Grilled Corn with Chili Lime Butter


Roasted Corn on the Cob with Chili Lime Butter

Another summer BBQ necessity is grilled corn on the cob.  The fresh sweet corn from California is next to none, and so when I was back home preparing for my mom’s birthday dinner, she was very eager to point out her recently acquired stock of summer corn ears (she had gone Costco-warehouse-style, the entire fridge shelf was stacked).

My mom was the one who got me into eating fresh corn; the last time she visited me in Singapore, she found that fresh corn was available all year round at my local market.  All week she would boil it and we would eat it as as snack or shave off the kernels to throw in salads.  I have since varied my methods of cooking; boiling is my go-to… but nothing can beat a summer BBQ.

soak corn in husks in cold water for 25-30 min

There are three main methods of cooking corn on the cob:

1) Boiling corn is definitely the easiest and fastest way to cook corn — no messy husks to replace and it only takes about 5 minutes.  Simply bring a large pot of water to a boil (do not add any salt as it will only toughen the corn).  Just before cooking, remove the husks from the corn and all the silk.  Using a wet paper towel to wipe down the corn will help remove any straggler silk threads.  Add the corn to the pot and let cook on high heat until the water is return to a full boil.  This should take just 3-4 minutes, after which immediately remove the corn.  And done!

boiled corn husk free

2) Grilling corn in their husks is the more traditional method should you want that authentic BBQ experience.  But it also involves the most time and work.  First, allow the corn to soak in cold water for 15-20 minutes.  This allows the corn kernels to soak up additional moisture, making them plump and juicy.  Next, peel back the corn husks leaving them attached at the end.  Remove the silk and then pull the husks back up.  Place the ears on the grill and cook 15-20 minutes, turning several times to ensure even roasting.

I guess this method is just aesthetically pleasing on the grill but I can’t really be bothered to do this way anymore when foil can do the same thing… Here completely husk the corn and remove the silk.  Roll up the corn cobs in foil, twisting the ends to secure, like a candy wrapper.  Then grill as per above.

grilling in husks

3) Oven roasting corn is the easiest method.  You can simply place the corn ears, husks and all, in a preheated 350ºF oven and let roast for 30 minutes.  Remove and then peel back the husks before eating.

So once you have chosen your method of cooking, next comes the seasoning!
A simple sprinkle of salt and pepper is usually good enough for me, but if I am feeling indulgent, I may go for a nice coating of butter.  My favorite dressed up version of corn on the cob is Elote (Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob)However, finding cotjia cheese has not always been successful in Singapore and so I decided to come up with a simpler seasoning that still packs the same kind of flavor: Chili Lime Butter.  It’s pretty self explanatory.


  • 1/2 C unsalted butter
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or chile powder
  • salt to taste


Melt the butter in the microwave for about 15 seconds.  Squeeze in a fresh lime juice and mix in the chili powder.  Brush onto your fresh cooked corn and enjoy immensely.

Sometimes I have seen people season the corn with special sauces before grilling it wrapped (in husks or foil)… I assume that would really let the flavors settle into the corn but I find people will add butter themselves regardless of current flavors.  So I leave it to my guests’ own devices and let them add their own seasoning post-grill.  Which means less work for me 🙂

grilled corn on the cob


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