Growing up in central Indiana, I was surrounded by endless cornfields. You could measure the seasons and the climate by how high the plants were growing, and getting lost in corn mazes each fall was a time-honored tradition.
But, weirdly, we didn't actually eat much fresh corn. The fields that dominated the countryside near my home grew field corn, destined to be fed to livestock or turned into ethanol or corn syrup. It wasn't until I went to college, in a town surrounded by small-scale farms, that I regularly ate fresh sweet corn—and it was a revelation. Compared to the stuff you find at most grocery stores, the farmers market corn I suddenly had easy access to was incredibly juicy and sweet. Though it's wonderful when simply grilled or boiled on the cob, given corn's multitude of uses, there's no reason to limit yourself. Toss together a salad of raw corn with shiso, pressure-cook your way to the corniest corn soup, or whip up some cheesy corn and chorizo pancakes. These 22 recipes will help you take full advantage of one of summer's simplest joys.
Corn on the Cob
Sous Vide Corn on the Cob
You can make good corn on the cob by boiling it, grilling it, or even microwaving it, so the idea of breaking out the sous vide circulator to make corn may sound like overkill. But honestly, it's worth it: Not only does every kernel end up perfectly crisp-tender, but the vacuum-sealed bag traps all the juices, giving it an incredibly intense corn flavor. Be careful not to overcook it—half an hour is plenty long.
The Best Basic Grilled Corn
Corn is a summer vegetable, and summer means grilling. The easiest way to grill corn on the cob is to throw it, husk and all, right onto the grilling grate. If you want to keep the ears hot for a good long while after they come off the grill, we recommend shucking them and wrapping them in foil before cooking. But our favorite method is to shuck it and cook it bare on the grill so it develops that nutty, charred exterior.
Grilled Corn With Harissa and Mint
While grilled corn is delicious with nothing more than salt and butter, there's no reason not to experiment if you've brought home a whole armload of ears. This recipe coats charred corn with a sauce made from harissa (the North African spice paste), cooling fresh mint leaves, and lime juice. The flavor and level of warm spice in harissa can vary greatly from brand to brand, so season your paste as needed with additional lime and spices.
Grilled Corn With Garlic and Ginger Soy Butter
Soy butter, a simple mix of butter and soy sauce, is a popular topping for corn in Japan—so popular, in fact, it's even available at McDonald's there. Here, we add flavor to the formula with garlic, ginger, and lemon juice; after slathering the corn, we sprinkle it with thinly sliced scallions.
Grilled Corn With Spicy Korean Miso Sauce
The sauce for this corn starts with a base of fiery Korean gochujang, cut with white miso paste to temper its sweetness and heat. A little mayo thins the sauce just enough so it evenly coats the corn, and a squeeze of lemon juice brightens it up.
Grilled Corn With Spicy Chili Mayo, Coconut, and Fish Sauce
This recipe's flavor profile comes from Cambodia, and it's inspired specifically by the corn at NYC's Num Pang. We combine mayonnaise with a hot chili sauce, like sambal oelek, and add a splash of glutamate-rich fish sauce for a savory boost. For an aromatic finish, we sprinkle the sauced corn with toasted coconut flakes.
Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)
I don't like to play favorites among our recipes, but in my opinion, this is truly the best grilled corn variation we've got. Elotes is a Mexican street food staple, and once you give it a try, it may become a staple of your cookouts, too. This recipe hits just about every flavor note you could want—sweet, salty, savory, nutty, smoky, and tart—by treating grilled corn with a creamy sauce of Cotija cheese, crema, mayonnaise, garlic, cilantro, and chili powder.
Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)
For a dish that provides the addictive flavor combination of elotes in a much tidier package, try esquites, a salad incorporating all the same ingredients. You don't even need to grill the corn, though you can if you like—you'll get results just as good simply by cutting kernels off the cob and charring them in a hot skillet.
Grilled Corn, Tomato, Feta, and Herb Salad
This salad packs in a few of summer's most iconic flavors—sweet grilled corn, ripe tomatoes, and refreshing herbs like mint and basil, plus salty chunks of feta. The quality of your ingredients is paramount here: Heavy heirlooms are our top tomato pick for this recipe, but choose whatever looks best at your local farmers market.
Steak and Corn Salad With Salsa Verde
Got leftover steak from yesterday's cookout? It's tough to reheat without overcooking, but fortunately, cold steak can be transformed into a great salad in no time. The base of this salad is extremely simple—nothing but thinly sliced grilled or pan-seared steak, fresh grilled corn kernels, and red onion. What really makes it is the sauce, a Spanish-style salsa verde made with pickles, capers, anchovies, herbs, and olive oil.
Steak and Corn Salad With Tomatillos and Ancho-Chili Vinaigrette
Raw tomatillos have a very tart flavor and crunchy texture that are ideal for brightening up a steak salad. This all-in-one meal pairs sliced tomatillos with smoky spice-rubbed flank steak and charred corn kernels, dressed in a lime vinaigrette with Cotija cheese and a bit of chili powder for extra heat.
Quick and Easy Shrimp, Corn, and Tomatillo Salad
This salad is full of satisfying crunch and flavor thanks to red bell pepper, scallion, serrano chili, chopped cilantro, and raw tomatillos. The star, though, is the shrimp, dry-brined with salt and baking soda and cold-poached, which we've found is the best method for getting them juicy and tender. Though shrimp are often poached in a court bouillon, this salad has so much flavor from the other ingredients that the extra effort isn't necessary.
Charred Corn, Radish, Jicama, and Green Bean Salad With Lime Dressing
This salad may look chaotic, but there's a method to the madness: The vegetal snap of green beans complements the crisp, subtly sweet jicama. That crispness is echoed by radishes, which lend a sharp bite, too. Charred corn kernels add to the sweetness, and a lime and olive oil dressing spiked with a little honey amplifies the effect.
Sautéed Corn With Chorizo, Cilantro, and Lime Juice
Really good summer corn doesn't need a lot of other ingredients, which is why it's so useful for making quick, simple meals like this one. This warm salad uses nothing more than sautéed fresh corn, smoky Spanish-style chorizo, fresh cilantro, and acidic lime juice, plus olive oil, salt, and pepper—that's it. Cooking the corn in the chorizo fat over high heat gives it some of the sausage's flavor and caramelizes it to bring out its sweet and nutty flavors.
Chicken Salad With Avocado, Corn, and Miso Dressing
Making the best chicken salad means using the best possible chicken breast, and that means sous vide, which allows you unparalleled control over temperature and timing, resulting in meat with an extra-tender texture and a clean chicken flavor. Here, we toss the cubed cooked chicken breast with deeply sweet sautéed corn, creamy chunks of avocado, and a light dressing of white miso, lemon juice, Japanese mustard, and shichimi togarashi.
Raw Corn Salad With Shiso and Basil
Who says you have to cook your corn at all? Raw corn is crisp and sweet, and it's wonderful when tossed in an easy side salad of peppery radishes, briny feta, tomatoes, cucumber, and shallots. The secret ingredient here is the Asian herb shiso, which has a grassy, slightly bitter flavor that's a perfect match for the corn.
Pressure Cooker Corn Soup
We love pressure cookers for their ability to rapidly draw intense flavor out of ingredients. Throw corn kernels (and their cobs!) into a pressure cooker along with some aromatics and herbs, and after just 15 minutes of cooking, you'll have the most deeply corn-flavored soup you can imagine. What's more, the cooker extracts starch from the cobs, leaving the soup thick and creamy.
Guacamole With Charred Corn, Black Beans, and Scallions
Despite being a bit of a guacamole purist, I recognize that guacamole can work well with a number of flavor combinations. This chunky version of the dip incorporates sweet charred corn, pungent scallions, and hearty black beans—it's almost like a plate of nachos packed into a bowl.
Savory Bacon-Cheddar Pancakes With Corn and Jalapeño
A stack of pancakes for breakfast sounds like a great thing, but ordinary pancakes topped with maple syrup are generally too sweet for me to handle first thing in the morning. Savory ones like these, though—made from a thick batter studded with bacon, sautéed corn, jalapeño peppers, scallions, and cubes of cheddar—allow you to enjoy pancakes without the sugar rush.
Corn, Avocado, and Radish Tartine
After each trip to the farmers market, I come home with a bag full of produce, often without a clear idea of what I'm going to use it all for. An easy way to use up the vegetables you have on hand? Spread a couple of slices of good crusty bread with olive oil, toast them, and make tartines, using your summer bounty as toppings. This recipe calls for charred corn kernels mixed with garlicky mayo, cilantro, scallions, and lime juice. Spoon all that onto toast spread with creamy mashed avocado, then top with crunchy, spicy radish slices.
Parisian Gnocchi With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, and Zucchini
When it's done right, potato gnocchi are invitingly light, fluffy pillows that give way readily at first bite. Unfortunately, it's very easy to make potato gnocchi that turn out heavy and dense instead. But Parisian gnocchi, made with a pâte à choux, are nearly foolproof, and come out perfectly light and bouncy every time. They make a great base for any number of pasta dishes, like this summery one made with fresh corn, zucchini, and tomatoes.
Poached Eggs With Corn, Chorizo, Basil, and Brioche Croutons
Once you've mastered our technique for perfect poached eggs, you'll want an excuse to show off your skills, and this fancy appetizer is just the dish to do it. We serve the eggs here with a ragout of crisp Spanish chorizo, sautéed corn, and brioche croutons. When you pierce the egg and the yolk bursts open, it'll mix with the other ingredients to create a rich sauce.