Mexican Grilled Corn

Banish the memory of that canned corn you ate as a kid with this flavorful combination of chili, cumin, and paprika on these simple Mexican grilled corn cobs.
mexican style grilled corn

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Have you tried grilling corn before? It’s an easy way to elevate the flavor and it’s almost impossible to screw up! 

Growing up, my family ate corn from a can and it was average at best. Once I discovered grilled corn, I found a new love for it. Giving the corn some nice char really boosts the flavors and makes things a little more exciting. 

Corn is a blank canvas for all types of flavor combinations. Here I’m doing a basic Mexican style grilled corn with some chili powder, parmesan cheese, and some lime juice to really ramp up the flavor.

Should you remove the husks or leave them on?

For grilled corn, you want to get fresh corn that is still in the husk. You can grill the corn in the husk which will help lock in some moisture and protect the corn. It’s a good option but I prefer to remove the husk and then grill.

four husked corn cobs on a white plate
Naked corn.

There are a few reasons I like to remove the husks before grilling corn: 

  • I like to butter and season my corn before I place it on the grill, not after. This gives the corn better flavor and color in my opinion.
  • Grilling without the husks allows you to get a nice char on the corn that gives it so much flavor and just enhances the overall dish. 

You can also wrap the corn in aluminum foil and grill them that way too, but don’t be afraid to just place them directly on the grill grates. You’ll be just fine! 

Other ways to use grilled corn 

Corn is a blank canvas and it can be used in so many different ways. Using butter, salt and pepper go a long way, or you can spice it up like this Mexican style.

Some other styles I enjoy are garlic and basil, jerk rubbed, bacon-wrapped, and even smoked corned ribs.

smoked corn ribs
Smoked corn ribs are a unique way to eat corn

You can also grill then remove the corn off the cob for a salsa, relish, or put it into a salad. I’ve also seen it pureed to make a sauce and even a desert! 

One of my all time favorite ways is to add some vinegar, diced jalapenos, fresh basil, and cilantro for a charred corn salsa to top on ribeye steaks. 

How to make grilled Mexican style corn

1. Prep the corn

Remove the husks from the corn and take a stick of unsalted butter and rub it on all sides of the corn. We are only using a tablespoon or two of butter but spreading it this way makes it a lot easier than using a knife to spread.

corn on a white plate with hand holding butter

Once you are done with the stick of butter, just cut off the part you used and store the rest of the butter in the fridge. 

2. Make the seasoning

The seasoning we use is very basic. It has a base mix of SPG (salt, pepper, and garlic powder) and then equal parts cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika.

white bowl with salt, pepper, chili and paprika in it
If you want it spicier, don’t be afraid to use a pinch of cayenne. 

Simply mix the dry seasonings together until well combined.

Apply the seasoning evenly all over your buttered corn.

four seasoned corn on a white plate

3. Fire up the grill

For this cook, I used my Char-Broil 2 burner gas grill.

Fire up your grill and bring the temperature up to medium-high heat.

Once your grill is up to temperature, place the corn on the grates and char on all sides, rotating every 2-3 minutes.

four seasoned corn cobs on a gas grill
It will be ready when you see the char around the sides and the kernels have softened up.

The corn should only take 10-15 minutes. 

five corn cobs on the grill with a hand squeezing lime
 Just before you remove them off the grill, squeeze a lime wedge or two right on top. 

Once the corn is removed and while still hot, sprinkle on some shredded parmesan or cotija cheese, and then a little chopped parsley.

Serve immediately with some extra lime wedges and enjoy! 

Try your grilled corn with these bbq dishes:

mexican style grilled corn

Mexican Grilled Corn

Butter smeared corn cobs with a simple Mexican style seasoning.
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 173kcal
Author: Jordan Hanger

Ingredients

  • 5 ears of corn
  • 2 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 3 limes
  • 2 tbsp parsley chopped
  • ½ cup parmesan or cotija cheese shredded

Seasoning

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder

Instructions

  • Remove husks from the corn.
  • Mix the seasoning ingredients together until well combined.
  • Coat the corn with butter and apply seasoning.
  • Place the corn directly on the grill grates on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes, rotating every 2-3 minutes until the corn has softened and charred around the edges.
  • Before removing the corn, give them a squeeze of lime juice.
  • While the corn is still hot, sprinkle with cheese and chopped parsley.
  • Serve immediately with extra lime wedges.

Nutrition

Sodium: 684mg | Calcium: 144mg | Vitamin C: 21mg | Vitamin A: 698IU | Sugar: 6g | Fiber: 3g | Potassium: 326mg | Cholesterol: 19mg | Calories: 173kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Fat: 9g | Protein: 7g | Carbohydrates: 22g | Iron: 1mg
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