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Perfect Grilled Corn

Sweet, fresh corn is a must-have in the summer, and there’s no better way to make it than grilling. This easy Grilled Corn is loaded with a unique nutty taste that you’re sure to love.

A plate of corn cooked in the husk, next to dishes of toppings.

Grilled Corn Is the Ultimate Summer Side Dish

I don’t know about you but I love corn.  My favorite is the bi-colored variety. Before trying it myself, grilling corn seemed a little daunting. And it’s so easy to boil it… so I procrastinated.

When I finally gave it a shot, the flavor blew me away! I can say without a doubt that grilling is well worth the tiny bit of extra time. The nutty taste you get is heavenly, and really brings out the best in this wholesome favorite.

Why You Need This Grilled Corn Recipe!

You’ll enjoy the simple pleasure of sweet grilled corn for lots of reasons – here are just a few.

  • Simplicity: Grilled corn is a straightforward dish with minimal prep, which lets the natural sweetness of the corn really shine.
  • Smokey and Scrumptious: Grilling gives a smoky charred flavor to the corn, adding irresistible flavor to each bite.
  • Easy: All you need is corn, butter, and a few yummy seasonings to create a fabulous side dish.
  • Seasonal: Eating what’s in season is a wonderful way to add variety and maximize flavor to your menus, and this grilled corn recipe is perfect for summer, when fresh sweet corn is widely available.
Ingredients for grilled corn arranged on a cutting board.

The Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make the best grilled corn ever, complete with an addictively delicious compound butter that includes notes of cilantro and lemon.

  • Butter: Soften the butter before using it in this recipe. 
  • Cilantro: Fresh, chopped cilantro. If you don’t care for cilantro, parsley or chives would make a nice substitute.
  • Lemon: Grated lemon peel (zest). Avoid the bitter white pith on the inner part of the peel.
  • Corn: Fresh ears of corn. Any sweet corn will do.
  • Seasonings: Keep it simple with chili powder and flaky sea salt. 
Grilled corn on a baking sheet with compound butter.

Is It Better to Grill Corn With or Without the Husk?

Both can be utterly delicious, so it’s hard to say which is actually better. As with most cooking decisions, it really depends on the texture and flavor you like best. Grilling with husks helps steam the corn a little, which gives it a softer, juicier texture. Removing the husks allows the corn to sit directly on the grill, getting some char and chewiness. For this method, I’m keeping the husks on, to get that lightly-steamed but still smoky effect.

Grilled corn on a serving plate.

How to Make Grilled Corn

Now for the fun part – getting the corn on the grill! It’s a straightforward process that’s a little bit unusual and very festive. Here are the key steps:

  • Make the Compound Butter: Combine the softened butter, chopped cilantro, and lemon peel in a bowl. Stir them well to combine, and either leave it out or place it in the refrigerator.
  • Prep the Corn: Peel the husks back, but leave them attached at the base. Carefully pull the silks away from the corn, using a damp kitchen towel to get any stubborn strands. Pull the husks back over the corn, and use some kitchen twine to tie them together at the top. 
  • Grill. Turn a grill to high heat, and close the lid. Once it’s heated, lower the heat to medium-high and place the corn on the grill rack. Let it grill for about 35 minutes, or until the kernels are tender and the husk is blackened. 

Enjoy! Let the corn cool slightly before removing the kitchen twine and brushing each ear with compound butter. Sprinkle them with seasonings, and serve. 

Ears of grilled corn with cilantro-lemon butter on top.

Tips and Tricks

This recipe is so minimalist, you hardly need any tips or tricks for whipping it up! But these simple pointers can make things even easier. Here are my best tips for perfect grilled corn:

  • Securing the Husks: If you don’t have kitchen twine, you can also use a thin strip of the husk to tie the husks at the top. Just tear off a thin ribbon of husk, and you’ve got a DIY piece of kitchen twine.
  • Rotate the Corn: To ensure evenly cooked corn, it can be helpful to rotate the ears once or twice during the grilling time.
  • Cooling: Cooling the ears of corn slightly makes it easier to peel the husk back, so be sure to let them sit for a few minutes before you try to open them.
  • Compound Butter: You can make the butter ahead of time.  My rule of thumb is a tablespoon of butter for every ear of corn. I sometimes still have a few tablespoons of the compound butter left over, but I just throw it in the fridge and use it for steamed fish and veggies later in the week.
Close-up shot of corn cooked on the grill.

What to Serve with Grilled Corn

Grilled corn pairs well with everything from coleslaw to fish! I love it as part of a summer barbecue spread, with dishes like…

  • Barbecue Chicken: As much as everyone loves throwing a steak on the grill, sometimes a perfectly cooked, deliciously saucy piece of Perfect Barbecue Chicken is even better.
  • Potato Salad: I loved potato salad as a child, and created this creamy, dreamy Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad with fingerling potatoes to be the healthier version that still lives up to the hype.
  • Watermelon: Serve up a cold watermelon as-is, or use it to make this crave-worthy, utterly refreshing Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Feta and Mint.
Overhead shot of grilled corn ears, topped with cilantro butter.

Storing and Reheating

To store grilled corn on the cob, remove the husks and place the ears in an airtight container in the fridge. They will keep for up to 3 – 4 days. Reheat in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, or grill again on medium heat for about 5 – 10 minutes.

Can I Freeze This?

To freeze grilled corn on the cob, cool it down and then remove the husks. Wrap each cob tightly in plastic wrap or foil, label them with the date, and place them in the freezer. They will keep in the freezer for 3 – 6 months. Thaw them overnight in the fridge before reheating and serving.

A plate of corn cooked in the husk, next to dishes of toppings.

Perfect Grilled Corn

Sweet, fresh corn is a must-have in the summer, and there's no better way to make it than grilling. This easy Grilled Corn is loaded with a unique nutty taste that you're sure to love.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped. I use generous tablespoons.
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (grated peel)
  • 4 ears corn
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons flaky sea salt


  • Butter: Add butter, chopped cilantro and lemon peel and stir to combine. You can leave at room temperature or place back in refrigerator if you plan on using later.
  • Prep the corn: Peel the husks back, leaving the husks attached at the base. Remove the silks by pulling away, you can use a damp dish towel to rub corn to remove any stubborn strands. Pull husks back up over corn ears to cover again. Use a piece of kitchen twine to tie the husks together around the top of the corn.
  • Turn a grill to high and close the lid. Lower the heat to medium-high. Place the corn on the grill rack and grill in the husk until the kernels are tender and the husk is blackened, about 35 minutes.
  • Set aside to cool slightly, remove string and then peel the corn and brush with the butter.
  • Sprinkle with the chili powder, season with the sea salt and serve.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American


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