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Air Fryer Corn Ribs are the perfect side, snack, or appetizer made with fresh corn on the cob. These corn riblets are brushed with olive oil or butter, seasoned to perfection, and fried to crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Ready in minutes and just a few simple ingredients you can pull from your pantry. This amazing corn side dish is just the thing for your summer BBQ, potluck, or quick weeknight dinner!

This is my newest favorite thing to make in the air fryer along with air fryer garlic texas toast, air fryer honey garlic chicken wings, air fryer buffalo chicken quesadillas, and air fryer hot dogs!

Hand holding a corn riblett with a bowl full of corn ribs in the background.

What are Corn Rib or Riblets?

The corn cob acts a bit like a ‘bone’, acting as something to hold while you eat the juicy corn kernels– much like eating ribs! A smoky rub takes them to the next level, so whether you’re serving them as an appetizer, a snack, or a side at a BBQ, they’ll keep your friends and family coming back for more!

Ingredient Notes

  • Ears of Corn: Pick fresh corn at a local farmer’s market or in the grocery store. You can even get them already shucked and cleaned in the produce section of the store for added convenience.
  • Olive Oil or Butter: Use your favorite olive oil to keep these vegan or lighter. Go for real butter for amazing buttery flavor!
  • Seasonings: Smoked paprika and garlic is the perfect blend for corn ribs. Then add a little salt & black pepper to your taste. However, you can really add any seasonings you like. See the Variations section for some great flavor combination ideas.
Ingredients needed for air fryer corn ribs.

How to Make Air Fryer Corn Ribs

Be sure to see the recipe card below for exact ingredients and full recipe instructions!

Step 1 | Prepare Corncobs

Take each whole ear of corn remove any husks and corn silks/threads from the corn cobs.

Step 2 | Slice Corncobs

Using a chef’s knife, very carefully cut each cub into lengthways quarters. Start by standing the corn upright (vertically) with the widest end on a cutting board, then using a very sharp knife, gently apply pressure rocking back and to cut through the center of the cob.

Then slice it again into quarters. Repeat for each cob. (Cutting the halves can be a little more tricky because they’re less stable when held vertically).

* An Alternative Cutting Method is to lay the half cobs down on the chopping board, flat side down, which provides more stability. This method has the cut going against the grain so can be more challenging to get the knife through – a rolling pin can be used to hit the back of the knife to break through the cob.

Step 3 | Make Corn Rib Marinade Rub

In a small bowl, mix together the oil, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Then with a little salt and pepper (to taste) in order to make the rub. Next, lay out the quartered cobs on a tray or board and use a pastry brush to evenly coat them with seasoned oil or butter.

Step 4 | Air Fry Corn Riblets

Evenly lay out the seasoned corn ribs in the air fryer basket. Cook until tender and the edges have started to brown and crisp.

Depending on the size of your basket, you may need to make them in batches, to prevent the slices of corn from sitting on top of each other.

They should be in a single layer.

Collage image of steps to make air fryer corn ribs; cut corn ribs, coat with seasonings, and place in air fryer.

Tips

  • Be sure to use a sharp knife. This will be safer and easier! Be sure to curve your fingers in towards your palm and away from the knife so that you don’t cut your fingers.
  • To make the corncobs even easier to cut, you can place the corn in a microwave-safe dish. Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and let cool to touch, and then cut into riblets.
  • Make extra marinade/rub (or even use butter in place of olive oil). Halfway through cooking, add a little more garlic butter sauce for even extra flavor.
  • All air fryers and ovens will cook at varying temperatures. You may need to adjust cook times accordingly.
Corn Ribs set on a wooden tray in a terracotta colored bowl garnished with lime and cilantro.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where did corn ribs originate?

These corn riblets became popular on TikTok and are now very popular here online. They are unique, fun, and perfect handheld food. And this air fryer version of corn ribs makes them even simpler and quicker to make. There is also an oven method included in case you don’t have an air fryer.

Can you eat the whole corn rib?

The corn rib is attached to the cob, so you should eat it as if you are eating corn on the cob – or a bone in rib.

Can you fry corn ribs?

To fry corn ribs, do not season before frying. Add ½ inch deep frying oil to a skillet. As soon as the oil is hot (about 350°F) add to the skillet and turn with tongs to brown all sides of the corn riblets. Remove and drain on paper towels. Then toss or brush with the garlic butter.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Dip: Dip corn ribs in your favorite dips like siracha mayo, ranch dressing, chipotle mayo, or make an Elote sauce.
  • Spicy: For a little heat sprinkle with cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes. Or go for a cajun seasoning to bring up the heat.
  • Taco Flavor: Use some taco seasoning or ground cumin, chili powder, onion powder, dried oregano, and a squeeze of lime juice.
  • Mexican Street Corn: You can even add a little cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, and Mexican crema. Then serve with lime wedges.
  • A Greek Flare: Use green dressing seasoning and feta cheese.
  • BBQ Rub: That favorite BBQ spice rub will add even more smoky goodness. Then drizzle with your favorite BBQ sauce.
  • Sweet Treat: Use a combination of cinnamon and sugar for something sweet and delicious.
  • Try Sprinkling On Other Seasonings: Like ranch, lemon pepper, or Italian seasoning makes a delicious topping.

Storage and Reheating

These corn ribs are best if enjoyed fresh and straight from the air fryer or oven. They tend to dry out a bit after being stored.

Storage: If storing, keep in the fridge in an airtight container or zip bag for up to 3 days.

Reheat: Reheat and crisp back up in the air fryer for 3-4 minutes at 350°F, or in the oven at the same temperature for 8-10 minutes.

You may also place it on a microwave-safe dish and reheat it. Start with 30 seconds and add 30-second intervals until heated to your liking.

Freeze: I do not recommend freezing these.

A bowl of corn ribs set on a wooden board with an air fryer bowl in the background.

More Side Dish Recipes to Try

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Overhead image of a bowl of air fryer corn ribs set on a wooden tray.
Recipe
5 from 2 votes

(click stars to rate)

Air Fryer Corn Ribs

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 16 riblets – serves 4
Author: Nikki Lee
Air Fryer Corn Ribs are the perfect side, snack, or appetizer made with fresh corn on the cob. These corn riblets are brushed with olive oil or butter, seasoned to perfection, and fried to crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside.
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Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 4 corn cobs
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, (you can also use butter)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper , to taste

Optional Garnishes

    Instructions

    • Remove any husks and corn silks/threads from the corn cobs.
    • Very carefully cut each cub into lengthways quarters. Start by standing a cob vertically with the widest end on a cutting board, then using a very sharp knife, gently apply pressure rocking back and to cut through the center of the cob.
    • Repeat the technique in step 3 on each half cob, being extremely careful, to end up with quarters. Repeat for each cob. (Cutting the halves can be a little more tricky because they’re less stable when held vertically).* See Notes for an alternative cutting method
    • In a small bowl, mix together the oil, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Then with a little salt and pepper (to taste) in order to make the rub. Next, lay out the quartered cobs on a tray or board and use a pastry brush to evenly coat them with the rub mix

    Air Fryer Instructions

    • Using an air fryer: Evenly lay out the seasoned corn ribs in the air fryer basket. Set the air fryer to 375°F and air fry corns ribs for 10-12 minutes, until tender and the edges have started to brown and crisp.
      Depending on the size of your basket, you may need to make them in batches, to prevent the slices of corn from sitting on top of each other. They should be in a single layer and leave a little space in between the pieces of corn.

    Oven Instructions

    • Using an oven: Preheat the oven to 375°F Lay out the corn ribs on a non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheet and put in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until tender and the edges have started to brown and crisp.
      For an extra char turn on the broiler setting for a minute or two. Just keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

    Garnish

    • To garnish brush with melted butter and sprinkle on desired toppings. *See the variations section in the post for additional delicious topping ideas.

    Video

    Notes

    • Be sure to use a sharp knife. This will be safer and easier! Be sure to curve your fingers in towards your palm and away from the knife, so that you don’t cut your fingers.
    • To make the ear of corn even easier to cut you can place the corn in a microwave-safe dish. Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and let cool to touch and then cut into riblets.
    • Make extra marinade/rub (or even use butter in place of olive oil). Halfway through cooking add a little more garlic butter sauce for even more flavor.
    • All air fryers and ovens will cook at varying temperatures. You may need to adjust cook times accordingly
    * An Alternative Cutting Method is to lay the half cobs down on the chopping board, flat side down, which provides more stability. This method has the cut going against the grain so can be more challenging to get the knife through a sharp knife is really helpful.  

    Nutrition Information

    Serving: 4ribs Calories: 51kcal (3%) Carbohydrates: 4g (1%) Protein: 1g (2%) Fat: 4g (6%) Saturated Fat: 1g (6%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0.002g Sodium: 4mg Potassium: 69mg (2%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 1g (1%) Vitamin A: 196IU (4%) Vitamin C: 2mg (2%) Calcium: 1mg Iron: 0.2mg (1%)

    Nutritional Disclaimer

    Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

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