How to Make Chicos, Dried Corn on the Cob

October 10, 2022 by 4 Comments

Dried corn – known as chicos – is a versatile kitchen staple in Mexico and the American Southwest.

Chicos Dried Corn

Chicos – corn tied together and hung for drying.
Photographed by Tim Wang.

Chicos, dried corn, is a staple for many families in the American southwest and Mexico, as well as in other parts of the world.

There are a variety of ways to prepare chicos and no one variety of corn is used. Families tend to have their own favorite corn varieties and methods of preparing chicos.

Corn, dried as chicos, can be stored and used throughout the year.

This is a skill many of us should be learning and using because it allows us to choose a heritage variety of corn and avoid having to use GMO varieites used by production farming operations. Anything we can do to help secure a healthier future for our children should be considered a valuable use of our time.

How to make chicos

…easy – in the oven or on the stove!


  • A quantity of sweet corn – whatever is ready to harvest.


1. Leave the husks on the corn and boil thirty minutes OR roast in the oven for an hour.

2. Dry the corn. When dry, peel back the husks and remove the silk, but leave the husks attached.

3. Use thick string or twine to bind the husks and tie the chicos together. Use the twine to hang the chicos in a dry storage place.

How one family makes chicos

…in an outdoor oven.

What you may need while preparing and cooking chicos

…large spoon, dutch oven, bean pot, and lots of kitchen string!

Ways to use chicos

…chicos are a versatile staple – great to have on hand.

Chicos can be shelled from the cob whenever needed. Until needed just leave them hanging.

Dried corn can be substituted for fresh or canned corn in any recipe. Great in soups!

1. Soak in water overnight to prepare to use the whole grain.

2. Grind the corn to use as corn flour or corn meal.

3. Crush the corn and soak for an hour to use in recipes.

Learn to cook like the Mexicans do

..for authentic Mexican food whenever you want it.

1,000 Mexican Recipes
1,000 Mexican Recipes by Marge Poore

Chicos con Frijoles

…easy Mexican recipe.


  • 1 part chicos
  • 3 parts pinto beans
  • lots of water – enough to keep moist while cooking
  • salt


Check pinto beans for stones and remove any found. Combine with chicos and soak overnight, then drain. Cover with fresh water (I use spring water) and add salt to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and boil, covered, for about five hours, or until tender.

Delicious in burritos with cheese, fresh onions, and salsa!


4 Replies to “How to Make Chicos, Dried Corn on the Cob”

  1. Helga says:

    I love corn from my childhood. But we use just one way to cook it. We boiled corn, then salt it and that’s all. It was very tasty. Thanks for your recipes! It’s something new for me.

  2. John says:

    I eat corn daily. 🙂

  3. Tracy says:

    Thanks so much for these instructions! I grew up in south Texas and many of my friends’ moms would grind up this dried corn to make corn meal. They would turn them into the best homemade tortills and tamales ever!

  4. Christina Trujillo says:

    Easy enough I love Chicos and will definetly try this recipe. Can’t wait to try it.