Corn on the cob can be fussy to cook on the stove — bringing a large pot of water to boil, then adding the corn and removing it from hot water is time consuming. Using a microwave, you can perfectly cook corn on the cob in minutes. Microwave cooking is also a good idea if you are cooking large batches of corn on the cob, because finding a pot large enough to hold many ears can be tricky.
Use microwave-safe utensils. This includes the tray for holding the corn, as well as any bags or wrappers you may use. Cooked ears of corn will be very hot, so handle with care, just as you would with boiled ears. For all microwave cooking methods, do not cook more than 4 ears of corn at a time, because this can lead to uneven cooking.
The easiest way to cook corn on the cob in the microwave is in its husk, as recommended by The Kitchn. The water in the silk and the husks steams the corn during cooking, keeping the kernels moist. This method adds extra sweetness and flavor to the corn, and the silk is much easier to remove after cooking. To microwave corn on the cob:
- Place 1 to 4 unshucked ears of corn on a microwave safe plate. You can also use just the tray.
- Cook on HIGH for 3 to 5 minutes. It will be 3 minutes for 1 or 2 ears, and 4 minutes for 3 or 4 ears. For 3 or 4 ears of corn, rotate the ears halfway during cooking — move the inside ears to the outside and vice versa — to ensure even cooking. For softer corn or for large ears, cook for an extra minute.
- Let the cobs rest for a minute or two, then shuck and serve immediately. The silk will slide off easily.
- If you are not serving straight away, leave the husks on to keep the ears warm, and shuck just before serving.
Corn on the cob, shucked, can be cooked in either plastic wrap or a bag, to ensure that the kernels stay moist and cook evenly. Nicolette M. Dumke recommends cooking shucked corn on the cob in the microwave:
- Wrap the shucked ears in a layer of microwave safe plastic wrap or in a
microwave safe plastic bag. If the ears are dry, add 1 teaspoon of water
per ear of corn.
- Place on a microwave safe cooking tray and cook on HIGH. Cook for 3 minutes for 1 ear of corn and increase the cooking time by 2 minutes per each additional ear of corn.
- As with unchecked corn, do not cook more than 4 ears at a time. If you are cooking more than 2 ears at a time, rotate your corn halfway during cooking to ensure even cooking.
- Serve shucked, microwave cooked corn immediately because the corn will not stay as warm for long.
Overcooking your corn on the cob can lead to mushy kernels or, in extreme cases, desiccated kernels. To avoid overcooking, cook for the minimum amount of recommended time, test for doneness with one kernel, and then cook further in 1-minute increments if needed. For unhusked corn, the corn will continue cooking slightly after it is done, because of the insulating effect of the husk.
Corn on the cob is most often served with butter, salt and pepper. You can brush olive oil onto the ears for a lighter, healthier seasoning option.