How to Cook Corn on the Grill

Grilled corn on the cob is an excellent addition to any summertime meal. Grilling corn on the cob isn’t hard, but there are different methods you should consider. 


If you’ve been grilling corn on the cob for years, check out some new flavor suggestions that will add a little zing to your grilled corn. 

How to Cook Corn on the Grill

  1. Purchase the corn on the cob

  2. Prepare the corn

  3. Cook the corn with or without the husk

  4. Experiment with flavors

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Tips for Purchasing Corn on the Cob

If you live in the United States, corn on the cob is in season from May to September, making it the ideal vegetable to pair with grilled meat for a complete backyard summer BBQ. The great news is that corn grows in all 50 states. You'll most likely be able to find it fresh and local throughout the summer months in farmer’s markets and grocery stores alike. 


When choosing which corn cobs to buy, you want to make sure you’re getting the freshest pieces that your grocery store or farmer’s market has to offer. Here are some tips to help you choose the very best pieces possible:


  1. Try to find corn cobs with tight green husks. Avoid brown, crackly husks. 

  2. Look at the corn silk (the stringy tassel part) and check to make sure it’s slightly sticky and still white or translucent looking. Avoid dried out or black corn silk. 

  3. Feel the ear for plump kernels. You’ll be able to tell if there are a lot of missing kernels on the piece or if the corn has started to shrink or dry up yet. 


For the best results, grill the corn the same day you purchase it. Once the corn is harvested, the sugar turns to starch, and as time goes on, it will lose its sweetness. If you must buy your corn a day or two ahead of time, keep it in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with the husk intact. 

Preparing the Corn

How you prepare the corn will depend on whether or not you choose to cook the corn with the husk on or not. There is no right or wrong answer here, but rather a matter of personal preference. Here are the two main ways to prepare the corn before throwing it on the grill. We encourage you to try both ways and see which outcome and process you enjoy more! 

Cooking the Corn in the Husk

Soaking corn is always a controversial topic. However, if you are going to grill the corn in husks, you should presoak your corn on the cob in water. 


Presoaking corn husks before putting them on the grill keeps them from burning and helps cook the corn through steaming, which prevents the corn from drying out on the grill. 


Start by pulling back the husk but leaving it attached. Then thoroughly clean off the corn silk and replace the husks. Soak the entire cob in clean, cold water for 30 minutes before grilling. 


While the corn is soaking, preheat your grill to around 350º F. Once the grill is hot, and the corn is done soaking, remove the corn cobs from the water, shake off the excess, and place them on the grill. 


Corn in the husk should cook for around 15 to 20 minutes total. Be sure to rotate the corn cobs at least every few minutes for even heating. 


You can test the corn to make sure it’s done cooking by piercing a kernel with a paring knife. If it is tender, remove it from the grill. Allow the corn to cool for about five minutes, then pull back the husk and enjoy!

Cooking the Corn Without the Husk

Cooking corn on the grill without the husk is less labor-intensive, cooks faster, and gives you an entirely different flavor. Corn cooked on direct heat without the husks results in more char and a smokey flavor. 


Start by removing the husk completely and cleaning off all the corn silk. This method requires no soaking.


Before you start preparing the corn, preheat the grill to about 450º F. Once the grill is hot and the corn is free from its husks and silk, place it directly on the grill. Using heat resistant gloves, rotate the corn after 5 minutes and cook for an additional 5 minutes for a total of 10 minutes on the grill. 


As the corn cooks, brush on some melted butter and sprinkle on a little salt. Once you remove the corn, let it sit for 5 minutes, add any additional toppings, and enjoy! 

Experimenting with Flavors 

Whether you grill and cook the corn with or without the husk, you will want to experiment with a variety of flavors and spices to add a little kick to your grilled corn. 


A simple and classic way to enjoy grilled corn is with a bit of butter (or olive oil) and salt and pepper. But don’t stop there! Try out some of our favorite grilled corn toppings to make the best side dish for a barbecue

Photo by Robert Krcmar on Unsplash

Grilled Corn Topping Suggestions

  • Buffalo Corn on the Cob: Buffalo wing sauce and chives

  • Mexican Street Corn (Elote): Mayonnaise, chili powder, cotija, cilantro, and lime juice

  • BBQ Corn on the Cob: Homemade BBQ sauce and shredded cheddar cheese

  • Italian-style Corn: Pesto sprinkled with parmesan cheese

  • Maple Bourbon Butter: Mix butter with maple syrup, bourbon, and salt. Top with cooked bacon bits. 

  • Blue Cheese Butter: Butter, blue cheese, and chives


The fun thing about these topping ideas is that you don’t have to choose just one! We encourage you to mix and match and come up with some of your favorite corn topping combinations. 


For example, serve up the buffalo corn on the cob topped with blue cheese butter. The possibilities are endless, and there are enough combinations to keep you grilling corn all summer long. 

Cook Corn on the Grill

Hopefully you now have a good idea of how to cook corn on the grill! Corn is readily available, delicious, and easy to cook on the grill, making it the ideal easy side dish for any of your summer cookouts. With all the topping combinations, you’ll never tire of this juicy summer treat.