Easy Grilled Corn is sweet, slightly smoky, and makes the absolute best warm weather side dish.
Don't be intimidated by grilling corn! Learn how to make grilled corn that comes out perfectly tender with just the right amount of char every time. Serve it with all your favorite grilling dishes like this Grilled Pineapple Chicken or Grilled Pork Chops.
When summer hits you can be absolutely sure that I will be grilling corn at least once a week. It is my favorite summer side dish and I could literally eat corn for a meal and be happy.
The other thing I love about grilling corn is that it can be used in so many different ways. Although I am partial to simply slathering it in butter and salt, I always make enough for leftovers. It is incredible in salads, tastes amazing with tacos or quesadillas, and make the best morning eggs. The sweet, slightly smoky flavor makes almost anything taste good. I even throw it in pancake batter with some shredded zucchini for amazing savory pancakes.
With all that, I was shocked to find out that many people actually get nervous when it comes to grilling corn. For that reason, this is the ultimate resource for making grilled corn including four methods for grilling it, how to pick the right corn, and tons of recipe and flavor ideas. By the end, you will be a corn grilling expert.
How to Choose Corn on the Cob
There are two ways to make sure you pick out ripe, sweet, and fresh corn. The first option is to just take a peek. The kernels should be bright and plump. It should also smell slightly sweet.
However, since many people frown upon opening up the husk to peek inside, here is how to choose without peeking.
- Start by looking at the silk, the small threads that pop out of the end. They should be light brown in color and slightly sticky. If they are dry or dark brown/black, then the corn is old. If they are wet or really dark in color, the corn is really old.
- Next check out the husk. It should be bright green and wrapped tightly around the corn. If it seems loose or is brown in color, the corn isn't very fresh.
- Check out the stem of the corn and make sure there are no little holes. This can be a sign of bugs.
- Lastly, give the corn a good squeeze near the silks. It should feel firm and the kernels should feel plump.
How to Grill Corn on the Cob: 4 Methods
There are three main options when it comes to grilling corn and each will give you a slightly different result. After trying all three, my preference for both taste and ease is to grill the corn right in the husk.
- In the husk: Start by trimming any really long silk and removing any loose husk leaves. Then once your grill is nice and hot, place the corn in the husk directly on the grill. Cook for 15-20 minutes, flipping the corn a few times during cooking. When you cook the corn this way, the husk helps it to steam so it gets nice and tender. At the same time, the grill adds a nice smoky flavor. You won't get very pronounced grill marks and charred corn using this method, but the corn will be perfectly cooked. Let the corn cool for 5 minutes and then carefully remove the husk and silk. One other note, after testing, there is no need to soak the corn beforehand.
- Wrapped in foil: If you don't want to deal with husking hot corn, wrapping the corn in foil is another good option. Start by removing the husk and silks from the corn. Next, wrap the corn in foil. I find it comes out best if they are wrapped individually, but you can also wrap a group of cobs together. Place the wrapped corn directly on the grill and cook for 15-20 minutes, turning it a few times during cooking. The resulting corn will be steamed and tender from being wrapped in foil but will also have some nice char on the edges.
- Directly on the grill: A final option is to grill the corn right on the grates. This will give you tons of char and caramelization with lots of blackened kernels. However, the corn will dry out slightly from being cooked this way. It will take 10-15 minutes directly on the grill, turning it a few times during cooking.
- Combination: If you love deeply charred corn but also want it to stay nice and juicy, you can use a combination. Start by cooking the corn in the husk or foil. Then simply place it right on the grill grates for 2-3 minutes before serving. The corn will be plump and moist from being "steamed" and the direct contact with the grill will add char and smoke.
Recipe Ideas for Grilled Corn
Once you get your corn off the grill, there are so many ways to make it special. Whether you keep things simple with a touch of butter, go Mexican, or reach for fresh herbs - make your summer corn shine.
- Classic with butter: Go classic and simply brush the warm grilled corn with butter and season it with salt and pepper. This is what I am eating 95% of the time I have corn on the cob.
- Mexican grilled corn: This Mexican street food is easy to make at home. Brush your corn with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Add a sprinkle of chili powder, lime juice, and some Cotija or Parmesan cheese.
- Southern grilled corn: Make Southern inspired corn with butter and Cajun seasoning.
- Herb butter: Grab some softened butter and add it to a food processor with your favorite fresh herbs. Then slather this on your corn as soon as it comes off the grill.
- Seasoned butter: Mix your butter with seasoned salt, like Lawry's, and spread it on the corn. Sweet, spicy, and salty - go good.
- Chili lime: Brush the corn with butter and season with chili powder and fresh lime juice. You can also use the chili lime fruit seasoning.
- Parmesan garlic: Combine two tablespoons of butter with 1 minced garlic clove. Microwave (or heat in a saucepan) for 30 seconds or until garlic is fragrant. Brush the garlic butter on the corn and top with Parmesan cheese.
- Furikake: This delicious seaweed and sesame Japanese spice blend is amazing with corn. Start with some butter or olive oil to help the spice blend stay put.
Ways to Use Grilled Corn
Corn makes an amazing side dish but there are so many other ways you can use it. Here are some favorites:
- Salads: Grilled corn makes an amazing addition to pretty much any summer salad. It can also stand as the star of the salad like in this Mexican Street Corn Salad or Blueberry Corn Salad.
- Tacos: Use your corn to make delicious vegetarian tacos. We like ours with some Grilled Mushrooms or Grilled Zucchini, salsa, and queso fresco.
- Scrambles and Frittatas: Once you start adding fresh corn to your eggs, you will never want to stop. Try using the grilled corn, cherry tomatoes, basil, and cheddar cheese for an amazingly yummy scramble.
- Make salsa: Combine the corn with chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapeno, and lime juice for a fresh salsa. Add some mango or pineapple for a sweet element.
- Get creative: Grilled corn can serve as a substitute in almost any recipe that calls for corn. Use it in soups, casserole, breads, pancakes, pasta, and more.
Common Questions about Grilling Corn
Can I grill corn with the silk on?
If you are grilling the corn in the husk, there is no need to remove the silk beforehand. It will easily come off when you remove the husk after grilling. If you are grilling the corn without the husk, try and remove most of the silk but don't worry is a few pieces remain. They will be easy to remove once the corn is cooked.
Why is my grilled corn chewy?
If your corn is coming out chewy, it is probably overcooked. When corn cooks too long the sugar breaks down in the cell walls and the corn gets mushy and chewy. Try to make sure you only cook the corn until the kernels are plump and tender.
What's the best way to reheat grilled corn?
There are lots of ways to reheat grilled corn, but I like it best when it is placed back on the grill. Brush the corn with water and then wrap it in foil. Throw it on a hot grill for 4-6 minutes, turning once. You can also reheat corn in the oven or toaster oven using the same method. In a 400 degree oven, it will take 7-10 minutes to reheat.
To reheat corn in the microwave, start by wrapping the corn in a moist paper towel. This will keep the corn from drying out. Then microwave it for 45-60 seconds or until it is heated through.
How to cut corn off the cob?
I find the easiest way to cut corn off the cob is to simply use a sharp knife and a cutting board. Instead of holding the corn upright, lay the corn flat on the board and carefully cut off the corn off the top. Then lay the flat edge you just cut on the cutting board so the corn is nice and stable. Cut away the remaining three edges. Since the corn is flat and close to the cutting board, it won't fly everywhere. Here's a good tutorial.
Can you microwave corn before grilling?
One trick for making charred grilled corn quickly is to start by microwaving the corn. Remove the husk and wrap the corn in a moist paper towel. Microwave the corn for 6-7 minutes, flipping halfway through. Then place the cooked corn on the grill for
Do I need to soak the corn to grill it in the husk?
After testing this various times, I found there was no significant difference if I soaked the corn before grilling it. For ease of making the corn, you can skip this step in my opinion.
If you want to soak the corn, soak it in cold salted water for anywhere from 15-60 minutes.
Can I grill frozen corn on the cob?
You actually can grill frozen corn on the cob. Simply wrap the individual cobs in foil and place on the grill for 7-10 minutes, turning the corn a couple of times during cooking. This can be a great option when corn is out of season.
Easy Grilled Corn (How to Grill Corn)
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