How to cook corn on the cob perfectly — the easy way

The secret for knowing how to cook corn on the cob perfectly every time is way easier than it seems. According to the pros, the best method is actually the simplest.

“Leaving the husk on corn on the cob while cooking it gives it the best flavor and moisture content,” chef Brendan Walsh, dean of the School of Culinary Arts at The Culinary Institute of America, told TODAY Food.

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See Al Roker makes smoky shrimp and sweet corn 2 different ways

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See Al Roker makes smoky shrimp and sweet corn 2 different ways

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Unless a recipe calls for boiled corn, the dean of America’s top cooking school does not remove the husk when he steams, roasts or grills corn on the cob.

“The flavor stays in the corn and you don’t steam, roast or grill it away. You’re keeping it encased right inside the husk, so when you peel it, the aroma and flavor is that much stronger. Also, the silk comes right off — it’s amazing,” he said.

Here, Walsh reveals the five best ways to cook perfect corn on the cob.

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1. Boiled corn on the cob

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil, put in a pinch sugar and a pinch of salt. Meanwhile, shuck the corn. Drop the corn into the boiling liquid, and allow it to come back up to a boil. Cook the corn for about 5-7 minutes. Turn off the flame and let the corn sit in the water until it’s time to serve. It can be left in the pot for up to 30 minutes without overcooking.

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2. Steamed corn on the cob

Fill a large stockpot with 1 1/2 to 2 inches water. Place unhusked corn in the pot vertically so it’s standing up on the stalk end. Bring the water to a full boil, then cover and steam for 15-20 minutes, adding water as necessary so there is always some on the bottom. The steamed corn can sit in the pot, covered, for up to 30 minutes without overcooking. Using rubber gloves, remove the husks and serve.

3. Baked corn on the cob

Preheat the oven to 425-450 degrees. Place unhusked corn on a baking sheet and cook it for 25 minutes, turning each ear one to two times, until the outside of the husk is lightly charred and brown. Using rubber gloves, remove the husks and serve.


4. Grilled corn on the cob

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, about 400 degrees. Place the unhusked corn on the cob on the grill, and close the lid. Let the corn get brown on one side before turning it. Brown all sides of the corn, about 20 minutes total. Pull the corn off the grill and set it aside. Allow the corn to cool for 5 minutes. When the corn is cool enough to handle, peel it while wearing rubber gloves. They will hold the heat in the casing for a good 20 minutes or 30 minutes.

5. Microwaved corn on the cob

Place one unhusked corn on the cob in a microwave for 3 minutes. The silk and husk will be very easy to remove with this simple method. Serve.*

Now that that’s covered, it’s time to get cooking with these delicious corn recipes.

Serve this sweet corn succotash as a side for grilled fish, chicken or steak.

Coat grilled corn with mayo and crumbled cotija cheese, then sprinkle with a spice blend. A squeeze of lime juice is the perfect finishing touch.

Cook time:

60 minutes

Prep time:

20 minutes



Get the recipe

Showcase fresh corn in this creamy savory pudding that is addictive.

This corn salad is delicious when it’s freshly made and still warm, but it’s also great when it’s chilled.

Every bite is a combination of sweet, spicy, smoky and salty.

*Editor’s note: Walsh has never tried microwaving corn on the cob, but TODAY Food’s editors can attest to the fact that this method works very well!

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