What Are Corn Ribs, and How Do You Make Them At Home?

A must-try recipe for the side dish of the summer.

<p>Lauri Patterson/Getty Images</p>

Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

The key to eating more vegetables is to dress ‘em up with the right seasonings and cooking methods. Some veggies are harder to jazz up than others, but most people can agree that corn (which is technically a fruit but is often prepared like a vegetable) is downright delicious. It also doesn’t take a lot of effort to make corn taste good. Full of sweet, juicy goodness, the starchy food is satisfying, satiating, and nutritious all on its own, but with a little spice and butter, even more amazing things happen.

But what’s the best way to cook corn? Corn is a versatile ingredient, so there are many ways to prepare it—from boiling to grilling. The Internet’s new favorite way to prepare summer corn is by turning it into ribs. That’s right—corn ribs are TikTok’s latest foodie obsession. They’re not actually ribs, and you don’t smother them in barbecue sauce, but they’re called “corn ribs” because you cut them into slices and eat the corn kernels off the cob. They’re often billed as a vegetarian version of ribs, but anyone can enjoy them. Here’s everything you need to know about corn ribs! 

Related: How to Grill Corn on the Cob Perfectly—Plus Tips on How to Buy and Shuck It

What Are Corn Ribs?

Corn ribs are a meat-free side dish made by slicing, seasoning, and cooking strips of corn. They’ve gained popularity on social media platforms like TikTok, not only because they’re bursting with flavor, but also because everyone can enjoy them, including vegans, vegetarians, and meat lovers.

What makes corn ribs different from other corn recipes is largely how the corn is cut. You’ll cut the corn in two, and then quarter it, creating eight strips per corn on the cob. These can resemble the shape of ribs, and they also allow you the option of dunking them into a dipping sauce. When cooked, the ends of each corn rib curl inward, which also mimics the shape of traditional ribs and makes them easier to eat.


When cutting corn, you should make sure you have a very sharp knife and non-slip cutting board. Using a dull knife can go badly.

How Do You Eat Corn Ribs?

They’re called “corn ribs” because you eat them with your hands, similar to how you’d eat ribs. When eating ribs, you use two hands to stabilize it and eat the meat off the bone. Then, the bone is discarded. You eat corn ribs in a similar way. They’re a handheld food, so pick up the corn rib with your hands, holding both sides. Bite the corn kernels directly off the corn rib, avoiding the cob. The cob is too tough to eat, so you’ll eat around the cob and discard it at the end.

The shape of corn ribs also makes them perfect for dipping. You can dunk them in your favorite dipping sauce, such as a chipotle crema or a smoky mayonnaise-based sauce. For something quick and easy, try ranch dressing for dipping.

Though you can eat corn ribs on their own, they make for a better appetizer or side dish. If you plan on attending a barbecue or potluck this summer, corn ribs are a huge crowd pleaser.

Related: 20 Barbecue Recipes You'll Want to Make All Summer Long

How to Make Corn Ribs

Making corn ribs involves cutting, mixing, and cooking. You’ll start by cutting the corn into the desired shape and seasoning it. Corn ribs don’t have to marinate, so you can cook them immediately or prep them in advance. You can cook corn ribs in the oven, but air frying them may yield a crispier outside texture. You can also smoke or grill corn ribs if you prefer.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Corn on the cob: Skip the frozen or canned corn and get a few fresh ears of corn. These are the stars of the show.

  • Melted butter or olive oil: Butter or olive oil allows the spices to spread throughout every kernel of corn, but they also make everything taste better. This helps the corn ribs to crisp up, too.

  • Your desired spices: You can customize the spice blend however you’d like. Some people reach for cajun- or Mexican-style spices, which always pair well with corn. Corn doesn’t need a lot of help to shine, so a simple blend of smoked paprika, garlic powder, and salt will do the trick.

Corn Ribs Recipe

Now that you know virtually all there is to know about corn ribs, it’s time to make ‘em!


  • 2 ears of corn

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • Parsley or cilantro for garnish, optional

  • Ranch dressing or your favorite sauce for dipping, optional


  1. Remove the husk and give your corn a good rinse. Pat it dry.

  2. Using a sharp chef’s knife, carefully remove the ends of one of the ears of corn. Cut it into two smaller pieces of corn. Stand one of the pieces upright, and cut it down the middle. Cut the halves into quarters, creating four corb ribs. Repeat until you have 16 corn ribs, and transfer them to a mixing bowl.

  3. Drizzle the olive oil over the corn ribs and mix in your seasonings. Toss to coat.

  4. Cook the corn ribs in the oven or air fryer. To air fry, preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees. Transfer the corn ribs to the air fryer basket, and cook them for 10 to 15 minutes. To cook corn ribs in the oven, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and transfer the corn ribs to a lined baking sheet. Cook the corn ribs for about 15 minutes.

  5. When the corn ribs are done, sprinkle them with smoked paprika and chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish. Serve with a side of ranch or the sauce of your choice for dipping.

Related: 10 Tips for Cooking Corn on the Cob, According to Professional Chefs

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