How to Pan Roast Corn


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.



Filed under Tips & Tutorials

11 responses to “How to Pan Roast Corn

  1. 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!

    • 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!

  2. This is great I never did that technique before.

  3. 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-

    • 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.

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

    • 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!

  5. Pingback: Chilled Avocado-Zucchini Soup « Pen & Fork

  6. 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?

  7. CArrie

    On nachos!! Yesssss!!

  8. Kat

    Will be using this little trick tonight. Thanks!

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