How to Grill Corn (and Make It Taste Delicious)
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The Taste of Home Test Kitchen shares a grilled corn recipe and answers every question you've ever had about grilling corn on the cob.
Grilling corn is simple and easy. Learn how to grill corn with our step-by-step guide, developed by our expert Test Kitchen team.
How to Grill Corn in the Husk
Tools You’ll Need
- Stockpot: Soak the corn in a large stockpot before it goes on the grill.
- Tongs: Use a long set of tongs to turn the corn while it’s grilling.
- Grill: Our favorite charcoal grill is Weber’s Original Kettle Charcoal Grill.
- Corn on the cob (unshucked)
Step 1: Soak the Ears
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Place whole unshucked ears of corn in a stockpot and cover with cold water. Soak for 30 minutes, then drain.
Test Kitchen Tip: When cooking corn in the husk, presoaking the ears is always a good idea because it helps keep the kernels moist while grilling.
Step 2: Grill the Corn
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Place the ears directly over hot coals. Grill for 15-20 minutes, turning every 4-5 minutes, or until husks are completely charred black.
Since the corn is done when the kernels are tender, test the corn by giving it a light squeeze with the tongs. If you can’t tell with the tongs, you can even peek at the kernels by peeling back the husk a little bit (but be careful; it will be hot!). The kernels should look moist but crisp and shiny.
Step 3: Peel the Husks
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Remove from the grill, peel back the husks and remove the silk. Butter and season to taste. A few great choices include garlic basil butter, herbed basil butter, lemon-tarragon butter and garlic lemon butter.
If you’ve got leftovers (even after you’ve gone back for seconds), keep cooked sweet corn in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, wrap each ear in a damp paper towel and microwave for 90 seconds to 2 minutes, turning every 20 seconds.
Tips for Grilling Corn on the Cob
How to buy the best corn
There are several indicators for picking a sweet, juicy ear of corn. When you’re at the grocery store or farmers market, make sure to look for a slightly damp, bright green husk that’s wrapped tightly against the corn. Pay attention to the fluff of corn silks that stick out at the top of the ear (otherwise known as the tassel). It should be light brown or gold, and should smell sweet. Finally, squeeze the ear of corn to make sure it feels plump, and like no kernels of corn are missing.
How to store corn on the cob before cooking
If you’re not going to be cooking the sweet corn the same day you pick it up, make sure to store it in the refrigerator or in a cooler to guarantee perfect corn on the cob each time. When you leave it out at room temperature, the sugar starts to break down and turn into starch. After all, it is called sweet corn—so you want to preserve its sweetness as best you can. Learn more about how to store corn and how to freeze corn after you bring it home from the store.
How to grill corn in foil
If you prefer, you can also grill corn in foil instead of the husk. Place each ear of husked corn on a 12-inch square piece of heavy-duty foil (no need to soak it ahead of time). Top with a pat of butter and a standard-size ice cube. Wrap each ear tightly and grill over hot coals for 15-20 minutes. Try this spiced grilled corn recipe if you want a recipe that adds some flavor.
How to grill corn without the husk
You can grill fresh corn without the husk, but you have to be careful because the husks (or foil) aren’t there to protect it from overcooking and drying out. If you want to grill corn this way, keep it on the grill for only about 10 minutes, since it’s over direct heat, as compared to grilling 15 or 20 minutes with husks or foil.
How to make flavored grilled corn
After soaking the corn, peel the husks to one inch above the bottom and remove the silk. Spread herbed or seasoned butter of choice over each ear. Rewrap with husks and secure with kitchen twine. Grill according to the directions above.
How to grill frozen corn on the cob
If you know you want sweet corn in the dead of winter, tucking some corn away in the freezer is a good way to bring back memories of warmer weather. Thaw the shucked ears of corn in the fridge overnight, placed on a tea towel to absorb excess moisture. When you’re ready to cook the next day, make sure the kernels are dry before you wrap them up in foil and get grilling.
Another way to prepare corn on the cob that’s been frozen is the in the air fryer. Pull the shucked corn straight from the freezer, spritz it with some cooking spray, pop it in an air fryer set to 400°F and you’ll have hot corn cobs in 12 minutes flat. Get more tips on how to make air-fryer corn on the cob.