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Few things are as wonderful as fresh Corn on the Cob in the heat of summer. Here are four different ways to cook it (grill, instant pot, microwave, and stove), all of them foolproof and completely delicious.

4 ears of corn on a white plate.

I grew up seeing corn fields outside the car window as we drove past, my dad and grandpa always saying “Knee high by the 4th of July!”

In my family, corn was a common dinner side dish. My mom boiled the cobs in water and we seasoned them at the table (as much butter and salt as I could get away with). And let’s not forget those tiny yellow plastic corn cob holders!

These days, I still boil corn most of the time. Old habits die hard, I guess. But for everyone else, there are plenty of other ways to make it, and so many ways to flavor it!

Table of Contents
  1. Tutorial notes:
  2. Step-by-step instructions
  3. Recipe tips and variations:
  4. Corn on the Cob (4 Ways) Recipe

Tutorial notes:

  • Buying: Corn is best enjoyed the day it is picked off the stalk (before the sugars have a chance to turn to starch). These days it’s almost impossible to get the absolute freshest corn unless you’re lucky enough to live near a farmer. When shopping for corn, look for corn still in the husks. Search out husks that are plump, green, and still moist, with fresh, light yellow silk. If you can, select one and peel back the husk to expose the corn. The kernels should look bright, fresh, and almost sparkly. Avoid corn that has dead, dull-looking kernels or any sign of pests or disease.
  • Storing: To store corn, keep it in the husk. But even the husk needs to be protected from drying out, so here’s what to do: wrap the ears up in a damp paper towel and store them in a plastic vegetable bag in the coolest part of your refrigerator. Try not to leave the corn out on the counter overnight, and don’t throw it into the refrigerator without wrapping it in a bag first.

Step-by-step instructions

Grilled corn on the cob:

  • Preheat grill over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate. Place corn directly over hot side of the grill and cook, rotating occasionally, until cooked through and charred in spots on all sides, about 8 minutes total.
2 ears of corn on a gas grill.

Instant Pot corn on the cob:

  • In the bottom of an instant pot, add corn cobs and 1 cup water. Close the lid, set the valve to “sealing”, and set it to cook for 2 minutes on high pressure. It’ll take about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure. Once the countdown has finished, do a quick pressure release.
2 ears of corn in the bottom of an Instant Pot.

Microwave corn on the cob:

  • Wrap each ear of corn in damp paper towel. Arrange on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on HIGH for 4 to 5 minutes.
2 ears of corn wrapped in paper towel.

Stove-top corn on the cob:

  • Over medium-high heat, bring a full pot of water to boil. Add corn to the boiling water and boil for 4 minutes. Immediately remove cobs from water.
2 ears of corn in a pot of water.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Yield: This recipe makes 4 ears of corn, but you can easily double or triple the recipe (cooking times may need to be increased depending on the method).
  • Storage: Store leftover corn in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (I like to cut the kernels off the cob before storing).
  • Seasonings: Sometimes butter and salt is the best thing on fresh corn. If you’re craving something extra, try flavored butters, margarita salt, ancho chili powder, or minced fresh herbs.
  • Elote: Rub your cooked corn with fresh lime, then slather with mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, and chili powder. Mexican street food at its finest!
4 ears of corn on a white plate.

Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

I’m betting that this Mexican street corn, known as elote, will be your new favorite way to eat  corn on the cob this summer, even if you’re a purist in the corn department. The cobs…

30 minutes
View Recipe

More ways with corn

4 ears of corn on a white plate.

Corn on the Cob (4 Ways)

Few things are as wonderful as fresh Corn on the Cob in the heat of summer. Here are four different ways to cook it (grill, instant pot, microwave, and stove), all of them foolproof and completely delicious.
4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 4 servings (1 ear each)
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 77

Ingredients 

  • 4 ears corn shucked (husks and silk removed)

Instructions 

Grilled corn on the cob:

  • Preheat grill over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate. Place corn directly over hot side of the grill and cook, rotating occasionally, until cooked through and charred in spots on all sides, about 8 minutes total.

Instant Pot corn on the cob:

  • In the bottom of an instant pot, add corn cobs and 1 cup water. Close the lid, set the valve to "sealing", and set it to cook for 2 minutes on high pressure. It'll take about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure. Once the countdown has finished, do a quick pressure release.

Microwave corn on the cob:

  • Wrap each ear of corn in damp paper towel. Arrange on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on HIGH for 4 to 5 minutes.

Stove-top corn on the cob:

  • Over medium-high heat, bring a full pot of water to boil. Add corn to the boiling water and boil for 4 minutes. Immediately remove cobs from water.

Notes

  1. Yield: This recipe makes 4 ears of corn, but you can easily double or triple the recipe (cooking times may need to be increased depending on the method).
  2. Storage: Store leftover corn in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (I like to cut the kernels off the cob before storing).
  3. Seasonings: Sometimes butter and salt is the best thing on fresh corn. If you’re craving something extra, try flavored butters, margarita salt, ancho chili powder, or minced fresh herbs.

Nutrition

Serving: 1earCalories: 77kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 3gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.4gTrans Fat: 0.01gSodium: 14mgPotassium: 243mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 168IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 2mgIron: 0.5mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. On your recipe for microwave corn, instead of wrapping it in paper towels , we just tear off a few leaves ( just a few ) around the cob and make sure to leave the bottom part of the cob on so you can use it for a handle when it’s time to eat it. Microwave for 4 minutes and remove from microwave being careful because it is very hot. Remove the rest of the leaves and you are good to go .