Grilled sweet corn on the cob hot slathered with butter and saal

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.

 

Ways to cook corn on the cob

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.

 

Corn on the cob in a big pot of boiling water

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!

 

Step-by-step demonstration for how to cook corn on the cob in the microwave

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.

 

Cooking corn on the cob on the open grill

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.

 

Question: Will you be serving fresh corn anytime soon? What are your favorite ways to cook corn on the cob? Use the comments area below to share.


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6 Ways to Stop Throwing Rotten Produce in the Garbage

How to Make Perfect Iced Tea

16 Surprising Reasons to Stop Throwing Out Pickle Juice


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19 replies
  1. Lynn D.
    Lynn D. says:

    My sister-in-law finally convinced my husband and I that this was THE BEST way to cook sweet corn, by finally saying after all logic had failed to convince us, “Well, Dad makes it this way now…”

    Instead of heating up the kitchen by filling up a kettle and boiling a lot of water, use a skillet with 1″ of water and a small veggie steamer basket (about $8 on Amazon) to STEAM the corn. Simply add water to the skillet, add the corn on top of the steamer basket, cover and bring to a boil. Then steam for about 2 minutes and turn the heat off. Let it sit a few minutes longer covered or uncovered and then eat the best, fasted corn on the cob ever! You not only save water and energy bringing that big kettle of water to a boil, you get to eat your corn quicker. If you need a lot of ears done, use that kettle with the steamer and pile on more ears of corn on top of each other, cris-crossed, and add a few more minutes of steam time. BTW, we never went back to “boiled” corn. It’s been “steamed” corn for us for the last 20 or so years. Enjoy!

    Reply
  2. Suzanne
    Suzanne says:

    Removing corn silk is difficult and time consuming. I’ve tried just about every method and every tool out there but still found bits of silk in my cooked corn. But this summer I tried a new a new tool: a mushroom brush. These are designed to clean the growing medium that clings to mushrooms. They have soft bristles that grab the silk but don’t pierce the kernels, something that would happen when I used a vegetable brush. It works, and it’s fast.

    Reply
  3. John Anderson
    John Anderson says:

    Hey Mary,

    I look forward to reading your post every day.. I have a method of cooking corn on the cob that works very well…

    1. clean the corn by removing the husks and silk
    2. break them in half (makes more room on the plate for other items, and easier to handle)
    3. place the corn in a pot and fill with water until the corn starts to float
    4. add salt and butter to the pot, (I use about 1 cup of butter for 2 dozen ears)
    5. heat to a rolling boil
    6. remove from heat
    7. remove corn from water with a set of tongs…(corn gets buttered as it is removed) no extra salt or butter needed.
    8. enjoy

    Reply
  4. a woman called Sam
    a woman called Sam says:

    I put shucked corn in a pot of water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover turn off heat. It can stay a while in the pot and not over cook

    Reply
  5. Kim Rubin
    Kim Rubin says:

    I have been using sticks for corn instead of those little metal cob holders, for several years. But skip the bamboo skewers-they are either too long, too thin, or break easily when trying to insert them or pick up the ear with them. Instead, I use candy apple sticks that I buy at Amazon. They have pointed ends, are the perfect length, thick enough that they easily hold the weight of a full cob, and you can wash and reuse them. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009EE3IZ2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Reply
  6. KRiSTL
    KRiSTL says:

    I can’t believe my latest preferred method isn’t on this list. Instant Pot – whether it’s just two ears or filled to the top (shucked), one cup of water and set for 2 minutes. Perfect corn!

    Reply
  7. Margaret
    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
  8. Dave
    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
  9. Traci Poppell
    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
  10. Betty Thomas
    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
  11. Jan Paulus
    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
  12. Caninechild
    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
  13. holly
    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
  14. Patti Villavicencio
    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
  15. crabbyoldlady
    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
      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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