Have you ever put corn on the cob on the grill? It's the unmistakable taste of summer and lip smacking delicious! A soft crunch when you bite into golden kernels and a squirt of corn juice. If you've never made it this way, let me show you how to grill corn on the cob. It will be love at first bite and your new summer staple. Serve with garlic herb butter and plenty of napkins. It's so easy.
There are different cooking methods for corn. Cooking corn on the stovetop in boiling water is standard, but grilling corn takes it to another level for corn on the cob lovers. While some recipes have you wrap the corn cobs in foil, I place mine directly on the hot grill grates so they get a nice little char on them.
Another way it's done is by soaking the corn in the husks and grilling them. I've done it but find it a little messy. After grilling corn on the cob direct on the grill, it's my go-to method. This is the best grilled corn!
Why You'll Like This Recipe
- It's super easy.
- Grilling ears of corn caramelizes the corn’s natural sugars, magnifies the natural sweetness, adding a little smoky flavor.
- The companion recipe is an easy compound butter; a garlic herb butter that is amazing on the corn and works for other dishes too. Simple melted butter works too.
- Use a gas grill, pellet grill, or charcoal grill.
Make a few extra ears of grilled corn on the cob, slice the corn kernels off the corn cobs, and make this terrific tomato, green bean, and corn salad
Really all you need it fresh corn on the cob and a little olive oil, but the garlic herb butter so delicious! Summer is peak season for fresh corn, a great time to make grilled sweet corn.
- Corn on the cob: Buy the freshest corn possible. Many stores sell it cleaned up (pre-shucked) to save time and mess, or buy ears still in the husk and clean it yourself.
- Oil: I use olive oil, just a little to brush over the corn before grilling.
- Butter: For the compound herb butter, use unsalted butter or salted butter. If using salted butter, skip the salt in the recipe. Here is where good butter really shines and is worth the money. Plain butter works too.
- Herbs: Fresh herbs are best but dried will work. Parsley, cilantro, chives, rosemary, thyme. Use your favorites.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic or powdered garlic both work. For fresh garlic, zest it very fine with a microplane zester as you don't want to bite into a piece of garlic. Powdered or granulated disappears easily while still providing that great flavor.
For measurements and seasoning please see the recipe card.
Chef's Tip: How do you know if corn is good to buy? Ears should be firm to the touch, damp, with bright green husks tightly wrapped against the corn. It's ok if the silks at the top are a little brown, but not black or dried out. Refrigerate well wrapped in a plastic produce bag and store in the crisper drawer. It should be good for 2-3 days. As raw corn ages the natural sugars turn to starch so the corn is less sweet. Best to enjoy it as soon as possible.
Substitutions and Variations
- Off the grill, sprinkle the corn with finely grated Parmesan cheese.
- Add spices to your herb butter, like ground cumin and coriander for a lemony, Mexican-inspired flavor. Try adding lime zest.
- Sprinkle the corn with smoked paprika or this terrific tasty multipurpose dry rub.
First, shuck your corn on the cob and brush off the silk. A soft toothbrush works great. You know, the extra ones you end up with from the dentist. Yep, those. Be sure the grill grates are clean and ready to go.
Corn on the cob on the grill is the prefect side dish for many summer dishes, including chicken, seafood, and steaks.
Make it Mexican street corn (also called Mexican elote) by rolling it in a half sour cream and mayo blend, then cheese, chili powder (or this taco seasoning blend) and squeeze lime juice over the top if desired. Parmesan works as a good substitute for Mexican Cotija cheese which is salty and strongly flavored. Think of it like the Parmesan of Mexico.
Chef's Note: Is corn a vegetable or grain? Essentially it’s a large grass, so corn is a grain. Ask a botanist and they'll tell you it is a fruit like tomatoes and zucchini. In your dietary choices, think of corn as you would rice or pasta. Corn contains B vitamins and essential minerals, including zinc, magnesium, copper, iron and manganese. Each cob provides almost 3 grams each of fiber and protein.
What's better is personal preference. I prefer to brush the corn on the cob with a little olive oil and put it directly on the grill grates. I like the bit of char and caramelization that the direct heat gives. Some people prefer the aluminum foil packet method. Try it both ways and see what you prefer. And yes, you can just throw corn on the grill.
Grill corn with the barbecue lid closed. Turn the corn cobs every few minutes to allow to allow even exposure to the whole cob.
Absolutely! Buying pre-shucked corn saves you the time and mess of shucking, but you'll pay more for it when the work is done for you. To save time and money, shuck it ahead of time, then store shucked corn well wrapped in plastic film or in an airtight container in the refrigerator until close to grilling time.
More Terrific Summer Recipes
What else to do with fresh summer corn? Make dairy-free creamy corn chowder. Grill extra corn and use it in the corn succotash, recipe link below.
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Grilled Corn on the Cob with Herb Butter
Garlic herb butter (makes extra)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature sub coconut butter or plant butter, note below.
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme, rosemary or mint
- ¼ teaspoon granulated or powdered garlic or 1 small fresh clove, zested very fine
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 large ears fresh corn on the cob preferably organic, see links below
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- Start by making your butter. Be sure it's a room temperature before you start. If it's cold, place in the microwave on a very low heat setting for 15-20 seconds until soft, but do not melt it. Combine butter through salt (if using) until smooth. If using at a later time, refrigerate until before serving. Let it stand a little while at room temperature so it spreads easily while the corn is hot.
- To clean corn, peel husks back like a banana peel. Strip off the corn silk and discard. A soft toothbrush works great to clean off the silk. Trim end if needed with a sharp knife.
- Heat up the grill to high and clean the grates with a grill brush. Brush ears with a little olive oil. Place cobs on grill and close lid. Check and turn ever few minutes with a pair of tongs. You want even charring or blackened kernels on all side. How much is up to you. It takes around 22-25 minutes over all. Serve hot, smeared with spiced herb butter.