These delicious Air Fryer Corn Ribs are not only super fun to eat, they are just the right amount of crispy, sweet, and juicy. We love them for snacking and to take as an appetizer for parties.
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While cutting a cob of corn this way is a little bit difficult, it’s so worth it! As they cook, they curl up to look like a rib, and this makes them super easy to eat, just like a rib.
You might have seen these on Tik Tok, or at a local restaurant. They became quite popular and everyone was raving about them. If you try them, you’ll see why.
Ingredients You Need
- Fresh corn on the cob – Buy and use your corn as fresh as possible. This will make it easier to cut through the cob and ensure the juiciest kernels.
- Olive Oil – Olive oil adds a nice flavor and it’s good for you. You could also use melted butter or ghee.
- Seasonings: Paprika, garlic powder, salt, ground black pepper
- Sauce: Mayonnaise and lime juice make a zesty and delicious sauce for the corn ribs
- Garnish: I use Tajin seasoning and crumbled cotija cheese as a garnish. You could also use paprika, chili powder, or Parmesan cheese and even a sprinkle of cilantro.
How to Cut the Corn
The hardest part of this venture is cutting the corn. It might seem easy, but the cob is actually quite hard and can be very difficult to cut through. So the first thing we want to say is, always, always practice safety in the kitchen and be very careful when doing this. Proceed at your own risk.
The best tips I’ve gleaned from doing this myself are:
- Heat the cobs in the microwave for 2 minutes and then let them cool before slicing. This will soften them up a bit.
- Use a very sharp knife but be very careful of your hand placement when cutting, so you don’t end up slicing through your hand instead of the cob.
- Stand the corn upright and slice through it vertically to keep the corn from rolling out from under you.
- If you have a clever style knife, you can get it started, then chop it against the cutting board like you’re chopping through a log, so your other hand is not near the knife.
- If it feels unsafe at any point, stop and enjoy your corn some other way.
- Air fryer: I use this 4-quart basket-style air fryer. It’s large enough to fit a meal for 4-6. But some things need more space in the air fryer basket, so they cook evenly.
- Kitchen tongs: It’s very easy to remove food from your air fryer with kitchen tongs. I use these kitchen tongs that are silicon coated so they don’t scratch the interior.
- Basting brush: You’ll need a basting brush to coat the kernels with the seasoning rub. Make sure you get the seasoning down into the grooves for the most flavor.
- Sharp Chef’s Knife or Butcher’s Knife: In order to make cutting the corn easy and safe, be sure to use a sharp knife that is up to the task. You can’t use a utility knife or any smaller knife. It has to be a large, sharp knife.
How to Make Air Fryer Corn Ribs
To start this process, take the husks off the corn and chop off the ends so they are flat and can be placed on the cutting board in a sturdy stance.
Microwave the cobs for 2 minutes to soften them and prepare them for cutting. Carefully, and with a sharp knife, cut the cobs into quarters, lengthwise.
Mix together the olive oil and seasonings in a bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush the seasoning mixture onto the corn ribs. You don’t need to cover the back side, just the kernels.
Place the ribs in the air fryer basket, trying not to overlap them too much. They will cook better with a little space between them.
Air fry for 11-12 minutes on 400° F. I’ve found that it’s not really necessary to flip them over while cooking. They will start to curl up as they approach the last half of the cooking time. If you start to hear popping, you might want to take them out early. That’s a pretty good indication that they are done. Mine are usually done between 11 and 12 minutes.
Whisk together the mayonnaise and lime juice in a bowl. This will be the drizzle for the corn. You can either drizzle it on or use it as a dip. If it’s not thin enough to drizzle, add a bit of water to thin it out.
When the ribs are ready, serve them with the sauce drizzled over the top, a sprinkle of tajin seasoning, and some crumbled cotija. Honestly, they are really delicious just on their own without any of the garnishes, so you can decide if you want to keep it simple or add toppings.
Substitutions and Notes for Ease
- I’ve found that a lot of people don’t really want to attempt the cutting of the corn, not wanting to risk losing a finger. That’s understandable. If you have a very sharp knife and you keep your other hand away from the corn/knife, you should be able to do it, like chopping through a piece of wood. Once you get it cut in half, you can set it flat side down and cut through it again.
- But if you don’t want to, or can’t, you can still enjoy this corn as a whole cob. It’s the seasoning and sauce that makes it so delicious. Same cook time.
- If you don’t like mayonnaise, you can substitute with Greek yogurt or sour cream.
- If you don’t have Tajin seasoning, you can sprinkle on some chili powder, paprika, bbq rub, or just leave it off.
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Air Fryer Corn Ribs
- 2 ears fresh corn on the cob
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- Tajin seasoning for garnish
- 1 tablespoon cotija cheese for garnish
- Take the husks off the corn and chop off the ends. Carefully and with a sharp knife, cut the cobs into quarters, lengthwise.
- Mix together the olive oil and the seasonings. Brush on the corn ribs.
- Place them in the air fryer basket.
- Air fry for 12 minutes on 400° F, flipping halfway through the cook time.
- Whisk mayonnaise and lime juice together in a bowl.
- When the ribs are ready, serve them with the sauce drizzled over the top, a sprinkle of tajin seasoning, and some crumbled cotija.
All air fryers have different wattage and may cook at different rates. You may need to adjust the time or temp for the best results.
🥧 If you’re interested in more great recipes, I share all my favorite recipes over at A Food Lover’s Kitchen, and you’ll find Instant Pot recipes at A Pressure Cooker Kitchen, and cocktails and drinks at Savored Sips. Check it out today!
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Laura spends a lot of her time cooking and creating recipes to share. She loves traveling and learning about new foods around the world to bring into her own recipes at home.