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

8 Reviews

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!

More CORN RECIPES You Are Sure to Love:

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The Secret to the Best Grilled Corn on the Cob

4.63 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
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!


  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
The Secret to the Best Grilled Corn on the Cob
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 21
% Daily Value*
Sodium 5287mg230%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Sugar 3g3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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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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About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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Recipe Rating


  • The best corn is from the Farmers Market,it`s picked in the afternoon to be sold the next morning.We always buy yellow corn, the white lacks real corn flavor and is too sweet.We like corn that tastes that tastes like corn.So yeah quality is most important b/c garbage in=garbage out,same goes for meat and veg.

    • Reply
    • Great tips! Thank you so much for the advice!

      • Reply
  • When soaking the corn in the water, are the husks covering the corn or pulled back to expose the kernels?

    • Reply
    • Hi Karen! It shouldn’t matter. I like to peel the husk back to soak the, but it will work either way.

      • Reply
  • The best way to apply butter to a hot corn on the cob is to generously butter a piece of bread. Yes bread then place your cob on the bread and rotate the cob. Voila!

    • Reply
    • Ooohhhhh…I’ve never heard of that! I’ll have to try it!

      • Reply
  • 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

    • Reply
  • 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.

    • Reply
    • Cold corn on the cob? Did I not see a reheat step?

      • Reply
      • No ice in the cooler,I do the same thing to when I want to hold warm meat that`s been wrapped.Never tried corn though.

      • Thanks for the tips!

  • 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!

    • Reply
    • Was a mexican corn? Was the sauce white and a little buttery?

      • Reply
      • I don’t really remember though as they were finished cooking before the buyer gave me, but the sauce was kinda buttery.
        – Natalie Ellis

  • 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!

    • Reply
    • Got it and fixed it!

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

    • Reply
    • Hope you enjoy!

      • Reply

Healthy Habits That Help Me!