July 1st, 2011
09:05 AM ET
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This Independence Day, make your cookout the cream of the corn crop.

Living up to the old adage "knee-high by the Fourth of July," fresh bushels of summer corn are set to arrive at the farmers markets and grocery stores just in time for the long holiday weekend.

Instead of boiling the heck out of them, chow down on the cobs straight from the grill, paint them with butter and call it a day.

Or you can go the way of Chef Julian Medina of Toloache Restaurant and spice the summertime favorite up with the popular Mexican street food approach of elote: grilled (or sometimes roasted) corn on the cob slathered with mayonnaise, dusted with salty queso fresco and chili powder, and served with a tangy twist of lime.

Follow along step-by-step in the gallery above.

Grilled Corn with Chipotle Mayonnaise and Queso Fresco
Courtesy Julian Medina


  • 4 ears yellow corn
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon canned chipotle purée
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 4 tablespoons crumble queso fresco, or fresh white cheese

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the grill in a high heat.
  2. Steam the corn in husk for 15 minutes and then let it cool.
  3. While waiting for the corn to cool, in a bowl mix the mayo, lime juice, chipotle purée and honey.
  4. Peel off the husks and place corn on a grill for about 5 minutes. Make sure to rotate corn so that it becomes evenly charred.
  5. Remove corn from the grill and rub with the chipotle mayo then sprinkle the white cheese on top.
  6. Serve warm with grilled fish, chicken or steak.

Recipe formatting optimized by the nice folks at RecipeSEO.com

There is more than one way to grill corn. Share your favorite techniques in the comments.

See all our best grilling advice at Grilling 101

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Josh

    Easiest way to grill corn I've found and always tastes sweet (without sugar): Pull husk down without removing and remove the fibrous material that has not yet formed a husk layer. Apply butter or margarine by rubbing with your hand to cover the corn, then apply kosher salt and pepper to cover the corn (amount applied to your preference) which sticks to the butter/margarine. Finally, pull the corn husk back up over the cob and grill on each side over low to moderate heat until a light char is noticed on the outer husk. Remove husk and enjoy either by eating off the cob or slicing off the cob. Note: Flavor is retained despite some butter/margarine being removed during the grilling process. Hope everyone that tries this enjoys!

    May 27, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      That's how I do it. You should soak the ears of corn first to help prevent the husks from catching on fire.

      June 18, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  2. John

    Come on Angela........Everything is genetically modified (even you). Do you think your corn is the same as the "original" corn? Nature genetically modified it for years before you ate it.

    July 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  3. angela

    I would advise that if cooking corn, please use organic corn. Corn which is crown non-organically 90% of the time is GMO, A genetically modified organism (GMO).

    July 11, 2011 at 2:52 am |
  4. justathought

    I thought everyone knew about grilling corn, but it't that other stuff, that sounds forieign, not American. By the way, have you ever tried to serve corn on the cob to a German who has never had it before? you may be insulted (at least my ex-sister-in-law insulted us, she said we were feeding her 'pig food', come to think about it, maybe she felt insulted too.) But that is the best way to eat corn, because you get the germ–the most nutrious part of the grain.

    July 3, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Gunnaur

      You do realize the silk turns to a sugar if cooked and adds to the taste?

      July 5, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
      • Gunnaur

        Sorry that was a reply to Keith

        July 5, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
  5. keith

    Soak a few hrs
    Pull husks down but not off
    De-silk Wrap cob with bacon
    Put husks back I tie em then grill

    July 2, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  6. Amanda Huggekhiss

    Substituting butter for mayonnaise on corn-on-the-cob may be the most evil unAmerican thing I have ever heard of.

    July 2, 2011 at 8:56 am |
  7. Robert

    Just soak in water and then grill, the husk and silk comes away easy. All you need is a good pair of gloves, butter, salt and pepper.

    July 2, 2011 at 3:53 am |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫


      June 18, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Sir Biddle

      You should invest more into a pair of tongs than Isotoners

      June 18, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • AleeD®@Sir Biddle

        Longer is better. We're talking about tongs, right?

        June 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
        • Sir Biddle

          Yes indeed, longer is better. Anything short and you're likely to get burned turning your cobs.

          June 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
        • Ty Cob

          What'd you say 'Bout My Momma?

          June 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  8. Robert

    I don't think you know how to grill corn, go back to preschool

    July 2, 2011 at 3:49 am |
  9. Big Joe

    There is no need to steam the corn in the husk prior to grilling it.

    I dehusk the corn, brush it with melted butter and put it on the grill over low-medium heat. Turn the corn every 3 minutes, brushing with the butter each time. Grill about 15 minutes, being careful not to char the corn too much. If desired, sprinkle liberally with kosher salt or coarse sea salt near the end of the grilling time.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
  10. hamid Amin

    Corn is the most delicious thing i like since i was 12. i like to eat it boiled, grilled, cooked,or baked under the Mud with the leaves on it but boiled inside. Corn is good for the Skin, and for lever. The flour of Corn is good too for Your health. I really enjoy it when i eat it.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
  11. Rob

    I grill corn with a nice mix of butter, sea salt, pepper, minced garlic and fresh basil (all mixed and put on before cooking). Then I grill on medium indirect heat for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. It cooks the corn all the way through while just browning the outside nicely. Then I lightly sprinkle the hot corn with a bit of freshly ground Parmesan cheese (not the stuff in the can) and it's really nice. If you pre-steam it like he does, the corn is a little more moist. If you don't, like I do, then it's a bit dry with that street-vendor texture that I love from trips to Africa and South America. Either way, the complex set of flavors is a nice complement to other grilled foods. I get it when people think corn doesn't need anything else, and about half the time I just steam it plain too, but sometimes it's nice to have a change of pace. I'm always on the lookout for new ways to grill my favorite foods, so I'm glad to have run across this recipe.

    July 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  12. Tom

    Would you be able to taste the corn?

    July 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  13. Xman

    Great recipe, but could someone please give me a clue as to how one STEAMS corn with the husks on?

    July 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • I want da gold!

      Do you think husks are impenetrable?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  14. skarrlette

    Ok that sounds awesome but honestly vegetables were the only healthy thing we had left and now that is being turned into a fatty high calorie food. If your eating a cheeseburger or a baby back ribs leave the corn for just some light butter and salt.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  15. Maui

    I just husk them, LIGHTLY rub with vegetable oil and put them right on the grill. Seems to me that steaming for 15 mins first will overcook the corn. Just make sure you don't overcook or over char them. DELICIOUS!

    July 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  16. WWRRD

    Why ruin good corn by putting all that stuff on it. A butter salt and pepper is all you need.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Heh.

      Why be afraid to try new things and see how different flavors work together?

      July 1, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  17. Merna

    You're cooking the corn way too long. Corn should be fresh, straight from a farmers' market, steam or zap for 2 minutes, butter, and eat. That's all.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Heh.

      Yeah, he only owns three hugely popular restaurants. Clearly he doesn't know what he is doing if he doesn't cook his corn in a freakin' microwave.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  18. Noxious Sunshine

    ... You.dont use chili powder for elote.

    For elote, grill the corn, use lime flavored mayo, queso fresco & the fruit seasoning – Klass or Tajin or whatever comes in the lil baggies @ the latino market (tge lil baggy kind is best though).

    You can even scrape the corn from the cob, into a bowl, squeeze with a bit of lime, top with mayo, queso, then the fruit chile.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Heh.

      "You.dont use chili powder for elote."

      My neighbor who grew up in Mexico City does, at least sometimes. Sometimes he uses spices he gets from the little Spanish market down the street, other times he uses lemon pepper. Sometimes he uses mayo, other times he uses sour cream... He makes it with all sorts of different seasonings an toppings.

      We get together and grill and drink beer just about every weekend in the summer. I bet he'll have a good laugh this weekend when I tell him some random schmoe on CNN.com says he is doing it wrong.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:22 am |
      • Noxious Sunshine

        Everytime i've had it.- whether made by an ex's mom or abuela , my fiancee or bought from a van beside the carniceria the fruit seasoning was used

        July 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  19. scott

    Why steam it that is what the butter is for. Just wrap in tin foil and place on grill about 5 min each side. Put butter and lots of black pepper and enjoy.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Earman

      You steam it to partially cook it, then shuck it and put it back on to get a bit of charring. If you don't partially cook it before charring, you'll get raw insides and charred outsides. The charring gives it a different flavor than your method, which is essentially just steaming on the grill.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:10 am |
      • CornyPhil

        No, it is not just steaming. If you leave the ears on the grill (turning often) until the outer husks are black, you get a nice roasted flavor in the corn.

        July 1, 2011 at 11:43 am |
      • Dave T.

        Uhh... CornyPhil, did you read scott's comment? He suggested wrapping it in foil and cooking it 5 minutes on a side. That's completely different from what you describe. BTW, I do mine much like you describe, and agree it's good that way.

        But, yeah, Earman is right. scott is just using the grill to steam his corn.

        July 1, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • I want da gold!

      No need for tin foil when it comes with a husk naturally.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  20. Carnie Vore

    I prefer to soak the corn in the husks in some water for about 1/2 hour, then grill them right in the husks. Mayonnaise? Queso Fresco? Banana leaf? Throw all that crap out and just enjoy the corn with a little butter and salt.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Matt

      Bravo! And a little black pepper.

      July 1, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • YEAH!

      Dead on!
      Forget about trying new things and seeking out new experiences!
      Give me the same durned thing time after time so I can babble on about the one true way to do it and just dismiss any other ideas without ever even trying them!

      July 1, 2011 at 9:25 am |
      • bud

        Some people like corn. Others put crap all over it and call it something else, which is fine – but it ain't corn.

        July 2, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • dnfromge

      I prefer to grill in the husk and keep it simple as well, but why not change things up every once in a while and try a new version of an old favorite. Makes life interesting as well as tasty! Think I'll try this out!

      July 1, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • AleeD@Carnie Vore

      Try it with a little seasoned salt and no butter sometime. Yum! That's my favorite way to eat corn-on-the-cob.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • I want da gold!

      I absolutely agree! My father taught me to throw them on the grill, husks on. When the husks get charred (How charred comes with experience), corn is done. Butter and salt is all corn on the cob needs.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
      • I got dat gold!

        Yo daddy raised you right but I got all dat goooldd!!!

        July 1, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
        • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

          I miss you.

          June 18, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  21. CornCob

    My ears are burning,Turn down the heat or quit talking about me.

    July 1, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Greg

      Well played Mr. Corn...now get in mah belly!

      July 2, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  22. SeaBee from Home Port

    Love this time of year! Roasted corn is so tasty! You can also cut it off the cob after grilling and use it to make corn salsa. I will have to write that recipe down...

    July 1, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  23. RichardHead

    If I leave my corn on too long,will I get popcorn?

    July 1, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • bud

      no but if it stays this hot and our neighbor's pigs melt in our potato patch we'll have french fries

      July 2, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  24. Mildred

    Oh that sounds too good....

    July 1, 2011 at 8:22 am |
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