Blog

How to Cook Corn on the Cob {+ Recipes} by Stove, Microwave, or Grill

How to Cook Corn on the Cob with Recipes

If you didn’t grow up on a farm or in a family that cooked fresh food on a regular basis, perhaps looking at an ear of corn on the cob and wondering what in the world to do with it is quite perplexing.

While I had the opportunity to grow up intermittently living in a place where we grew some of our own food (including corn, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, green beans, peppers, and squash), my mom also could creatively make a meal out of just about anything; so I was able to learn early on about cooking fresh food in a variety of ways.

Cooking corn on the cob doesn’t have to be scary or complicated, though, and we’re going to break it down for you into simple steps – regardless of whether you prefer using the stove top, oven, microwave, or grill for getting the job done. (See nutrition facts, food safety, and storage tips for fresh corn.)

Picking the Best Corn on the Cob

First steps first. When buying the corn at the farmers market or your local grocery store (assuming you didn’t pluck it right out of your own garden), be sure to look for these signs that you’re getting a good ear of corn.

1. Carefully check over the ear of corn to see if it feels plump and even all around (not squishy or too bumpy in areas).

2. The best ears of corn will have silks that are golden, a bit moist, or possibly just starting to turn brown (be sure not to pick any with blackening silks).

3. Lastly, the husk should still fit tightly around the ear of corn and not be pulling away from it.

Hands shucking corn on the cob | How to cook corn on the cob

 

How to Cook Corn on the Cob on the Stove

When I was growing up, this was the way we cooked our corn most of the time. Just keep in mind that leaving the corn in the water for too long can make it end up kind of tough and chewy, so be sure to set a timer and remove from heat before too long.

1. Shuck the corn ears, removing the husks and silks (just pull down from the top and strip them away all around the ear).

2. Rinse the ears and rub around the ear in a circular motion to finish removing as much of the silks as possible.

3. If desired, trim just a bit off the ends of the ear for easy areas in which to stick the corn cob holders. (BTW, having fun, colorful holders can be a great conversation starter or way to jazz up the conversation with family or dinner guests!)

4. Heat a large pot of water to boiling (depending on the sizes of the pot, this can take up to 10 minutes, so .. plan accordingly). Gently drop in the ears of corn and set a timer for 7 minutes.

5. Remove the pan from heat and allow the corn to sit in the hot water if you’re planning to serve soon; if you’ll be waiting a while, remove the corn from the water and wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm until ready to serve.

I love jazzing up simple corn on the cob with a seasoned butter, which always seems more festive than simple butter and salt (though that is delicious, too!). Try one of these seasoned butter recipes – Street Corn with 3 Flavored Butters or some Roasted Jalapeno Butter or Chipotle Butter.

How to Cook Corn on the Cob in the Microwave

While this would not be my preferred way to cook corn on the cob, it is super easy and quick as well as virtually mess-free. (And if you only have a microwave, such as in a college dorm room, you could still enjoy some fresh corn on the cob!)

Leave the fresh ears of corn inside the husks and cook them on full heat for three minutes. Carefully (they will be hot) remove them from the microwave; gently remove the husks and silks and discard. Slather with some butter and sprinkle with salt to enjoy (with or without corn holders).

How to Cook Corn on the Cob on the Grill

I have to be honest, while I do enjoy the smoky grilled flavor of corn cooked on the grill, usually I’m not willing to plan for the invested extra time and energy it takes to pull that off. However, if you plan ahead and allow enough time to cook it this way, it’s a real treat! Basically, you can choose to cook the corn on the grill either with or without the husks (cooking without the husks will give your corn that charred look and flavor that’s especially nice for particular meals and recipes).

With Husks

Start by soaking the corn (in its husk) in water for 30 minutes (or more, if you prefer).

Place the soaked ears on the grill over medium heat and close the lid. Cook for about 20 minutes, turning once or twice throughout.

Without Husks

Charred option – Shuck the corn ears; spray or brush them with a little vegetable oil and place directly on grill grates, cooking over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Be sure to turn them every few minutes for even cooking.

If you don’t want the charred version – Shuck the ears and wrap them in a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place them on the grill over medium heat, closing the lid, and allow to cook for about 20 minutes, being sure to turn them once or twice during this time.

Grilled, charred corn with butter | How to Cook Corn on the Cob

Eating Corn on the Cob (Recipes)

In case you’re in doubt about how to “properly” eat your corn on the cob once it’s cooked, we have some suggestions – though we don’t at all guarantee these to be “proper”!

1. With holders or without holders? Slather the corn on the cob with your favorite plain or seasoned butter, sprinkle with some salt and have fun eating it just like that.

2. Get fancy with toppings for your corn – after spreading on the butter, top it with some crumbled cojita or feta cheese, a sprinkle of chili powder or red pepper flakes, or some chopped cilantro or green onions. Lots of fabulous options for going a little crazy with your corn. Happy experimenting!

3. Slice the corn kernels off of the cobs and throw them into your favorite salad, dip, soup or casserole, such as these fantastic recipes:

Grilled Corn Salad

Grilled Corn and Crab Dip

Tilapia with Black Beans and Corn

Black Beans and Corn Salsa

Chicken, Green Bean, Corn and Farro Salad

What are your favorite ways to cook up corn on the cob?

Do you have fun family memories around grilling or roasting ears of corn? We love hearing your stories in the comments below!

August 8th, 2018

Submit a Comment

Come on Over and See Us

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • instagram
  • Linkedin
  • Youtube
  • Youtube
  • Youtube

What is Dish Dish?

Archives