5 Ingredients or Fewer

Grilled Corn with BasilĀ Butter

May  6, 2013
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4 to 8
Author Notes

Now that the first corn is starting to appear at the markets, it's pretty much all I can think about, all the time. The flavors are so magically summery: sweet, herbacious, charred, creamy. And it's super easy. My only advice: make a lot. —lisina

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a fast and simple way to make corn truly sing. The basil adds a delightful brightness to the sweet corn, and it plays perfectly with the traditional butter and salt additions. Grilling the corn takes the most time, which was only about 6 minutes. The basil butter is a keeper -- and it's a good thing, because there is a lot of it left over. I would definitely make this recipe again. —figgypudding

What You'll Need
  • Grilled Corn
  • 8 ears of corn, shucked
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Basil Butter
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup basil, loosely packed
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  1. Preheat grill to medium hot.
  2. Roll corn in a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. When grill is hot, add corn and close the lid. Rotate the corn a few times, until some of the kernels are blistered and the rest a bright and shiny yellow. This shouldn't take longer than 8 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, or the corn will be dry.
  3. Meanwhile, add the butter, basil, and salt to a food processer and let it rip. You may need to scrape down the sides once or twice. When the basil is finely chopped and the butter has a light green tint, it's done.
  4. When the corn comes off the grill, slather it with the basil butter. Sprinkle with a little more salt if desired. Eat immediately.
  5. Note: basil butter can be made ahead and extra basil butter will keep for about a week or two in the fridge. You can roll it into a log with plastic wrap and slice it off as you need it. It's AMAZING on toast.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • The Pontificator
    The Pontificator
  • Mark Janzen
    Mark Janzen
  • BavarianCook
  • Smaug
  • Rebecca Cherry
    Rebecca Cherry

34 Reviews

[email protected] June 22, 2022
Who doesn't love fresh corn? THis was simple and very easy, packing a big flavor.
The P. July 7, 2019
One of the best childhood memories was running over to a local farm to buy sweet corn. White, yellow, or mixed it was all good esp. at a baker's dozen for a dollar or less. We'd be there when the tractor would bring in the haul in a big wagon the idea was to consume it within an hour of being picked.

The supermarket corn is actually decent this year ($0.20 an ear) and there's a ton of basil in the herb garden so we'll give this a try using lightly salted butter a tablespoon is too much for me.
Mark J. June 3, 2016
Add 4 cloves of garlic to that butter and thank me later. :)
BavarianCook May 29, 2016
I made it with Kerrygold butter and left the salt out (since that kind is salted) and it was fantastic. Thank you!
Charlie O. May 26, 2016
Charlie O'Neill:
Try wrapping the corn, with a slice of bacon, and pulling the husks back over, and wrapping it in foil. My dogs, really go for the bacon, when I serve the corn.
delicia.sampson.7 August 2, 2016
That sounds great! Will try next time.
Smaug July 27, 2015
I guess I'll have to try this, if I can ever find any yellow corn. I don't oil it before grilling, don't think it needs it at all. I usually melt some butter with a bit of Ancho chile powder and brush it on right before serving- I find a tsp or two per ear quite sufficient (with some extra for the brush)
Rebecca C. July 13, 2015
This is our summer go-to for corn. My one suggestion is to, first, chop up the basil leaves a bit, either by hand or in the food processor. Then, add the butter and salt. Otherwise, I found that the leaves stay pretty intact, preventing the basil flavor (and color) from infusing the butter as well. Not that having large bits of basil resting on your corn kernels once the butter melts is a bad thing, just a preference.
Marianna July 1, 2015
I haven't never used the basil in grilling corns. I will do it soon...it sounds like very good. However I prefer to eat the corn boiled (http://www.ricettedalmondo.it/pannocchie-lesse.html) which make the grains softer.
Bye ;-)
Dave S. June 14, 2015
This sounds really good. I'm thinking pulling back the husks, removing the silk, slathering the corn with the butter, then pulling the husks back the corn and smoking them on the grill --- low heat for an hour or so... The butter shouldn't burn at low heat, should it? Smoked corn on the cob is incredible...this basil butter would make it even better!
Counselorchick June 14, 2015
Sounds yummy! I would take the husks down for the last bit of cooking time on a higher heat just to get the corn to brown a bit. Should be delicious.
lisina June 14, 2015
Dave, that sounds incredible! The corn doesn't overcook and get tough? I'd be more worried about that than the butter burning. I will definitely try this!
Dave S. June 14, 2015
Lisina, No, the corn doesn't overcook at the low heat. There's another option not smoking but rather putting directly on the grill.... Shuck the corn (and this tip is incredible: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgq-PWG6hWk). So, rather than keeping in for full period, do one less minute per ear of corn. Then put on the butter and put on the grill for a few minutes.
I was more concerned on whether the butter would burn at higher temps on the grill...though I'm guessing that by keeping an eye on it and just letting it brown, it will still be good. :-)
rod H. July 20, 2014
I clean the husks off, cut corn ears in half, deep fry till nicly browned, put corn handles in the ends of corn, roll in garlic or basil butter salt and eat, GREAT, been doing this since the early fiftys
Virginia M. July 11, 2014
This was delicious, though the basil butter ended up being a little saltier than I'd normally go for. I will use 3/4 tbsp next time. However, it is definitely amazing still, and I will be using this basil butter for lots more things in the next few days!
lisina June 14, 2015
Totally acceptable as well to leave the salt out of the butter, and sprinkle it on the cob to your liking!
Lindini July 2, 2014
sorry but i thought you weren't supposed to salt corn while cooking. i never do, i add salt afterwards and it is so tender and sweet : )
lisina July 2, 2014
I've done it both ways (when I forget to salt it pre-grill) and haven't found it makes much difference. It's on the grill for such a short time. Either way, as you like! :)
VOS July 25, 2013
2 tablspns of butter for ONE ear of corn?! that is just absurd.
Counselorchick July 25, 2013
Yep. I never use that much but I do slather it on!
lisina July 25, 2013
there is always leftover butter, but i make two sticks worth because the larger batch gives the food processor better purchase, and the butter comes out much more smooth. we eat the leftover in the mornings on toast, i toss it with steamed veggies, or sometimes i use it on top of grilled steaks or under the skin of a roasting chicken. it's great to have on hand.
kitchen D. July 22, 2013
It's winter here in Australia - 10 degrees celsius and raining today - how nice to see a blast of sunshine, dreaming of the sun...
carrieval July 22, 2013
I cook corn on the cob in the microwave...so simple. Cut of the tassles so the corn will revolve if you have the revolving bottom plate. Cook two ears for 5 to 6 minutes, using mitt pot holders strip off the husk and instant yummy "vitamins not lost" sron. It would eary to add some herbed butter and tie the husks back on with kitchen string.
simplysandi July 22, 2013
I love corn on the cob! Cannot wait to make the basil butter
Nancy H. July 21, 2013
This is exactly the way the street vendors used to roast corn back in Beirut. But even better than basil butter is a really spicy extra-virgin olive oil mixed with basil and other herbs--dried oregano is terrific. Or just crushed Aleppo peppers. Use a spicy olive oil from Andalucia or southern Italy--anything that has a good punch.
Counselorchick July 21, 2013
Gusta - we pull the husks back, tie them with string, brush with butter, grill with a strip of aluminum foil where the husks lay. Voila!
lisina July 25, 2013
I'm totally going to try this! thanks!
Gusta July 21, 2013
My family has always grilled corn with BBQ. We grill it in the husk over the hot coals turning it to avoid burning the husks. After 25-30 minutes the corn has steamed and is ripe for eating . Pull back the husk and take a big bite. It's always steamy and naturally sweet. No need for anything but your taste buds . It's juicy and wonderfully sweet! We love it every time! Enjoy
Counselorchick July 21, 2013
You can also just brush the butter on the corn before grilling it, then it never dries out. We do it all the time. Close the grill, turn over every couple of minutes and voila! Yum!