5 from 1 votes

Charred Corn

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This summer, charred corn is a must-try if you want to step up your cooking game.

This savory dish blends the natural sweetness of corn with a smokiness that can only come from charring. And no need to hassle with fresh corn on the cob – this side dish recipe exudes ease with bagged frozen corn! 

Ideal for summer cookouts and barbecues, charred corn’s smoky flavor pairs nicely with hamburgers, hot dogs, and ribs and is an alternative vegetable to spice up ordinary meals.

cast iron charred corn.

Flavor Explosion: Unleashing the Boldness of Charred Corn in Your Cooking

Charring corn on a skillet brings out that natural sweetness with a smokey flavor.

The sugars in the corn caramelize during cooking, producing a somewhat sweet and rich flavor that is balanced by a mild smokiness of the paprika.

Charred marks on the kernels also provide a rustic charm to the corn. For a side dish or adding to salads or dips, the blackened kernels give dishes a really beautiful appeal versus the regular yellow kernel we are all used to. 


  • vegetable oil
  • frozen corn kernels, thawed and dried from excess moisture
  • Seasonings – Hungarian paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, onion powder, and salt and ground black pepper
  • butter
  • chopped fresh parsley, optional for serving

Blackened Corn takes Patience

It takes a bit to get corn properly charred and black. Corn has quite a bit of water content, so be patient! It’s worth it!

frozen corn in a bag.

How to Perfectly Char Corn in a Skillet

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and carefully add corn.
  2. Stir in paprika, garlic powder, oregano, and onion powder. Mix well to coat evenly.
  3. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the majority of the corn is charred, about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.
  5. Top with chopped fresh parsley if desired.
charred corn in a skillet.

What exactly is charred corn?

Simply put, scorched corn is corn that has been roasted over high heat until the kernels are slightly blackened. This can be done on a grill, in a skillet, or in the oven. The method we are showing is the easiest method, which is in a cast iron pan.

Seasoning Charred Corn

Charred corn is excellent on its own, but it may also be flavored in a variety of ways. You can use our blend above, but feel free to get creative from your own pantry.

Here are just a few suggestions to switch up the flavors:

  • Salt & pepper
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Lime juice
  • Cotija cheese
  • Chili flakes
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Fresh Chives
  • Cumin
  • Or try adding: drained and rinsed Black Beans, Diced Green Bell Pepper, Sliced Jalapeno Pepper, Green Onions
ground black pepper.

What is Hungarian Paprika? 

Hungarian paprika differs from normal paprika in several important ways. Hungarian paprika is prepared from a variety of pepper known as “Hungarian wax pepper.”

Hungarian paprika is finer ground than conventional paprika and additionally has a smokey flavor.

All that said, any type of paprika can be used to flavor this blackened corn recipe.

How to get water out of Frozen Corn

Thaw naturally: One way is to thaw the corn in the refrigerator overnight. This will allow the water to drain out naturally. Then drain in a colander and use a paper towel to soak up any leftover water. 

Forced thawing: Another way is to microwave the corn on high for 2-3 minutes or until it is thawed. Once the corn is thawed, you can drain the water by draining letting it sit for a few minutes.

As with the method above, use a paper towel to absorb any leftover water from the corn before adding it to the cast iron skillet.

How to Keep Charred Corn Fresh

Refrigerated charred corn can be kept for up to 3 days.

  • Place the leftover corn in an airtight container to keep.
  • Reheat the corn in the microwave or on the stovetop when ready to eat.
close up of charred corn in a deep dish skillet.

What recipes pair well with Charred Corn?

It can be used in salads, soups, chicken tacos, and other dishes. It can also be served as a corn dish on its own.

Try it in a few of our corn recipes like Mexican Street Corn Casserole, Fresh Avocado and Corn Salad, Caliente Corn Casserole, Corn succotash, or crack corn dip.

Can you use fresh corn over frozen corn? 

Because I haven’t personally tested using uncooked fresh corn kernels in the cast iron skillet, the instructions and timing may vary. You will need to experiment to find the exact cooking timing. I will update this post if I alter this recipe in the future from frozen corn to fresh. 

Do not use canned corn as it contains too much water, and you will likely end up steaming your corn versus blackening it.

Experience and recommendation: If you want to use fresh corn to char or blacken the kernels, the easiest way is to simply grill ears of corn on the cob till desired blackness and then remove with a corn stripper like this.

spoon of charred corn.
5 from 1 votes

Charred Corn

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Wow, this is an irresistible charred corn recipe! Learn how to get that enticing smokey flavor and wonderful caramelized texture that make charred corn a summer favorite—right from a skillet. Whether you need a delicious side dish for dinner or a family BBQ, you cannot go wrong with blackened corn kernels in just about 15 minutes.


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 16 oz. frozen corn kernels thawed and drained of excess water, dried with paper towels if necessary
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • fresh parsley optional for serving color

Seasonings and Spices

  • 1 tsp Paprika Hungarian paprika for smokey flavors
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  • Prior to starting the recipe, thaw frozen corn and remove excess water. The less water left in the pan, the easier the corn can char. Because most corn has water content, there will be an element of it steaming off prior to the charring beginning.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and carefully add drained and thawed corn kernels.
  • Stir in paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, and onion powder. Mix well to evenly coat all corn.
  • Continue to cook corn, stirring occasionally, until the majority of the corn is charred and blackened, about 20 minutes. This process takes 15-20 minutes due to the natural water content in corn, so be patient. Do not over-stir as the corn must sit on the pan to blacken.
  • Remove cast iron pan from heat and stir butter into charre corn until melted. Top with chopped fresh parsley (or one of the ideas in the comments) if desired. 


Here are just a few suggestions to switch up the flavors:
  • Salt & pepper
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Lime juice
  • Cotija cheese
  • Chili flakes
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Fresh Chives
  • Cumin
  • Or try adding: drained and rinsed Black Beans, Diced Green Bell Pepper, Sliced Jalapeno Pepper, Green Onions
Charred corn goes great as a side to grilled meats, hamburgers, and hot dogs but also as a topping to tacos and other Mexican inspired dishes.

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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