Grilled Corn Is the Best Corn

I ate my first ear of grilled corn last summer at a friend’s barbecue and began to hum “something tells me I’m into something good” at the first bite… It was sweet, salty, and a little bit smokey with nice little zings of mild heat from the black pepper.

I asked my friend what magic she’d worked to make it so tasty and she looked at me like I was just a little bit crazy, “You mean the corn? It’s really simple – just olive oil, salt and black pepper.”

That sounded like my kind of recipe – quick, easy and delicious – so I gave it a try soon afterward. The results were equally good! I especially love how the mild heat of the fresh pepper is heightened by the grilling – it gives it a nice little kick.
Corn rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2013


Now that I’ve had it this way, I don’t think I will ever go back to cooking corn in boiling water unless there is a hurricane or tornado preventing me from reaching the grill (however, given the “new normal” for weather, I will not rule either thing out…)
Grilling the corn by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2013

My recommendations for maximum eating pleasure are as follows:

  1. Buy your corn from a local farmer and try to get it at the farmer’s market to ensure that it was picked very recently (this will also benefit your local farms and farmers!) The fresher your corn is, the sweeter it will be as the sugar starts turning into starch as soon as it’s picked.
  2. Don’t skimp on the salt and pepper.
  3. Give it a nice light char – I know burning food is bad for you but the flavor it imparts is incredible and since this is a vegetable, I would not be as concerned about the carcinogenic potential of the charring.

And† do not be afraid to play with this recipe! I sometimes add a mixture of chopped fresh herbs from the garden — oregano, basil, and cilantro — and it’s delicious. You can also riff on the ever-popular Mexican street corn by slathering the grilled corn with chipotle mayo and splashing a bit of lime juice over it. And those are just two ideas out of many, many more possibilities.

The photo below is of the herbed version along with my favorite, new kale salad and a tried and true classic, steamed potatoes slathered in herb butter. Yum!

Herby grilled corn with steamed potatoes in herbed butter and massaged kale salad by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2013

I love to have grilled corn on hand to add to salads, salsas, soups and more so I usually make a few extra ears and then cut the kernels off the cob and store them in a glass tupperware in the fridge (or freeze them, depending on when I think I’ll need them.)

A sharp knife works pretty well but my husband got me this handy-dandy OXO corn stripper for my birthday this spring and it works even better.

Using Oxo's corn stripper to get all the kernels off quickly by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2013

I hope you like it as much as I do.

Grilled Corn
Serves as many or as few as you’d like it to


* Fresh sweet corn – get as many ears as you think you will need for the crowd you’re serving
* Olive oil
* Sea salt
* Freshly ground black pepper


1. Shuck the corn, removing the husks and any silk left clinging to the cobs.

2. Preheat and clean your grill. You’ll want even, medium heat.

3. Rub the ears of corn with olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – don’t skimp on any of these things!

4. Place the ears on the grill and cook, turning with tongs every 2 minutes or so, to ensure even cooking on all sides, until lightly browned. Remove and serve (or sprinkle with some of the yummy additions mentioned above and then serve!)

You might also like:

Want even more recipes, photos, giveaways, and food-related inspiration? “Like” the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.


Sonia M
Sonia M2 months ago

Sounds delicious thanks for sharing

PrimaSICK B.
PrimaAWAY B4 years ago

Looks wonderful.
Only when I was very young did I ever add a little salt to it.
Since being a teen no salt on anything.
I Love black peppercorns. Just a little butter and pepper does it for me.
I don't add any salt to anything.
There's usually plenty in food already if It's store bought or rather packaged/pre cooked.

My husband and son always used every spice in the world except salt. Salt is never important.

I wish it were corn season for fresh corn.

TY for posting!! I wish i had some now.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Eve, for Sharing this!

Michael H.
Mike H4 years ago

Thank you for sharing this

Tapan Mohanta
Tapan Mohanta4 years ago

i like to chew it from

Vita Pagh
Vita P4 years ago

Must buy some corn...NOW!!
Thank you.

Carole R.
Carole R4 years ago

Thanks. Those pix made me hungry for corn!

Dimitris Dallis
Past Member 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Judy Apelis
Judy A4 years ago

Great article!

Heather Parrish
Heather Parrish4 years ago

For even better flavor, add chives & garlic to the butter before grilling! Gives it a sweet & savory flavor!