Corn on the cob has to be the quintessential summer side dish. It’s delicious cooked on the grill or in a pot of boiling water, and you can season it with almost anything. Whether you prefer the classic butter, salt, and pepper combo or like to spice things up with chili and lime, this dish is always a favorite. But did you know the simplest method of cooking corn on the cob is in the microwave? And what’s more, it’s foolproof and totally delicious done this way! Read on to find out what to do!
When to Use the Microwave Method
First of all, this isn’t the method to use for a cookout or dinner party. You’re limited by the size of your microwave, and most microwaves are not big enough to fit more than four cobs max at one time. For a quick dinner for just a couple of people, however, this is the easiest method, with the least prep and cleanup time.
What Are the Benefits of Microwaving Corn on the Cob?
We’ve already told you it’s easy and efficient—but just how easy is it? Well, the thing that truly makes this process a breeze is that you microwave the cobs still in their husks. This means no arduous shucking process, and no mess from the corn silk getting everywhere. After the corn is cooked, the husk peels off easily, with the silk coming away in one piece.
Cooking the corn in its husk also ensures that it retains its flavor and comes out perfectly tender and juicy. The husks impart flavor to the corn cobs, leaving a delicious, concentrated flavor. Compared to the boiling method, you don’t lose any nutrients to the water—they all stay right where they are, sealed inside the husk until you’re ready to eat.
How to Microwave Corn on the Cob
Step 1 – Choose Your Corn
The corn you choose matters, and ideally it should be local and in season. Fresh corn will have a green-tinged husk and the cornsilk strands should be pale and moist. If the cornsilk appears dried up or the husk is totally brown, the corn isn’t fresh.
Step 2 – Put Your Corn in the Microwave
Place your corn in the microwave, straight on the turntable. Ensure that the cobs are not too crowded together and that the turntable can spin freely. Some microwaves may be big enough to accommodate four cobs, but most will be better with only two.
Step 3 – Microwave Your Corn
Put the microwave on its highest setting and microwave the corn for four minutes for a single cob, adding an extra two minutes for each additional cob.
Note that every microwave is different, and power settings can vary. If you feel like your corn isn’t done quite enough, try cooking for longer the next time, or cooking for less time if you find it overdone.
Step 4 – Remove the Corn
The corn will be very hot when you take it out of the microwave, so make sure you use an oven mitt or towel to grab it. Let it sit for at least two minutes to cool down slightly before the next step.
Step 5 – Slice Through the Stem
Still using your oven mitt or tea towel—because it will still be hot—use a sharp knife to cut through the stem end of the corn. You want to ensure you’re cutting through the bottom of the cob itself, not just through the stem. Make sure your knife is super sharp, otherwise this can be difficult!
Step 6 – Slide Off the Husk
This is where this method gets almost magical! Simply slide off the husk. The silk will come with it, leaving a perfectly shucked corn cob and absolutely no mess at all.
Step 7 – Season the Corn
Now that your corn is perfectly cooked, it’s time for seasoning! Some people think the in-husk cooking method leaves the corn so delicious it doesn’t need seasoning, but that choice is really up to you. Here are some of our favorite seasoning combos for corn on the cob:
- Classic corn: Spread the freshly shucked cob with butter, then sprinkle salt and pepper over the kernels before enjoying
- Spicy kick: Squeeze lime juice over the corn, before adding chili pepper and sea salt flakes.
- Make it cheesy: Spread butter over the cob then add finely grated parmesan cheese for a decadent treat.
- Garlic and herb: Make a compound butter with minced garlic and freshly chopped herbs, then spread that on your corn cobs.
- Sweet and savory: Mix together melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and a dash of hot sauce like Tabasco, then spread or brush this over the corn before you serve it.
If you like, when cooking corn on the cob in the microwave you can try one of these variations on the classic method:
- Al dente: If you prefer your corn on the firmer side, cook for only two minutes per cob, and add an extra minute for each additional cob.
- Use a paper towel: If you have a cob that has a damaged or removed husk, you can still use the microwave method! Wrap a damp paper towel around the cob to keep the moisture in, and follow the standard microwave method.
- Flame grill the cobs: If you like that charred, flame-grilled flavor, try holding your cooked corn cobs over a flame and rotating them after they’re cooked. This will add a delicious, smoky flavor that will make you swear they’ve been cooked on the grill!