Grilled Corn with Lime Butter

Grilled Corn with Lime Butter
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About This Recipe

Summer in the wine country of Napa and Sonoma brings more than just impeccable wines to the table. It welcomes the sweet taste of fresh produce, and there’s nothing more iconic to summer than the juicy burst of a corn on the cob, especially when it’s kissed by the flames of a grill. A Mexican street corn recipe might be what comes to mind for many, but here in the heart of California’s wine region, we've given it our own twist.

Enter the Grilled Corn with Lime Butter. This dish is an ode to the classic Mexican corn recipe, drawing inspiration from our neighbors south of the border and blending it seamlessly with our local flavors. The heart of the dish, the corn, must be of top quality. Here in Napa, we're blessed with some of the best produce, thanks to our fertile soils and Mediterranean climate. The grilled corn on the cob transforms into a delightful caramelized treat, with a smoky aftertaste that resonates well with the zesty notes of the lime butter.

Now, let’s dive a little deeper into the lime butter — a sublime mix that takes this bbq corn on the cob from delightful to divine. It isn’t just your ordinary butter. Infused with zesty lime, the tang marries flawlessly with the sweet corn. And for those who adore a hint of freshness, cilantro lime butter is another variant that can add an extra layer of depth to this dish. For those who might be wondering about the best way to cook corn on the cob, grilling is definitely the route to go. The charred kernels bring out a nutty flavor, contrasting the inherent sweetness of the corn.

Now, what’s a dish from wine country without the perfect wine pairing? This Grilled Corn with Lime Butter, with its rich flavors, pairs delightfully with several wines. A Sauvignon Blanc from Duckhorn Vineyards brings out the citrusy notes, while a Chardonnay from Rombauer Vineyards complements the buttery richness of the corn. And for the adventurous, a Vermentino from Tablas Creek Vineyard is a match made in heaven.

But why stop at just the corn? Summer in Napa screams for a summer corn salad, a refreshing dish that can be made with leftovers from our main dish, and perhaps even turned into Mexican street corn off the cob, for those who prefer their corn without the hassle of the husk.

Visiting Napa and Sonoma isn’t just about the wines. It's about experiencing a blend of cultures, flavors, and traditions, all married into dishes that tell a story. A story of the land, the people, and the love for food and wine. The Grilled Corn with Lime Butter is one such story — a tale of Mexican inspirations, Californian produce, and the undying spirit of the wine country.

So, the next time you find yourself in this beautiful region, remember that every dish has a tale, every wine a legacy. And as you bite into a juicy cob of corn, drizzled with that zesty lime butter, take a moment to savor the flavors, the stories, and the love that Napa and Sonoma bring to every plate.

Whether you're a local or a visitor, dishes like these resonate the essence of what Napa Valley and Northern California represent — a union of cultures, traditions, and flavors, all waiting to be explored and cherished.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is not just a summertime staple, but a grain that has deep roots in American culinary traditions. Native to the Americas, corn has been cultivated for over 10,000 years. Today, Napa Valley produces some of the freshest and sweetest corn varieties, making our Grilled Corn with Lime Butter truly shine. When grilled, the kernels develop a lovely caramelization that boosts the corn's natural sweetness. Its versatility allows it to be the star of various dishes, from the classic Mexican street corn recipe to the most exquisite summer corn salads.

How to Perfectly Grill Corn on the Cob

Grilling corn is more than just tossing it on the barbecue. To achieve the perfect char and flavor:

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Remove the husks and silk from the corn.
  3. Lightly brush the corn with olive oil or butter.
  4. Place the corn on the grill, turning occasionally, until the kernels are golden-brown and charred in spots. This usually takes 10-12 minutes.
  5. Once grilled, brush generously with the lime butter and serve immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I store leftover grilled corn? Absolutely! Wrap the leftover corn in aluminum foil or place it in an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat on the grill or in the oven for best results.
  2. I have a corn allergy. What can I substitute for corn in this recipe? For those allergic to corn, you can try grilling zucchini or summer squash as a substitute. They both have a natural sweetness that can work well with the lime butter.
  3. Can I use dried herbs instead of fresh for the lime butter? Fresh herbs are recommended for a vibrant flavor. However, if using dried herbs, reduce the quantity to a third, as dried herbs are more potent.
  4. What tools do I need to make this dish? A grill or grill pan, a brush for applying butter, and a bowl for mixing the lime butter are essential. Tongs might also be helpful for turning the corn on the grill.
  5. Can I make the lime butter ahead of time? Yes! Lime butter can be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Just let it come to room temperature before using to ensure it spreads easily.

Tips for Success

  1. Choose Fresh Corn: Always select fresh corn with bright green husks and moist silk. The kernels should be plump and milky. This ensures you're getting the best flavor out of your corn on the cob recipe.
  2. Don't Over Grill: Keep an eye on your corn while grilling. Over-grilling can make the corn dry. Rotate frequently to ensure even charring.
  3. Customize Your Butter: The lime butter is customizable! Feel free to add some minced garlic, chili flakes, or even some grated Parmesan cheese for an extra layer of flavor reminiscent of the beloved Mexican street corn off the cob.

Recipe Overview

Grilled Corn with Lime Butter
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 4 fresh corn cobs, husked and cleaned
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional, for a bit of heat)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  2. While the grill heats up, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine softened butter, lime zest, lime juice, chili powder (if using), salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.
  3. Place the corn cobs directly on the grill grates. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until they're charred in spots and tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  4. Once grilled, immediately brush the corn generously with the lime butter mixture while they're still hot.
  5. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with extra lime wedges on the side.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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