By Gwen Ashley Walters | AUGUST 28, 2009 | COOKING TIPS


Before we get to the nitty gritty of pan-roasting corn, let’s just say that I was hoping to have a soup recipe for you, but “my best people” thought it was a girly soup.

You know, the kind that ladies-who-lunch sip on, cooing how delicious it is? Well, it is delicious, and if I’m honest, it is a bit frou-frou.

So while I lick my wounds and contemplate whether or not it’s worth your time, I thought I hold a class on how to pan-roast corn — which is probably a heckofva lot more useful than some sissy soup.

Why would you want to pan-roast corn? Because it’s easy to make, it’s versatile and it tastes phenomenally better than boiled corn, thanks to the caramelization of corn’s natural sugar content.


Here’s how you do it. Set a skillet over medium-high heat while you shuck the corn. You can use any skillet, but I prefer a cast-iron skillet because it really sears the corn.

Wash and pat dry the corn. Hold the ear, pointy end down inside of a large bowl, which will catch the kernels instead of sending them flying all over the counter. Use a chef’s knife (or a serrated knife if you prefer) and slice down one side of the corn.

Turn the corn a quarter turn and slice again. Repeat two more times, for a total of 4 cuts. The cob will resemble a squared-off rectangle when you’re finished.


The skillet should be nice at hot by now and you can throw the corn in — that’s right: no oil, no butter, no nothing. It’s a dry skillet (which is another reason I like to use cast iron because it can take the punishing heat without any fat.)

DON’T STIR. Sorry to shout, but this is important. You want the corn to spend some time browning, and stirring just spoils the fun. After a couple minutes, you can stir, gently, once, wait a couple minutes and then stir one last time.

It will take about 5 minutes total, to roast the corn, and it should look like the corn in the picture above.

If you cook much longer than 5 minutes, the corn will be overcooked. Remove the corn from the skillet once it’s done, and use immediately, or store in the fridge for a couple of days.

How can you use pan-roasted corn? Let me give you a few ideas to get your mind rolling on the infinite possibilities:

1. Top a girly soup (actually,you can add to any soup, girly or not)

2. Sprinkle on top of a fresh garden salad

3. Fold into an omelet

4. Serve as a side dish for barbecue chicken

5. Use as a filling for savory crepes, along with cooked shrimp or lump crab

Got any other ideas? Leave a comment and share.

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Sara@Sprouted Kitchen | AUGUST 28, 2009

i love when people post techniques, thank you! I tend to grill it for use, but this just seems to be a tad less hassle!

chefgwen | AUGUST 28, 2009

Hi Sara…. yes, I love to grill, too, but often don’t want to fire up my big DCS for just an ear or two of corn, so that’s when I use the pan-roasting technique. Thanks for stopping by!

Hélène | AUGUST 29, 2009

This is great I never did that technique before.

KAHUNA | AUGUST 30, 2009

I love to add roasted corn to corn bread as it just adds a great smokey flavor to it- also tossing it with grilled peaches diced, cilantro, grilled onion and Farro is awesome topped with some olive oil, salt and fennel pollen-ok I am hungry now-

chefgwen | SEPTEMBER 03, 2009

That’s a fantastic idea! Bet it really boosts the cornbread flavor. And pairing it with peaches — clever. And farro — or any grain — great ideas, thanks for sharing.

Dana Treat | AUGUST 31, 2009

What would it take for you to spill the soup recipe? :) Is it corn soup? I need a good one.

chefgwen | SEPTEMBER 03, 2009

Oh dear, I hate to disappoint, but it’s not corn, although I use the corn to top the Avocado Zucchini Soup… but perhaps I’ll have to work on a corn soup, or if you do first, please share!

[...] About How to Pan Roast Corn [...]

Letty Flatt | SEPTEMBER 29, 2009

Searching around for your Parmesan vinaigrette recipe that I have in my computer recipe files era 2003. Looks to be elsewhere but not on your blog. John sent me the CSA pick late this morning so I am being a bit easy on myself–taking the photo of the heirlooms with vinaigrette that we had when you came to dinner and using your vinaigrette. Will link them to…
Love, Letty
ps lots of tweeting from other food bloggers about being in SF–with you. Was it fun?

CArrie | JUNE 26, 2010

On nachos!! Yesssss!!

Kat | SEPTEMBER 08, 2010

Will be using this little trick tonight. Thanks!

[...] add a little texture and substance (and flavor), I top the soup with roasted corn. Because I like spice, I garnish the soup with a few drops of Sriracha –just enough to warm [...]

TylerP | JUNE 26, 2011

Thx for the instructions on roasting corn! After removing the corn I added a HUGE slab of butter, salt & pepper, a couple of tablespoons of sugar, and some ancho chili powder. It will be the best part of the meal. It’s not hot or spicy, just flavourful. Cheers, Tyler

[...] corn cob on fire. Although you can also roast it in oven or on a grill. Roasting corn kernels in a pan is another way of going about it. Click the high-lighted links to know more details about a [...]

Melissa | MARCH 16, 2012

Toss in with Spanish rice….

Before the Baby Wakes | MARCH 19, 2012

[...] a cast iron skillet pan sear your corn. I had never done this before so I followed these instructions & it came out just fine. Although I did use frozen corn instead of an actual ear. Once seared [...]

lisa c | JUNE 05, 2012

I’m using it in a corn/avo/tom/cucumber/cilanto salsa for grilled chicken. (with a squeeze of lime for good measure) Yum – thanks for the process- i knew someone would know!

Gwen Ashley Walters | JUNE 05, 2012

Lisa, that sounds fantastic! That’s for commenting. And a squeeze of lime is always a good idea.

Dawn Shepler-Hamilton | JUNE 07, 2012

Made this tonight accompanying grilled salmon and steamed broccoli. It was perfect and EASY – thank you!

Gwen Ashley Walters | JUNE 07, 2012

Thanks, Dawn! You’re welcome. Sounds like a delicious dinner.

Pamela Hebert | JUNE 28, 2012

I plan to make roasted corn grits with this roasting procedure of using a black iron skillet. Thanks for showing another way besides lighting up the grill. Its so HOT here in Louisiana!!!!!

Gwen Ashley Walters | JUNE 28, 2012

Pamela, that sounds fantastic! Hope you come back and share the results. Love that idea!

Kristin | JULY 01, 2012

I’m just getting into making my own salsas so for the holiday I’m trying a black bean/corn salsa.

Gwen Ashley Walters | JULY 02, 2012

Kristin, that sounds fantastic. Good luck with your salsas.

Nick | JULY 12, 2012

Our youngest brother had me roast corn this way to make a corn/tomato/onion relish to go with his marinated and grilled pork tenderloin and smoked gouda mashers. He did not yell at me for stirring too often. I will correct my technique in the future.

Gwen Ashley Walters | JULY 12, 2012

Nick, so funny you should comment on this particular post… notice in the first paragraph, I say “my best people” … I totally stole that line from said youngest brother, just like I stole Rosé Sunday from him. What can I say… he’s brilliant… and funny… like my oldest brother.

Clearly, you did not read the entire post, or you would not have missed the DO NOT STIR shout…the only thing worse is the fact that I wasn’t there to supervise. xo

Jeff | JULY 15, 2012

You have a brilliant and wonderful family … ;)

Gwen Ashley Walters | JULY 15, 2012

Jeff… you think? ha! xo

Joolie | JULY 13, 2012

Thanks for posting – going to add this to seasoned chicken & salsa to a make light tortilla dinner. Might sprinkle some on a simple salad too. The brain is in overdrive thinking of a corn/salsa type salad … hmmm.

Ron | DECEMBER 22, 2012

I think it would be a nice addition to chicken fajitas.

Debbie | MARCH 15, 2013

I added this to homemade beef and bean enchiladas…delicious!

Doreen | APRIL 20, 2013

Roasted corn and black bean salsa – southwest style. I am from Phoenix.

I am glad I found this recipe done without oil – Thanks!

[...] pan-roast the corn, I followed this recipe from Pen & Fork and thought it came out PERFECT! Don’t be afraid to follow the [...]

Janice | JUNE 06, 2013

Thank you! I have a roasted sweetcorn salsa that I like to make for picnics, and you just made my life so much easier. Your directions are great; I was nervous about not stirring the corn, but it was perfect.

Gwen Ashley Walters | JUNE 06, 2013

Janice, thank you for letting me know! Now I’m craving your roasted corn salsa! Bet it’s great.

[...] original recipe calls for grilled corn, but for ease and speed this time, I pan roasted mine in a cast-iron skillet and it worked beautifully. (This also will free up the grill for your [...]

[…] this “relish,” I’ve chosen pan-roasted corn (here is my post on how to pan roast corn). Continuing clockwise, I have chopped cilantro (don’t chop it too finely or it turns […]

Sycamore | FEBRUARY 18, 2014

This is great but my grandma taught me fried corn. Cut of the cob the same way and add butter salt, pepper and a couple of dried pepper pods yum

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