Cilantro Lime Grilled Corn Is the Ultimate Side Dish for Summer

Holy moly, goodness gracious, and good golly. This side dish is just the best thing since… well, since any side dish I’ve ever eaten in my life!

Vertical image of a plate of grilled corn, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

I normally don’t say anything nearly so enthusiastic as this about a side dish, and not a lot of people do. Side dishes are just that – they are served on the side, as a complement to the main meal, so they rarely attain the title of star recipes.

On the afternoon when I first made this, my husband and I were sneaking spoonful after spoonful because we couldn’t wait to eat it for dinner that night.

I am just in awe of how flavorful this dish came out.

Vertical image of a bowl of corn salad, with margarita glasses behind it.

Nothing screams summer more than grilled corn. The smell of the grill on the back patio, turning the ears of corn over the flames, and taking swigs of a cold beer – this is the image that immediately pops into my mind every time I think of this tasty seasonal vegetable, and this particular preparation.

There’s something about the bright crunch and slight sweetness of those golden ears of goodness that jumps off the plate for me.

It can be kind of difficult to plan exciting side dishes for outdoor meals and barbecues. I mean, there’s potato salad and pasta salad. There’s grilled veggies and macaroni and cheese.

Vertical top-down image of a plate of corn and steak and a bowl of corn next to cilantro and limes.

A lot of those are repeated time and time again throughout the summer, but not in a good way.

Instead, I end up getting bored with the same ol’ dishes like these when they’re served over and over. I also feel like stocking up on ingredients for these types of sides kind of limits what you’re likely to serve for main dishes, and then you end up with all of the same entrees time and time again as well.

Well, it’s time to get outside of your typical barbecue/grilling mindset, my friends. Break the cycle!

That’s where this grilled corn side dish comes in.

Vertical image of a white bowl with a corn and pepper mixture and a spoon.

This is a recipe that I could eat over and over and over and over again.

(You might think that’s too many “overs” right there, but it really isn’t.)

The flavor of the grilled corn is combined with charred poblano and jalapeno peppers so that you get all the flavor of the grill, plus some tasty heat in every single bite.

To all of this, you add in herbaceous cilantro, fresh lime juice, garlic, and a few spices to elevate the flavors of all of the separate components in new and delicious ways.

Vertical image of a plate with corn and steak and a bowl of corn next to a bunch of cilantro.

This makes for a seriously bold side dish that could easily steal the spotlight from the main dish that you are planning to serve up.

Is that going to be a problem? Nah.

You might think I am overstating the deliciousness of this recipe, but I’m really not. There’s so much going on in this bowl of vegetables and spices.

Every spoonful is a spicy, sweet, herbaceous, bright, and smoky experience. You won’t be able to stop shoveling it into your mouth.

Horizontal image of a white bowl with corn salsa.

I swear, when I had to physically remove the corn from in front of my husband, he audibly groaned and asked me how many more hours there were until dinner.

Sometimes we are just way too similar; it’s hilarious.

So the only question is, when can you fire up the grill and get this recipe cooked and on the table? It should be tonight, if you can make it happen. Trust me, it’s that good.

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Horizontal image of a white bowl filled with a corn and pepper mixture with a spoon on a towel.

Cilantro Lime Grilled Corn


  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

Bursting with flavor, cilantro lime grilled corn is the only side dish you need to celebrate summer goodness. Charred vegetables bring an intense flavor to the mix, with a burst of heat and a bright hit of acid.


Ingredients

  • 4 ears corn
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and halved
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and halved
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Husk the corn and place on a hot grill along with the poblano and jalapeno pepper halves. Cook about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until charred and cooked through.
  2. Remove from grill. Place peppers in a sealed plastic bag or a mixing bowl with plastic wrap tightly covering the top for 10 minutes.
  3. When corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cobs into a medium bowl. Add butter and stir well until melted and combined.
  4. Remove peppers from bag and peel off the charred skins. Chop into small pieces and add to the bowl. Stir in cilantro, lime juice, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper. Serve.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: Vegetable

Keywords: corn, jalapeno, poblano, garlic, side dish, summer recipes, grill recipes, vegetarian

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prepare Produce and Measure Remaining Ingredients

Horizontal image of assorted ingredients including peppers and corn on a wooden cutting board.

Preheat your grill.

Husk the ears of corn, doing your best to remove all of the corn silk as well.

Halve and seed one poblano pepper, and one jalapeno.

Chop enough cilantro leaves until you have 3 tablespoons total.

Horizontal image of cut and seeded green peppers on a wooden cutting board.

Peel and mince one clove of garlic, using a sharp knife and a cutting board or your favorite garlic press.

Measure all remaining ingredients as listed in the ingredients list.

Step 2 – Grill

Horizontal image of grilled whole corn on a black plate.

Place the prepped ears of corn and peppers on a hot grill. Cook for 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until the peppers are charred and cooked through.

Remove all of the vegetables from the grill.

Step 3 – Remove Pepper Skins

Horizontal image of cooked peppers in an airtight bag.

Add the pepper halves to a sealed plastic bag or place in a mixing bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Remove the charred skins from the peppers by peeling the skin away from the flesh with your fingers. It should come away pretty easily.

Chop the peppers into small pieces.

Step 4 – Make Salad

Horizontal image of a blue bowl with corn and peppers mixed by a metal spoon.

When the corn is cool enough to handle, but still warm, cut the kernels off the cobs and into a medium bowl. Stir in the butter until it’s melted and fully incorporated.

Stir in the chopped peppers. Add the cilantro, lime juice, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper (freshly ground is best!). Stir well to combine.

Horizontal image of a white bowl filled with a corn and pepper mixture with a spoon on a towel.

Season to taste, if desired. Serve immediately.

The Perfect Side for Summer

This corn side dish goes with basically any summertime dish that you can come up with, from classic picnic and barbecue fare to seasonally-focused vegetable dishes to Mexican-inspired cuisine.

I find it’s particularly delicious with grilled carne asada, and I’m sure you can find a variety of delicious proteins to throw on the grill alongside your corn and peppers.

Horizontal image of a corn salad and slices of steak and limes on a plate.

It also makes for an awesome topping for tacos, or it can be used as a salsa substitute if you prefer. It’s even better than that well-known burrito chain’s corn salsa, so you can wrap it up in a chicken burrito for a burst of added flavor.

Do you need more creative ways to use corn this summer? Here are some ideas for you to try:

What will you serve this dish alongside, or on top of? Tell us in the comments below. Once you try the recipe, be sure to come back and rate it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published August 30, 2010. Last updated: March 28, 2019 at 15:11 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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