How To Cook Corn On the Cob (Our Best Ways)

You know it’s summer when you start to see corn on the cob at the farmer’s market! Corn is a classic summer vegetable that you can enjoy grilled, boiled, or roasted. And don’t forget about all the delicious recipes you can make with it like chowder, succotash, and cornbread. Along with being a tasty treat, corn is also loaded with vitamins and minerals like indole-3-carbinol, lutein, and zeaxanthin that can help improve your health.

how to cook corn

The sweet flavor combines perfectly when served with savory meals like BBQ, chicken, or hamburgers. It also goes really well with a side of baked chicken or fish. To add a little more flavor, sprinkle some butter and herbs on top for an extra delicious flavor.

This summer, make sure to include fresh corn in your shopping list. It’s the perfect way to enjoy seasonal veggies while also giving your meals an extra boost of nutrition! The best part is you can make corn in so many different ways.

Cooking corn, throwing it in the microwave, using the stove top, or using your instant pot are all great ways to enjoy this summer staple. In the guide below you’ll the best way to cook corn on the cob and the right preparation.

Cooking Your Corn on the Cob

A unique and fascinating transformation happens when you cook corn on the cob. The kernels become firmer and sweeter as they heat up, making them a great addition to any summer dish. What’s really happening is the starches and pectin trapped inside the cell walls of the kernels turn into a sweet and juicy treat!

The easiest way to prepare is to boil corn on the cob. Simply fill a pot with water and salt, add your cobs, and bring to a boil. But that’s not the only way.

There are multiple ways to cook corn on the cob. You can have grilled corn, microwave corn, steamed corn pressure-cooked corn, boiled corn, or use the instant pot. Each method creates a delicious result with its own unique flavor.

Which method you end up choosing will ultimately depend on what you have going on that night. Got home late for dinner but still want some corn? Try a microwave. Have some time over the weekend and want to get the most from your corn? Grill it outside.

Regardless of what cob recipe you choose, you’ll find an easy guide that breaks down each method step-by-step.

Microwaving Your Corn on the Cob

  • Take your unshucked corn cob and place it in the microwave.
  • Set your microwave to four minutes and press start. If the corn is not done feel free to add more time until the corn kernel is soft and tender.
  • Once the corn is done you want to let it rest for up to five minutes before you start to remove the husk and silk. If you try to unwrap it right away you could suffer burns from the steam coming off the corn.

Boiling Your Corn on the Cob

best way to cook corn on the cob

  • Take out a large pot and fill it with enough water that the corn on the cob will be fully covered.
  • Turn on the stove to medium-high heat and bring it to a boil.
  • While the water is boiling, shuck your corn and clean it. Make sure to wash it off to get any remaining dirt or sediment.
  • Carefully place your shucked corn into the boiling water, cover the pot, and then reduce the heat to medium.
  • You’ll want to make sure all the corn kernels are soft enough to be edible. The entire process should take around 6 to 8 minutes.

Steaming Corn on the Cob

ways to cook corn on the cob

  • Add a little water to the pot but not enough to rise to the steamer basket.
  • Put the steaming basket on top and place your corn into the pot.
  • Cover the pot and turn your heat to high. You want it hot enough so that the water can start to steam the corn.
  • Cook everything until your kernels are tender. The process should only take 4 to 6 minutes.

Using the Instant Pot

how to make corn

  • Take off the shuck of your corn and clean it.
  • Pour the water into the bottom of the device and place a trivet at the top.
  • Put your corn into the pot, stacking your trivet.
  • Turn on your Instant Pot to high pressure and cook continually for two minutes.
  • Once the corn is done cooking, quick-release the pressure and let it release.
  • Remove the lid and carefully take out your corn. Serve immediately with butter, salt, or any other seasoning.

Throwing Your Corn in the Oven

corn in oven

  • Heat up your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Clean and shuck your corn
  • Put each of your corn ears on a strip of aluminum foil
  • Slice a piece of butter and stick it in the center. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top.
  • Wrap the ears of corn and stick them on the center oven rack with the melted butter side up.
  • Cook your corn until the kernels are tender. It should take about 30 minutes.
  • Once the corn is done allow everything to cool for at least five minutes before unwrapping.

Grilling Your Corn on the Cob

grilling corn

  • Heat your grill to high, about 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Clean and shuck the corn.
  • Brush the corn with olive oil and sprinkle a little salt on top.
  • Grill the corn while covered for about 8 to 12 minutes. Turn the corn every 2 minutes to char every side.

Choosing Your Corn

Corn is always the best when it is in season and it has just been harvested. Getting your corn straight from the farmer’s market is always the best choice. You can tell its good if it has a tight husk and doesn’t feel dried out. If you can, peel it back just enough to take a peek at the kernels.

You should notice just a bit of moisture in the silk area. And if you see a bunch of little holes in the husk then stay away! It’s little worm holes!

Storing Corn on the Cob

If you are just buying corn and taking it home then you can leave it in the husk and stick it in the fridge. You could also wrap your corn in a plastic bag. Just make sure to remove all the air because it will dry out your kernels. In fact, it’s even better if you take a damp paper towel and wrap your corn in it before adding them to a plastic bag. Try to eat your corn within about three days. If you’re keeping leftover corn after cooking, make sure to store it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge.

Preparing Your Corn on the Cob

How you plan on cooking your corn is what will determine your preparation. You can just peel the husk back and remove all silk. Wash with hot water and then dry before throwing it in the oven or on the grill. If you are using the microwave then you can just leave the husk on.

Nutrition Benefits of Corn

Corn is well known for its nutrient-dense benefits. It is a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Corn is high in potassium which helps regulate blood pressure and fluid balance in the body. It also contains lutein and zeaxanthin which are potent antioxidants that protect your cells from damage.

The yellow pigment in corn is due to an antioxidant called lutein which helps promote healthy vision and skin. Corn also has a good amount of fiber which helps keep you feeling full and promotes digestive health.

Alternative Corn Recipes

Can you add more flavor to corn by using salted water?

Salt is a common ingredient for cooks to add when boiling water. Adding a little salt to the water when boiling corn can give it slightly more flavor. It’s enough to coat the outside of the corn but it won’t penetrate all the way into the kernels. It would take the salt water a few hours before it can fully penetrate the kernels. But, you can just cook it for around 6 or 8 minutes and the kernels will soften and your corn will be ready to eat.

corn on the cobb

best way to cook corn on the cob

How to Cook Corn on the Cob

There are six different ways you can cook perfect corn on the cob and we provide a step-by-step guide on how to do each one. Steaming, Microwaving, boiling, pressure cook, oven roasted corn, and grilling are all included!
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 71 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 ears corn

Instructions
 

Microwave

  • Place your unshucked corn on a dish that is microwave safe and cook for four minutes. Add more time if needed until your kernels are tender. The entire process should only take 4 to 6 minutes.
  • When the corn is done, let it rest for five minutes before you remove the husk and silk. Removing too fast could burn you.

Boil

  • Take a large pot and fill it with enough water to cover the corn. Turn on the medium-high heat and boil the water. Clean and remove the husk of your corn. Carefully place the corn into the boiling water. Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium. Cook until tender for 6 to 8 minutes.

Steam

  • Add a little bit of water to the bottom of your pot. You don't want the water to reach the steamer basket. Put the basket into the pot and then the corn into the basket. Cover the pot and turn the heat to high. Cook until tender for about 4 to 6 minutes.

Instant Pot (Electric Pressure Cooker)

  • Take off the corn husk and clean each ear of corn. Add about 1 cup of water to the bottom of your Instant Pot. Put the trivet inside your pot and place two ears of corn on the bottom and two on the top.
  • You want the release valve set to the Sealing position and secure your lid on top. Turn your Instant Pot to high pressure and set the time to two minutes.
  • The process will take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes to allow enough pressure to build inside the Instant Pot for the corn to cook. You'll see a little steam release from the lid and hear a beep when the Instant Pot is fully pressurized.
  • After the time is completed, quick release the pressure. Using a protective glove, carefully twist the steam release handle and make sure it is pointing to the venting position. There will be a lot of steam and hot moisture released so be careful. Remove the corn and serve while it is hot.

Oven Roasted

  • Heat up your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and put the rack in the center position. Take off the husk and all corn silk and place all ears on aluminum foil. You want enough foil to be able to cover all of the corn completely on all sides. Stick some butter in the center of the foil and sprinkle your salt and pepper.
  • Cover the enter corn in foil and place on the center rack with the butter side up. Cook until the kernels are tender and the process should take about 30 minutes. When the corn is done, make sure to rest for at least 5 minutes to prevent steam burn.

Grill

  • Heat your grill to high, about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure your grates are greased with oil so the corn does not stick. You have the option to remove your husk and all silk from the corn or to keep a small layer on.
  • Using a brush, place some olive oil on each corn and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Carefully place each ear of corn on the grill and cover. Cook everything for about 8 to 12 minutes making sure to turn each ear every 2 minutes to char each side evenly. When done, transfer to a plate and serve with butter.

Nutrition

Calories: 71kcal
Keyword how to cook corn on the cob
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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