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How To Grill Sweet Corn Over The Campfire

There are not many campfire recipes that start and end in the produce section and become a main course! Grilled veggies, fruit … heck anything … and especially campfire corn on the cob … is taken to new levels of flavordom (yes, I know this is not a real word) with the char of campfire coals.

This cooking fresh corn in the husk technique works on a BBQ grill with charcoal too but why not get a bit more adventurous than that?!?! I’m guessing you will love, Love, LOVE the flavor of the char versus boiling the precious kernels of summer fun. 

Grilled Sweet Corn with Basil Butter – Camping For Foodies .com

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Corn On The Cob Campfire Recipe

This recipe serves 4 but is simply scaled up if you need easy camping meals for large groups.

Its also great to scale down to make camping meals for two or solo campers.

And, when it is in season (peak is May through September), sweet corn is super cheap and readily available in grocery stores, local farmer’s markets and backyard gardens which is great when you are cooking for big groups!

5 Easy Steps For Cooking Corn On A Campfire

You’ll be eating campfire corn all summer long if you try this easy technique for grilling sweet corn in the husk!

There are five simple steps to roasting corn over a campfire or a charcoal grill.

How to grill sweet corn over the campfire – Camping For Foodies .com

Step 1: Remove silk.

Pull back the husks enough to get all of the annoying threads out of there. Otherwise you will be flossing your teeth at the same time you are eating the corn. LOL

Step 2: Soak in water.

Fold the husks back around the corn and soak them in cold water for about 30 minutes. You want the corn to steam inside the husks before the husks dry out and begin to burn.

The size of the crowd you are feeding and the number of ears of corn you need to soak will determine the container bucket size necessary for soaking.

Step 3: Grill on medium.

Drain excess water before grilling, then, place ears in a single layer over medium heat.

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Campfire cooking is the tricky part. I like to cook in a big fire ring so that I can keep a fire going on one side of the ring while I drag a few hot coals under my cooking rack.

Don’t put flames under your corn … just hot campfire coals.

Push coals to side of grill to reduce heat, push hot embers directly under grill to increase heat.

You want those little beauties to roast nicely with dark brown spots of charred corn … not turn into flares and smoke signals!

How long to cook corn on campfires?

Use tongs to turn the corn about every 5 minutes or so, they are done when tender which will take about 30 minutes but keep checking tenderness throughout your cooking time because time will vary with each campfire.

If you are camping in a location that already has grates set up to cook over campfires, that’s great! If you are camping in a remote area without campfire grates and grill racks, you may have to bring your own campfire cooking equipment like we do.

Step 4: Pull back husks.

Caution…the corn is hot! I like to use rubber gloves when removing the husks because they will be hot.

Step 5: Slather with basil butter.

Yep…I said basil butter! It is sooooooooooo much tastier than regular butter and I have a super-simple recipe that you can make at the campsite or at home.

You can even make it in advance and freeze it until ready to use!

Camp Cooking Tip: Do not use room temperature butter on your whole ears of corn. You can cover corn with a nice even layer when your butter is hard and cold. When you rub butter over hot corn, it melts quickly, creates an evenly buttered cob and is not super messy.

Alternatives To Campfire Cooking

NOTE: Most portable propane fire pits are not intended to be used for cooking although some campers do use them for roasting marshmallows and hot dogs. These hot fire pits use the same propane gas as a typical backyard BBQ grill so if you want to roast corn over one, you need to set a grill grate above the unit.

How To Make Corn On The Cob While Camping Without Fire

Making corn on campfires is just one way to prepare camping corn on the cob.

But, what if you are camping without fire due to fire restrictions and you can’t have fires or use charcoal?

You can use your camping propane with a portable camp stove or RV stove and just boil the corn.

Here’s how to cook corn while camping using propane as the heat source …

Bring a big pot of water to boil, drop in the peeled corn on the cob, cover the pot and bring it back up to a boil. 

The corn will be tender in approximately 5-7 minutes.

Need more camp stove recipes? We’ve got them!


A delicious way to use leftover corn is to sprinkle it into salads, the smoky flavor adds so much to recipes.

How to remove corn kernels from cob:

  1. Remove outer husks from cob.
  2. Place small bowl upside-down in the bottom of a large bowl.
  3. Place corn on the small bowl (bottom of the ears should be set on the flat part of the small bowl).
  4. Starting at the top of the ear, use a sharp paring knife to slice downward to cut the kernels off of the cob. The large bowl with catch the falling kernels.
  5. ​Work your way around the cob to remove all of the kernels.
  6. Turn the knife so the dull edge is against the cob and scrape the sweet milk from the cob into the bowl with the kernels.

This Southwest Camping Salad is a popular 5-star recipe that calls for frozen corn to make it simple, but, you can use leftovers from your grilled corn cobs for even more flavor.

Print This Recipe

Grilled Sweet Corn with Basil Butter – Camping For Foodies .com

Campfire Corn On The Cob: How To Grill Sweet Corn Over The Campfire

Kim Hanna

Camping For Foodies Sides Camping Recipes: Campfire Corn On The Cob

Prep Time 5 mins

Cook Time 30 mins

Additional Time 30 mins

Total Time 1 hr 5 mins

Course Sides Camping Recipes

Cuisine American

Servings 4 Servings (2 ears/person)

Calories 153 kcal

  • 8 Ears of sweet corn
  • Water for soaking about 2 gallons
  • Salt to taste

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Pull back the husks and remove silk from corn.

  • Fold the husks back around the corn.

  • Soak in cold water about 30 minutes.

  • Drain excess water and grill on medium heat turning every 5 minutes or so until the corn is tender, about 30 minutes.

  • Carefully pull back husks wearing protective gloves so you don’t burn yourself.

Serving: 1gCalories: 153kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 5gFat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 4mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7g


If husked corn alone is not enough of a meal in itself, serve it as a side dish and try some new recipes on your campout.

Big Mac Sloppy Joes

Burgers and hot dogs are standard backyard bbq menu items but they can get boring. If you’re feeling for ground beef, try this loose meat sandwich. It’ll put the restaurant hamburger version to shame!

Big Mac Sloppy Joes by CampingForFoodies features a double decker sandwich on a sesame seeded bun filled with sloppy joe meat and a copycat version of McDonald’s secret sauce, American cheese, pickles and shredded lettuce. The meal is ready to be served for dinner at the campsite. A cast iron Dutch oven and propane fuel canister on a camp stove are in the background.
Big Mac Sloppy Joes by CampingForFoodies

Diablo Sandwich Recipe

If you’re not afraid of a little spicy pepper taste, try this Diablo Sandwich that was inspired by the 1977 comedy/action classic movie Smokey and the Bandit starring Jackie Gleason and Burt Reynolds.

Diablo Sandwich Recipe by CampingForFoodies features a hot sandwich on a blue camping plate. The red and brown color hamburger is mixed with yellow corn, bright green cilantro and avocado slices. The plate is set on a firewood log with blue sky in the background.
Diablo Sandwich Recipe by CampingForFoodies

Dutch Oven Lemon Chicken

The chicken skin is crisped in a few tablespoons olive oil then the flavors are added with garlic, onion, fresh rosemary, lemon and chicken broth in one of my favorite one pot camping meals.

Dutch Oven Lemon Chicken by CampingForFoodies features a black cast iron Dutch oven filled with golden brown, crispy chicken thighs on top of a bed of tender petite potatoes, lemon slices and fresh rosemary sprigs in a smooth pan sauce. The pot is sitting on the ground, dinner is ready to be served at the campsite.
Dutch Oven Lemon Chicken by CampingForFoodies

Refrigerator Cucumber Salad

Cold salads are perfect in the heat of the summer. This cucumber salad can be made at the campsite or at home. The flavors need to marry for at least 6 hours in the refrigerator. It’s like eating summer in a bowl!

Refrigerator Cucumber Salad by CampingForFoodies features a blue camping bowl on a tree stump filled with cold sliced vegetables including green English cucumbers, red onions and red bell peppers tossed in a simple homemade dressing with fresh dill.
Refrigerator Cucumber Salad by CampingForFoodies

More Camping Recipes

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