scoop of summer sweet corn saute side dish on a plate

I realized as I dug into my sweet corn studded Scallops and Zoodles for dinner at Bol last week in Vail that it was the first bite of sweet corn I’d had all summer long. As an Iowan that is a SIN! We produce the most corn in the entire world and, although sweet corn makes up just 1% of the crop, we Iowan’s immerse ourselves in the summertime treat any chance we get.

Well except for me, this summer, apparently.

I guess I had to go all the way to Colorado to ignite my craving because all I’ve been thinking about since returning home is how many different ways I can enjoy it. Rawgrilled, stirred into risottos, topping tacos, or simmered in soups and stoups – yes please, I’ll take it all. But to squash a sweet corn craving in nearly no time at all, and enhance it’s natural sweetness with just a few fridge and garden staples, it’s Summer Sweet Corn Saute to the rescue!

You guys, I cannot express how yummy this easy side dish is and, best of all, the recipe calls for just 5 ingredients plus salt and pepper. Sweet, snappy, and garlic-basil-buttery. I need you to make this tonight!

scoop of summer sweet corn saute side dish on a plate

Fresh sweet corn kernels sliced off the cob (see below for my mess free method) are sauteed in butter with green onions, garlic, and an offensive amount of salt and cracked black pepper before fresh basil is sprinkled on top and stirred in. Look up “simple is best” in the dictionary and you’ll find this recipe. If dictionaries had phrases and anybody still used one. You understand.

Anyway, let this recipe serve more as a guide versus a hard and fast one that you need to follow exactly. Truly all you need to do is add a thwack of butter to a hot skillet then add sweet corn kernels, a few green onions and cloves of garlic, plus a small handful of fresh basil from your garden if you’ve got one. Saute for a few minutes then boom, it’s done. I’m also not trying to tell you how much butter and salt to use, btw. As the viral Instagram meme instructs us, You measure that ish with your heart. Amen.

This recipe is simple enough to whip up any night of the week, is great to prep ahead of time (save mincing/pressing the garlic for cooking time,) and pairs well with pretty much anything – grilled chicken, fish, and sizzling steaks, or hot dogs, which is what I served it with the other night. What can I say, Ben was working late and Mama was tired…and likes hot dogs.


sauteed sweet corn with basil and garlic butter in a skillet

How to Make Summer Sweet Corn Saute

Start by slicing the kernels off 4 ears sweet corn, for roughly 4 cups kernels total. My favorite mess-free method for slicing the kernels off a cob is to rotate the cob while slicing off a few rows at a time, keeping a flat part on the cutting board for stability. Voila, no flying kernels!

Hot to cut corn off the cob and not make a mess

Watch the Easiest Way to Slice Kernels from the Cob

Next melt 4 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-heat. I always use salted butter but you can use whatever you’ve got in the fridge. Vegan butter works too!

Add the kernels to the skillet with 3 sliced green onions, 2 pressed or minced garlic cloves, and TONS of salt and freshly cracked pepper. Saute until the kernels are crisp-tender, 4-5 minutes, then add 8 fresh basil leaves that have been chopped and stir to combine.

sweet corn sauting with garlic basil and butter in a skillet

Here’s my favorite method for chopping fresh basil leaves:

  • Stack the basil leaves on top of one another
  • Roll the leaves up like a cigar
  • Slice (aka julienne) the leaves into thin strips

For this recipe, since we want chopped vs julienned basil, take your knife then slice the opposite direction of the strips to chop them up. Easy!

Scoop Sweet Corn Saute onto plates next to whatever you’ve got cookin’ for dinner, then DIG IN (and don’t say I didn’t warn you about fighting over leftovers!) Enjoy! :)

scoop of summer sweet corn saute side dish on a plate

Summer Sweet Corn Saute

5/5 (1 REVIEW)


Summer Sweet Corn Saute is a mouthwatering, 5 ingredient side dish recipe! Made with fridge and garden staples, it pairs perfectly with any summer dinner.


serves 4-6

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 ears sweet corn, kernels sliced from cobs (~4 cups kernels)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 medium-sized basil leaves, chopped


  1. Add butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once melted, add sweet corn kernels, green onions, and garlic then season with lots of salt and pepper and saute until kernels are crisp-tender, 4-5 minutes. Add chopped basil then stir to combine and serve.


  • Use these ingredient measurements as a starting point - feel free to add or subtract to your tastes!

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

Photo collage of summer sweet corn saute