Corn ribs are a top-notch eating experience!! Seasoned juicy corn kernels and garlic butter bursting in your mouth with every bite in a way you’ll never get with whole corn cobs. Epic app or side dish, ideal for the BBQ or make these in your oven!
Named as such because of the rib-like shape and the manner in which it is eaten (like ribs!), corn ribs are apparently a food trend that went nuts a couple of years ago. I’m so unfashionable when it comes to anything – food, fashion, or otherwise – I didn’t even realise this was a trend until I started writing this post today and did my usual obligatory Google research!
Also, truthfully, I find most food trends disappoint. This one, however, did not!
Why corn ribs are so good – It’s so much more than just the novelty factor of the curled corn. The beauty of cooking corn this way is that the kernels open up in a way they never do when you cook whole corn on the cob. So you can get your flavour of choice (seasoned garlic butter, in my case) to seep all the way into the cob. Which means every time you take a bite of corn kernels you get a squirt of the flavourful garlic butter in your mouth as well. It’s just insanely delicious!!
* Just to clarify, after a number of reader messages, you do NOT eat the cob! It gets soaked in the seasoned garlic butter and you sort of suck it out when you bite the kernels off the cob. It’s a delivery vehicle for flavour, not part of what you eat!
About these particular corn ribs
A lot of recipes seem to sparingly brush or sprinkle the corn ribs with oil and seasoning. I tried…but personally found it lacking and seemingly unworthy for a dish with such great eating potential.
Also, I’m not going to lie – cutting the corn takes more effort than slicing bread. (Read my steps, learn from my mistakes!). So if I’m cutting corn ribs, then the end result needs to be worth it!
So in the spirit of extra amazing-ness, these corn ribs are tossed in a generous amount of spicing (it will seem like too much – until the first bite), cooked (BBQ or oven) then doused in garlic butter which seeps into the kernels that open up like flowers as the corn ribs curl up.
Flavour before and after cooking makes it exponentially good. I promise you, this is worth making. I’m absolutely addicted!
What you need for corn ribs
Here’s what you need to make corn ribs. Firstly, corn. Yes, corn! 😂
Whole corn on the cob. At its prime in summer, albeit the mild climate here in Australia means we get good corn year round, and generally for very good value too.
And for all the flavour…
Seasoning – smoked paprika (or plain), garlic powder, salt and pepper. For tossing the corn. There’s a generous amount for the amount of corn because so much of it gets stuck on the cut side of the corn! Trust me on this. You want a LOT of seasoning!
Garlic and butter – for dousing at the end. Dream of all that butter seeping in between the kernels….
Parsley, coriander/cilantro, chives or something else green finely chopped, for optional garnish.
How to make corn ribs
After suffering through more corn rib cutting grievances than I care to confess (how did that tiny girl cut those corn ribs on TikTok??🤯), I think I’ve figured out the easiest and safest method that doesn’t call for brute strength.
(PS That tiny girl did not show cutting her own corn ribs on TikTok… #cynic!)
Cutting corn ribs
Heads up – If you’re a first timer, you’ll probably end up with some crooked and broken pieces. I’ve had considerable practice and I still end up with broken ribs every now and then. So what? Still delicious! 🙂
Knife – Use a large sharp knife. Don’t attempt this recipe if your knife is blunt! The risk of the knife slipping as you cut the corn is just too great. Not even corn ribs are worth losing a finger for!
Non-slip cutting board – Put a wet cloth or similar under your cutting board to ensure it does not move. I always have a wet chux under my cutting board before cutting anything. First thing I do when I walk into the kitchen!
Trim ends – Cut the base and end off the corn. This will create a stable flat base to stand the corn upright. And it’s easier to cut straight down if you create a flat top to start the knife on, rather than a pointy end. Trial and error discovery. 🙂
Bang knife to cut down – Stand the corn upright. ⚠️ DO NOT HOLD THE CORN with your hand under the knife. This is dangerous as the knife jerks down through the corn as it cuts down. Again – a corn rib is not worth your finger!!
Hold the knife with one hand then use your other hand to hit the knife so it catches on the top of the corn. Then keep banging the knife to make it move down the middle of the corn, guiding it and making little adjustments if needed to keep it on track to cut straight down the middle.
TIP: The sharper your knife and fresher the corn, the easier it is to cut straight and without the corn breaking.
Cut into quarters – Take one half of the corn. Stand it upright, then cut it in half.
PS I know you’re thinking “gee, surely it’s easier if you lie the corn cut face down then cut in half!”. It’s not. Go ahead and give it a try. I certainly did!
Congratulations! You’ve just cut your first corn rib! 🎉
Too hard? Broken / wonky corn? So what? 🙂 It’s still going to be delicious! But if it’s proving too hard for you, try the easier method in step 6 below.
Easier method – It’s easier to cut corn into ribs if they are shorter. So cut the corn in half, stand it upright, then cut into quarters using the method above.
Seasoning & cooking corn ribs
Season corn – Using a large bowl, toss the corn ribs with oil first. Then sprinkle over the seasoning progressively as you toss. This helps coat the corn more evenly.
Garlic butter – Melt the butter in a small skillet or saucepan then add the garlic and stir for just 20 seconds. Keep the butter warm/pourable while you cook the corn – usually I just pop it on the side of the BBQ.
Cook corn – Preheat the BBQ on high. Then cook the corn kernels side down for 6 to 8 minutes or until it has black spots. Watch the corn curl into “ribs”!
Turn and cook each cut side for just 1 minute. There’s loads of flavour on the cut face so don’t skip cooking it because everyone is going to be sucking out the buttery goodness from the cobs!
Butter it! Place the cooked corn back in the bowl, pour over the garlic butter and toss using a rubber spatula.
Serving – Pile the corn onto a platter, sprinkle with parsley or coriander/cilantro and extra paprika if desired. Then serve!
Sauce for corn ribs
As I ranted on at the start, this method of cooking corn means the cobs soak up all the seasoned garlic butter, so there’s stacks of juicy flavour in every bite. So if you’re serving these hot and fresh, there is absolutely no need for sauce.
However! If you are a sauce person (I get it), or if you are making a huge pile of these ahead to serve as apps and want to pep them up a bit by providing a sauce, here are some sauce options:
Creamy Sriracha Dipping sauce – (mayo + yogurt + sriracha or ketchup). The freshness of the yogurt pairs well with the buttery goodness and sweetness of the corn. Recipe is in the notes of the recipe card.
Avocado Sauce – dead set perfect match with the seasoning on this corn! Also, corn plus avocado = 💯
Plain ketchup or Aussie tomato sauce.
Chipotle mayo – Blitz chipotle in adobo with sour cream + mayo. Add lime and salt to taste.
Thousand Island / Marie Rose – recipes here.
If you’re a corn rib first timer and you make this, you must tell me what you think!! I need to know it’s not just me who lost her mind over corn ribs!! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
- 4 whole corn cobs
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp parsley or coriander/cilantro , roughly chopped (optional garnish)
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (or ordinary), plus more for garnish if desired
- 2 tsp cooking/kosher salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 50g/ 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 garlic clove , finely minced
Corn cutting (Note 1 tips!):
- Cut corn – Using a sharp knife and a non-slip cutting board, cut off the base and the pointy end of the corn. Stand the corn upright then cut the corn into half then half again to make quarters. My way: Bang the knife with your hand to lock it into the top of the corn, then keep hitting the knife to move it down the corn. Halfway, you might be able to stop banging and just rock the knife down.
- Easiest method – Cut half length ribs. Shorter ribs = easier to cut. See note 2.
- BBQ (best!) or oven – Heat BBQ on high or oven 200°C/375°F (180°C fan).
- Garlic butter – Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Then add the garlic and cook for 20 seconds until it smells amazing! Remove from the stove and keep warm/liquid (I usually put it on the side of the BBQ).
- Seasoning – mix in a small bowl.
- Season corn – Place corn in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil. Then sprinkle the seasoning over gradually, tossing in between, to coat as evenly as possible. Most will get stuck in the cob – tasty "bone" sucking!
- BBQ – Place corn on the BBQ kernel side down. Cook for 8 minutes or until you get charred spots – watch it curl into "ribs"! Then cook each cut side for 1 minute.
- Oven – Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, kernel side up. (Note: the corn doesn't curl as much, also, no charred spots).
- Butter it – Transfer corn back into the bowl. Pour over garlic butter and toss.
- Serve – Pile onto plate, sprinkle with parsley then grab and eat like ribs! Optional pink sauce pictured in notes. Don't forget to suck all the seasoned garlic butter from the cob "bone" – it might be the best part. 🙂
Life of Dozer
Seriously wondering if he’s surrounded by food.
(Autumn leaves is a new thing to him – we didn’t really have deciduous trees in the Northern Beaches. But they’re abundant in the new area we call home!)