5 Best Way To Make Corn On the Cob & 10 Toppings

by Ella

Corn on the cob is a classic summertime staple, loved by people of all ages. Whether you’re attending a backyard barbecue, hosting a family cookout, or simply enjoying a quiet meal at home, a perfectly cooked ear of corn can be a delightful addition to any menu. While there are numerous methods for preparing this beloved vegetable, we’re here to unveil the best way to make corn on the cob. This comprehensive guide will explore the science behind corn preparation, various cooking methods, and tips for enhancing the flavor. Get ready to elevate your corn on the cob game to a whole new level.

Understanding Corn Varieties

Before we delve into the cooking techniques, it’s important to understand the different corn varieties available, as this can significantly impact the final flavor and texture of your corn on the cob.


Sweet Corn: Sweet corn is the most common variety for corn on the cob. It’s characterized by its high sugar content, tender kernels, and a mild, sweet flavor. Varieties like ‘Silver Queen’ and ‘Incredible’ are popular choices for this type of corn.


Dent Corn: Dent corn, also known as field corn, is primarily grown for animal feed and industrial uses. It has a starchy texture and is not well-suited for corn on the cob due to its less sweet and more robust flavor.


Flint Corn: Flint corn, also called Indian corn, is known for its colorful kernels and hard exterior. It’s mainly used for decorative purposes and not typically used for eating on the cob.


For the best corn on the cob experience, choose sweet corn varieties that are at their peak freshness, ideally harvested on the same day you plan to cook them. Look for vibrant green husks and plump kernels when selecting your ears of corn.

Selecting and Preparing Corn on the Cob

Once you’ve chosen your sweet corn, the next step is to prepare it for cooking. Properly selecting and husking the corn is crucial for achieving the best results.

Selecting Corn: Examine the corn for freshness by checking the husks. They should be bright green and tightly wrapped around the kernels. Avoid corn with brown or dry husks. Gently squeeze the ears to ensure they feel firm and full.

Husking Corn: To husk the corn, start by pulling back the outer husks to reveal the inner layers. Remove the silk, the fine threads that run along the kernels, by hand or with a soft brush. Some people prefer to leave a few inner layers of husk intact to protect the corn during cooking and add a smoky flavor.

5 Best Way To Make Corn On the Cob

1. The Classic Boiling Method

One of the most traditional and straightforward ways to cook corn on the cob is by boiling it. This method retains the natural sweetness of the corn and is a favorite among many corn enthusiasts. Here’s how to do it:

Boiling Corn:

Fill a large pot with water, enough to submerge the ears of corn completely.

Add a generous pinch of salt to the water to enhance the corn’s flavor.

Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.

Carefully add the husked ears of corn to the boiling water.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and let the corn simmer for 4-6 minutes. The exact cooking time may vary depending on the size and freshness of the corn.

Avoid overcooking, as this can result in mushy corn.

Remove and Serve:

Use tongs to carefully remove the corn from the boiling water.

Allow the excess water to drain off briefly.

Serve the hot corn immediately with butter, salt, and any other desired toppings.

2. Steaming for Enhanced Flavor

While boiling is a classic method, steaming corn on the cob can take your culinary adventure to the next level. Steaming allows the corn to cook in its own natural juices, enhancing its sweetness and flavor. Here’s how to steam corn on the cob:

Steaming Corn:

Fill a large pot with a few inches of water and place a steaming rack or basket inside.

Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Husk and Prepare the Corn:

While the water is heating, husk the corn as previously described.

Steam the Corn:

Once the water is simmering, carefully place the prepared corn ears onto the steaming rack or basket.

Cover the pot with a lid and steam the corn for 5-7 minutes. Again, the exact cooking time depends on the freshness and size of the corn.


Remove the corn from the steamer using tongs.

Allow any excess moisture to drain off.

Serve the steamed corn hot with your preferred toppings.

3. Grilling for a Smoky Twist

If you’re looking to infuse your corn on the cob with a delightful smoky flavor and a hint of char, grilling is the way to go. Grilled corn is a popular choice for outdoor gatherings and barbecues. Here’s how to grill corn on the cob:

Preheat the Grill:

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (around 350-400°F or 175-200°C).

Prepare the Corn:

Husk the corn, leaving a few inner layers of husk attached if desired.

Soak the corn in cold water for about 10-15 minutes before grilling. This helps prevent the husks from burning.

Grill the Corn:

Shake off excess water from the corn and place the ears directly on the grill grates.

Grill for about 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking and charring.

The corn is ready when it’s tender and has grill marks.


Remove the grilled corn from the grill and let it cool slightly.

Peel back the husks, which should come off easily after grilling.

Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy the smoky flavor.

4. Oven Roasting for a Unique Texture

For a unique twist on corn on the cob that yields a slightly different texture, consider oven roasting. Roasting caramelizes the sugars in the corn, intensifying its sweetness. Here’s how to oven roast corn on the cob:

Preheat the Oven:

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).

Prepare the Corn:

Husk the corn and remove the silk as previously described.

Season and Wrap:

Brush each ear of corn with melted butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Wrap each ear of corn individually in aluminum foil.

Roast the Corn:

Place the foil-wrapped corn directly on the oven rack or on a baking sheet.

Roast for approximately 20-25 minutes, turning the corn once halfway through cooking.


Carefully unwrap the hot corn and serve immediately with additional butter or other toppings of your choice.

5. Microwaving for Quick Convenience

When time is of the essence, microwaving corn on the cob is a speedy and convenient option. While it may not offer the same depth of flavor as other methods, it’s a great choice for a quick side dish. Here’s how to microwave corn on the cob:

Prepare the Corn:

Husk the corn and remove the silk as previously described.

Wrap and Microwave:

Place each ear of corn individually on a microwave-safe plate.

Cover the corn with a damp paper towel to help retain moisture.

Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes, depending on the wattage of your microwave and the size of the corn.


Carefully remove the hot corn from the microwave and let it cool briefly.

Serve with your preferred toppings.

See Also: Top 1 Authentic Chinese Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup

Flavorful Toppings and Seasonings

Now that you’ve mastered the art of cooking corn on the cob using various methods, let’s explore some delicious toppings and seasonings to enhance the flavor of your corn:

1. Butter: Classic and irresistible, a pat of butter adds richness to each bite. You can also infuse your butter with herbs like rosemary, thyme, or basil for an extra layer of flavor.

2. Salt and Pepper: Simple yet effective, a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground black pepper can bring out the natural sweetness of the corn.

3. Lime or Lemon Juice: Squeeze a wedge of lime or lemon over your corn for a refreshing citrusy zing.

4. Parmesan Cheese: Grated Parmesan cheese adds a savory, nutty note that pairs perfectly with sweet corn.

5. Chili Powder or Paprika: For a spicy kick, dust your corn with chili powder or smoked paprika. You can also add a dash of cayenne pepper if you prefer more heat.

6. Garlic Butter: Infuse melted butter with minced garlic for a fragrant and flavorful topping.

7. Mayonnaise and Cotija Cheese: This Mexican-inspired combination involves slathering the corn with mayo, sprinkling crumbled Cotija cheese, and finishing with chili powder and lime juice.

8. Herb Butter: Create a compound butter by mixing softened butter with fresh herbs like cilantro, chives, or parsley. Spread this herbed butter over your corn for a burst of flavor.

9. Sour Cream and Chives: A dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of freshly chopped chives create a creamy and herbaceous topping.

10. Barbecue Sauce: Brush your grilled corn with your favorite barbecue sauce for a sweet and tangy twist.

See Also: How to Freeze Corn: Corn Kernels + Cobs (Plus Pictures!)

Experiment and Enjoy

In the world of corn on the cob, there’s no shortage of creative ways to prepare and enjoy this versatile vegetable. Whether you prefer the classic simplicity of boiled corn, the smokiness of grilled corn, or the caramelized sweetness of roasted corn, the #1 best way to make corn on the cob ultimately comes down to your personal preferences.

So, this summer, embrace the corn season and try out different cooking methods and toppings. Whether you’re serving it as a side dish at a barbecue, a snack for a movie night, or a star of your weeknight dinner, corn on the cob is a versatile and delicious addition to any menu. Master the art of cooking it, explore various flavors, and savor the taste of summer with every juicy bite.



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