One of the best things about summer is getting to enjoy fresh sweet corn on (or off) the cob. Its slight crunch and juicy bursts of subtle sweetness pair perfectly with all our favorite dishes, from grilled burgers and brats to fresh salads and salsas.
With Independence Day just around the corner, much of the country will be grilling out in their own backyards, attending small family cookouts, and enjoying plenty of summer specialties. Make sure to include summer sweet corn alongside your cookout spread! It’s the ultimate cookout companion, whether you’re making chargrilled corn on the cob as a simple side dish or fresh corn kernels atop your favorite grilled dishes.
Check out the tips and recipe ideas below to help make the most out of this seasonal summer favorite!
How to Prepare Corn on the Cob
Sweet corn is one of the simplest summer delicacies; it requires very little preparation and is easy to customize or integrate into various types of recipes. To ensure your corn remains fresh from stalk to plate, follow these simple guidelines:
Whether plucking your corn straight from the farm, or choosing among the selection at your produce center or grocery store, here are the qualities to look for:
- Plump ears with tight green husks
- Light brown, slightly sticky tassels
- Firm, shiny kernels with no empty holes
There are many varieties of sweet corn and each range in the level of sweetness. Experiment with different types to find your favorite! Learn more about the different varieties at finecooking.com.
Corn is typically sweetest right after picking, before the sugars have had time to convert into starch. If starting with fresh corn (using the advice from the above section), follow the below tips to make sure your corn lasts as long as possible (and remains delicious):
- Store corn ears in the fridge inside their husks until ready to use.
- Husk, rinse, and clean corn cobs just before you’re ready to prepare.
- Alternately, you can cut the kernels from the cobs, blanch for 1-2 mins, then store in the fridge for up to five days or freeze in single layer until hard, then store in a sealed container for up to 3 months.
Cutting Corn off the Cob:
Try this great hack for cutting kernels off the cob: Prop the corn cob on the center column of a bundt pan and slice down to cut the kernels; rotate to cut all sides of the cob. The bundt pan should catch the kernels as they are cut.
How to Shuck and Clean Corn:
When preparing corn for eating, you’ll need to remove the husks (green leaves surrounding the cob) and the silks (strings in between the rows of kernels). Whether you do this before or after cooking will depending on your preparation method (see below).
Here are a few tips on the easiest way to shuck corn:
- Peel off all but one layer of the green leaves. Grab hold of the sticky brown tassels on the top of the cob and the last layer of leaves and quickly pull down on them to “unzip” the husk from the cob. Examine the cob for any remaining silks and discard. (Find detailed instructions at thekitchn.com.)
- Try microwaving the ears for a minute or two before shucking for a quicker way to remove silks. (See the microwave tutorial in the below section on cooking corn.)
Cooking Sweet Corn:
There are many great techniques for cooking corn. Try them all and see which works best for your meal preparation:
- Boil: Add shucked ears of corn to a large pot of boiling water, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 5-10 minutes.
- Grill the ears in their husks to lightly steam the kernels—this also makes them more tender.
- Grill the ears out of their husks to achieve a nice char on the kernels. Baste the corn with melted butter or cooking oil during cooking. (Bonus: check out this super simple recipe from delish.com for more about this method, and to see some other corn tips and topping suggestions.)
- Microwave the ears in their husks for 4 minutes (adding 1-2 minutes per each additional ear). Next, cut off the stem end of the cob at the widest part and squeeze the corn out of the husk to easily remove the husk along with all of the silks. (Check out this Video Tutorial for step-by-step instructions.)
Sweet Corn Recipes
While freshly cooked corn on the cob may make a delectable meal on its own with just a bit of butter and a sprinkle of salt, it can also be used to freshen up and add a light sweetness to so many other types of dishes. Here are some of our recent favorites:
Chicken Burgers with Summer Corn Salad
These juicy chicken burgers are topped with a sweet corn salad of charred corn, red onion, bell pepper, and avocado, dressed with a Dijon-lime vinaigrette, and served on Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls along with crumbled cotija cheese. (Hint: These burgers are so flavorful, you’ll even win the approval of the beef lovers in your family!)
Summer Corn Bruschetta
This light summer appetizer is fresh and tasty and simple to prepare! First, prepare a quick salsa of sautéed corn, butter, chili powder, marjoram, cherry tomatoes, lime juice, and salt. Next, lightly grill some sliced and buttered Martin’s Old-Fashioned Real Butter Bread. Then top your toasts with fresh ricotta cheese, the corn salsa mixture, crumbled queso fresco, and fresh cilantro leaves—and serve!
Mexican Street Corn Brats
Mexican street corn (elote) is another delicious way to enjoy corn on the cob—it involves grilling the corn with a coating of mayonnaise and seasoning with chili powder, cotija cheese, cilantro, and lime juice. You can also enjoy it off the cob (called “esquites”) as a side salad or a topping like we did here with these grilled bratwurst served on Martin’s Long Potato Rolls. Give it a try!
More Corn Recipes
Can’t get enough summer sweet corn? Check out these other recipe ideas:
- Corn Chowder Bread Bowls
- Chorizo Sliders with Mexican Street Corn Slaw
- Grandma’s Corn Puddin’
- Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Sweet Corn Slaw
- Summer Squash and Sweet Corn Casserole
- Bacon Cheddar Burgers with Corn Bacon Relish
- Cowboy Caviar
- Low Country Dogs
- Sweet Heat Surf and Turf Burgers
- Cheesy Taco Hoagies
- Brie Stuffed Burger
Our latest content, delivered straight to your inbox.
Be the first to hear about our newest recipes, tips, and company updates!