Learn how to make steamed corn on the cob! It's the best way to cook corn. It turns out crisp-tender and sweet with no sugar added!
I'm really picky about corn on the cob, of all things. I either love it or leave it, depending on how it's cooked.
I remember trying to find the best way to make corn on the cob as a new bride during the summer of 1993. (I'm from the Midwest, so corn is a big deal.)
I tried boiling it plain and wasn't satisfied. Then I tried boiling it and adding sugar to the water, but didn't like that at all.
Then I tried the cooking method I've been using ever since.
Steam, Baby. It makes the best corn on the cob and retains all of the nutrients. It's also great for Steamed Asparagus with Tarragon Butter.
In about 25 minutes, you'll have perfectly sweet, crisp-tender, juicy corn every time!
How to choose corn
The first step to making perfect corn on the cob is choosing the right ears of corn!
- Buy corn when it's in season, so it tastes better. Look for it from May through September.
- Don't buy pre-shucked corn, as it starts getting starchy once the stalk is off.
- Examine the silk. Older corn silk will look brown/black and dried out. Fresh corn on the cob will have silk that's a lighter color.
- Look for husks that are bright green, and avoid husks that are brown, bruised, or dried-out looking.
- Hold each ear of corn to find the heavier ones, which are juicier.
How to shuck corn
- The easiest way to shuck corn is to peel off the husks starting at the top of the ear of corn. Keep peeling back the inner leaves until you can see the corn inside.
- While gripping the bottom of the corn cob with one hand, use your other hand to grab the tops of the leaves with the tassel. Pull down forcefully in one motion.
- Tear off the husks and break off any extra stem at the bottom.
- Under running water, use a vegetable brush (affiliate link) to brush off any leftover strands of corn silk. Use your fingers to pull off any that are stuck.
- Discard corn husks and silk in the garbage. Don't put them in your garbage disposal, or they'll clog it!
How to make steamed corn on the cob
See the card at the end of this post for the full recipe, but here's an overview.
- Add two inches of water to a 6-quart pot. Cover and bring to a boil. When the water is boiling, remove the lid. Add the shucked corn to a steamer basket placed on top of the pot, then cover.
- Cook the corn for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the corn sit, covered, for 10-15 minutes more.
(If you don't have a steamer basket, see the FAQ section for using a colander (affiliate link) that fits into your pot.)
- For parties, you can cut the corn in half into smaller portions. Do this before steaming it.
- Don’t keep lifting the lid to check on the corn because you’ll let out steam. Set a timer, then check it.
What to serve with it
Steamed Corn on the Cob just needs butter, salt, and pepper, but feel free to experiment with spices like smoked paprika, garlic powder, and even some grated Parmesan cheese.
Oh, and don't forget to have dental floss on hand! Haha! Eating corn on the cob is messy!
Frequently asked questions
You can use a colander of corn placed above the boiling water in a pot, making sure the water isn’t touching the drainer. Then cover the colander with a large lid or double layers of thick foil to prevent steam from escaping.
Corn can turn out dry in the microwave if you’re not careful. Wrap shucked corn in a damp paper towel before microwaving it. This will create steam.
In my microwave, it takes 2.5 minutes on high to cook an ear of corn. It'll be very hot, so let it cool off before eating it.
Corn on the cob is done cooking when the kernels become bright yellow and feel tender and plump. You can bite into one to see if it's cooked enough for you.
More recipes for cookouts
- Italian Bean Salad
- Italian Carrot Salad
- Rotini Pasta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Creamy Potato Salad
- July 4 Menu Ideas
And don't miss all of my Side Dishes!
If you try this Steamed Corn on the Cob recipe, be sure to leave a comment and a rating!
Steamed Corn on the Cob
- 4-6 ears of corn (shucked & rinsed clean)
- hot water- you will need the water two inches high in a steam pot
- butter (optional)
- Let the water come to a boil in a covered pot while you clean the corn.
- Shuck the corn by pulling down the outer leaves. (Start at the top with the tassels.) Pull off all of the husk and break off any stem that is too long. Use a vegetable brush to brush off the corn silk strands under running water. (Don't put the husk or strands in your garbage disposal, or it will clog.) Pluck off any extra strands with your fingers.
- Set the cleaned ears of corn in a steam basket that fits in the pot. When the water boils, place the steam basket into the pot (the water should not be touching the bottom of the basket.)
- Cover and cook for ten minutes, then turn off the heat and let the corn sit, covered, for 10-15 minutes more, until the kernels are bright yellow, plump and tender. You can bite into an ear of corn to test it.
- Serve with butter, salt and pepper to taste.
(Recipe Source: Cooking With Mamma C. Originally published on July 16, 2014 and updated now with new photos and additional information. )