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How to Air Fry Corn on the Cob, Vegan

5 from 6 votes

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Yes, you can air fry corn on the cob and get the moistest, juicy, most flavorful corn without boiling water, lighting your grill, or heating the oven. This recipe will walk you through all the steps so that you can learn how to air fry juicy delicious corn on the cob too!

four corn on the cob on white plate with tongs

I was always afraid to air fry corn on the cob. I had this misconception that air-fried corn would end up dried out, too chewy, and flavorless. Boy was I wrong! This corn-on-the-cob recipe is perfection!

Ever heard of the Goldielocks effect? Not too hard, not too soft, but just right. My take on corn on the cob has always been just like that. It can’t be too soggy (bleck) and shouldn’t be too firm and challenging to eat, but just right.

There is that sweet spot between raw and overdone when you cook corn that brings out the best texture and brightest flavor of the air fryer corn. I think that you’ll find, like Goldielocks, that his air-fried corn on the cob is just right!

I really think you’ll love this recipe because when you air fry corn on the cob, with the right seasonings and just the right amount of fat (remember, not too much or too little), you will have cooked corn on the cob perfection!

(Special note for my oil-free friends: the added vegan butter keeps this corn on the cob from drying out AND gives a little adds in extra flavor. I’m working on moist oil-free air fryer corn on the cob and will post it when done.)

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four air fryer corn on the cob on black plate with lime on side and salt and pepper shaker in the background with pinterest text overlay

Ingredients needed to air fry corn on the cob

  • Four ears of corn – You will need to trim, husk, and remove the silk from the corn cobs. I cheat and buy my corn pre-trimmed with much of the husk and silk already removed. If you buy your corn in the husk, then account for a little extra time in the total preparation time. This recipe calls for four ears of corn. I happen to have a large capacity air fryer with a large basket. It is important that you don’t overcrowd your air fryer basket. If yours is smaller, then cook your corn cobs in batches – or simply cook two or three cobs if that is all your need. I would leave the seasoning ingredients the same – just brush on what you need.
  • vegan butter – You will be melting the vegan butter, mixing in the seasonings, and brushing it on before cooking. This gives a rich buttery taste that cooks right into your corn and allows the other seasonings to stick as well. This is the part where I would normally say to use dairy butter if you are not vegan BUT not for this recipe! The dairy butter has milk fats that might burn in the air fryer. Perhaps gee would work? Or avocado oil. But really, the flavor of vegan butter is so amazing these days, you won’t be sorry if you use it!
  • Seasonings: smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, black (ground) pepper, cayenne pepper. If you are not a fan of spicy, then consider using less cayenne pepper or even leaving it out. BUT, I will add that my husband who is not a fan of spicy hot food didn’t even comment on the heat…so it must not be too bad!
  • Optional – a little squeeze of lime is a nice touch!
  • You will also need an air fryer and for this recipe, you really need air fryer basket liners. (Affiliate links) It gets messy! (Make sure you get the right size for your air fryer.)
ingredients needed for corn on the cob in the air fryer

A special note about the corn on the cob:

The flavor of the uncooked corn on the cob really impacts the flavor of the finished product. All the cooking and seasonings in the world aren’t going to compensate for bad corn. Take a little taste of just one raw kernel before cooking and make sure you have nice fresh sweet corn. Because really, life is too short to eat bad food!

I am just now exploring frozen vegetables in the air fryer. They do cook differently than fresh vegetables. So for now, I don’t recommend frozen corn on the cob until I can test it myself, but rather, use fresh corn on the cob:)

Step by step directions for air fryer corn on the cob

The exact ingredients with measurements can be found in the recipe card below along with more concise abbreviated instructions. Read more for details, tips, and tricks so that you will feel confident making this recipe.

Step 1: Prepare the corn and mix the ingredients

  • Husk and trim the corn.
  • Mix the seasonings.
  • Melt the vegan butter.

If your corn wasn’t purchased trimmed and husked you will need to do this now. Also, remove any of the silk the best you can. If there is a little bit left on the corn cobs, don’t stress. It will burn off when it cooks. Just don’t leave on too much silk or your corn will have a burnt taste.

four corn on the cob being shucked
Even though I buy my corn trimmed and *mostly* husked, you can see that I still need to remove some of the husks and silk.

Melt the vegan butter. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave just till melted. My oven takes about 30 seconds. Mix in the ingredients and set aside. Before it’s time to brush the melted butter mixture on the corn, give it a quick whisk.

Step 2: Preheat the air fryer

Most air fryers should be preheated WITHOUT food in the air fryer. The preheat mode can get very hot and start cooking the food at too high a temperature. Also, do NOT place the basket liner in the air fryer while preheating. I did that once and could actually see some signed edges. Yikes. Wait until after preheating the air fryer to add the liner and the food.

Preheat and set the timer for 15 minutes if your air fryer requires you to select the time before it starts preheating.

Step 3: Season the corn

Work on a plate or parchment paper on your countertop and brush the prepared corn cobs with the melted butter/seasoning mixture. Turn the corn as you are working so that each piece will be evenly seasoned.

brushing on seasoned vegan butter onto four corn on cob

Step 4: Cook that beautiful air fryer corn on the cob!

When your air fryer indicates that the preheating has finished, open the basket, place the liner in the basket and set each piece of corn on the liner. Close the basket and it should start air frying automatically. Each air fryer is different though and it is important that you understand the manufacturer’s instructions that came with your machine. (You have my permission to lick your fingers now. That seasoned vegan butter is YUM!)

By the way, that messy seasoning is the reason you need to use a basket liner. If you don’t have a basket liner then cut one from parchment paper. This will make cleanup time a breeze!

showing messy air fryer liner
With the melted butter and seasonings, your air fryer basket will get very messy! Using parchment paper makes the cleanup time a breeze.

It is important that you don’t overcrowd your air fryer basket. I happen to have a fairly large-capacity air fryer and depending on the size of my corn cobs, it can get pretty crowded in there!

If you need to cook your corn in batches – or simply cook fewer ears of corn, then do that. For even cooking you do not want the corn on top of each other. Barely touching is fine.

Turn the corn at the halfway point.

At the halfway point, pull out the air fryer basket and using tongs, carefully turn each ear of corn. If I happen to have any of the seasoned butter left, I brush more on it when I turn the corn.

turning corn with corn in air fryer with tongs

Every air fryer is different. If this is the first time you are making this recipe, watch carefully for burning and overcooking after the halfway point. You should have an idea when you turn the corn if your air fryer is cooking this recipe too quickly. Stop the cooking process before the corn cobs burn or dry out.

Serving suggestions

After your air fryer corn on the cob has cooked, open the basket, and with the same tongs, remove the corn to a serving platter. Allow for cooling time enough to comfortably enjoy.

I like to squeeze a little lime on my air-fried corn on the cob. Lime goes perfectly with the seasonings. You can also add a little more vegan butter, salt, and pepper.

four air fryer corn on the cob on black plate with lime on side and salt and pepper shaker in the background

Reheating the corn on the cob

If you have any leftover corn on the cob, just wrap it up tightly and place it in the fridge for up to three days. If I am going to reheat in the microwave then I wrap in plastic, but if I plan to reheat in the air fryer then I wrap in foil.

My air fryer happens to have a reheat setting. If yours does not then 280° for ten minutes should do the trick. Just keep it wrapped in the foil while reheating.

For some more air fryer recipes from Veggie Fun Kitchen, try:

Check back often because I’ll be adding more air fryer recipes as soon as my little fingers can type them!

Ready for your sweet juicy air fryer corn on the cob? Here is the printable recipe card:

four corn on the cob on white plate with tongs

Did you love this recipe? Want to share the love? It would thrill me to no end if you could leave five ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ stars and even a comment. Did you know that this will help google to find this recipe when others are looking for something similar? Thanks, Cindy

four air fryer corn on the cob on black plate with lime on side and salt and pepper shaker in the background

Air Fry Corn on the Cob, Vegan

Yes, you can air fry corn on the cob and get the moistest, juicy, most flavorful corn without boiling water, lighting your grill, or heating the oven. This recipe will walk you through all the steps so that you can learn how to air fry uicy delicious corn on the cob too!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: party food, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fry corn on the cob, air fryer corn, air fryer recipes, vegan recipe corn
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 132kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Equipment

  • air fryer

Ingredients

  • 4 ears of corn husked with silk removed
  • Tablespoons vegan butter
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder

Instructions

  • Husk the corn if you didn't already buy it that way and remove the silk threads. Trim the ends from the corn. Check the size of the corn, comparing it to the size of your air fryer basket. If it is too large, then cut it down to size. Wash, dry, and set aside.
  • Melt the vegan butter (please see notes – use ONLY vegan butter). Whisk in the smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 370° and set the cooking time to 15 minutes if your air fryer asks at this time.
  • While the air fryer is preheating, brush the corn with the melted butter mixture.
  • Line the air fryer basket with parchment paper, a basket liner, or foil. The butter mixture will make a mess.
  • Air fry at 370° for 14 minutes. At the halfway point, pull out the basket and with tongs, carefully turn the corn.
  • When finished cooking, allow to cool till comfortable to eat.
  • Add a squeeze of lime, salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

I used the Instant Pot Vortex 6qt for this recipe. Air fryers do differ and your results might differ as well.
I normally advise that if you are not vegan, you can use the butter of your choice. This is NOT TRUE for this recipe! Dairy butter might burn at these high air fryer temperatures. I only recommend using vegan stick butter. If you would rather not, then use oil instead and melt butter on the top after air frying. I have never done that and so can’t guarantee the outcome. But don’t cook with dairy butter in the air fryer!
If your air basket is too small to accommodate four pieces of corn, then cook in batches of two each OR cook three if that is all you will need. I would not change the other ingredients. You will just have a little melted butter with ingredients leftover in your bowl. Or use it all for extra flavor. 

Nutrition

Calories: 132kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 220mg | Potassium: 266mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 752IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
By on June 7th, 2022

About Cindy Rainey

Veggie Fun Kitchen by Cindy Rainey
Welcome to Veggie Fun Kitchen where you will learn to recreate family favorites the plant-based/vegan way! Let me know if I can help. I'm here for you.

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2 thoughts on “How to Air Fry Corn on the Cob, Vegan”

  1. 5 stars
    I had the same worry as you about drying out corn on the cob in an air fryer. I couldn’t wait to try it, after I saw your beautiful results. Well, I wasn’t disappointed. My corn turned out absolutely scrumptious! Thank you!

    Reply

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