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Basil butter in a white bowl with a small knife

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Basil Butter

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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. And this time, I went with basil with a pinch of cayenne pepper. Check out some 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

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Basil Butter

When grilling corn, you have the option to remove the husks, then cooking 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.

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 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, favorite herbs, and spices. 

I like to chill a bit so the butter firms up, then form into a log using plastic wrap. Then you can slice off rounds to top warm steaks or pass around the table for those who want some for their corn has 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 with husks on in cold water 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 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 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.

More Spectacular Corn Recipes:

Basil butter in a white bowl with a small knife

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Basil Butter

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

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


  • 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 1/2 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.

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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46 comments on “Grilled Corn on the Cob with Basil Butter”

  1. Lizzy, I love fresh corn though I have never tried it with herb butter. And I have eaten raw fresh corn and they are so sweet and delicious!

  2. Grilled corn on the cob is fab-u-lous! Your basil butter sounds like a must-try…But, a soy sauce drizzle is nice, too =)

    P.s. Many, many moons ago my grandparents owned farms in Colorado. In August, we’d visit and shuck corn on their front porch as kids =)

  3. Sounds nice and easy! I need to find some fresh local corn, might make that a priority this weekend:@)

  4. I like the sound of that butter, love basil.

  5. Love the sound of that basil butter!

  6. I have not had neeeearly enough corn on the cob! And I’m adoring that basil butter, mmm!

  7. That corn really does look amazingly sweet. And paired with that herbed butter just sounds out of this world delicious.

  8. I am totally ‘pea green with envy’ of you having that tremendous Midwestern sweet corn right now. I hate it when we don’t get back to Iowa during corn season! Ah, the memories of cleaning corn outside! This basil butter is a fabulous idea!!! Definitely trying it when I can find some good sweet corn!


  9. When I lived at home my mom would make this all the time, and after all these years I’ve totally forgotten about it! Thanks for the reminder!!

  10. Very flavorful and so enjoyable! I’m craving grilled corn on the cob now…



  11. I love fresh corn on the cob,that basil butter sound delicious on this corn!

  12. mhmm smokey flavor… =P
    The basil butter is making me dream right now Liz. I need to visit your corner of the world to enjoy your corn cobs =D

  13. This is delicious! We love corns, and these looks so yummy! One is not enough! 🙂

  14. Great recipe! I have found the corn this year to be very sweet and good, your must be even more awesome. I like the soak method too, never tried basil though…mental note.

  15. I love how simple this butter recipe is! Butter + corn on the cob = awesome. But sometimes you want just a little bit more. There are so many recipes out there but the butter part seems to get lost. Not this one. I’m looking forward to trying this. 🙂

  16. Your corn sounds wonderful with that basil butter. I like that you’ve added a hint of cayenne to take the corn to a new level. Great recipe and so simple! I love that.

  17. This sounds wonderful Liz! I love compound butter on corn. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  18. I love corn too Liz! And I always buy it when i find it in the s/m! This recipe would be a winner at my family!

  19. basil butter? It makes everything better doesn’t it? Love it

  20. I usually make thyme shallot butter, but basil sounds much more flavorful, fresher. Sweet corn that needs nothing else is the essence of summer!

  21. FAAaaabulous idea.
    I want this corn w/ butter immediately! Xx

  22. I love the basil butter, great idea for grilled corn!

  23. Liz, we do not get that lovely fresh corn here but I have tasted fresh corn many times and know how absoutely wonderful and sweet it can be – I never had it with basil butter but I can just imagine how harmonious this butter must be together with that sweet grilled corn. I also never knew about the soaking than grilling method before either – very interesting! It all looks so summery and delicious!

  24. I miss good fresh corn! I’m jealous that you can get all you want 🙂 We have some growing in our garden, but they just aren’t ready yet but I’ll definitely be making some of this basil butter when they are ready to eat.

  25. I love flavoured butter on fresh corn! This one sounds fab!

  26. That is one thing I miss about Ohio: fresh corn from a roadside stand. To die for! Your herb butter sounds amazing! Can’t wait to mix it up!

  27. This looks very yummy. I have never cooked corn using this method before and I certainly wasn’t aware that you should soak the corn cobs first! I’ll look forward to cooking corn this way when our BBQ season arrives – we’re almost there! xx

  28. I’m too lazy to eat corn on the cob. But I will help myself to some of that butter.

  29. Oh man – I want to faceplant myself in that basil butter!

  30. YUM!
    I have never thought to make a basil butter but it would be the perfect combination to grilled corn!
    Thank you for sharing.

  31. Uhh…these look mighty fine to me!!

  32. So summery and delightful, Liz. Love your basil butter too.

  33. Can’t believe how simple this recipe is! Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best!! Love dishes like this!

  34. Corn is so cheap right now– can’t wait to try this!

  35. One downfall of Australian produce is corn. Oh we have it but they leave it on the stalks longer than American corn so it’s often tough. I poke through every package, peek in every husk trying to find the youngest cobs. I’d kill for a sugar and gold ear of corn like this. Okay, maybe I wouldn’t kill. Maim. I’d maim.

  36. I want an ear of this corn right now! It’s the perfect summer food.

  37. I love corn however i can get it. And this looks like a damn good way to get it!

  38. Grilled corn is a wonderful thing. Basil butter makes it even better because well, I’m the hugest fan of basil ever! 😉

  39. The best way to eat fresh corn on the cob. That butter would be eaten in spoonsfuls by my little boys, looks yummy.

  40. Favorite way to eat corn ever.

  41. The corn looks gorgeous. We gorged on corn at the beginning of summer… then took a break. Gotta get back to gorging on some like this. 🙂

  42. I’ve had grilled corn once, basil butter never. Time for me to put those two together!

  43. Lizzy,
    The hubby and I love corn and fresh basil. We haven’t made corn very often this year. Being in the northeast we don’t get as good a selection as you do.

  44. Oh, my mouth was watering just reading your description. Sweet, fresh corn is such an amazing summer treat. Long Island grows some sweet specimens in summer and those beauties are always on our grill on weekends.

  45. The basil butter takes things to the next level! Such a perfect summer recipe. Thank you for sharing!

  46. This is so delicious and tasty! I made this butter to go with our corn and it was so delicious! Can’t wait to make this again!

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