The Secret to the BEST Grilled Corn on the Cob [+ Video]

Do you know the secret to the best grilled corn on the cob? No? Well that’s because there’s not just one but several secrets to making perfect grilled corn.


two ears of grilled corn on cutting board


Oh man, there’s nothing better than freshly grilled corn on the cob, am I right? Even corn on the cob that’s boiled in a pot and then slathered with butter is stinking delicious. BUT, not always. You know what I’m talking about — the overcooked, dried out corn that you don’t even finish because it’s so lame.

Never again. It’s your time to rule the corn on the cob.

First, let’s take a brief pause and discuss dogs. As I was studying up on corn I noticed that everytime I started typing in corn, this question popped up, “why is corn on the cob bad for dogs?” You guys, why are so many people googling that? Haha, either way, here’s your answer: because the corn or cobs can cause intestinal obstruction or sensitivity.

Phew, glad we got that out of the way. 😉

What You’ll Need to Grill Corn on the Cob

Making really good sweet corn doesn’t require lots of equipment or fancy ingredients. The sweet corn is the star of the show, after all. For the absolute best bbq corn on the cob, you’ll need fresh sweet corn, kosher salt, fine ground sea salt, and sugar. Confused as to why you need two kinds of salt? Keep reading, I’ll explain everything! 

How to Pick Corn That’s Super Sweet

Before I dive into the best way to grill corn, we first need to discuss how to tell if the sweet corn you’re buying is good quality. Because at the end of the day, if you start with average-tasting sweet corn, your grilled corn on the cob will taste subpar. 

Really, the best way to pick a good ear of corn is to pull back the husks, but that always bothers me a stitch as it doesn’t seem like good etiquette in the grocery store. However, if it’s your own corn it allows you to see that the kernels are even in size, color and evenly spaced.

Is there a way to know how to choose good corn on the cob without peeking? Yep! Here are four key things to keep in mind when choosing corn at the grocery store. 

  1. Look for very small brown holes in the husk, especially towards the top. These small holes are actually wormholes, and, naturally, worms are best avoided, and you will probably find that the corn has been eaten a bit as well.
  2. Use your hands to feel the kernels through the husk. You want to make sure that they’re plump and plentiful; if you can feel holes where kernels should be, or very small and hard kernels, then choose another. The kernels should also be evenly spaced and evenly sized.
  3. Look for tassels (those things sticking up out of the top) that are yellow to brown and sticky to the touch. If they’re dry or black, then it’s an old ear of corn and you should put it back.
  4. Look at the color of the husk. If it’s a bright green and tightly wrapped against the cob, then the corn is fresh. If the husks are yellowing and drying out then it’s older corn.

How to Store Corn on the Cob

The best way to store corn on the cob is in the husks, uncovered in the refrigerator.

How to Grill Corn on the Cob 

Step 1: Prepare the Corn

The husks will keep the corn safe from the direct heat on the grill so make sure you leave them on. To prepare the corn, just strip the husks back, remove the silk and then fold the husks back up. 

Step 2: Soak the Corn

The real secret to grilling corn on the cob starts before it ever hits the grill. You need to fill your sink with cold water and 1-2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Drop the silk-free corn in the water and let it soak for a good 10-15 minutes. Soaking the corn will allow the corn to stay moist, plus the husks won’t burn off to ash and the corn will be more flavorful thanks to the salt brine.

Step 3: Grill the Corn

You’ll grill the corn first in the husks, then strip them back and turn the grill up, rotating the corn as soon as grill marks appear. Grilled corn on the cob in the husks won’t dry out as easily and will make for juicier corn. 

Step 4: Season the Grilled Sweet Corn

Don’t just slather butter and salt on the finished corn. The final secret to the best grilled corn on the cob is seasoning it with sea salt that’s been mixed with a touch of sugar. You won’t even notice the sugar and it definitely doesn’t sweeten things up, but it does help balance things out and make the corn even more flavorful. We do a 3 to 1 ratio of salt to sugar.

How Long to Grill Corn

How long and what temperature do you cook corn on the cob on the grill? You’ll want to never cook corn on the cob on anything other than medium heat for the actual cooking. This will take about 15-20 minutes, and you need to rotate it every 5-6 minutes.

Once the corn is ready to eat you can turn the grill to medium-high or high heat and to create grill marks, but you need to watch the corn closely and rotate as needed.


how to grill corn on the cob


Can I Grill Corn Without the Husk? 

If you can’t find sweet corn in its husk at your local grocery store, you can still make this grilled sweet corn recipe. To achieve a similar effect, wrap the corn in aluminum foil before grilling it. This will steam the corn as if it were still in its husk. Note that you’ll still need to soak the corn as the recipe instructs. 

How Long is Corn on the Cob Good For?

Uncooked ears of corn should really only be in your fridge for about 24 hours, but you can push it to 2-3 days and you should still be fine. Once the corn is cooked you really need to eat it within a day.

Ways to Eat Grilled Corn

There are so many ways to eat grilled corn besides straight off the cob. You can cut the corn kernels off the cob and use them in salads, soups, dips, and more! A few of our favorite ways to enjoy grilled corn are: 

The possibilities are endless! You could even use grilled corn that’s been cut off the cob as a taco topper, mixed into cornbread, and more. If you have a favorite way to eat grilled sweet corn, please leave us a comment below so we can try it ourselves! 

How to Freeze Corn

Before you bounce off to the recipe you should totally read how to freeze corn for up to 12 months. It has totally changed my life. I freeze fresh corn for my family in the summer and we enjoy it all winter long. You will NEVER GO BACK after having fresh corn in the winter versus canned. 

And yes, I am the biggest fan in the whole world of a food saver to do this. If you don’t already own one, what in the world are you waiting for?! You can freeze leftovers and reheat them to taste as if you made them that day. Do you know how amazing it is to make a slow cooker chicken recipe and just double the meat to freeze half and it stays fresh twice as long because of the Food Saver?! GENIUS!


Recipes with Corn

Looking to use up grilled corn on the cob or just make a yummy summer side dish with corn? We've got your favorite corn recipes here!

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Bacon Ranch Corn Dip [+ Video]

My sister and I are OBSESSED with this bacon ranch corn dip, just add chips!

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How to Freeze Corn for up to 12 Months

You cannot make it through the summer without learning how to freeze corn for up to 12 months. It will change your life!

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Mexican Street Corn - Elote

Mmmm, Mexican Street Corn, also called, Elote is a fan and family favorite!

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Ham and Potato Corn Chowder

This ham and potato corn chowder recipe is exactly what you want for dinner tonight!

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Cilantro Butter Corn

Try mixing up your grilled corn this summer by making a simple cilantro butter to slather on!

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Cheesy Zucchini Corn Casserole

This cheesy zucchini corn casserole is the perfect way to enjoy a summer harvest!

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The BEST Creamed Corn

There is absolutely nothing better than the best creamed corn with a side of juicy grilled steak!

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Elote Grilled Mexican Corn Salad

Take your favorite Mexican street food and turn it into an Elote Grilled Mexican Corn Salad

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Grilled Greek Chicken and Corn Salad

I love it when you can throw everything together, no sides needed and that's exactly what this Grilled Greek Chicken and Corn Salad is!

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Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad [+ Video]

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Ham Sandwich and Corn Chowder

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Slow Cooker Potato Broccoli Corn Chowder with Bacon

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More delicious SIDE DISHES you’re sure to love:

Want to know the secret for how to grill corn on the cob? We have a whole list you may not have ever guessed.
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The Secret to the Best Grilled Corn on the Cob

Do you know the secret to the best grilled corn on the cob? No? Well that's because there's not just one but a few secrets!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: America's Best 4th of July Desserts, Recipes and Sides
Keyword: corn, grilled, side, vegetarian
Servings: 6
Calories: 21kcal
Author: Sweet Basil


  • 6 ears of yellow or white sweet corn
  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt

For the salt

  • 3 tablespoons fine ground sea salt
  • 3 Teaspoons Sugar


  • Pull the husks back on the corn and remove all of the silk, then pull the husks back up.
  • Fill a sink full of cool water and add the kosher salt. Place the corn in the sink for 10-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile heat the grill to medium heat. Shake any excess water off of the corn and place on the grill.
  • Cook for 15-20 minutes, rotating every five minutes or until the corn in vibrant in color and the kernels are tender.
  • Mix the salt and sugar, slather the corn in butter and sprinkle with the salt mixture.
  • Dig. In.



Serving: 1g | Calories: 21kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Sodium: 5287mg | Sugar: 3g
Tried this recipe?Mention @OhSweetBasil or tag #OhSweetBasil!

Do you know the secret to the best grilled corn on the cob? No? Well that's because there's not just one but a few secrets!



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Carrian Cheney

Lover of all things beautiful, good and delicious. Wife, mother, friend, foodie.

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17 comments on “The Secret to the BEST Grilled Corn on the Cob [+ Video]”

  1. You have tassels and silks confused. Lol. If you see tassels in the grocery store something is wrong.
    Tassels are the male portion of the plant at the top. This part drops the pollen.
    Silks are the female part that receives the pollen. They turn color after pollinating because they actually detach from the plant.

    Also it is a misconception that evenly sized kernels will be better/sweeter. It depends on the genetics. Some of the sweetest corn I have ever had varied greatly in kernel size on the cob.

    Just a little corn education from Wisconsin. Lol

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  3. Not even close. The best way to cook corn on the cob on the grill is this.
    1) Put in a cooler filled with 1/2 cup sugar and water and let soak for about 4 hours.
    2) Do not pull the husk or the silk off.
    3) Put on hot grill turning frequently.
    4) Throw it back in you cooler for an hour or two until you are ready to eat.
    5) Peel back the husk and the silk.
    6) It will be so sweet and good that you don’t even need butter or salt.

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  8. Such a interesting tricky! Although I never want to make thing complicated when grilling the corns but maybe I will give it a try. Besides, I believe the best grilled corn is also about the butter sauce we slather on the corn, I still remember I ate the best grilled corn in my life at a street food in a chilly night and the taste was so so good. Until now, I haven’t found out how to make that sauce, but well, maybe in the future I hope!

  9. Someone has probably caught this, but you say to fill the sink with cold water and then add 1-2 tablespoons of…water. Salt is what you meant to type, I’m sure. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  10. I’ve never tried grilling corn before…so I appreciate the helpful tips and tricks!

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