Chili Lime Grilled Corn on the Cob
When corn makes its short seasonal appearance, you'll find us in our backyard making this chili lime grilled corn on the cob on repeat. It's smoky and sweet, with a little heat, and dripping with the flavors of chili-infused butter, fresh lime, and cilantro. It's easy, delicious, and takes only 20 minutes to make!
Corn season doesn't last long where we live, so when it makes its appearance mid-summer, we find as many ways to eat it as we can. Our favorite way to cook it, on the grill, gives it the most wonderful smoky char and irresistible sweet crunch.
We wait until it's done on the grill to brush it with chili-infused butter, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and minced cilantro before serving it hot.
This summertime staple side dish is surprisingly easy to make, and pairs perfectly with other grilled or Mexican mains. While you're at it, make extra for mixing into salads and dips or stirring into soups. This really is the best grilled
How to grill corn on the cob
When grilling corn on the cob, we do it straight on the grill. We've tried it both ways (with and without the corn husks), and the overwhelming consensus is to let those kernels meet the grill! It gives the corn delicious flavor and texture, and it's faster too.
Here's how to make chili lime corn on the cob on the grill in a few easy steps:
- Start by preheating your grill then lightly coat your corn in some oil.
- Make the chili lime butter by melting the butter then stirring in some chili powder and sea salt.
- Cook the corn on the hot grill for about 10 minutes, turning it frequently.
- When the corn is done, remove it from the grill, and brush it with the chili butter. Squeeze the lime over the corn, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve hot. That's it!
Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below.
Chili lime grilled corn on the cob ingredients
You're likely to have most of the ingredients for this recipe already in your pantry. Here's what you'll need to make this chili lime grilled corn on the cob recipe:
- Corn on the cob – fresh corn on the cob with husks removed for grilling (scroll down for tips on making a ‘husk handle').
- Cooking oil – to coat the corn for grilling; any neutral cooking oil like avocado or olive oil will work.
- Butter – a good quality butter will be the base of the chili lime butter.
- Chili powder – our favorite blend is somewhat earthy and the just-right balance of chile with other spices like cumin, pepper, and oregano. You could also use our homemade elote seasoning that includes a few additional spices.
- Sea salt – works as a flavor enhancer and a must on corn (in our humble opinion).
- Lime – for squeezing the juice over the corn, and adding a bright pop of zesty flavor.
- Chopped cilantro – optional, for garnishing and adding a pop of color and flavor before serving.
How to make a ‘husk handle'
To make them as we've done in the pictures, simply remove the first few really tough outer layers then peel back, but don't remove, the rest of the husk. Tear a piece of husk to use as a string to tie the husk together. It's a bit of effort, and not necessary, but it makes a great handle!
How long should I grill corn on the cob?
With the husks off, bbq corn on the cob for about 10 minutes. Temperatures will vary between grills so you may need to adjust the cooking time by a few minutes (plus or minus). The corn is cooked when it's evenly grilled on all sides and has a few nice dark golden charred spots.
Chili lime butter variations
Here are a few ideas to mix up the flavors of the chili lime butter, and make it your own:
- Add lime zest: when squeezing on the lime juice at the end, also add the lime zest for an extra citrusy pop!
- Make it sweet: add a teaspoon of honey to the melted butter.
- Give it some kick: cayenne pepper, dried chili flakes, or minced jalapeño pepper will add some extra heat if that's your thing!
- Make it smoky by adding some adobo (from a jar of chipotle peppers).
- Add garlic: for lots of flavor and a subtle kick, add a clove or two of freshly minced garlic to the melted butter.
- Sprinkle a little salty parmesan cheese over top of the hot corn.
READ MORE: grilled corn salad
When grilling the corn without its husk, you don't need to soak it. Simply give it a light coating of oil before placing it on the grill to lock in the moisture and prevent it from sticking.
We prefer to remove the husks and use them as a handle. We like the texture and taste of the corn better when the kernels meet the grill. If you chose to make it with the husks on, you can still follow the recipe by adding the butter, lime, and cilantro after the corn is cooked and the husks are removed.
We recommend heating your BBQ to high (450-500 Fahrenheit) so the grill gets nice and hot.
In the highly unlikely event that you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
While most grocery stores start stocking corn on the cob in mid-summer, the place to get the freshest, sweetest, and best-tasting corn is directly from the farmer or the farmers' market. They always sell the best corn.
Yes, you sure can. But you will miss the smoky flavor from the grill. If you don't have a BBQ, broil the corn for about 8 minutes, turning it a few times.
What to serve with grilled corn on the cob
Tender grilled corn on the cob is a summer staple and perfect for BBQ parties. Serve it with other grilled foods like meat, burgers, tacos, hotdogs, and pasta salads.
Slice it from the cob and add it to salads, soups, and anything else that might benefit from a bit of sweet smoky corn taste!
Popular corn on the cob recipes
- Honey Garlic Corn on the Cob
- Spicy Buffalo Corn on the Cob
- Smoky Parmesan Corn on the Cob
- Sweet Curry Corn with Mango Chutney Butter
Chili Lime Grilled Corn on the Cob
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- 4 cobs corn, husk removed
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 lime
- Chopped cilantro, to serve
- Preheat your BBQ to high heat. Coat the corn in the oil, place it on the grill, and cook it for 10 minutes, turning it every few minutes so that it cooks on all sides.4 cobs corn, 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- Melt the butter in a small frying pan then stir in the chili powder and sea salt.1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon chili powder, ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- When the corn has finished cooking, remove it from the grill and brush the chili butter evenly over each piece. If you don't have a brush you can spoon the butter over the corn.
- Squeeze the lime over the corn, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve immediately.1 lime, Chopped cilantro