This Grilled Corn on the Cob with Basil Butter was pure summer goodness and will make our menu during corn season year after year. Grilling corn adds a touch of smokiness and this compound butter recipe is a simple way to kick up summer corn up a few notches of deliciousness.

Living smack dab in the center of corn country, we get the BEST fresh corn on the cob in the summer. Sweet and tender, the kernels need almost no seasoning, but every once in a while, I’ll indulge by making delicious Herb Butter to pair with this BBQ Corn on the Cob. And this time, I went with basil with a pinch of cayenne pepper. Check out more of the Best Grilling Recipes from the blog so you’re ready to BBQ all summer long!

A bowl of basil butter in front of a platter of corn.

Why You Must Make

  • Grilling corn is easier than boiling a huge pot of water to cook it.
  • Cooking corn on the grill will add delicious smoky nuances.
  • Plus, compound butter is a tasty way to make your corn worthy for dinner guests, but you’ll love it enough to make it for your family, too.

Recipe Tips

  • When grilling corn, you have the option to remove the husks, then cook the corn directly on the grill grate allowing the corn to absorb a smoky flavor as well as a characteristic grilled char.
  • But an even easier method is to soak the corn in a sink full of water for about a half-hour, then toss the cobs directly on the grill. It takes a few minutes longer to cook, but the beauty of this idea is that the silk peels right off with the husk.
  • PRO-Tip: When making compound butter, start with room temperature butter to make the mixture easy to combine.
  • After it is mixed, chill it a bit so the butter firms up, then form it into a log using plastic wrap.
  • Then you can slice off rounds to top warm steaks or pass them around the table for those who want some for their corn in a perfectly portioned serving. 

I have memories of sitting out on the back porch of my childhood home with my sisters picking the sticky silk from each cob before my mom boiled them on the stovetop. Such a messy chore. And Lambeau, our yellow lab, doesn’t clean up the silk that lands on my kitchen floor…though she does hoover up crumbs pretty darn well.

Side view Grilled Corn on the Cob with Basil Butter with an ivory handle knife.

How to Make Compound Butter

  • This recipe is so simple. Just let a stick of butter sit on the counter till it comes to room temperature.
  • Then mix in minced herbs plus a few pinches of cayenne pepper for some heat.
  • I used salted butter, but still added a wee bit of sea salt.
  • The options are endless. Add some citrus zest, your favorite herbs, and spices. 

I like to chill a bit so the butter firms up, then form it into a log using plastic wrap. Then you can slice off rounds to top warm steaks or pass the butter around the table for those who want some for their corn. This provides a perfectly portioned serving. Once you’ve joined the compound butter bandwagon, you’ll want to try this fabulous Truffle Butter from Savory Experiments.

This was an ideal complement to the heavenly sweet corn. I grabbed some corn on the cob that was picked locally in the morning from our nearby produce stand. Grilling over charcoal that same night is such a treat!

How to Cook Fresh Sweet Corn

New to cooking corn on the cob? There are numerous ways to approach it including using your microwave, stovetop, or grill. If you use fresh, tender sweet corn, it only takes a few minutes to cook using any of these methods. Older corn may need more time.

Grilling will add a delicious smokiness, so it’s a great option in the summer.

  • To microwave corn,  peel, wrap in plastic wrap, and microwave for 3 minutes, turning at the halfway point.
  • To grill corn, soak the corn in cold water with the husks left on for about a half-hour before grilling. This will minimize the chance of the husks catching on fire. Grill, turning occasionally for 12-15 minutes.
  • To roast, preheat the oven to 350º, shuck corn, wrap in foil, and cook for 25 minutes right on the grates.
  • To use your Instant Pot, remove husks, break cobs in half, add a trivet plus a cup of water to the IP, and cook on high for 2 minutes for shucked corn. If you’d like to cook with the husks on, increase the time to 3-4 minutes. Then release pressure and remove.
  • To use your Air Fryer, preheat to 370º, break cobs in half if they’re too big, and cook for 12-15 minutes, turning once at the halfway point, or until tender.
  • To boil, place shucked corn in boiling salted water, boiling milk, or salted water with butter to taste for a butter bath. Cook for 3-5 minutes. If your corn is super fresh, cook for less time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Select the Best Fresh Corn?

Look at the silk strands at the top of the corn. They should look fresh, yellow, or green, without signs of deterioration. You can also pull back some of the husks to look at the kernels. They should be plump and shiny, and the whole ear should feel firm. Also, the best ears will be heavy indicating that they aren’t dehydrated.

How Do You Store Fresh Corn?

Keep your fresh ears of corn in the refrigerator, uncovered. Do not shuck (remove the husks) until you’re ready to cook as your corn will stay fresher that way. It should keep well for up to 3 days, but it’s best eaten on the day you bring it home.

What is Compound Butter?

Compound Butter or Beurre Composé in French is butter mixed with other sweet or savory ingredients. Herbs, garlic, wine, and shallots are some ingredients used in a savory compound butter. Ingredients like honey, berries, citrus, chocolate, and maple syrup can be added to make a sweet compound butter.

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Basil butter in a white bowl with a small knife

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Basil Butter

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Yield 6 servings

A simple recipe for grilled corn on the cob with herbed butter


  • 6-8 ears of corn on the cob, in husks
  • 1 stick salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 2-3 pinches cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt, to taste


  1. Soak your corn on the cob in cool water for about ½ hour. Preheat your grill. Grill corn, turning every 2-3 minutes for about 12-15 minutes.
  2. Mix softened butter with basil and cayenne. Add a bit of salt, to taste.
  3. Pull back husks of cooked corn (silk will peel with the husks) and spread basil butter over hot corn. Serve immediately.


To pick out the best corn, look at the silk, husk, and any exposed kernels for signs of dehydration or deterioration. Your cobs should feel firm and plump.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 237Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 485mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 4g


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