How to grill corn on the cob

Grilling is one of the tastiest ways to enjoy fresh in-season corn on the cob

An extreme close up of four corncobs cooked on a charcoal grill
(Image credit: Getty Images / BreakingTheWalls)

Corn on the cob is a classic and super tasty summertime treat. It works particularly well on the grill because it’s robust and can stand up to the intense heat. In fact, it improves when it’s lightly charred and smokey.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a charcoal grill pro or you prefer the best gas grills. Corn on the cob is easy to grill no matter what type of grill you choose. Once cooked, you can elevate it with flavored butters, seasonings, and an array of tasty toppings to make this humble vegetable a showstopper.

Surprisingly there are several ways you can grill corn. I tackle four of them here, but it's worth trying them all to see which is your favorite. 

How to grill fresh corn in the husk

A plate of corn grilled in the jusk with zucchini and tomatoes

(Image credit: Getty Images / Manny Rodriguez)

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some freshly picked corn that’s still in its husk, you can use this natural protective outer layer to your advantage when grilling. It helps keep moisture in, so the corn won’t dry out, but it’ll still get charred and pick up some smoky grill flavors. Here’s how. 

  1. Soak the corn in a bowl of water for a minimum of 10 minutes. This does two things; it stops the papery husk from burning as fast as it would without soaking ,and the additional water will help the corn to steam inside the husk, so it’ll stay juicy.
  2. Place on the hot grill and cook for around 20 minutes, turning every 3-5 minutes. The outer husk will burn and char, but since you don’t eat that part, you don’t need to worry too much.
  3. Carefully peel back a small part of the husk to check if the corn is cooked and leave it for longer if needed.
  4. When it’s cooked, you can remove the husk and grill it for a few more minutes if you want some extra charred bits. Or, serve straight away with your favorite butter and toppings.

How to grill corn in foil

Three corn on the cobs grilled in foil with butter and cheese

(Image credit: Getty Images / Ildar Albukhanov)

Using foil to protect the corn is a good alternative to grilling in the husk. However, you have to pay attention to how frequently you turn it, because it can burn without you realizing. The advantage to using foil, however, is that you can add flavors and seasonings that’ll infuse into the corn as it cooks for effortlessly delicious results. 

  1. Place each corn cob on a separate square of foil. If your foil isn’t the thicker heavy duty type, you can double up and use two layers.
  2. Season the corn with your favorite seasoning and use your hands or a brush to rub it in, along with some oil or butter.
  3. Wrap the foil around the corn and seal the edges to stop the flavors escaping.
  4. Grill for 15-20 minutes, turning frequently.
  5. Unwrap the corn. If it’s not quite done, you can re-wrap it and put it back on. Or, place it back on the grill without the foil to finish off and add extra flavor.

How to grill corn directly on the grill

Grilled corn on a plate at a party with a glass of wine, a bottle of wine, being brushed with rosemary

(Image credit: Getty Images / 10'000 Hours)

If you’re looking for the most smoky, charred flavor you can get, and you don’t mind if it dries out a little, cooking corn directly on the grill will also work well. 

  1. To speed up the grilling time, you can par-boil the corn for 3-5 minutes before grilling,  but this stage is optional.
  2. Place the corn on the hot grill. There’s no need to season first as it’ll just burn off on the grill.
  3. Grill for around 20 minutes. It’s important to turn frequently to avoid any areas getting too burnt. If you opted to par boil the corn, the grilling should only take about 10 minutes.
  4. Move the cooked and charred corn cobs to a plate and add flavored butters and seasonings right before serving. 

Expert tip: with the three methods above, bear in mind that cooking times can vary significantly between gas and charcoal grills. You can expect it to take anywhere between 15-35 minutes. Make sure you turn it frequently and check the corn is cooked through before serving. 

How to make corn ribs

Corn ribs cooked on a grill, seasoned and serves with lime, cilantro, and sauce

(Image credit: Getty Images / Lauri Patterson)

Corn ribs are a fun and increasingly fashionable new way to eat corn, and they work really well on a grill. They cook quickly and don’t need turning, so they’re a fast option. However, cutting them as you prep them for the grill can be tough, so take it slow and steady. 

  1. Using a sharp chef's knife, carefully cut the corn cob in half lengthways. This is easiest if you stand the corn on its end and cut down through it. Then cut each of the halves in half again - so you end up with four long skinny quarters from each cob.
  2. Place the corn ribs on the grill, corn side down.
  3. They don’t need turning since all the corn is facing the heat. Grill for 10-15 minutes, checking and moving around frequently.
  4. The corn ribs will curl up and char. Once cooked, remove from the grill so they don’t dry out.
  5. Serve with spicy dips or load up with seasonings and cheese for a tasty starter, side, or snack.
Helen McCue
Contributing Editor

Helen McCue is a freelance contributor who trained as a Home Economist. After starting her career in the food industry, she moved into home appliance reviews, utilising her cooking skills and experience to put all kinds of products to the test, and over the years has reviewed hundreds of home and kitchen appliances for a variety of publications.

Having completely renovated her current house, Helen reviews kitchen appliances from her open plan kitchen at home in a beautiful Berkshire village. When she’s not working, Helen can be found enjoying the local countryside or dreaming about her next house renovation project.