Blackened corn bursts with robust and smoky flavors, achieved through charring the kernels to perfection. The caramelized exterior provides a delightful contrast to the tender sweetness of the corn, making it a delectable side dish or a versatile ingredient for salads, salsas, or tacos.Jump to Recipe
This is the best time to cook with fresh corn because it's in season right now. We've been buying it every week and I've been tossing it in rice, chicken tacos, corn salad, etc. It's extremely versatile, it tastes so good, and it's healthy! What more could you want? In this recipe we take corn to the next level by charring it in a hot skillet with blackened seasoning. That's right this recipe will show you how to char corn without grill. Doing this showcases the natural sweetness of corn delivering a tantalizing sensory experience that will leave you wanting more. It's perfect as a side or on top of these delicious blackened chicken tacos.
- Reasons You'll Love This Blackened Corn Recipe
- What is Blackened Corn Anyway?
- How It's Made
- How to Choose The Best Corn on The Cob
- Tips and Tricks
- Ways to Serve Blackened Corn
- Blackened Corn Variations
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Storing and Reheating
- More Recipes You'll Love
- Best Ever Blackened Corn
Reasons You'll Love This Blackened Corn Recipe
Robust Flavor: Blackened corn offers a unique combination of smoky and charred flavors that elevate the natural sweetness of the corn. The result is a delightful taste experience that adds depth and complexity to your dishes.
Versatility: Blackened corn can be used in a variety of ways. Whether enjoyed on its own as a side dish or incorporated into salads, salsas, tacos, or grain bowls, blackened corn adds a bold and vibrant element to your favorite recipes.
Textural Contrast: The charred exterior of blackened corn provides a pleasing contrast to the tender and juicy kernels. This textural interplay adds an extra dimension to your dishes, making each bite exciting and satisfying.
Easy to Make: Blackening corn is a relatively simple process that can be done on the stove with a hot skillet. With just a few seasonings and a bit of cooking time, you can achieve a flavorful and delicious outcome without much effort.
Summer Delight: Blackened corn is particularly popular during the summer season when fresh corn is abundant like it is right now. It's a fantastic way to enjoy the flavors of the season while adding a twist to traditional corn-on-the-cob preparations.
Crowd-Pleaser: Whether you're hosting a backyard barbecue, a potluck, or a casual gathering, blackened corn is sure to impress your guests. Its bold flavors and attractive presentation make it a crowd-pleasing favorite that will leave everyone asking for seconds.
What is Blackened Corn Anyway?
Blackened corn refers to corn that has been cooked until the kernels are charred and slightly blackened, typically using a high heat method. The process involves applying direct heat to the corn with some butter, resulting in a caramelized exterior and imparting a smoky and slightly charred flavor to the kernels. It's a popular technique used to enhance the taste of fresh corn, adding complexity and a unique twist to a traditional corn dish.
Corn on cob - fresh corn on the cob is best for this recipe, see below for some tips and tricks to picking the best corn this summer
Butter - I used unsalted butter so I could control the amount of sodium in the dish. If you're using salted butter be sure to taste before adding extra salt
Ground black pepper
Chives - Fresh cilantro, parsley, or scallions can be substituted
How It's Made
Step 1. In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
Step 2. Prepare the corn by removing the husks and silks. Rinse the corn under water to remove any remaining silk strands. Using a sharp knife, cut the corn off the cob.
Step 3. Preheat your cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Keep an eye on the butter to make sure it doesn't burn.
Step 4. Add the corn to the cast iron skillet along with the blackened seasoning mix. Stir with a spoon to coat the corn with the seasoning then spread the corn in an even layer on the skillet. Let cook undisturbed for 5-7 minutes.
Step 5. Add lime juice to deglaze the pan and stir the corn. Corn should be slightly charred and well seasoned. Remove from the heat, top with fresh chives and serve immediately. If you would like your corn more blackened, keep the skillet on the heat to cook for a few more minutes.
How to Choose The Best Corn on The Cob
Look for Fresh Green Husks: Choose corn with bright green, tightly wrapped husks. The husks should feel slightly damp and have minimal browning or wilting. Avoid ears with dry, yellowed, or shriveled husks, as they indicate older or less fresh corn.
Feel the Kernels: Gently peel back a small section of the husk to feel the kernels. The fresh sweet corn kernels should be plump, firm, and evenly spaced along the cob. Avoid corn with large gaps between the kernels or kernels that feel shriveled or mushy.
Check for Moisture: Squeeze the corn lightly in your hand. It should feel slightly moist but not excessively wet. Avoid ears that feel dry or overly moist, as they may be less fresh or have compromised quality.
Inspect the Silks: Look at the silks sticking out from the top of the ear. They should be golden-brown, slightly sticky, and not dried out. Fresh silks indicate that the corn is recently harvested and at its peak.
Consider the Weight: Pick up the corn and feel its weight. It should feel relatively heavy for its size. Heavier corn often indicates plump and juicy kernels.
Tips and Tricks
Use fresh corn: Use ears of fresh corn that are in-season will provide the best flavor. Look for corn with plump, firm kernels and bright green husks.
High heat is key: Blackening corn requires high heat to achieve that charred effect. Give the skillet enough time to heat before adding the corn to ensure you get a nice char.
Don't overcook: Keep a close eye on the corn to prevent it from burning. It's important to achieve a good char without letting it go too far. Aim for a balance of charred kernels and tender sweetness.
Let it rest: After cooking, allow the blackened corn to cool for a few minutes before serving or using in recipes. This helps to make it easier to handle and allows the flavors to settle.
Ways to Serve Blackened Corn
There are so many different ways to use blackened corn. These are my favorite ways to incorporate the corn into different side dishes or snacks. Let me know if you end up trying one of these!
Standalone Side Dish: Serve blackened corn on the cob as a flavorful side dish. It pairs well with grilled meats, burgers, or as part of a summer BBQ spread. Sprinkle it with an extra squeeze of lime juice or your favorite seasonings for an extra burst of flavor.
Salads: Blackened corn is a tasty addition to salads. It adds a smoky and sweet element that complements greens, tomatoes, avocado, and other charred corn salad ingredients. Consider incorporating blackened corn into Mexican-inspired salads, grain bowls, or southwest-style salads.
Salsas and Relishes: Chop the blackened corn kernels and use them in salsas and relishes. Combine with diced tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, lime juice, cilantro, and spices for a flavorful charred corn salsa that can be enjoyed with tortilla chips, grilled fish, or tacos. You could even take your favorite corn salsa recipe and replace the corn with blackened corn for extra flavor.
Tacos and Quesadillas: Add blackened corn to your favorite tacos or quesadillas for a burst of flavor. Combine it with grilled chicken, shrimp, or cheese, and complement with fresh toppings like diced tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro.
Soups and Chowders: Incorporate blackened corn into soups and chowders for added depth of flavor. Whether it's a corn chowder, vegetable soup, or black bean soup, the smoky notes from the blackened corn will enhance the overall taste profile.
Toppings: Sprinkle blackened corn over dishes as a flavorful and visually appealing topping. It can enhance the taste of nachos, pizza, baked potatoes, or even mixed into macaroni and cheese for a smoky twist.
Dips and Spreads: Blend blackened corn with other ingredients to create flavorful dips and spreads. Incorporate it into guacamole, hummus, or creamy corn dips for a unique and tasty twist.
Blackened Corn Variations
Added Spice: Add some heat to your blackened corn by incorporating spices like cayenne pepper, chipotle powder, or crushed red pepper flakes into your seasoning mixture. The added spiciness will give your corn a fiery kick.
Citrus Blackened Corn: Enhance the flavor of blackened corn with a burst of citrus. The tangy citrus notes will complement the smoky flavors beautifully. Serve with lime wedges or even add some lemon/lime zest to the corn.
Herb-Infused: Introduce a touch of freshness by incorporating herbs into your seasoning. Mix chopped fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, or parsley with your spice blend. The herbaceous aromas will elevate the overall flavor profile.
Cheesy: Take your blackened corn to the next level by adding a sprinkle of grated cheese. Try feta cheese or cotija cheese in this recipe! Cotija cheese is one of my favorites when I'm going for a mexican blackened corn variation.
Corn and Avocado Salsa: Combine blackened corn with diced avocado, tomatoes, red onion, jalapeños, lime juice, and cilantro to create a vibrant and flavorful salsa. The creamy avocado and charred corn provide a delightful contrast in textures.
Corn and Bean Salad: Mix blackened corn with cooked black beans, bell peppers, red onion, lime juice, and a drizzle of olive oil to create a hearty and satisfying salad. The combination of smoky corn and protein-packed beans makes for a nutritious and flavorful dish.
Add Bacon: Cook up some crispy bacon before adding the corn. Instead of using butter, cook the corn in the remaining bacon grease. Then, crumble the bacon and stir into the finished blackened corn. The smoky flavors of the corn and bacon come together in a delightful marriage of tastes and textures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use frozen corn?
Yes, you can use frozen corn! While using fresh corn is often preferred for its natural sweetness, using frozen corn is a convenient and accessible option that still allows you to enjoy the smoky and charred flavors of blackened corn. I highly recommend you thaw the frozen corn then pat dry with a paper towel. You want to eliminate any excess moisture to achieve a better char and to avoid the butter from splattering all over your stove. Frozen charred corn is a great option in the cooler months where fresh corn isn't as abundant or as healthy.
Can I use canned corn?
Technically, you can make this recipe using canned corn, but it may not yield the same charred corn kernels results as using fresh or frozen corn. Canned corn is pre-cooked and has a softer texture, which can affect the charring and overall flavor. However, if you still want to give it a try, you'll need to drain the liquid from the canned corn then pat dry with a paper towel before using in this recipe.
Does corn need to boil before blackened?
No, corn on the cob does not need to be boiled before making blackened corn. In fact, boiling corn before blackening it can result in overcooking and make it too soft. The traditional method for making blackened corn involves applying direct heat to the corn without any prior boiling.
Storing and Reheating
To store leftovers from the charred corn recipe, allow the blackened corn to cool completely. Place the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
To reheat blackened corn, heat a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add a small amount of oil or butter to the pan and place the blackened corn in it. This will rehydrate the corn. Stir occasionally and heat for about 5-7 minutes until warmed through. For a quicker and more convenient option, place the blackened corn in a microwave-safe dish. Cover the dish with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the corn is heated to your desired temperature.
Note: Reheating blackened corn may result in some loss of the charred exterior texture. However, the flavors will still be enjoyable. Remember to discard any leftover blackened corn that has been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours to ensure food safety.
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Best Ever Blackened Corn
- 2 corn on cob
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- 1 lime squeezed
- In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
- Prepare the corn by removing the husks and silks. Rinse the corn under water to remove any remaining silk strands. Using a sharp knife, cut the corn off the cob.
- Preheat your cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Keep an eye on the butter to make sure it doesn't burn.
- Add the corn to the cast iron skillet along with the blackened seasoning mix. Stir with a spoon to coat the corn with the seasoning then spread the corn in an even layer on the skillet. Let cook undisturbed for 5-7 minutes.
- Add lime juice to deglaze the pan and stir the corn. It should be slightly charred and well seasoned. Remove from the heat, top with fresh chives and serve immediately. If you would like your corn more blackened, keep the skillet on the heat to cook for a few more minutes.