The first time I tried to grill corn on the cob, I placed shucked corn directly on the grill. The results weren't all that stellar. Too dried out and chewy.
The Best Way to Grill Corn on the Cob
I consulted "She-who-knows-everything-when-it-comes-to-home-cooking" (a.k.a. Mom) who informed me that the best way to grill corn on the cob is to grill corn in the husk, directly on a hot grill.
The husks protect the corn on the cob from getting dried out, and the corn essentially steams in its own moisture while getting infused with smoky flavor from the charring corn husks. It's also so easy! No need to even break off the silks. Just place the corn, as is, in husks, on a hot grill.
Video: How to Make Grilled Corn on the Cob
How to Cook Corn on the Cob
More Tips for Grilled Corn
- Soaking corn on the cob? Many people call for soaking corn on the cob in water first, before grilling. There's no need if you are working with fresh corn to begin with.
- Removing the silks: Some grilled corn on the cob techniques also have you pull back the husks, take out the silks, and then put the husks back over the corn before grilling. I've tried that. It does make it easier after the corn is done when removing the husks. But I find the corn more easily dries out this way, and the best way for juicy grilled corn on the cob is to not mess with the husks.
- Want grill marks? If you want some grill marks on your corn on the cob, (as shown in the photos), you can pull off a few of the outer husk leaves, leaving less of a barrier between the outer leaves and the corn cob, for more the charring to reach the corn.
The Best Corn for Grilling
The best corn for grilling is the freshest corn you can get. The fresher the corn, the sweeter and more tender the kernels will be. When corn is fresh, it will have a bright green husk and a goldish-brown, sticky tassel sticking out of the top.
Try to cook your corn a day or two within buying it. Once corn is harvested, its sugars begin turning to starches, making the corn tougher and less sweet.
It doesn't matter if the corn is yellow, white, or bi-color; all can be sweet if they are freshly harvested.
Spice Up Your Grilled Corn on the Cob
Butter, salt, and pepper are the classic grilled corn on the cob toppers. However, feel free to experiment with your favorite seasonings. Consider sprinkling these on your corn.
- Seasoned salt
- Mayonnaise, chili powder, Cojita cheese, and lime juice (for Mexican street-style corn)
- Powdered ranch seasoning
- Roasted garlic
- Pesto and Parmesan cheese
- Honey butter
- Lemon pepper seasoning
- Old Bay seasoning
How to Store Grilled Corn on the Cob
Refrigerate leftover grilled corn on the cob, tightly wrapped in plastic or foil, for 3 to 5 days. It's never quite as good eaten off the cob as it was fresh, but you can cut off the kernels and use them in salsas, salads, and relishes. To freeze the kernels, cut them off the cob, put them in a freezer-proof container or zip top bag, and freeze up to 3 months.
Love Sweet Corn? Try These Recipes!
- Grilled Corn Salad
- Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)
- Pasta Salad with Corn, Bacon, and Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- Caprese Corn Salad
- Corn Salsa
Grilled Corn on the Cob
- 4 ears fresh corn, in their husks
- Butter (or an herb butter), for serving
Preheat your grill:
Whether using gas or charcoal, you want to prepare your grill for direct, high heat (about 550°F). You know the grill is hot enough if you are able to hold your hand one inch above the grill for only 1 second.
Grill the corn:
The corn husks will protect the corn from burning or drying out while it is on the hot grill.
If you want a bit of char on your corn, peel off a few of the outer layers of the corn husks before grilling.
Place the corn in its husks on the hot grill.
Cover the grill. Turn the corn occasionally, until the husks are completely blackened and charred on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the silks and charred husks:
Remove the corn from the grill. Let sit for 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
Remove the silks and charred husks from the corn. If you need to, use a damp towel to protect your hands from any sharp edges from the charred corn husks as you peel them off.
Keep it simple and serve with butter, or you can sprinkle with a little chili powder, Cojita cheese, and some lime juice for a Mexican twist.