Easy Ways to Make Corn on the Cob Taste Even Better
Corn on the cob is the side dish of the summer. The fresh, buttery corn can appeal to just about anyone, and it’s a fuss-free dish you can serve to eaters of all ages. Most people prefer their corn steamed in butter or charred on the grill, but there are also other ways to amp up your offering. We’re talking bacon, avocado, cotija cheese, and more. Check out these seven recipes that will teach you how to elevate your typical corn on the cob. With just a few extra ingredients, you’ll surprise your guests with just how fancy the humble corn can be.
1. Guacamole and Bacon Corn on the Cob
Our first recipe is from Rachael Ray and it yields guacamole and bacon corn on the cob. The only additional ingredients you need for this food formula are avocado, chiles, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and cooked bacon. Whip up a fresh guacamole, spread it on your steamed fresh corn, and then add on the crumbled bacon. Your corn will become new and improved with a salty and spicy kick — you’ll never go back to basic salt and butter.
- 6 ears fresh corn, husks and silk removed
- 1 avocado
- 1 serrano chile
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ½ tablespoon lime juice
- Cooked bacon, crumbled
Directions: In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the corn until the kernels are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pot using tongs.
Mash together 1 pitted and peeled avocado, 1 stemmed and seeded chopped serrano chile, 1 minced clove garlic, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, ½ tablespoon lime juice and salt to taste. Spread the guacamole on the cooked corn; top with crumbled cooked bacon.
2. Mexican Corn
If you’ve ever had a Mexican restaurant’s form of corn on the cob, you have an idea of what this recipe from Martha Stewart will make. Mexican corn is corn topped with queso fresco, pepper, mayonnaise, and lime juice. It’s decadent and delicious, and makes traditional corn on the cob a lot more fun. Try this method for Mexican Corn next time you’re planning a homemade fiesta and your dinner guests will forget all about the tacos and will go straight for the corn.
- Coarse salt
- 4 ears corn, husks removed
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 cups freshly grated queso fresco
- Cayenne pepper
- Lime wedges, for serving
Directions: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add corn and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.
Place a thick wooden skewer or dowel lengthwise up through base of each ear of corn. Working with one ear at a time, spread 1 tablespoon mayonnaise over kernels. Using a spoon, sprinkle ½ cup queso fresco over mayonnaise. Season with cayenne pepper and serve with lime wedges.
3. Grilled Corn on the Cob with Cotija Cheese
Here’s another riff on Mexican corn featured on Food Network. The recipe is similar to the aforementioned food formula on our list, but it swaps out the queso fresco and swaps in cotija cheese. Chili powder is also on the ingredients list, as is butter, cayenne pepper, lime juice, salt and pepper. This recipe serves 6 but you should take into account that you might want seconds.
- 6 ears corn, in their husks
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Juice of 3 limes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup cotija cheese or feta cheese
Directions: Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Grill the corn in their husks until the husks start to blacken, about 3 minutes per side.
Mix together the butter, chili powder, cayenne pepper, lime juice and some salt and black pepper in a bowl until incorporated.
Peel back the corn husks, leaving on to use as handles while eating. Rub the chili-lime butter all over the corn. Garnish with the cotija cheese.
4. Cuban Corn on the Cob
There’s Mexican corn on the cob, and then there’s Cuban corn on the cob. This recipe from Coastal Living is for the latter. Cuban corn on the cob stars parsley, cilantro, Parmesan cheese, and melted butter. It’s a fresher and slightly healthier twist on your elevated ears of corn, and it’s a good way to keep things simple while still taking your offering up a notch.
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 8 ears fresh corn, husks removed
- ½ cup melted butter
Directions: Combine first 4 ingredients in a shallow dish.
Grill corn over high heat (450° to 600°), covered, turning frequently, 8 to 10 minutes or until done. Brush corn with melted butter, and roll in herb mixture. Serve immediately.
5. Lemon-Garlic Glazed Corn on the Cob
Our fifth recipe comes from Eating Well and it’s for lemon-garlic glazed corn on the cob. Cooking your corn in butter with lemon and garlic will make corn-lovers out of everyone, and luckily for you, this recipe couldn’t be easier. It’ll take you all of 15 minutes to make and it serves 4. Pull out your butter, olive oil, garlic, corn, and lemon juice and get going. Lemon-Garlic Glazed Corn doesn’t even require use of the grill.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 ears corn, husked
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Directions: Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add corn, water, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook, gently shaking the pan occasionally to turn the cobs, for 5 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, turning the cobs occasionally, until all but a few tablespoons of liquid has evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes more. Serve the corn drizzled with the lemon-garlic pan sauce.
6. Chili-Butter Barbecued Corn
Ready for chili-butter barbecued corn? Your summer barbecue food just got a lot tastier. This recipe from BBC Good Food serves 6 and requires 10 minutes of prep time. You’ll first make a homemade chili-butter sauce made from butter, honey, ketchup, garlic, and some seasoning, and then it’s time to barbecue the corn. Char your corn on the grill and then butter it with your homemade sauce.
- ½ cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- 2 fat garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tablespoons harissa
- 6 corn cobs (cut into two if you have more than 6 guests)
Directions: Mash together the butter, honey, ketchup, garlic and some seasoning, beating until quite smooth. Stir the harissa into the bowl. Add a pastry brush to each butter mix.
Wrap each corn cob in a double layer of foil. Barbecue, turning, for 30 to 35 minutess until tender and a little charred. If you want them more blackened, simply unwrap and throw directly on the barbecue for a few more mins.
Pile onto plates and let everyone butter their own.
7. Grilled Corn with Pesto
Last but not least: grilled corn with pesto from Saveur. You can’t go wrong with pesto, and this recipe proves that corn especially pairs well with the spread. Pull out your oil, basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, and garlic, because you’re making a homemade pesto. As long as you have a good food processor, it couldn’t be easier. After that, all you need to do is grill your corn until it’s charred and tender, and then brush the good stuff with your green pesto.
- 6 ears corn, husks and silks removed
- ½ cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 3 cups basil leaves
- ½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 5 ounces grated Parmesan
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Directions: Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn off burner on one side. Brush corn with oil and grill until kernels are slightly charred and tender, 8-10 minutes.
Purée ½ cup oil with basil, nuts, Parmesan, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Brush corn with pesto.