How to Pan Roast Corn

Whole-Ear

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.

Cut-Kernels

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.

Pan-Roasted-Close

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.

38 replies
    • chefgwen
      chefgwen says:

      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!

      Reply
  1. KAHUNA
    KAHUNA says:

    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-

    Reply
    • chefgwen
      chefgwen says:

      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.

      Reply
    • chefgwen
      chefgwen says:

      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!

      Reply
  2. Letty Flatt
    Letty Flatt says:

    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 penandfork.wordpress.com…
    Love, Letty
    ps lots of tweeting from other food bloggers about being in SF–with you. Was it fun?

    Reply
  3. TylerP
    TylerP says:

    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

    Reply
  4. lisa c
    lisa c says:

    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!

    Reply
    • Gwen Ashley Walters
      Gwen Ashley Walters says:

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

      Reply
  5. Dawn Shepler-Hamilton
    Dawn Shepler-Hamilton says:

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

    Reply
  6. Pamela Hebert
    Pamela Hebert says:

    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!!!!!

    Reply
  7. Nick
    Nick says:

    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.

    Reply
    • Gwen Ashley Walters
      Gwen Ashley Walters says:

      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

      Reply
  8. Joolie
    Joolie says:

    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.

    Reply
  9. Doreen
    Doreen says:

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

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

    Reply
  10. Janice
    Janice says:

    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.

    Reply
    • Gwen Ashley Walters
      Gwen Ashley Walters says:

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

      Reply
  11. Sycamore
    Sycamore says:

    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

    Reply

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