Corn Ribs are taking TikTok and Instagram by storm – and this air fryer recipe for corn riblets makes them even easier and quicker! These are ready in under 25 minutes with just a few simple ingredients. This vegetarian and gluten-free recipe will please even the most devout carnivores in your family!
The delicious, smoky rub takes them to the next level and will keep your friends and family coming back for more! This is the perfect side dish for summer entertaining or even a weeknight family meal. Includes oven directions as well in case you don’t have an air fryer.
👩🏻🍳 Why You'll Love This Recipe
You may be wondering--what are corn ribs? Well, they're pretty much exactly what they sound like: corn on the cob cut into rib-shaped pieces and seasoned to taste like them! This is a great substitute for ribs when you want a vegan and gluten-free version, or just a fun new way to serve corn on the cob.
You'll only need a handful of ingredients and under half an hour to prepare this fun dish that's been trending on social media. Just like Cornbread Casserole, this is an exciting and inventive way to serve corn!
🥘 Ingredients Needed
- corn cobs - the cob gives your corn a bone-like middle that works great as a stand-in for real ribs.
- olive oil - helps your seasonings stick to the corn.
- smoked paprika - provides color and a warm, smoky flavor that helps bring the taste of the corn a bit closer to ribs.
- garlic powder - for additional saltiness and depth of flavor.
- salt & pepper - a good base for the other seasonings.
- Carefully cut through the center of a corn cob.
- Cut the cob halves into quarters.
- In a bowl, add olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Mix until combined.
- Brush the corn cobs with the oil mixture, being sure to coat evenly.
- If baking in the oven, baked at 375 degrees F for 25.
- Otherwise, place the corn ribs in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
- Air fry at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
This is mainly due to the dish's appearance and the way you eat it. The cob acts as a "bone," much like a bone would in ribs. The taste is, of course, much closer to seasoned corn on the cob than actual meat, but the experience of eating it is quite similar!
No, only the corn kernels! Just like any corn on the cob, the center part will be extremely tough and not good to eat.
Supposedly, a chef named Max Ng invented them while working as executive chef at Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York City.
These can be composted, or you can clean them and use them for things like vegetable stock. You can also dry them out in a dehydrator or in your oven on low heat, and then use them as fuel when grilling to add a subtly sweet and smoky flavor.
💭 Expert Tips and Tricks
- Be extremely careful and attentive while cutting your corn cobs, some will be tougher than others! Use a sharp knife and cut resistant gloves if you have them.
- Stand the corn up vertically to make the initial cuts.
- Using a meat cleaver or a rolling pin can help if the knife gets stuck.
- Be sure to avoid overlap in the air fryer basket; you may need to air fry in two or three batches to ensure all of your corn riblets are cooked evenly.
- Try to purchase in-season corn for best results.
This super easy air fryer corn on the cob is great for barbecues, picnics, pool parties, or just to serve as a fun and unique side dish with a nice family meal!
📖 Substitutions and Variations
- Add additional seasonings like cumin, onion powder, ground coriander, chili powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, and more!
- Instead of olive oil, use a chili oil to add more flavor and heat.
- If you're worried about the cutting process, you can just cut the cobs in half or not at all! The corn on the cob will still taste great air fried with this blend of seasonings.
🥫 Storage and Reheating
These air fryer corn riblets are best enjoyed fresh cooked, but you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days.
To reheat, pop them back in the air fryer at 350 degrees F for 3-4 minutes, or in the oven for 8-10 minutes at the same temperature.
I don't recommend freezing your corn riblets.
💡 What To Serve With This Dish
For a classic BBQ feel, pair your corn ribs with some Air Fryer Chicken Wings or Crock Pot Barbecue Burgers. You can also serve them with Chicken Macaroni Salad as a well-rounded meal or Crock Pot Chili with Salsa for the ultimate comfort combo!
🍴 More Air Fryer Recipes You'll Love
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Cubes - A sweet and nutritious side dish that's so easy to prepare.
- Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas - These crispy chickpeas make for a great snack on their own or a yummy topping for salads.
- Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs - Healthier than classic meatballs but just as tasty!
- Air Fryer Cake - Did you know you could use your air fryer to make dessert? In the Kitchen with Matt shows us how to make a cake right in your air fryer!
Air Fryer Corn on the Cob
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📋 Recipe Card
Air Fryer Corn Ribs
- Stand a cob vertically with the widest end on the cutting board, then use a very sharp knife to gently apply pressure to cut it lengthwise, rocking back and to cut through the center of the cob. (This can be tricky, be VERY careful!)4 corn cobs
- Cut each corn cob half into quarters lengthwise. The easiest way to do this is to lay the halves down on the cutting board, flat side down, and carefully cut in half, and then cut each resulting piece in half.
- Add the olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and mix to combine.4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 1/1 teaspoons smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ⅛ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- Lay out the quartered cobs on a tray and brush evenly with the olive oil mixture to coat.
- Place the corn ribs in a single layer in the air fryer basket and cook for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees F, until tender and the edges have started to brown and crisp.
- CAUTION: Some cobs are softer than others. Some are very difficult to cut. Please be very careful! If you have cut-resistant kitchen gloves, you might want to dig them out for some extra protection when preparing this recipe!
- When first cutting the cobs, stand each on one end (you may need to cut a slice off the end to make sure it will stand steadily), then cut in half with a very sharp knife. If you have a meat cleaver, it may be helpful! Also, banging the top of the knife with a rolling pin can help too, if you get stuck.
- Depending on the size of your air fryer basket, you may need to do two batches, to prevent the slices of corn sitting on top of each other.
- ALTERNATE OVEN DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees 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.
- Why are they called corn ribs? The cob acts a bit like a ‘bone’, acting as something to hold while you eat the ‘fleshy’ bit – much like eating ribs!
- Best enjoyed straight from the air fryer or oven.
- If storing, keep in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat and crisp back up in the air fryer for 3-4 minutes at 350 degrees F, or in the oven at the same temperature for 8-10 minutes.
- Freezing is not recommended.
- If corn ribs are left out, like at a party or BBQ, they are likely to go dry. They can be reheated if needed. However, they’re best enjoyed fresh.
Nutritional information is an estimate. The nutritional values for your final dish may vary based on measuring differences and products used.
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