Spicy Corn Skillet with Garlic and Chilis

5 stars

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This 5-minute corn skillet side dish recipe is jam-packed with garlicky flavor and perfect for using up fresh or frozen sweet corn.

corn skillet

As the weather heats up, I like to have an easy, tasty side dish to make when hosting a family bbq or backyard party. My corn skillet side dish only takes five minutes and I love to make it while I’m grilling a steak or burger. It’s a great way to use up all of the fresh corn I have on hand from the farmers market.

spicy sauteed corn skillet closeup


  • Corn kernels: Brings fiber, B vitamins and essential minerals. Grab six ears of fresh corn. Or, you can also use frozen corn or canned corn you have on hand.
  • Olive oil and butter: Helps to make this corn skillet recipe creamy, tastier and brings all the ingredients together. Olive oil is also considered a healthy fat.
  • Garlic: Grated garlic adds a pungent, spicy flavor that will keep you wanting to make this recipe again and again.
  • Red chili pepper: Adds a little kick of heat to balance out the sweet corn and salty butter.
  • Additional toppings: Boost the flavor with a crumbled queso fresco, fresh cilantro and additional minced chilis to garnish.
cutting corn for corn skillet

How to Make Spicy Corn Skillet with Garlic and Chilis

To get started, first, take each ear of corn and use a knife as you rotate it and slice off the kernels. This is the easiest way to prepare corn for use in salads, soups and more. Next, heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.

chopping red chili peppers

Second, chop and mince red chili peppers. The best way to do this is to use a chef’s knife to cut the stems, then cut the chilis in half. Slice them lengthwise into thin strips, then chop across the strips into small pieces. Want to keep this dish mild? You can remove the pith and seeds. But if you want to keep things spicy, mince the chilis whole.

adding garlic and red chili peppers

Third, add chilis to the pan, along with minced garlic. Make sure to stir them together for about 30 seconds. Soon, you’ll start to smell the delicious aroma. One of my favorite things about cooking is the smells that fill my kitchen during the process!

sprinkling salt on corn skillet

Fourth, add in the sweet corn. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper to taste (YUM!) and sauté it for five or six minutes. During this time, stir frequently so the combo of flavors easily melds together.

adding butter to corn skillet

Fifth, add butter to the corn and stir it until melted. While you do this, check the seasoning and adjust accordingly based on your preference.

chopping green onions

As a sixth step, you can also mince onions and add them on top. I like to incorporate scallions because they are an easy onion to chop for this recipe and support weight loss.

queso fresco

Garnish with optional toppings before serving. I like to add minced scallions, cotija cheese, minced cilantro and extra chilis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which entrees do you recommend pairing this with?

This recipe is ideal with grilled chicken shawarma, a backyard bbq recipe or any of my Mexican recipes!

What can I substitute queso fresco with?

Cotija, feta or Parmigiano-Reggiano all work well if you don’t have any queso fresco on hand.

What’s the best way to store leftover sautéed corn?

Store the corn in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.

spicy sauteed corn skillet

If you made this recipe, let’s see it! I LOVE to see your creations. Tag @TheLemonBowl on Instagram to be featured. Also, I highly recommend checking out these recipes too:

Liz with spicy sauteed corn skillet

Your fork is waiting.

corn skillet having garnish sprinkled onto

Spicy Corn Skillet with Garlic and Chilis

5 stars
This 5 minute side dish recipe is jam packed with garlicky flavor and perfect for using up fresh or frozen sweet corn.
PREP: 5 minutes
TOTAL: 5 minutes


  • 5 cups corn kernels (about 6 ears – fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (grated)
  • 2 tablespoons red chili pepper (minced, optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • queso fresca, cilantro, additional chilis (optional garnish)


  • Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add garlic and chilis to the pan and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds, before adding in the sweet corn. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and saute for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add butter to the corn and stir until melted. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Garnish with optional toppings before serving.

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Serving: 1cupCalories: 223kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 5gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 407mgPotassium: 314mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 251IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
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