We’ll always have a place in our hearts for sweet corn—and come summer, there’s plenty of it to go around. When you’ve got access to the best of this summer vegetable, it’s tempting to eat it straight off the cob. That certainly isn’t a bad choice, but there is so much more you can do with corn. From sautéed corn with chorizo and pressure cooker corn soup to corn-studded pancakes and summery nachos, these 25 recipes show just how versatile this vegetable is. (And don’t worry, we didn’t forget about corn on the cob).
There are tons of ways to cook corn, so why bother with sous vide? There are two advantages—not only will the controlled temperature give the corn an evenly crisp-tender texture, but keeping it locked in a bag seals in the flavor and leads to the sweetest corn on the cob imaginable.
Not sold on sous vide? Fortunately, you can get great results with more conventional techniques like grilling. There are a few ways to do it, but our favorite is to shuck the corn and put it straight onto the grates so that it cooks quickly and gets as much smoky, charred flavor as possible.
If you’re tired of serving corn with nothing but butter and salt, we’ve got plenty of suggestions to help you out. Here we slather the corn with a sauce made with olive oil, harissa, cumin, coriander, mint, and lime juice. If you’re still not satisfied, try our recipes flavored with spicy Korean miso sauce and ginger soy butter.
Truth be told, none of those recipes hold a candle to elotes. This beloved Mexican street food, flavored with Cotija cheese, crema, mayonnaise, garlic, cilantro, and chili powder is guaranteed to steal the show at any cookout. Be sure to make plenty because your guests are going to want a couple ears each.
As delicious as elotes is, it’s equally messy—you’re bound to wind up with sauce all over your hands and face. That’s arguably part of the fun, but if you want something a little easier to eat then try esquites, which puts all of the same flavors into a salad. Don’t feel like firing up the grill? The salad will come out just as tasty if you char the corn in a skillet.
You don’t actually have to cook corn at all—here we keep it raw to make a bright, refreshing salad. We pair the corn with radishes, tomatoes, cucumber, shallots, basil, and shiso. If you’re not familiar with shiso, this is a great introduction to the grassy, peppery herb.
Tomato season is going to be over before you know it, so you should make the most of it while it’s still here. This recipe pairs ripe tomatoes with grilled corn, plus salty feta and a variety of fresh herbs. With just a simple lemon and olive oil dressing, most of the flavor is coming from the produce, so make sure to get the best you can find.
Those of you without a pressure cooker will have to stick with corn chowder, but if you’ve made the investment, then this corn soup is easier and arguably even more delicious. The magic comes from throwing in the cobs—the high pressure doesn’t just bring out tons of flavor, but it also extracts enough starch to thicken the soup without the need for any cream.
Recipes for corn casserole vary, but we’re partial to a version that has a nice balance of sweet and savory with a texture that’s both custardy and hearty. We flavor our take on the dish with onion, red bell pepper, and fresh sage and cook it in a cast-iron skillet, which can go seamlessly from stovetop to oven.
These quesadillas are filled with a summery mixture of sautéed corn, zucchini, and jalapeños, which we mix with the shredded Jack cheese so that everything melts together and doesn’t fall out of the tortilla. Be sure to use plenty of oil when cooking the quesadilla so that the tortilla puffs up.
We keep the zucchini and corn combination going with these fritters, which combine the vegetables with onion, flour, egg, and grated cheese—the latter of which gives the fritters a gooey texture and helps the exteriors brown. The fritters don’t really need a condiment, but sour cream mixed with fresh herbs is a welcome addition.
If your only experience with tomatillos is eating them cooked, then you’re missing out—when raw, they’re refreshingly tart and crunchy. Here we mix raw sliced tomatillos with red bell pepper, scallion, serrano chili, chopped cilantro, and shrimp that are dry-brined and poached until perfectly tender.
This easy salad uses just a handful of ingredients: corn, Spanish-style chorizo, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. We start by crisping up the chorizo in a skillet, then add the corn to let it char in the rendered fat. Cutting the kernels off the cob takes a little effort, but after that, the dish comes together in minutes.
For a more filling salad, try this recipe, which takes leftover steak and serves it with grilled corn, red onion, and salsa verde—not the Mexican tomatillo-based variety, but Spanish salsa verde made with pickles, capers, anchovies, herbs, and olive oil. You’ll never look at cold steak the same way again.
If you don’t have any leftover steak lying around, then cook up a fresh spice-rubbed flank steak to make this warm salad. We pair the beef with charred corn kernels, white onion, and more tart raw tomatillos and dress with a lime vinaigrette. Cotija adds a little saltiness and chili powder ups the heat.
The key to this chicken salad is cooking the poultry sous vide, which makes it far more tender than is possible with traditional cooking methods. With the chicken out of the way, you can focus on the other ingredients—we turn to Japan for inspiration and make the salad with corn, miso, avocado, Japanese mustard, and shichimi togarashi.
As much as we love a plate of our ultimate fully loaded nachos, we have to admit that they can be a little heavy (okay, fine, a lot heavy). This recipe makes nachos that are slightly less gut-busting but no less satisfying, topping the chips with corn, tomatoes, radishes, chicken, avocado, cheese, and barbecue sauce.
We rarely follow fried rice recipes because the dish is so well-suited to making use of whatever’s in the fridge. But when we’re not throwing random leftovers into a wok, we turn to this recipe, which is made with corn, shishito peppers, and roasted pork (ham and bacon work too).
Like fried rice, the beauty of a frittata is that you can throw in just about anything you’d like. In this case, that means plenty of fresh corn, a few slices of smoky bacon, and melty cheese (we like Gruyère). Rather than flipping the frittata, we start it on the stove and use the broiler to set the top.
If you’re not much of a sweet breakfast person, try these savory pancakes instead. Studded with bacon, sautéed corn, jalapeño peppers, scallions, and cheddar, they have the same texture of a regular pancake without the sweetness. We like to keep the cheddar in cubes so that the pancakes end up with gooey pockets of cheese throughout.
This Native American-inspired dish is at its best when made with high-quality produce. Though it starts off with creamy beans and fresh corn, much of the remaining ingredients are up to your liking. We recommend using vegetables like bell peppers and summer squash to create a range of colors and textures, but anything you have on hand will do. With a mix of charred veggies and savory cooked bacon, the flavors of this dish are best when served warm.
The pressure cooker makes quick work of what would otherwise be a tedious risotto dish. Once the corn is shucked, much of the work is hands-off. The rice is cooked with some of the corn while the rest goes into a blender to form a smooth corn purée. The two are mixed together to create a creamy risotto that’s studded with pops of whole kernels and topped off with salty pecorino cheese.
Why eat leftovers as is when you can turn them into a completely new dish? Here, we take leftover corn risotto and transform it into a flavor-packed risotto pancake. Ingredients like chipotle mayo, Cotija cheese, bright cilantro, and fresh lime juice are a nod to the savory, irresistible flavors of elotes. Once the risotto is browned and crispy in the pan, the corn’s natural sweetness comes through, which balances out the spicy and savory flavors of the toppings quite well.
As if we couldn’t love elotes any more, this recipe marries it with one of our favorite condiments—XO sauce. The umami-packed condiment is mixed in with traditional ingredients like mayonnaise, crema, and salty Cotija cheese, before getting slathered on to grilled ears of corn. Not only does the meatiness of XO sauce add an extra level of savory flavor, but its chewy crunch complements the juicy corn kernels well, creating an additional textural layer.
Sweet corn meets crisp summer squash—another favorite summer vegetable—in this vegetarian side dish. Using the broiler here will help brown the vegetables quickly without overheating your kitchen. A dash of sugar brings out the sweetness of the squash and corn while a touch of vinegar balances it out with an acidic punch. Finish with chili flakes and buttery avocado for a quick and easy side that celebrates the best of summer produce.
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