Spicy street-style grilled corn on the cob [recipe]

Inspired by the vibrant tapestry of Indian street food, this spicy grilled corn-on-the-cob recipe infuses classic spices with the tang of lime and the freshness of cilantro.

Don’t have a grill? Don’t worry! We walk you through multiple options, from cooking it in foil to using the oven instead.

close up of grilled spiced corn on the cob with lime wedge

Spicy grilled corn on the cob

Indulge in the flavorful charm of Spicy Street-Style Grilled Corn on the Cob. Charred to perfection and adorned with a zesty blend of spices, butter, and fresh cilantro, this recipe promises a delightful fusion of taste and texture.
Prep Time 4 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2 people


  • 2 cobs of corn husked and silked
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime halved


  • Grill the corn on an open flame. Keep the flame at medium-high and turn the corn to ensure even roasting. This takes about 4-6 minutes per cob, giving a nice char.
  • Mix salt, black pepper, cumin powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, and melted butter in a bowl.
  • Apply the spice mix generously to the grilled corn. Squeeze lime juice into the grooves for added flavor.
  • Finish by sprinkling chopped cilantro over the corn.

The inspiration behind this recipe

This recipe is influenced by the vibrant world of Indian street food, where traditional spices like black pepper, cumin, garam masala, and chili powder come together with the freshness of lime and cilantro. It’s a perfect side dish for your next BBQ or a flavorful complement to Indian curries and rice.

How to adjust the heat level of this recipe

If you’re a fiery food enthusiast like me, you’ll appreciate the freedom to customize the heat level of this dish to your liking. Here’s how to make it as hot as you dare:

As a starting point, I suggest using red chili powder as a versatile foundation. This choice allows you to select the precise pepper variety that aligns with your heat preferences. For a moderate to mild kick, opt for cayenne pepper. If you’re seeking a balanced heat that complements the other spices, consider Kashmiri red chili powder, which is relatively mild at 1,000 – 2,000 SHU.

For those ready to embrace the heat with open arms, habanero and ghost pepper are always great options. Habanero pepper introduces a fruity essence that harmonizes with the brightness of cilantro and lime. Alternatively, the ghost pepper, renowned for its intense heat, adds an exciting dimension to the dish. 

Should you grill corn in foil?

When grilling corn for this recipe, you have a couple of options. The recipe suggests husking and desilking the corn before grilling it directly over the flames. Alternatively, you can grill the corn while it’s still in the husk or wrap it in foil before placing it on the grill.

Grilling corn in foil has its advantages. The foil captures the released steam, resulting in potentially more tender corn. Additionally, this method might speed up the cooking process slightly. However, we forego the use of foil to embrace the enticing charred flavor that arises from cooking over an open flame.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Feel free to experiment with grilling the corn with or without foil based on your preferences. If you opt for foil, rotate the corn twice, cooking it for about 2 minutes on each side.

Should corn be grilled with or without the husk?

You have a decision to make when grilling corn: keep the husk on or take it off. Grilling corn in the husk gives you the best of both worlds – it retains moisture while adding a light charred flavor. However, our choice in this recipe was to husk and desilk the corn first. Why? Because we’re grilling it directly over an open flame, and that intense heat could ignite the husk.

Keeping the husk on is a good move if you’re grilling the corn at a greater distance from the flame, like on a BBQ. It’s all about adapting the method to your grilling setup. The choice is yours. Husk on for more moisture and flavor, or husk off for direct flame grilling. Your call.

How to make corn on the cob in the oven

Although the perfect method involves grilling the corn over an open flame for that signature charred flavor, we get it – sometimes, things don’t align. That flame-kissed taste is hard to beat, whether on a BBQ or over a gas burner. But the oven can come to the rescue when grilling isn’t an option due to equipment or weather.

Here’s how to shift this recipe to oven mode: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius). Pop the corn inside and let it bake for about 20 minutes.

While the open flame delivers a special touch, this oven adaptation ensures you can still savor the essence of this dish when circumstances push for a change.

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