Summery recipes for the best sweet corn

Corn's fresh sweetness shines in these summery recipes that balance it with cheesy richness or spicy chiles.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

For the past two weeks, I’ve been on vacation on the East Coast. The first part took me to upstate New York, where every road displayed a giant sign exclaiming “Sweet Corn!” From where I could purchase said corn was unclear, but apparently, it was omnipresent. At a friend’s wedding a few days later, I finally sank my teeth into that local corn, in the form of a salad teeming with the sweetest, crunchiest kernels ever, paired with tart gooseberries and a creamy, spicy dressing.

The second half of my trip took me to Montreal, one of my favorite cities in which to eat out. Every restaurant menu marketed their fresh summer corn. At Pichai, a Thai restaurant in the city’s La Petite-Patrie neighborhood, I had their som tum khao pod, which was, essentially, a green papaya salad made with corn instead of the unripe fruit. Lots of lime juice, fish sauce and fresh chiles gave punch to the salad covered in toasted peanuts. It was transcendent and perfectly balanced those sweet corn kernels in a way I had never tasted before. I tipped the bowl up to my mouth to drink of the last of the sauce when I was finished.

If you’re feeling equally as love-drunk on corn as I am right now, here are some classic summery corn recipes from our archives I’ll be making all this week to remind me of my recent time-off in corn utopia.

My Charred Okra and Corn Salad with Spicy Sausage Vinaigrette is a great end-of-summer hodgepodge of produce. Sweet corn, juicy tomatoes and verdant, toothsome okra are marinated in a tangy dressing imbued with the fat from rendered Italian sausage. if you’re vegan, leave the meat out and the melange will still taste like the peak of summer.

My Korean Corn Grilled Cheese is an easy crowd-pleaser. Korean corn cheese, usually relegated to the moat around the barbecue grill, is stuffed between two slices of sourdough here for an intensely crunchy and gooey take on the typical grilled cheese.


Genevieve Ko’s Buffalo Corn with Bacon and Eggs is pure pleasure. The sweet kernels are tossed in a buffalo sauce dressing that’s tamed by the fattiness of bacon and egg yolk from a fried egg. It’s exactly what you want to eat on the weekend to cure a hangover or get your morning started off before a hike.

And Paola Briseño-González’s Shrimp, Mushrooms and Zucchini with Poblano Labneh Sauce and Corn Salad sounds like a lot, but is simple to prepare. Roast vegetables and sautéed shrimp are served with a smoky, creamy poblano sauce and piqued with a bright and tangy corn salad spiked with lime juice and mint.

Charred Okra and Corn Salad With Spicy Sausage Vinaigrette

This dish is fantastic hot, but it still tastes great after a couple hours sitting at room temperature. The heat and spices in the sausage add a ton of flavor to the sweet corn, peppers and green, toothsome okra. Use the ripest tomato you can find for the best flavor. And if you like, add chunks of mozzarella, feta or goat cheese to the salad at the end before serving.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 40 minutes.

Okra and corn salad recipe by Ben Mims.
(Ben Mims/Los Angeles Times)

Korean Corn Grilled Cheese

The beauty of this dish is in tasting the sweet corn mixing with the super stretchy cheese. If you want, you can just use low-moisture mozzarella, but adding fontina or provolone offers a little more flavor without overpowering the sweetness of the corn.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 40 minutes.

LOS ANGELES, CA-July 11, 2019: Korean Cheesy Corn Grilled Cheese
(Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times)

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Buffalo Corn with Bacon and Eggs

When you douse vegetables with hot sauce made for Buffalo chicken, you experience a Pavlovian pleasure that feels like wings at a bar. Here, the tangy, spicy sauce brings out the sweetness in corn that’s been seared in savory bacon fat.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 20 minutes.

LOS ANGELES - THURSDAY, July 25, 2019: Seared Corn with Bacon and Egg.
(Leslie Grow)

Shrimp, Mushrooms and Zucchini with Poblano Labneh Sauce and Corn Salad

Fire-blistered poblano chiles flavor the creamy sauce for simple poached shrimp and seared vegetables. The corn — boiled first to plump its kernels — is mixed with mint and lime juice to add an acidic crunch to the dish.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, Aug. 25, 2021: Crispy Oyster Mushrooms and Zucchini with Poached Shrimp in Poblano Labneh Sauce
(Silvia Razgova/For The Times)

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