How to Cook Corn on the Cob

Four (or Five) Easy Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob

Grilled corn on the cob
Grilled corn on the cob.

Jacob Snavely / Getty Images

Corn on the cob is a delicious, versatile side dish, and it's easy to prepare on the grill, in the oven or on the stovetop. You can even cook it in the microwave. Here are four different ways to cook corn on the cob.

Boiling Corn on the Cob

The most basic way of cooking corn on the cob, and the way you've probably had it prepared most often, is to boil it.

Fill a large pot with water. Add a small handful of Kosher salt, just enough so that the water tastes salty. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, remove the husks and the silk from the corn. Depending on the diameter of your pot, you may want to cut the corn in half to shorten them. But if your pot is nice and wide, just leave them whole.

Once the water boils, add the corn. This will cause the water will stop boiling. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. As soon as the water returns to a boil, the corn is done. Remove from the pot and serve with butter and salt.

How long it will take for the water to return to a boil will depend on the size of the pot, how much water is in it, and how much corn you add. But in general, you should leave the corn in the water for no longer than four minutes. Longer than that and it will be overcooked.

Grilling Corn on the Cob

To grill your corn, first husk it, brush it with some olive oil, then grill it on a medium grill using direct heat, with the lid on for 15 minutes. You can give the cobs a quarter turn every few minutes so that they get slightly charred and caramelized. (Don't wrap the corn in foil!)

Another way to grill your corn is to remove the husks, season it, wrap it in foil and place the foil packets on the grill for 15 minutes. Some people like to husk the corn, remove the silk, then season it and wrap it back in the husks before grilling. You would need to tie the cobs with cooking twine so that the husks stay on.​

Roasting Corn on the Cob

This might be the easiest method of all. Simply place the whole ears of corn, husks and all, directly on the rack of a 425 F oven. Roast for 20 minutes, then take it out, remove the husks, butter it, season and serve. Simple, tasty, and a handy technique for when you're preparing a big meal and don't have any more room on your stovetop.

Cooking Corn on the Cob in the Microwave

There's no shame here. The microwave is a perfectly useful tool, and cooking corn on the cob happens to be one of the things it's good for. Just place the shucked corn in a glass or ceramic microwave-safe dish. Cover with plastic wrap and cook it on high for about 3 minutes for two ears of corn; 7 to 8 minutes for four ears. Let it sit in the microwave, still covered, for another five minutes. Then butter, season and serve.