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!
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 that can easily taste rather meh into a capsule of pure summer bliss.
Grilled corn is representative of the most enjoyable aspects of cooking this time of year.
It takes place largely outside, celebrates the bounty of the season, and is dead simple to make.
How to Make the Best Grilled Corn
For how easy grilled corn is to make, people can become quite heated about the best way to cook it.
Husks on or off? Do you use foil? Soak it first? Sing it a sweet lullaby?
(Answers: Yes, no, yes, and that might be kind of odd, but you do you.)
The tricky aspect of grilling corn is making sure that the insides of the kernels have time to become tender and juicy before the outsides char.
While some methods call for grilling the corn in foil to protect it, I found this wasteful, plus I still had to completely husk the corn and spend time removing the silks. I wanted quick corn on the cob that I could make on any weeknight.
After trying several methods, I determined 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.
- Most of the corn silk burns away, so you don’t need to remove it prior to cooking.
More Tips for Perfect Grilled Corn
To grill corn seriously, you need to do three things.
- Grill the corn in the husk. See above.
- Soak the corn. This will prevent the husk from catching on fire and the water will help it steam.
- Don’t overcook it. 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). Grill corn for 15 to 20 minutes over medium heat, turning it several times throughout so that it cooks evenly on all sides.
How to Grill Corn in the Husk
This is my go-to method for quick grilled corn on the cob.
It only needs 10 minutes of soak time and you can season it however you like!
- 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.
- Seasonings. Great grilled corn needs little more than butter and kosher salt, but you can season it anyway you like.
- Prep the ears and submerge the corn in cold water for 10 minutes.
- Grill the corn for 15-20 minutes at 350-400 degrees F, turning it every 5 minutes to cook evenly.
- For Mexican corn, combine the butter, Parmesan, and spices.
- Let the corn cool for 5 minutes, then peel back the husks.
- Brush the grilled corn all over with the Mexican butter, or your seasonings of choice.
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.
- 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. Cut grilled corn away from the cob and transfer 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).
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Grill Tongs. Sturdy, stainless steel, and locks closed for easier storage.
- Grill Brush. Also stainless steel for outdoor weather, with silicon brush head.
The Best Baking Sheets
Commercial grade aluminum and easy clean up help this quality baking sheet serve as a perfect tray for carrying hot corn from the grill and basting it with butter.
Three cheers for the ears!
- 4 ears fresh sweet corn husks on* (see notes)
FOR MEXICAN GRILLED CORN ON THE COB:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
- Zest and juice of 1 small lime divided
FOR CLASSIC GRILLED CORN ON THE COB:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
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 degrees 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 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. Cut grilled corn away from the cob and transfer to a freezer safe ziptop bag. Freeze for up to 1 month.
Serving: 1of 4Calories: 135kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 4gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 16mgPotassium: 256mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 467IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg
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