Corn is a good source of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.

How to Cook Corn on the Cob in the Oven, the Microwave or by Boiling

by M.H. Dyer

In most parts of the country, fresh corn on the cob is a treat only from late summer through early autumn, when the hot weather crop is at the peak of ripeness. For the best flavor, look for corn with tight, bright green husks; soft, golden silk; and plump kernels. Although corn on the cob is sweet, juicy and delicious prepared a number of ways, boiling, baking and microwaving are three of the easiest methods.

Peel the husks down and over the stem of the corn, but don't remove the husks from the corn. Pick off most of the corn silks with your fingers.

Hold the husks and the stem firmly with one hand. Hold the ear of corn with your other hand, then snap the stem and husks from the corn. Remove the remaining silks with a soft, clean vegetable brush.

Place each ear of corn on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil to roast corn on the cob in your oven. Top the corn with a pat of butter, then wrap the ears securely in the foil. Place the corn directly on the racks in an oven preheated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until the corn is tender, usually about 30 to 35 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a full boil to make boiled corn on the cob. Add the corn and let the water return to a full, rolling boil, then remove the pot from the burner as soon as the water boils. Cover the pot securely and leave the corn on the cob in the hot water for five minutes. Drain the water and serve the corn hot.

Prepare corn for microwave cooking by removing the outer husks from the corn, leaving two to four layers of the pale green inner husks. Peel the inner husks down and remove the silks, then bring the husks back up around the corn. Wrap the ears in moist paper towels, then place the ears on a microwave-safe plate. Cook each ear on the high setting for two to three minutes, or until the corn is steaming hot and you can smell the sweet aroma. Let the corn set for three or four minutes before serving.

Items you will need

  • Vegetable brush
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Herbs and seasonings
  • Large cooking pot with lid
  • Paper towels
  • Microwave-safe plate


  • Mash softened butter with a small amount of crushed garlic and parsley or other seasonings. Place a small spoonful of the mixture on the corn before wrapping the ears in aluminum foil.
  • Make herbed, baked corn by sprinkling the ears with salt and pepper, then adding sprigs of herbs -- such as thyme, rosemary, basil or sage -- before wrapping the ears in foil.
  • Pete Ferretti, professor of vegetable crops at Penn State University, recommends adding a small amount of milk and sugar to the water when boiling corn. The milk enhances the flavor by removing some of the minerals, and the sugar prevents the corn's natural sugar from leaching into the water.


  • Use tongs or pot holders to remove corn on the cob from the microwave oven to protect your skin from the hot steam.

About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.

Photo Credits

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