Lets Talk Corn on the Cob

Friday June 3, 2016

Its time for end of the summer corn. Here are two different techniques, one in the microwave and the other in the slow cooker, for cooking it perfect every time.

photo courtesy Better Homes and Gardens

Microwave-Steamed Corn on the Cob

Microwaving corn brings out the true flavor, making it even sweeter and more corn-like than boiling ever did. It is the best way to cook 1 to 4 ears at a time, no more (use conventional stove top boiling method for a crowd). This is how to cook corn you got from the farmer’s market that hasn’t even been refrigerated yet for it was harvested in the morning. That is the ideal scenario. Fresh corn that is firm and not brown from the produce section is just as good and easier to shop for. Unhusked raw corn can be refrigerated up to 2 days. You will be cooking the corn in its own packaging—the husk, which creates great natural steaming conditions and heats up the core. Exact cooking time will be determined by the size and age of the corn. Some grill cooks partially precook their corn in this manner before placing on the grill.


Cookware: Tempered glass microwave turntable that comes with your microwave

Microwave Wattage: 1,100 to 1,300

Cook Time: 2 minutes per ear

Standing Time: 5 minutes

Serves 1 to 4


1 to 4 medium to large ears fresh yellow or white corn in their husks


1. Remove the outside soiled leaves on the ear of corn. Leave 2 layers of inner husk leaves and the silk intact. Fill a bowl with cold water. Place in cold water and soak 3 to 5 minutes; drain. Arrange the still moist cobs on microwave turntable like spokes of a wheel with the tapered end to the center and stem pointing to the outer edge of the dish.

2. Microcook on HIGH for 2 minutes for 1 ear, until steaming hot. Microcook 2 ears for 4 to 5  minutes; 4 ears for 6 to 8 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes in the oven or wrapped in a towel or foil.

3. To remove the husks after cooking, stand the ear on its stem and using a paper towel or clean tea towel (corn is very hot to handle), pull down the husks and silk down and off the ear; discard. Eat immediately with butter and salt, chili powder and lime, or a flavored butter. If ears are not eaten and come to room temperature, you can reheat for 1 minute per ear and the flavor will still be wonderful.

How To Cook Husked Corn on the Cob

If ears are husked, wrap 1 rinsed corn on the cob in waxed paper or microwave-proof plastic wrap with both ends twisted closed like a firecracker for the same cook times. Microcook on HIGH for 1 minute, then turn it over and microcook it for another 50 seconds. Let stand a few minutes and it comes out perfect every time.

Crock-Roasted Fresh Corn on the Cob

The most important crop in America, fresh corn on the cob is a summertime treat.  Often we hear from friends who live abroad tell how they crave some fresh corn just like at home while feasting on gourmet food in Europe.  The best corn to eat is either just picked or just bought from your roadside produce stand.  As soon as corn is picked the sugar in the kernels begin to turn into starch, so the supermarket corn on the cob will take longer to cooker and be a bit tougher after cooking since it is days old.  If you must keep fresh corn, be sure to refrigerate until cooking.  While it is most familiar to cook stove top in boiling water, we think you will be surprised how delicate the slow cooker does the job (and no big pot of boiling water to hassle with), even though it is for an extended amount of time.  For this recipe, be sure to get corn still in its fresh green husk; you will be steaming it slowly in it. Choose organic as field corn is now a GMO crop.


Slow Cooker:  Medium or Large Round or Oval

Machine Setting and Cook Time: High Heat: 1 to 2 hours

Serves 4 to 8


4 to 8 ears of fresh yellow or white corn in their husks

1/2 to 3/4 cup water


1. Carefully pull back the husk but leave attached at the stem end.  Remove the silk from each ear and rinse each with cold water.  Fold the outer husks back up around the corn and tie the tops with a bit of kitchen twine or strip of husk leaf.  Trim the stems flat so the ears can stand upright in the cooker (do not stack horizontally).

2.  Arrange with stem end down and packed together, standing up in the cooker; add the water (1/2 cup for the medium cooker; 3/4 cup for the large cooker).  Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 to 2 hours, depending on the age of the corn, or until the corn is very tender (pull back the husk and pierce with the tip of a knife to check).  Remove the corn from the cooker with tongs, peel back the husk, and slather with butter.  Eat immediately.  Use the leftovers, cut off the cob, for succotash, vegetable soup, or corn pudding.

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. (c) 2005, and Not Your Mother’s Microwave Cooking, by Beth Hensperger, (c) 2010, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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