Food on a table, with Corn on the cob and Sweet corn

4 Absolutely Brilliant Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob

There’s just nothing that screams late summer like sweet corn when it’s fresh, hot, and slathered with butter and salt. Today, I want to share with you four brilliantly delicious ways to cook corn on the cob that are sure to thrill and delight you, your family, and guests, too.

Corn on the cob is a summer staple that should be part of every summer celebration and backyard cookout because not only is fresh corn cheap when it’s in season, it’s quick and easy to prepare, too! But first, let’s talk about how to start with the best ears of corn.

 

Food on a table, with Corn on the cob and Sweet corn

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How to choose

There you are in front of a pile of freshly-picked, in-the-husks, sweet corn. You want to select ears with these characteristics:

  • Bright green husks that are tightly wrapped and mostly intact.
  • The stem area where it was cut from the stalk should be sticky and moist. If this is really dry, it’s old corn.
  • Check the tassels. They, too, should be slightly sticky, moist, and silky.
  • Peel back a small area of the husk to check for wormholes and brown spots. Avoid.

4 ways to prepare

There must be as many ways to prepare fresh corn on the cob as there are people who love to eat it. Here are my favorites:

1. Stovetop

You have to try this. Just let me warn you—it sounds insane, but once you prepare corn on the stovetop this way, you’ll never go back. It’s a family heritage recipe I got from a self-avowed corn snob who grew up on a farm in Iowa.

  • Remove husks and silk from 6 ears of fresh corn.
  • Fill a pot about 3/4 full with water and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Stir in 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
  • Carefully place corn in the water, cover the pot, and turn off the heat.
  • Check after 10 minutes to see that corn is tender. If not, return the lid and allow to sit for a few more minutes.

 

A pot of food on a metal pan on a stove, with Corn on the cob and Butter

2. Microwave

Some time ago, the following great reader tip showed up in my mail, complete with photos! I tried Dick’s method right then and there and wow, it is so slick!

I have demonstrated this to friends and family many times since, and always to rave reviews not only for the surprising finale but for the perfectly cooked corn, too!

“I wish to share a sweet corn trick with you and your readers that allows one to cook fresh corn in the husk, in the microwave. I am including a few photos to demonstrate.” Dick

  1. Cut through the husk right up to—not through—the cob at the stem end (where the ear was attached to the stalk), and all the way around.
  2. Microwave on high, 3 minutes per ear. Example, if you have two ears, microwave for 6 minutes.
  3. Remove from microwave carefully, then grasp and pull the corn right out of the husks.
  4. No muss, no hairy corn silk!

 

A group of people preparing food in a kitchen, with Corn on the cob and Butter

3. Roast

Food blogger Tonia, of TheGunnySack.com fame, offers the following amazing method to roast corn on the cob—in the husks. No prep, no soaking required. Oh my, you must try! Roasting in the husks gives corn a mysteriously subtle, indescribably delicious flavor that is just fabulous.

Tonia instructs:

  • Fire up the grill to medium heat
  • Place corn on the cob with husks directly on the grill grate, leaving a bit of space between cobs for heat circulation.
  • Close cover.
  • Carefully turn corn after five minutes using tongs
  • Roast for 25-30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes until hot and tender, making sure to close the cover between turns.
  • Remove corn and allow to cool slightly before peeling away charred husks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.Grill

Nagi at RecipeTinEats.com has a different way to prepare corn on an open grill. She insists, and I trust Nagi, “This is the most effortless BBQ side dish ever!”

  • Get the grill going and crank it up to very hot.
  • Peel husks and silk off of the corn.
  • Place corn on the open grill—no oil required.
  • Cook for 10 minutes, turning every couple of minutes until you see little charred bits, and the kernels are tender when pierced with a knife but still juicy. Overcooked corn, says Nagi, is shriveled, dry, and sad! Don’t do that.
  • During the last minute of cooking, brush with melted butter and roll the corn around.
  • Serve with softened butter, salt, and sprinkled with parsley if desired.

 

A row of food on a wire fence, with Corn on the cob and Sweet corn

Pro tip

Instead of scurrying about to locate a pair of corn “handles” for every person at the table, use 6″ or 8″ bamboo skewers—one skewer per ear. Insert into the flat end, kinda’ like a lollipop. There! So much easier for you and your guests, too.

Originally published  7-3-19; Updated and Republished: 9-04-19.

 

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21 replies
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  1. Margaret says:

    You left off my favorite way – the Instant Pot! Pour one cup of water in your pot, put in rack, fill with cleaned corn and cook on high for 4 minutes, then release pressure and serve. No hot water steaming up the kitchen! It takes less than 15 minutes from the time you start the pot.

    Reply
  2. Dave says:

    I use the Instant Pot – 2 minutes, then quick release. This way you aren’t heating up the kitchen by boiling a pot of water.

    Reply
  3. Traci Poppell says:

    I shuck the corn & put in a Pyrex dish & add a little water in the dish. Cover with seran wrap & microwave for 10 minutes. This steams the corn & it is delicious and ready to eat.

    Reply
  4. Betty Thomas says:

    I love the microwave method, especially if you’re doing the corn for a couple people rather than a crowd. No mess, no dealing with the sticky silk. Love it!

    Reply
  5. Jan Paulus says:

    Place several ears of dehusked corn in a cooler. Add boiling hot water to cover. Close lid and wait about 10-15 minutes. Corn is ready for that butter and salt and the crowd that waits….

    Reply
  6. Caninechild says:

    My best friend and I took our dogs to the beach to celebrate my little Beignet’s 17th birthday! We were so lucky to have a brand new, out-of-the-box Weber grill. We roasted the corn (#3 method) and it was beyond good! We ended up doing the same thing 3 nights in a row… Highly recommend and so easy, BUT, we soaked the whole corn first (20/30 minutes) in water so you don’t get that charring on the outside husk which can lead to a bit of a burned smell/flavor.

    Reply
  7. holly says:

    I have never done it, but I did eat ‘cooler’ corn at an outing. But I love the boil method and I put a stick of butter in and it is so simple but good.

    Reply
  8. Patti Villavicencio says:

    Alote is the best! The recipe comes from Mexico. Prepare your corn, slather with butter, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and your favorite hot sauce like Tapitio.

    Reply
  9. crabbyoldlady says:

    I love the microwave method. However, I think 3 minutes per ear is way to long. I will cook 2 ears for 2 and 1/2 minutes and let them sit for a few minutes. It’s still crisp and delicious, not soft and overcooked.

    Reply
    • Sue in MN says:

      We shuck r=the corn, wrap in wet paper towels or wet clean white washcloths, microwave on high about 2 1/2 – 3 minutes for two ears. Add one minute for each additional ear, but no more than 5 at a time. Let sit 2-3 min and it’s perfect. Great method for our small family.

      Reply
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