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How to Cook Corn on the Cob

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Corn on the Cob

Corn on the Cob

Getty Images/Christopher Robbins
I'll show you how to cook corn on the cob three different ways - boiling, microwaving and grilling. The method you choose will depend on how fast you want to eat and what kind of flavor you want to give the corn. Once you master these easy methods, you can experiment with more inventive techniques, such as roasting the corn with the husk on or even using a pressure cooker to cook the corn.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 2-20 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Shuck the corn.

    You'll want to have a trash can handy to discard the corn husks and silks. First remove the husks (green leaves) by pulling them back toward the end of the ear. Keep removing the husks until the corn is exposed completely. Now use your fingers or a vegetable brush to remove the silks (stringy yellow strands). If there is a tough yellow end, you can break it off with your hands or cut it off with a knife.

    Now choose one of the three methods below to cook the corn on the cob.

  2. How to Microwave Corn on the Cob

    Wrap each ear of shucked corn loosely in a damp paper towel. Place on a microwave-safe plate (if the microwave comes with a glass plate, you can just use that). Heat on high 2-6 minutes.

    The cooking time for the corn on the cob will depend on the temperature of the microwave and how many ears of corn you're microwaving at once (you can cook as many ears of corn as your microwave will hold; just make sure they lie flat in a single row, not stacked). Check the corn after 2 minutes. If you can pierce a kernal or corn with a fork, and liquid squirts out, the corn is done.

  3. How to Boil Corn on the Cob

    Place shucked corn in a large soup pot. Cover with water by a depth of 1 inch (in other words, when you press the corn down to the bottom of the pot with your fingers, make sure the water comes up 1 inch over the corn).

    Cover the pot, and bring to a boil - it will take 3-4 minutes. Using tongs (compare prices), remove corn immediately from the pot, or for a more tender corn on the cob, let corn boil 3-5 minutes.

  4. How to Grill Corn on the Cob

    Spread olive oil over each ear of shucked corn. Wrap each ear of corn individually in foil. Pierce the foil in several places with a fork. Grill over medium heat, turning frequently, 15-20 minutes.

Tips:

  1. When boiling or microwaving corn on the cob, the more ears of corn you're cooking at once, the longer it will take.
  2. When boiling corn on the cob, to make it taste sweeter, add a pinch of sugar to the boiling water.
  3. Do not add salt to the water when boiling corn on the cob. This will only make the corn tough.
  4. You can microwave or grill corn on the cob with the husks still on. Simply peel back the husks to reveal the corn, but don't pull them off. Clean off the silks, then replace the husks. Soak the corn in water for 1 hour. Then cook as directed above.

    Important: The corn will be extremely hot when it comes out of the microwave or off the grill. You'll have to use oven mitts to remove the husks, which is one reason I don't recommend this method of cooking corn on the cob.

  5. Serving idea: Spread a compound butter over fresh corn on the cob. Compound butter sounds fancy, but it's really just flavored butter, and it is incredibly simple to make. Just let 1/4 cup of butter get very soft at room temperature. Mix in 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic or finely-chopped herbs and a pinch of salt. Stir until well combined. Form into a log shape, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

What You Need

  • Microwave oven, soup pot or grill.
  • Tongs (compare prices), if boiling corn.
  • Paper towels, if microwaving corn.
  • Foil, if grilling corn.
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