It wouldn't be summer without grilled corn on the cob! Learn how to cook it 2 ways—in and out of the husk—so that it's sweet, juicy, and nicely charred.
Grilled corn on the cob is one of the highlights of summer. It’s sweet and juicy, with a satisfying crunch and smoky char from the hot grill grates. It’ll be on the menu at every BBQ and cookout I host for the next two months, and I hope you’re planning to make it for all your get-togethers too. Fresh corn season will be gone before we know it! Let’s enjoy it while we can.
Below, I’m sharing two methods for how to grill corn on the cob—in the husk and out. The first method yields super-juicy, bright yellow kernels, while the second delivers clear char marks and a stronger smoky flavor. Both are easy and delicious. Pass the butter, salt, and pepper!
How to Grill Corn on the Cob (2 Ways!)
You can cook grilled corn on the cob in two ways: in the husks and out of them. I’m sharing both methods below. The one you pick will depend on how you like your corn and whether or not it’s still in the husks when you buy it.
When you cook grilled corn on the cob in the husks, they trap moisture around the cobs, lightly steaming the corn. It makes the corn kernels extremely juicy and sweet, without too much char directly on them. Here’s how to do it:
- Remove the silk. Peel back the husks on each ear of corn, leaving them attached at the base. Remove as much of the silk as you can.
- Soak the corn. Pull the husks back over the corn, and soak the cobs in cold water for 10 minutes. This step prevents the husks from burning too much on the grill. After soaking, drain and pat dry.
- Grill the corn in the husks over medium-high heat. Rotate the cobs every 3 to 5 minutes, until all sides of the corn are cooked. The entire process will take about 15 minutes.
Remove the corn from the grill, tie back the husks, and dig in!
If you like your grilled corn to have a dark, smoky char (or if you bought fresh corn without husks), this method is the one for you!
- First, shuck the corn. Remove the husks and silks.
- Next, grill the corn. Place the ears directly on a grill over medium-high heat. Rotate the corn every 3 to 5 minutes. You want the kernels to be cooked on all sides and for light grill marks to form. The entire process should take about 15 minutes.
A note about this method: It’s easy to overcook grilled corn this way. Those grill marks look delicious, but when they’re on a majority of the kernels, the corn becomes dry. For the best texture and flavor, cook the corn just until light char marks form and the kernels are bright yellow.
And one more option…
If you love the look of the grilled corn in these photos, use the husk-off method for cooking corn, but don’t remove the husks!
- Instead, tie them back while you’re cooking, and use them as a handle when you eat.
- If you try this method, I recommend soaking the corn in cold water for 10 minutes so that the husks don’t burn on the grill. Pat dry before placing the corn on the hot grill grates.
How to Serve Grilled Corn on the Cob
Grilled corn on the cob is a perfect side dish for a summer BBQ. Serve it alongside cookout favorites like veggie burgers, black bean burgers, and vegan hot dogs with other classic side dishes like pasta salad, broccoli salad, and coleslaw.
When it comes to seasonings, you can’t go wrong with butter, salt, and fresh black pepper. Not feeling butter? Slather the corn with mayo, dust it with chili powder, and sprinkle it with Cotija cheese for an elotes-inspired twist. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice!
Flavored Butters for Grilled Corn
A really fun way to add extra flavor to this grilled corn recipe is to make a compound butter.
Another great option is a quick cilantro lime butter. Make it by mixing 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter with 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon lime zest, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Use it right away, or roll it into a log, wrap it in parchment paper, and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat!
More Favorite Corn Recipes
If you loved learning how to grill corn on the cob, try one of these easy corn recipes next:
- Boiled Corn on the Cob
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Corn Dip
- Corn Chowder
- Black Bean and Corn Salad
- Cowboy Caviar
- Corn Salsa
- Or any of these 25 Fresh Corn Recipes!
- 4 to 8 ears fresh sweet corn
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Peel back the corn husks, leaving them attached at the base of each ear of corn. Remove the silks as best you can and close the husks back over the corn cobs. Soak the corn in a large pot of cold water for 10 minutes. This will prevent the husks from burning too much on the grill. Drain and pat dry.
- Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Place the corn on the grill and cook, turning every 3 to 5 minutes, until all sides of the corn are cooked, about 15 minutes. Remove from the grill and tie back the husks to use as a handle. Serve with butter, salt, and pepper.
- Shuck the corn and remove the silks.
- Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Place the corn on the grill and cook, turning every 3 to 5 minutes, until all sides of the corn are cooked and light char marks form, about 15 minutes. Remove from the grill and serve with butter, salt, and pepper.