable side dish that can easily taste rather meh into a capsule of pure summer bliss.
- No Burnt Kernels. The trickiest aspect of grilling corn is making sure that the insides of the kernels have time to become tender and juicy before the outsides char. As with my Grilled Potatoes, I made sure I found the absolutely best method that avoids any burnt kernels.
- Season as You Please. Love elote-style corn with cotija cheese? Go for it! Looking for something more smoky? We can make it happen! Strictly a butter and salt kind of person? You’ve got it! Make this the best grilled corn recipe ever by personalizing it however you wish!
How to Cook Corn On the Cob On the Grill
- Corn. A sweet summer star. Corn is high in fiber and vitamin B, and has a number of other healthy minerals like zinc and iron. (You’ll love my classic Corn Chowder if you’re a corn lover.)
- Seasonings. Great grilled corn needs little more than butter and kosher salt, but you can season it anyway you like.
- Soak the Corn. Prep your other dishes while the corn soaks.
- Grill the Corn. About 15 to 20 minutes is how long it takes to grill corn on the grill at medium heat. Leave it in the husk.
- Prep Desired Toppings. We love the Mexican corn variation listed in the recipe below.
- Let Cool. Then, peel back the husks.
- Brush On the Seasonings. ENJOY!
Here are some ideas of what to season grilled corn with:
- Mexican Grilled Corn. My fave! Chili, cumin, and lime juice, plus my secret ingredient: Parmesan cheese. Top with cilantro if desired.
- Cajun Grilled Corn. Mix melted butter with Cajun seasoning and brush it over the corn.
- Italian Grilled Corn. Use Italian seasoning, Parmesan, and garlic powder. Add a sprinkle of fresh herbs for a special touch.
- Sweet and Spicy Grilled Corn. Melt together butter, brown sugar, a pinch of chipotle chili powder, and a pinch of cayenne. Brush over the corn before serving. (For extra smoky flavor, add some paprika too.)
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover grilled corn for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Arrange the corn on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Reheat in a 350 degree F oven for 4 minutes, flip the corn over, then continue cooking for a few minutes longer, until heated through. You also cut the corn away from the cob and reheat it in a skillet or the microwave.
- To Freeze. You can freeze grilled corn on the cob. Cut the corn away from the cob and transfer it to a freezer-safe ziptop bag. Freeze for up to 1 month.
Meal Prep Tip
Corn can be soaked in its husks for up to 1 day (my in-laws do this in a cooler in their garage when they are hosting a party).
What To Serve With Grilled Corn
- Chicken. Serve grilled corn with Chicken Kabobs, Grilled Chicken Fajitas, or Grilled Chicken Breast.
- Salmon. Grilled Salmon in Foil and Cedar Plank Salmon would be delicious with this corn.
- Salads & Sides. Pair grilled corn with a Taco Salad, Steak Salad, or Cobb Salad. Add grilled corn to your cookout favorites like Boston Baked Beans and Healthy Potato Salad.
- Burger. Nothing beats a meal of grilled corn and a burger! Try my Air Fryer Hamburgers, Turkey Burgers, or a Vegan Burger.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Grill Tongs. Sturdy, stainless steel, and locks closed for easier storage. Perfect for this Southern grilled corn on the cob!
- Grill Brush. Also stainless steel for outdoor weather.
- Baking Sheets. Commercial grade aluminum and easy clean up help this quality baking sheet serve as a perfect tray for carrying the hot ears of corn from the grill and basting them with butter.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Grill the Corn in the Husk. While some methods call for grilling the corn in aluminum foil, I found it is better to grill corn in the husk. The husk protects the outsides of the corn from burning. It traps moisture and heat, which allows the kernels to steam, resulting in a perfectly juicy, lightly al dente texture.
- Soak the Corn. This is a VERY important step! You do soak the corn in the husk before grilling it. The point of soaking corn is preventing the husk from catching on fire and allowing the water to help it steam (the same reason why you boil corn before grilling in other recipes).
- Don’t Overcook It. Yes, you can overcook corn on the grill. You want the corn to be tender but not mushy (one of the reasons I personally think it is better to grill corn instead of boil corn). You do close the grill when cooking corn, so it’s important to take a peek every so often to make sure it’s not overcooking.
- 4 ears fresh sweet corn husks on* (see notes)
For Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob:
- Fill a large bowl or your largest pot with enough cold water to completely submerge the corn.
- Pull away the outermost layer of the husks. With scissors or kitchen shears, trim off the topmost part of the husks up to the cob, including the silk tassel. Place the ears in the water. Let sit for at least 10 minutes or up to 8 hours (this will keep the husks from burning).
- Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium (about 350 to 400°F).
- Remove the corn from the water and shake off excess. Place the corn on the grill, cover, then grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning it every 5 minutes or so to ensure the corn cooks evenly. When the corn is done, the kernels should be tender when pierced with a thin, sharp knife.
- Meanwhile if making the Mexican corn, in a small bowl, melt the butter. Stir in the Parmesan, chili powder, chipotle chile powder, cumin, and salt. Zest the lime directly into the bowl, then cut the lime into wedges. If making classic corn, skip this step and butter and season the corn directly.
- Let the corn cool for at least 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel back the husks and remove any stuck-on bits of silk (any remaining silk should come away easily, but if it is stubborn, it can be rubbed away with a kitchen towel).
- Brush the grilled corn all over with the Mexican butter; serve hot with a wedge of lime to squeeze over the top. Or for classic corn, butter the corn and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- *I prefer to grill corn with the husks on. The husks add flavor and help the corn steam, then char perfectly. That said, you can also make yummy grilled corn with the husks removed (the corn will be a little less tender and more charred). Remove the husks/silk from the outside of the corn and rub with olive oil. Grill on all sides over medium heat, turning every few minutes as the corn starts to char, until browned and tender, about 7 minutes. Season as desired.
- If you prefer to serve the corn cut away from the cob, cut away the kernels and place in a large bowl. Stir together with the butter and seasonings. Serve right from the bowl.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover grilled corn for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Arrange the corn on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Reheat in a 350°F oven for 4 minutes, flip the corn over, then continue cooking for a few minutes longer, until heated through. You also cut the corn away from the cob and reheat it in a skillet or the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Cut grilled corn away from the cob and transfer to a freezer safe ziptop bag. Freeze for up to 1 month.
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Frequently Asked Questions
You know corn on the cob is done when the kernels are tender, which you can tell by piercing it with a thin, sharp knife. How long to grill corn on the cob can differ for each grill, so make sure you check it regularly.
You can use fresh ears of corn that have been frozen for this recipe, but I would recommend allowing them to thaw completely before beginning the recipe.
No. Most of the corn silk burns away, so you don’t need to remove it prior to grilling corn on the cob.
While we prefer to grill our corn in the husk, you can also make yummy grilled corn with the husks removed (the corn will be less tender and more charred). Remove the husks/silk from the outside of the corn and rub with olive oil. Grill on all sides over medium heat, turning every few minutes as the corn starts to char, until browned and tender, about 7 minutes. Season as desired.
Yes, you can grill corn in the oven if necessary. Here’s how to grill corn on the cob in the oven: Prep the corn as directed. Place the cobs on an oven-safe grill pan. Grill in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes, rotating the cobs halfway through.