Looking for a delicious and vegetarian-friendly alternative to traditional pork ribs? Look no further than these mouth-watering oven-baked sweetcorn ribs! These alternative ribs are not only meat-free, but they are also baked in the oven, making them a more convenient option for those looking to satisfy their rib cravings.
What Makes These Sweetcorn Ribs Great!
- A vegetarian alternative to pork ribs – If you like something to pick up and bite, these are great with their curved rib shape!
- Great for little hands – If you have children that struggle to eat a corn on the cob, making corn ribs is the way to go.
- An Easy Recipe – Once you get a hang of cutting the ribs, the rest is a breeze.
About This Recipe – In More Detail
These Sweetcorn Ribs are simple to make, delicious, and offer a quirky and convenient way to enjoy sweetcorn. It’s a great option for kids with little hands that struggle to hold a full cob of corn.
Our recipe for oven-baked corn ribs coats them in smoky paprika before baking them in the oven for ease. They can also be cooked in an air fryer, shallow fried or even barbequed, making them perfect for all types of occasions and cooking preferences.
For an extra kick of flavour, we recommend coating the sweetcorn ribs in a mouth-watering chipotle butter to go that extra mile. This delicious mildly spicy sauce is perfect for dipping in those golden brown and seasoned corn ribs into and will take a simple corn recipe to new heights. And, why not serve with this delicious Fruity Coleslaw?
Whether you’re looking for a delicious vegetarian side dish to accompany your main course or a mouth-watering appetiser that will leave your guests wanting more, these sweetcorn ribs are sure to impress. They are versatile and easy to make and sure to become a family favourite.
- A Large Sharp Knife and Cutting Board – So you can cut the sweetcorn into riblets.
- Large Baking Tray – To oven cook the ribs.
- Pastry Brush – You use this to cover the ribs evenly with the paprika oil, although this item can be optional.
- A Grater – Used For the Parmesan Cheese and Lime Zest.
- Small Bowl – To mix and serve the chipotle butter ingredients.
- Whole Sweetcorn on the Cob – To make corn riblets you need to use a whole corn cob which is then cut into ribs.
- Smoked Paprika – I use a sweet smoked paprika for this recipe but if you want them spicy you can add in a little hot smoked paprika to the mix depending on your preferred level of spice.
- Olive Oil – I use olive oil as it is a good option to bake in, but you can also use another cooking oil if you’d prefer.
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper – This is used as a seasoning and it is up to you how much you wish to use. The parmesan cheese will add salt to the chipotle butter anyway, to help enhance the flavours.
- Butter – This can be salted or unsalted depending on your requirements. However, I would always recommend using unsalted and adding the seasoning in separately so you can control the amount of salt in your recipe.
- Chipotle Paste – Chipotle paste is made from dried, smoked jalapenos that have been ground into a puree with a couple of other ingredients added to the mix. Chipotle paste is a relatively mild chilli paste which is suitable for adding a slightly spicy kick and flavour to the recipe. You can use a different type of chilli paste if you’d prefer, but this may add more spice and a slightly different flavour than this recipe. But feel free to experiment if you wish.
- Lime Zest – Finely grate the lime zest which adds a citrusy kick to our chipotle butter. You can use the whole lime for another recipe such as this Guacamole without onions. Or Cut the whole lime into wedges and squeeze the fresh lime juice over the baked ribs for extra zing.
- Parmesan Cheese – Finely grate the parmesan cheese and mix it into the butter. The parmesan doesn’t make the chipotle butter particularly cheesy but it does add a flavour which compliments everything else very well. Choose a vegetarian Parmesan if you wish to make these completely vegetarian.
How to Cut Sweetcorn Ribs
The most difficult part of this recipe is actually cutting the sweetcorn cobs into ribs or corn riblets as you might hear them being called. However, with the right method and tools, this step is much easier.
Firstly, get a heavy and very sharp knife and a chopping board. A decent knife with a sharp blade will make cutting the cobs go much easier.
For the easiest way, you can cut the corn cobs into half to make two smaller ones. This means to create the riblets, you don’t have to cut down as far. You can keep them whole though if you’d prefer to have longer corn ribs.
Stand each corn cob on it’s flat end and slice it vertically straight down the middle, creating two halves. Keep your fingers well out of the way and apply pressure to the blade from the top. This takes a little practice, patience and your best knife skills, so take your time with this part.
Place the cut pieces of corn on the chopping board and mark a score down the core. Stand the half back up vertically and cut each half again so that you have four quarters.
Now they’re ready to prepare and bake.
How To Make Sweetcorn Ribs – Step By Step Guide
Step 1: Prepare the corn ribs
- Firstly, we need to prepare the corn ribs. Use a really sharp, heavy knife for this part and watch your fingers! If you want to make things a little easier, cut the corn cobs in half widthways on a flat surface.
- Take each corn cob and stand it on its end. Using the knife, cut vertically down the middle to create two halves.
- Lay each half on the chopping board and score them vertically down the middle of the core.
- Stand the halves back up vertically and cut it again, creating quarters from the original whole ears of corn.
Step 2: Preheat the oven and prepare the oil mixture
- Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375F.
- In a bowl, add the olive oil along with the paprika and season with salt and pepper. Mix it all together.
Step 3: Bake the corn ribs
- Lay the ribs on a large baking sheet or tray in a single layer with space between them.
- Brush each corn rib with the oil.
- Place the sweetcorn ribs in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, turning once during the cooking time. Be sure to check the ribs as they may need a little less or more time depending on your oven.
Step 4: Prepare the chipotle butter
- The butter should be softened at room temperature or you can give it a little blast in the microwave.
- Finely grate the lime zest and parmesan cheese.
- Add the chipotle paste, along with the grated lime zest and parmesan to the butter and mix together thoroughly, distributing all the flavours throughout the butter.
Step 5: Serve the corn ribs
- When the corn ribs are curled and crispy, remove them from the oven. You can brush them with the butter or serve it on the side.
- Serve the ribs hot for best results.
How To Make Chipotle Butter Sauce
Whilst corn ribs are a delicious and fun way to enjoy sweetcorn, it’s the chipotle butter that really makes this recipe zing. And, what’s more, is that it is so easy to make.
Soften the butter and mix in the rest of the ingredients and voila! You have a delicious smoky brush for your vegetarian ribs that is mildly spicy and full of flavour.
The chipotle butter will take your corn ribs to the next level, making them the best corn ribs ever!
The sweetcorn ribs themselves are vegan using only olive oil and smoked paprika to bake. However, we use a butter dressing which is not vegan unless you swap out the butter for a vegan alternative.
You cannot eat the middle of a sweetcorn cob as it is too hard. So, essentially, you would eat a sweetcorn rib just like a pork rib and treat the centre like the bone.
Sweetcorn is a particular type of maize that is grown for human consumption. Corn is a generic term used to describe various types of maize that can be used for many different things, so the difference can vary depending on what type of maize is being referred to. Often, sweetcorn is simply called corn or corn on the cob.
How to Serve Sweetcorn Ribs
Serve you corn riblets up while they’re hot.
You can brush them with the chipotle butter straight from the oven or pour it over the top and allow it to melt slowly. Serve them up coated in melted butter.
You can also use the chipotle butter as a dip on the side so your dinner guests can help themselves as needed. Add a little into an individual serving bowl or place it in the middle of a big bowl of corn ribs for a mouth watering way to display and serve them up.
Other options to serve up with your sweetcorn ribs include BBQ sauce, garlic butter, sour cream mixed with fresh herbs like this Garlic and herb dip, a sprinkle of chilli flakes or even a drizzle of maple syrup.
Pro Tips and Guidance
- Use a really sharp, heavy knife – A sharp, heavy knife will make cutting and preparing the corn ribs a breeze! Don’t forget to keep your fingers well out of the way for this part.
- Cooking times may vary – You may need to decrease the cooking time or add a little extra depending on how efficient your oven is. Check the ribs every 10 minutes or so during cooking time. You want the end result of curly, crispy sweetcorn ribs so that they resemble traditional pork ribs in shape.
- You can prepare the chipotle butter ahead – It will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days if you need to make it ahead.
- You can shallow fry, air fry or barbeque sweetcorn ribs as required – Cooking times will vary if you choose an alternative way to cook them. If you choose to shallow fry the sweetcorn, leave off the paprika and seasoning and add it afterwards. You won’t need to brush them with oil either.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
Sweetcorn ribs are best when eaten fresh and straight from the oven.
- Storage: However, if you have leftovers you can store corn ribs in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days. The chipotle butter can also be stored in the same way.
- Freezing: I do not recommend freezing sweetcorn ribs but the Chipotle butter can be frozen for up to a month.
- Reheating: If you want to reheat the ribs, this is best done in the oven. Simply place the sweetcorn ribs in an oven proof dish and cover with tin foil. Bake in a hot oven at 190C / 375 F for about 15 minutes to heat through.
Baking Sweetcorn Ribs in An Air Fryer
If you prefer to use an air fryer instead of baking the corn ribs in an oven, this is certainly achievable. Prepare the corn in the same way but alter the cooking time.
Corn ribs in the air fryer don’t tend to take as long to bake like an oven. But the exact time can depend on the brand of air fryer you are using.
Lay them out on a single layer with some space between each one.
Try cooking them for 10-15 minutes, flipping them over halfway through and if you feel they need a bit longer to turn curly and crispy you can bake them for a little bit longer.
Check Out These Accompanying Recipes
This delicious Three Bean Chilli Con Carne also uses chipotle paste as an ingredient, so if you are struggling with other ideas on how to use a pot of it, try out this recipe.
If you want an alternative to chipotle butter, try this delicious dip. The sweetcorn ribs will taste delicious dipped in this.
Another side dish that goes well with these corn ribs is our fresh guacamole recipe. You can use the rest of the lime from this recipe in it too, so nothing needs to be wasted.
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Sweetcorn Ribs With Smoky Mexican Chipotle Butter
- 4 Sweetcorn Cobs
- 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 60 g Butter
- 1 tbsp Chipotle Paste
- 1 tbsp Lime Zest
- 2 tbsp Parmesan, finely grated
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
For the Sweetcorn Ribs
- Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F.
- With a sharp, heavy knife. Cut each corn cob in half widthways to make two shorter cobs.
- Stand the cobs up on their thicker end vertically and cut each one into two piece lengthways through the centre. Be careful to keep your fingers out of the way as you will have to put pressure on the knife to cut through.
- Lay the halves with their curved sides down on a chopping board and mark a score down the centre of the core.
- Stand the halves back up vertically and cut again following your scored mark, to create quarters from the original whole cob.
- In a bowl mix the oil with the paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Place the corn cobs onto a baking tray in a single layer, with space between each one. Brush them all over with the seasoned oil.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until curling up and crispy.
For the Chipotle Butter
- Leave the butter to soften to room temperature or give it a little blast in the microwave.
- Finely grate the parmesan and lime zest.
- Mix in the chipotle paste, lime zest and grated parmesan.
- When the corn cobs are ready, you can brush them with the chipotle butter or serve it on the side.
- Serve the ribs hot for the best results.
- Use a really sharp, heavy knife to cut the ribs (we offer a detailed step-by-step in the recipe post).
- Cooking times can vary depending on your oven.
- You can also cook the corn ribs in an air fryer, shallow fry them or even cook them on the barbeque. Cooking times will vary depending on the method you use.
- The chipotle butter can be prepared ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.