Corn on the cob is a favorite side dish for many. It is one of the vegetables that can be prepared in many kinds of ways. You can choose to boil it, steam it, grill it, bake it, or even microwave it. We break down each one of these methods and by the end of this guide, you'll be a corn on the cob expert.

Boiling

Cooking Time: 5 to 7 minutes

boiling corn

Boiling is the most straightforward way to cook corn, and it is also the most common.

  • First, you will need a pot of water. Some recipes call for adding butter, oil, or salt to the water, but this is optional.
  • Then, remove the husks and silk from the corn. Wash the corn with warm water to remove any loose silk strands or other substances. If you have the time, you can even soak the corn for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Once the water starts to boil, using tongs carefully place the corn in the pot. Cover the pot and boil for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • When the corn cobs are done boiling, turn off the heat and take out the corn using caution. Slather some butter on the cooked cobs, sprinkle a little salt, and serve.

Steaming

Cooking Time: 8 to 10 minutes

Many prefer steaming vegetables for it preserves vitamins and minerals. However, this isn't the case for corn cobs. In fact, steaming fresh corn removes the same amount of nutrients as the other methods. For this method, all you will need is a pot, steamer basket, and water.

  • Start by shucking the corn and removing the silk.
  • Next, put 2 inches of water in the bottom of the pot, add salt, and cover with a steamer basket.
  • Place corn in the basket and cover the pot.
  • Bring the water to a boil and steam the corn for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Be sure to check the water periodically and add more if necessary.
  • Once the corn is tender, remove the cobs using tongs.

Microwave

Cooking Time: 7 minutes

corn in plastic bowl

Microwaving corn cobs is a great timesaver and is almost effortless. A downside to this method is that it only allows you to cook one or two ears of corn at a time. However, if you're cooking for one (not judging) then this microwaving is perfect.

  • First, leave the husks on the corn and soak the corn cobs in water for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the cobs from the water and let the excess water drain.
  • Place the corn cobs on a microwave-safe plate or plastic bowl.
  • Let them cook for 4 minutes. Then, rotate the corn cobs.
  • Cook for an additional 3 minutes and remove from the microwave.
  • Let cool for 8 to 10 minutes and remove the husks and corn silk.

Baking

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Baking corn cobs is probably the least used method but the most simple. Many have argued whether or not you should leave the husks on or remove them and wrap the cobs in aluminum foil. Some prefer to use aluminum foil given the possibilities of adding seasoning. In fact, you can make some delicious elote in the oven. Whether you choose to keep the husks on or wrap the cobs in foil is up to you---feel free to experiment with both methods.

  • Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Wash the husks or remove the husks and wrap them in foil.
  • Place the corn cobs on a baking sheet or in the middle of the oven rack.
  • Let the corn bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the corn from the oven, remove the husks or aluminum foil, and serve

Grilling

Cooking Time: 15 to 20 minutes

corn on grill

Cooking corn on the grill is the most advanced and requires more attention and preparation. To add, you have a greater risk of burning the corn by grilling it. However, with much practice, you can master grilling corn. There are three ways you can grill corn on the cob and that is in the husk, with the husk, and without the husk.

In the Husk:

  • For this method, begin by soaking the corn in water for 1 hour. Before placing them on the grill, be sure that the cobs are dry.
  • Then, place the cobs on medium-high heat.
  • Rotate the corn 90 degrees every 5 minutes.
  • Next, remove from the grill and let cool for 3 minutes.

With the Husk:

  • Begin by peeling back the husks. Next, wash off the corn silk.
  • Coat the corn with a thin layer of mayonnaise. If you're vegan, coat it with veganaise.
  • Tie off the husks with cooking twine.
  • Place the exposed corn on the grill and allow the husks to hang outside the grill.
  • Be sure to turn the corn often.
  • Serve directly from the grill.

No Husk:

  • Remove the husks and silk. Wash the corn of any remaining substances with warm water.
  • Spray each ear of corn with vegetable oil or lightly brush them with butter.
  • Place the corn directly on the grill on medium heat.
  • Rotate the corn when the kernels deepen in color.
  • When the cobs are done, sprinkle salt and serve.

Additional Tips for Cooking Corn

  • When buying corn at the grocery store, be sure that the husks are bright green and fit tightly around the ear of the corn. The kernels should be plump and milky.
  • For crisp kernels, boil your corn for 3 to 4 minutes and for softer kernels boil for 5 to 7 minutes.

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