Learn how to make corn ribs or riblets using your air fryer or oven in no time at all to enjoy as a deliciously spiced side dish, appetiser or a snack. Eating corn on the cob will never be the same again!
Corn ribs aka corn riblets have been around for a while now and make for such an awesome and fun way of eating corn on the cob.
The thing with corn ribs is that they are doddle to make once you cut the corn into said ribs. This is by far the hardest bit and lots of care and attention is needed there.
I will stress CARE again as we all like our fingers intact, don't we! - (make sure to check out my methods for getting your corn cut and keeping those fingers too).
✔️ Why you'll love this recipe
- Super fun way of eating corn.
- Perfect for making in the air fryer or in the oven.
- Fantastic side, appetiser or perfectly acceptable snack in its own right.
- Super versatile - not feeling smoky flavours today, how about BBQ marinade?
- Loved by all.
- Naturally gluten-free and vegan.
📝 Ingredients and substitutes
Here's what you will need to make my Corn Ribs aka Corn Riblets:
Corn on the cob - Either fresh or frozen is fine. If you're using frozen, you must defrost it first.
Ingredients for making marinade
Oil - I use cold-pressed rapeseed oil but feel free to use any oil you like including olive oil.
Herbs and spices - I went for smoked paprika with ground cumin, dried oregano, garlic powder and onion powder.
It's such a lovely combo of flavours with quite a dominant smoky, Mexican notes (my favourite).
You could, of course, adapt it to your liking using your favourite herbs and spices but I would suggest starting with this one as it's really, really good.
Lime juice - For a bit of acidity and of course flavour. You could substitute it with lemon.
Fresh coriander (cilantro) - sticking with Mexican theme I've used lots of fresh coriander as garnish but you could use fresh parsley instead.
🔪 How to cut corn on the cob
This is the tricky bit but fear not I've got you!
If you are not fussed about having full size corn ribs, I would strongly suggest making them smaller (half size) which will make the cutting process easier.
So here is my first method and the one I use most of the time.
Method 1 (Recommended)
1, 2 & 3 - Using a sharp knife start cutting into the middle of the corn cob, going as deep as you can.
Using both hands snap the corn into two mini cobs. It should be easy providing you previously cut into the corn really well.
Alternatively, you could cut straight through the corn with a knife.
4 - Ensure both ends of small cob are flat by trimming them with a knife.
Stand small cob vertically on its flat end and (using sharp knife and perhaps some hand protection) cut through it lengthwise.
I find starting with the sawing motion to get your knife into the top of the corn and then moving onto rocking motion to get through the corn till the end worked best for me.
Repeat with the remaining corn.
5, 6 & 7 - Lay the corn cob half flat side down and cut it in half again with a knife.
You might be fine cutting all the way through with the knife but if you find it hard you can use simple wooden rolling pin to bash the knife with and help it through.
***Warning*** You will make dents in your rolling pin.
8 - You got yourself some mini corn ribs! repeat with the remaining corn.
If you prefer full size corn riblets, here is the method I've used.
1 - Stand corn up on its flat end vertically (I like to give both ends a trim with a knife to ensure they're both flat).
2 - Using a sharp knife start cutting into the corn starting with the saw motion to get the knife in and moving onto rocking motion to get it all the way through the corn.
***Warning*** It might look easy but the knife likes to "wander" and you might not get two equal halves and instead cut the sliver off your corn which can be frustrating (main reason why I prefer to work with half cobs).
3 & 4 - Once you've got your corn cut into halves, it's time to cut it into quarters by laying it on its flat side (kernels up) and cutting it in half (lengthwise).
5 - You might want to use your trusty rolling pin again to give your knife helping hand (or helping bash).
6 - You've cut your corn into ribs! Now you need to repeat the process with all the remaining pieces.
🧑🍳 How to make corn ribs aka corn riblets
Ingredient quantities & detailed instructions to be found in recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Start by putting all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mixing them well into the paste.
Next, add prepared corn pieces and mix them well ensuring they're evenly covered with the marinade.
To cook corn ribs in the air fryer put the corn ribs in a single layer in a drawer/basket of your air fryer and cook on "air fry" setting at 200C/400F for approximately 15 minutes.
Give them a little shake every 5 minutes.
To cook corn ribs in the oven start with preheating the oven to 200C(fan)/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Line baking sheet with some baking paper, spread the corn pieces evenly and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes turning once. Timing will depend on how well baked/charred you'd like it.
Serve with your favourite dip and some extra lemon juice and generous sprinkle of fresh coriander (cilantro) if you like!
These are the best eaten freshly made and warm but if you've got any leftovers you can keep them in the fridge, in the airtight container, for up to 3 days.
You can enjoy eat them cold or reheat them in the air fryer or in the oven until warm and crispy again.
I wouldn't recommend freezing.
💭 Pro tips
Take care when cutting the corn. All the methods in the world are not going to replace common sense so please be careful.
When using air fryer, use crisper plate if it comes with one.
Cook your corn riblets in single layer. Don't overcrowd them.
Feel free to marinade your corn in the fridge if you've got time. Once covered in marinade, you can keep it in the fridge even for up to a day before you cook it.
🍴 Serving suggestions
These corn ribs taste fab as they are especially if drizzled with some extra lime or lemon juice and sprinkled with some good quality sea salt like these smoked flakes from Cornish Sea Salt (not sponsored).
Our preferred way of serving them is with super simple harissa mayo - simply mix your favourite vegan mayo with some harissa paste to taste. So so good!
Corn ribs work so well as a stand alone snack or appetiser but also a delicious veggie side dish.
Here are few of my favourites they go really well with:
Absolutely! You can prepare them to the point of covering them in marinade and keeping in the fridge (covered or in the airtight container) until you're ready to cook them.
For me it's got to be cutting the corn into small cobs first and then making your ribs out those. Working with two small cobs you've got more control over the knife and personally I found the cutting much easier. Plus we prefer mini corn ribs in our house anyway.
Sure. Our second favourite is simply shop bought bbq sauce but you could also make something Asian-inspired with soy sauce, chilli and maple syrup perhaps. You can really go for it here in terms of flavours, don't be afraid to experiment.
Have you tried my Corn Ribs recipe?
Please consider giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in recipe card below and share your views or tips in the comments.
The Best Corn Ribs (Corn Riblets) - Air Fryer and Oven
- 2 corn on the cob cut into mini ribs
- extra lime juice to serve
- fresh coriander (cilantro) or parsley to serve
- 3 tablespoon rapeseed/sunflower/olive oil
- ½ lime (juice of) or lemon
- 1 teaspoon (heaped) smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
Cutting corn on the corn into mini ribs (see step-by-step pictures).
- Cut the corn cob in half to make two small cobs. You can cut it entirely with a knife or start with a knife and finish by snapping corn in half.
- Ensure both ends of small cob are flat by trimming them with a knife.
- Stand the mini corn cob upright on one of the flat ends and cut it in half lengthwise.
- Lay the corn cob half flat side down and cut it in half again with a knife, helping yourself with a bash or two of the rolling pin if you want to.
- Repeat with remaining corn.
Making corn ribs
- Start by putting all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mixing them well into the paste.
- Next, add prepared corn pieces and mix them well ensuring they're evenly covered with the marinade.
To cook corn ribs in the air fryer
- Put the corn ribs in a single layer in a drawer/basket of your air fryer and cook on "air fry" setting at 200C/400F for approximately 15 minutes.
- Give them a little shake every 5 minutes.
To cook corn ribs in the oven
- Start with preheating the oven to 200C(fan)/400F/Gas Mark 6.
- Line baking sheet with some baking paper, spread the corn pieces evenly and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes turning once. Timing will depend on how well baked/charred you'd like it.
- Serve with your favourite dip and some extra lemon juice and generous sprinkle of fresh coriander (cilantro) if you like!
- Nutritional information is per serving (based on four servings) and should be treated as rough guideline only.
- Best enjoyed fresh but leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Enjoy warmed up or cold straight from the fridge. Freezing not recommended.