Blackened Corn

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Blackened Corn is the ultimate side dish to liven up your next weeknight dinner or backyard barbecue. All you need is fresh corn, melted butter, blackening seasoning, and a piping hot skillet to bring it all together.

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This dreamy Blackened Corn recipe combines a medley of herbs and spices with fresh corn and butter that simply explode in your mouth. With charred corn as the star of the show, using a mouth-watering blackening seasoning just make it all the more irresistible.

You’ll find out that once you start digging in, there’s no stopping back until you’ve cleaned your plate. 

It’s also one of the more easier healthy side dishes that you can make at home. In fact, dare I say, it’s rather similar to preparing popcorn (without actually popping the corn, of course).

As long as you have fresh corn (canned or frozen corn works too!) available at home, you can always whip up a different variant of this dish to keep things fresh and exciting. It's also so good with grilled corn.

Want to customize your Blackened Corn to suit your flavor preferences? You can easily make this dish your own by adding flavorful ingredients like queso fresco or feta cheese, extra veggies like red onions or bell peppers, and some diced chilies for a kick.

Serve this healthy corn side dish as the perfect complement to your favorite meat dishes or use it as a topping for blackened steak tacos, grain bowls, and salads. You really can’t go wrong!

Corn with blackening seasoning in a cast iron skillet with cilantro, limes, and tomatoes on the side.

What You’ll Need

Here’s a quick look at the key ingredients that you’ll need to bring this recipe to life:

  • Corn: Can’t have blackened corn without the corn, can we? I prefer to use fresh sweet corn when I can, but feel free to opt for frozen or canned corn if that’s what you have. However, if corn is in season then I highly recommend sticking to fresh.
  • Melted butter: This is a key ingredient for any true blackened recipe, but feel free to swap it out for a high-temp cooking oil like avocado oil or coconut oil if you want to keep this dish dairy-free.
  • Blackening seasoning: To make my homemade blackening seasoning, you will need the following spices: salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and dried thyme or oregano.
  • Garnish: For tons of added flavor and a beautiful pop of color, I love adding fresh cilantro and lime wedges just before serving the dish. If you’re not a fan of cilantro, feel free to use another fresh herb like parsley or chives instead.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Charred Corn

This blackened corn recipe is beyond easy to make and takes under 15 minutes to whip up. The only possibly tricky part is ensuring that the corn chars to perfection, so here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks to help you with that.

  • Press the corn. When you’re preparing the corn, make sure to press it into the searing hot skillet to help it to achieve a nice char. Not only does this help with the blackening process, but it also helps to ensure maximum flavor.
  • Use a cast iron skillet. With any traditional blackened dish, using a cast iron skillet is the way to go. This is the best tool for getting a great char without burning your food, as cast iron skillets can stand up to incredibly high heat. Using a nonstick pan will not produce the same char.
  • Leave it be. Resisting the urge to constantly stir the corn around might be tough, but to let it char to perfection, I recommend leaving the corn alone for a few minutes before stirring.
  • Play with your seasonings. This tip might not be related to charring corn, but it’ll help you get a super delicious dish. Don’t be afraid to play around with your spices and substitute them however you see fit. Like your food on the spicier side? Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the blackening seasoning.
  • Add bacon: Start the dish by sauteing a few slices of regular pork bacon or turkey bacon. Set aside when the bacon is crispy. Then cook the corn in the rendered bacon fat. Add the crispy bacon on top of the corn mixture right before serving.
  • Fun finishes: Finish the dish with fresh lime juice or lemon juice. Then add some freshly chopped herbs like cilantro, parsley, or basil. Cotija cheese or feta cheese is also delicious. A splash of heavy cream, a dollop of sour cream, or a scoop of cream cheese also is delicious for creamy blackened corn.
  • Add bell peppers and garlic: Add freshly sliced red bell pepper to the corn along with a few cloves of garlic. This adds a delicious depth of flavor and some natural sweetness.

Charred blackened corn with lime wedges and cilantro leaves in a black cast iron skillet being held by two hands,

How to Store Blackened Corn

This dish is best when served fresh off the skillet, but that’s just my opinion. You can easily make this dish ahead of time to serve for dinner or meal prep it to serve with a variety of meals throughout the week. If you need to store blackened corn, transfer it to an airtight container or storage bag and store it in one of the following ways:

  • In the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
  • In the freezer for up to 2-3 months.

If you’re freezing your corn, I recommend laying it flat on a baking sheet and placing in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before transferring it to your storage container. This helps to prevent the corn kernels from clumping together in the freezer.

Leftover corn? Turn it into a delicious corn salad with fresh greens, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes. It also makes a really great corn salsa for fish tacos or chicken tacos.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about this blackened corn recipe:

There are plenty of ingredients you can add to this healthy corn side dish based on what you like. If you want something cheesy, add crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese to the dish. To switch up the herbs, swap out cilantro for basil, parsley, or chives. For extra veggies, try adding finely chopped onions and/or bell peppers. Get creative!

You can get the best corn fresh from your local grocery store or farmer’s market if it’s in season. Make sure the husk is bright green and wrapped tightly around the cob, and that the tassels on the cob are brown and sticky. These are the cobs that will be the freshest!

Blackening is a technique most often associated with Cajun-Creole cuisine. It involves a combination of butter, a blend of herbs and spices, and a piping hot skillet. Basically, the meat or veggies of your choice are coated in blackening seasoning and seared to perfection in butter on a cast iron skillet.

Cast iron skillet with blackened corn cooked in butter and spices with tomatoes, limes, and cilantro on the side.
The Recipe
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Blackened Corn

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  • 4 cups corn (ideally fresh cut off the cob, but frozen or canned can work)
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme (or oregano)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder (or more)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro (for serving)
  • 1 lime (for serving)

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In a small bowl, combine the paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, thyme, black pepper, and chili powder.

Paprika, onion powder, garlic, powder, salt, thyme, black pepper, and chili powder in a small white bowl.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter. Once melted add the corn and spice mixture. Give everything a good stir to coat the corn in spices and butter,

Corn kernels pressed into a cast iron skillet with butter and blackening seasoning.

Press the corn down into the skillet and let it cook, undisturbed, for 2-4 minutes untl beginning to brown and slightly char. Stir and repeat until the corn is cooked through and lightly blackened in places. Serve with fresh cilantro and lime.

Blackened corn in a skillet with cilantro and fresh lime being squeezed on top.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 190
Calories from Fat 71
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 15mg
Sodium 617mg
Total Carbohydrate 31g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 9g
Protein 5g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
1 Comment
On Blackened Corn
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Sandy E
September 19, 2022 - 17:41
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Love! This was so good. The char and spice are perfect.
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