66 Ways to Cook With Sweet Summer Corn
Cooking with Corn
Fresh corn is pure summer. Peel back a cob and poke a plump kernel with a thumbnail to see the sweet milk. Beyond the whole cob lie these of-the-moment recipes: tangy corn salad, crisp grilled corn, savory corn casserole, creamy corn chowder, and comforting corn soup.
Corn’s mild sweet flavor makes it easy to love. Corn is also impressively versatile—and it can easily go from quick-and-easy side dish to show-stopping main. While corn is typically treated like a vegetable in cooking, it's actually a healthy whole grain. It's also a rich source of antioxidants, and whether you enjoy it on or off the cob, corn has a rightful spot in a healthy diet. Our healthy corn recipes explore both classic and clever ways to use fresh corn—from from corn chowder to grilled corn, corn casserole to corn salad, and so much more.
Creole Shrimp and Creamed Corn
This dish is a fresh, tasty twist on shrimp and grits. The shrimp mixture takes on bold flavors from Creole seasoning, smoked paprika, thyme, and garlic—making for a robust mixture that’s complemented by the sweetness of the creamed corn. Aim for large shrimp here so the dish feels a little more special; we suggest 16/20 count shrimp or 10/15 count if you want them even bigger.
Corn on the Cob with Lemon-Chive Butter
Nothing says summer like fresh corn on the cob. Here are a few of our favorite flavor combos for buttering them up: Corn on the Cob with Lemon-Curry Spice Butter, Corn on the Cob with Honey-Chipotle Butter, Corn on the Cob wiht Orange, Tarragon, and Basil Butter.
Easy Corn Pudding
We add just a touch of sugar to enhance the sweetness of the corn and onion. The texture falls somewhere between a pudding and a soufflé—rich and custardy, with bubbles of air within. It’s best served piping hot, but cold leftovers are good, too.
Tomato, Basil, and Corn Pizza
A sprinkling of cornmeal keeps the dough from sticking to the pizza stone and gets the bottom of the crust extra crispy. If you don't have a rectangular pizza stone, use a heavy baking sheet instead. Serve with a green side salad for a winning weeknight combination.
Creamy Corn-Mushroom Risotto
Infused with a rich corn broth, this corn- and mushroom-studded risotto is a stellar way to celebrate the last of the season’s harvest. The pureed corn broth adds a subtle sweet creaminess that builds as the risotto cooks. Feel free to sub in your favorite mushrooms; steer clear of large portobellos—their dark gills will discolor the finished dish.
Andrew Zimmern's Grilled Corn and Snap Pea Salad
You can assemble this salad the day before you plan to serve it, but toss in dressing just before serving to keep Zimmern's salad as crisp as he intended.
Corn and Sausage Chowder
This hearty chowder is sure to hit the spot on a frigid night—it’s thick, creamy, and the epitome of comforting. And despite the creamy texture, it’s actually rather light. The texture comes from a little bit of flour and pureed vegetables; there’s no cream or half-and-half involved. If you can find fresh corn, it’s ideal here, giving each bite a bit of sweet crunch that’s absolutely irresistible. Serve with toasted cornbread for a meal the whole family will love.
Grilled Green Onions with Corn and Tarragon
This combo goes well with grilled chicken or flank steak. Or serve with grilled zucchini planks.
Early Summer Succotash
In this fresh take on succotash, we use a pan-steaming technique (no steamer basket required) to cut down on cooking time and keep the beans and corn crisp-tender rather than ultra-soft. For succotash, fresh corn always tastes more delicious than frozen, but thawed frozen corn would certainly be a good stand-in here in a pinch. If you are using fresh corn, after you cut the kernels off, run the dull side of your knife down the kernel and scrape some of the corn “milk” into the pan, too. This recipe makes a small portion but can be doubled or even tripled to serve a crowd.
Fresh Corn and Potato Soup With Sautéed Shrimp
Sweet fresh corn and butter-sautéed shrimp pair up deliciously in this seasonal soup. After tasting the delicious results of "milking" a fresh corn cob, you'll never shuck and chuck again. We fully tap the flavor of in-season corn with this kernel-to-cob cooking method, infusing our summer soup with a wealth of rich, sweet flavor.
Summer Corn and Shrimp Succotash
This succotash is richly satisfying yet healthy and not heavy. Fresh beans bring verdant brightness, while briny shrimp marry perfectly with sweet corn.
Mexican-Style Air-Fried Corn
No need to track down a food truck to get your Mexican street corn fix—your air fryer turns out a fantastic batch. A quick turn halfway through cooking yields crispy, juicy corn that soaks up the tasty garlic-lime butter like a champ.
Pick out small ears, or trim them slightly so that they fit into the air fryer basket. If you have any leftovers, cut the kernels off the cob and stir into a dip or sprinkle over a salad.
Skirt Steak with Corn and Red Pepper Puree
Red Bell Pepper gets used two tasty ways: as a vegetable in the corn sauté and as a pureed sauce for the plate. Fresh corn is not just sweet; it has a surprising hit of umami intensity.
Corn Cakes with Bacon and Turmeric Yogurt
Serve these sweet-savory cakes as a hearty side dish (they would be great with grilled shrimp) or as a lighter entrée with a side salad. Or turn them into an appetizer by making smaller cakes.
Corn and Crab Pita Nachos
This dish is inspired by the crab melts that New England che Ana Sortun’s mother made her when she was growing up in the Pacific Northwest.
Fresh Corn Cakes with Summer Salsa
This speedy vegetarian entrée is absolutely bursting with peak-season produce. Side suggestion: an herby white bean and arugula salad.
This hearty bread captures the essence of classic cornbread stuffing but is quicker and easier to make.
Mushroom and Charred Corn Tacos with Guacamole
This quick taco filling is perfect for weeknight dinners, Poblano chiles bring rich, earthy flavor but little to no heat. (Every once in a while you can get a hot one, though.) If you want to add a little spice, add some crushed red pepper when you sauté the mushrooms.
Smoky Grilled Corn
Halibut with Bacony Corn Sauté
Be sure to buy fresh, never-frozen fish, summer corn on the cob and in the husks, and your favorite bacon. Applewood-smoked bacon is more subtle than hickory or mesquite and won't clobber all of the other ingredients. Just a spritz of fresh lime juice brings the flavors into perfect balance.
Mexican Corn Salad
Corn, Squash, and Green Onion Flatbreads
If you think this vibrant flatbread won't be filling enough for a whole meal, combine it with a simple mixed-greens salad for a delicious all-veggie dinner.
Snapper with Corn-Okra Relish
Chilled Butter Bean Soup with Basil-Corn Relish
Sauteed sweet corn and earthy basil make a delicious garnish to this fresh summer soup. You'll need about 1 1/2 pounds of butter bean pods to get 2 cups shelled beans. You can substitute fresh lima beans, if you prefer.
Shrimp Tacos with Corn Salsa
The broiler is a clever shortcut for crisping and browning corn quickly—then we combine it with avocado, fresh cilantro, lime juice, and other ingredients to make a fresh tangy salsa. Tossing the shrimp in a little honey before cooking helps to create tasty grill marks.
Grilled Corn, Chicken, and Bell Pepper Salad
Shredded rotisserie chicken and sweet corn get extra-delicious when paired with perfectly charred bell peppers, oregano, and cream.
Esquites (Creamy Corn Salad)
Esquites is a cousin to elote—that street food favorite of creamy cheese-coated corn cobs. You can also find this off-the-cob version with Mexican street food vendors. It's great on its own or served as a side dish with grilled meats.
Smoky Beer-Poached Grilled Corn
We took a technique that’s typically used for bratwurst and applied it to corn—with amazing results. You can save the beer after poaching the corn and use it for poaching brats or for steaming peel-and-eat shrimp.
Tomato and Corn Bulgur Salad
Fresh corn from the farmers' market stars in this dish, which is sprinkled with crumbled bacon and toasted pine nuts.
This tangy corn relish recipe features fresh corn, bell pepper, diced green tomato and tomatillos and gets a kick from jalapeno pepper. You'll be amazed at how many ways you can serve this recipe. Feel free to make a milder relish by seeding the jalapeño.
Shrimp and Corn Chowder
Serve this hearty chowder with a crusty baguette. Use fresh corn, if available.
Sweet Corn Oatmeal with Peaches
Try substituting unsweetened almond milk (we like Almond Breeze) for the whole milk for a rich, slightly nutty flavor.
Shrimp, Chorizo, and Corn Salad
Shrimp, fresh corn, and chorizo make for a delicious trifecta, while fiery Sriracha sauce adds a touch of heat. Prepping the ingredients takes less than 10 minutes, so you can easily whip this up during a summer cookout and still enjoy the party.
Grilled Pork Tacos with Summer Corn and Nectarine Salsa
We love this recipe because it is a complete hand-held meal nestled within a grilled corn tortilla—plus, it's budget-friendly. Be sure to zest your lime before you slice and juice it.
Corn Frittata with Pecorino-Romano Cheese
There isn't an herb that doesn't go well with crisp fresh corn—dill, basil, cilantro, lovage—but dark green Italian parsley is also good and bracing against the corn's sweetness. For an extra dose of smoky essence, sprinkle a pinch of smoked paprika over each serving.
Saucy Crawfish with Whole Corn Grits
Substitute shrimp for the crawfish, if you prefer. Toasting the flour brings nutty flavor to the sauce, similar to a brown roux. Microgreens make an elegant garnish.
Corn Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Lemon-Chive Cream
These savory pancakes are dressed perfectly with fresh lemon-chive cream and smoked salmon. Breakfast time, or anytime, these are a must try.
Oaxacan-Style Grilled Corn on the Cob
Look for crema at Latin markets or by the supermarket's Mexican cheeses. It's slightly tangier than sour cream.
Sweet Corn Ice Cream
Steeping cobs in the cream mixture infuses it with corn flavor. If possible, chill the corn mixture overnight. This lets flavors meld and helps the ice cream to freeze faster: The quicker it freezes, the creamier it will be.
Shrimp and Corn Cakes with Heirloom Tomato Salsa
Delicious patties made of fresh corn, shrimp, and bell pepper are pan-fried to perfection in this recipe. Serrano chile in the heirloom tomato salsa adds a bit of heat, and cilantro some earthy freshness.
Mushroom, Corn, and Poblano Tacos
Keep your tortillas soft by wrapping them in foil and keeping them in a warm oven.
Paella with Poblanos, Corn, and Clams
This recipe from Mark Bittman received rave reviews from CL staffers for its crunchy rice and sweetness brininess from fresh littleneck clams. Bittman says: "The part of paella I couldn't dare change is the socarrat—the crisp browned rice on the bottom of the pan. The crust won't form until all of the liquid from the clams and the tomatoes has boiled off, so be patient with that last step: I promise you, it's worth it."
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Grilled in its husk, the corn takes on a wonderful, lightly charred flavor while its sugars caramelize and intensify. Soaking in salted water lightly seasons the corn and helps keep it moist as it grills. Then, since the silks have been removed, just peel and enjoy.
Grilled Corn, Poblano, and Black Bean Salad
Here's a great side for grilled meats and fish. Be sure you don't skimp on the fresh cilantro. It brings an extra dash of fresh flavor.