Corn on the cob is pretty much perfect all on its own. Grilled or roasted, it doesn't need much more than a pat of butter and a pinch of salt and pepper to make it sing. And I will never forget the time a corn farmer told me that if the corn is really fresh, the best is to just eat it raw — he pulled an ear right off the plant and told me to take a bite, and it was crisp like an apple and as sweet as corn-flavored candy.
Corn on the cob is so good on its own that it might seem like there's no real reason to mess with perfection, but most foods could benefit from the addition of chili powder and a bit of cheese now and then, and corn on the cob is no exception.
Of all the various ways to prepare corn on the cob on the grill, stove, oven, and Instant Pot, the most popular corn on the cob recipe on Pinterest comes from the blogger behind Damn Delicious, who was inspired by the hot corn on the cob served at her local farmers market. Her recipe for buttery, roasted corn on the cob topped with chile powder and cotija cheese has been saved more than 13,000 times. She specifies that her version is not meant to be a recipe for authentic elote, Mexican street corn, which is made with crema and mayonnaise.
See it on Pinterest: Mexican Corn on the Cob from Damn Delicious
The recipe is basically foolproof. If you can avoid burning the corn, you're 90 percent of the way there. All you have to do is roast the corn cobs in their husks for about 45 minutes, or until they're nice and tender. Then peel the husks off and slather the cobs in butter. You can't add too much butter here, just go crazy and use as much butter as you can get to stay on the hot cob. Then sprinkle the corn cobs with chili powder, grated cotija cheese, freshly chopped cilantro leaves, and a squeeze of lime juice and serve it immediately. The resulting combination is simultaneously spicy, sweet, savory, and very buttery.
More Delicious Corn Recipes from Kitchn
What's your favorite way to prepare corn on the cob?