Summer is prime corn on the cob season. When fresh corn is in season, there’s nothing better than popping a few ears in the microwave for a quick and easy side dish. Microwaved corn on the cob cooks up tender and sweet in just minutes.
While grilling or boiling corn on the cob over the stove are tasty cooking methods, microwaving is one of the quickest and easiest ways to prepare corn on the cob. With just a few simple steps, you can have perfect corn on the cob from the microwave in under 5 minutes.
Benefits of Microwaving Corn on the Cob
Microwaving corn on the cob has several advantages over other cooking methods:
- It’s fast – Microwaved corn cooks in just 3-5 minutes. Much faster than grilling or boiling.
- Retains nutrients – Microwaving is a moist-heat cooking method, helping corn retain more of its natural vitamins and antioxidants than dry cooking methods.
- Easy cleanup – No pots or pans to scrub! Just remove the husks and silks and microwave directly on a plate or in a microwave-safe container.
- Less mess – Without boiling water, microwaving contains most of the corn splatter.
- Tender kernels – The moist heat from the microwave steams the corn from the inside out, ensuring tender kernels.
- Enhances sweetness – Microwaving corn actually helps convert the corn’s naturally occurring sugars into sweetness you can taste.
Microwaving is an easy way for anyone to enjoy fresh-picked corn flavor in minutes. Now let’s look at how to do it right.
Picking the Right Ears of Corn
To start, you need to select good quality, fresh corn for microwaving. Look for ears with these qualities:
- Tight, green husks – Avoid corn with dried out or browned husks.
- Plump, rounded feel – The ear should feel full under the husk with no empty gaps.
- Moist silk tips – Dry, brown silk indicates old corn.
- Good corn scent – The husk should have a sweet corn aroma when peeled back slightly.
The chart below compares the signs of fresh vs. old corn on the cob:
|Fresh Corn||Old Corn|
|Tight green husks||Dried, brown husks|
|Plump rounded feel||Shriveled feel|
|Moist light silk tips||Dry, dark silk tips|
|Sweet corn scent||Lack of aroma|
For optimal flavor and texture, select corn ears that meet the fresh criteria. Now let’s get microwaving!
How to Microwave Corn on the Cob
Microwaving corn on the cob takes just a few easy steps:
1. Remove Husks and Silks
- Pull back all the outer husks completely off the ear of corn.
- Remove as much of the inner silk threads as possible.
Cleaning the ear thoroughly prevents silk pieces from getting stuck in the cooked kernels.
2. Rinse Corn
- Give the de-husked and de-silked corn a quick rinse under cool water.
- Shake off any excess water.
The rinse removes any stray hairs while also preventing the corn husk wrapper from burning in the microwave.
3. Replace Outer Husk
- Pull the outermost husk back up around the clean ear of corn.
- Tie a small knot at the top to keep it in place.
Putting the outer husk back on provides a natural wrapper that steams the corn during microwaving.
4. Microwave Corn
- Place each ear of corn upright in a microwave-safe container.
- Microwave on high for 3 minutes for one ear of corn.
- Add 1 minute for each additional ear.
Microwaving the corn upright allows the kernels to steam evenly inside the husk wrapper. The cooking time ensures tender kernels without drying out.
5. Remove and Serve Immediately
- Use oven mitts to remove the hot corn from the microwave.
- Carefully peel back the husk.
- Brush on any butter or spices to taste.
The corn will be extremely hot coming out of the microwave, so use caution when handling. Serve immediately for maximum tenderness and flavor.
And that’s it! In just a few short minutes, you can enjoy perfect corn on the cob cooked right in the microwave.
Microwave Corn Husk Tips
- For food safety, use corn immediately after microwaving. Do not let corn sit out after cooking.
- Add an extra minute of cook time if you prefer very tender kernels.
- If the corn husk burns in spots, simply peel off the charred sections before eating.
- You can reuse the cooked corn husks to make corn husk dolls!
Microwave Power Settings
Microwave wattages can vary, which affects cook times. Refer to this microwave power conversion chart:
|Microwave Watts||Cook Time for 1 Ear||Cook Time for 2 Ears|
|1000 watts||3 minutes||4 minutes|
|850 watts||3.5 minutes||4.5 minutes|
|700 watts||4 minutes||5 minutes|
|600 watts||4.5 minutes||5.5 minutes|
For even cooking, rearrange the corn ears halfway through the cooking time if microwaving more than one.
Flavoring Your Microwaved Corn
One of the best parts of fresh corn on the cob is all the flavors you can add! After microwaving, brush the hot corn with:
- Butter – Melted butter is a classic topping that enhances corn’s sweetness.
- Cheese – Grated parmesan, cotija, or feta add a savory, salty punch.
- Spices – Chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and garlic powder all complement corn’s flavor.
- Herbs – Chives, basil, cilantro, and parsley freshly chopped on top.
- Sauces – Flavored mayos, lime juice, or Mexican crema add creamy, tangy flavor.
Get creative mixing and matching toppings to invent your own signature corn on the cob flavors.
Storing and Reheating Leftover Corn
Properly stored, leftover microwaved corn on the cob will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
- Allow microwaved corn to cool slightly and store husked ears in an airtight container.
- To reheat, place in the microwave and heat for 1-2 minutes until warmed through.
- Add a splash of water to prevent dried out kernels when reheating.
- Only reheat corn once for food safety. Discard any uneaten portions.
Microwaving is the quickest and simplest way to enjoy fresh corn on the cob any night of the week. With this handy guide, you’ll be a master at microwaving perfect corn in minutes.
Microwave Corn on the Cob
- 1-2 ears Corn on the cob – 1-2 ears
- Husk corn and remove silk strands. Rinse under water.
- Put outer husk back on corn. Tie at top with a knot.
- Microwave on high for 3 minutes (1 ear) or 4 minutes (2 ears). Rearrange halfway through.
- Remove from microwave using mitts. Carefully peel back husk.
- Brush with butter and season as desired. Enjoy immediately.