Corn on The Cob: How To BBQ / Boil / Microwave / & More!

Fresh corn plucked from your garden or the local farmers market is a firm favorite for summer meals, potlucks and family barbecues. BONUS: There are so many different ways to cook it successfully!

We are all familiar with boiling it, but did you know you can also pop them in the microwave, on the grill, roast them in the oven and even get the bamboo steamer out!

I have all the details compiled and organized in this article for you. Times, prep instructions and a few little tips and tricks for adding a burst of flavor are included.

Quick tip before getting started: For best results you want corn that has been freshly picked, not stuff that has been sitting around packed in bins for weeks on end.

What’s the best way to tell? The silk tassels sticking out of the leaves (at the top) should be brown and somewhat sticky. If the hairs are dry or “crispy”, you know the batch hasn’t been freshly picked. The leaves should also fit nice and tight.

Flavor Booster Tip: Try adding salad herbs or chopped chives when prepping, or make a separate dish with melted butter and chives to brush on after they’re done.

Reference Sheet

Here is a handy set of instructions that provides directions for several different ways you can prepare it (some surprisingly easy).

First up are the directions for cooking them in the microwave…keep in mind times will vary due to size, amount heated at the same time, appliance type and personal taste/preference. Experiment a bit to see what works best for you.

Microwave Directions:

Warning: When removing from the wrappings, the cobs will be hot and steaming! Take care not to get burned.

Technique #1:

  • Shuck each ear of corn by removing outer leaves and silks. Wash well with cool water, don’t dry–you want liquid left on the cobs.
  • Arrange on a piece of waxed paper (one sheet per). Rub with a bit of butter and sprinkle with salt. Roll up in the paper and twist both ends closed.
  • Cook on high 2 minutes per (ie. It will take 8 mins. if making 4 at a time).


  • With husks left on, cut off 1″ to 1 1/2″ on both ends. Soak cobs for about 30 minutes in cold water, then rinse. Heat for 2 to 3 mins. per ear. Remove then peel off the husks and the silks (will come off very cleanly and easily).


  • Clean & shuck then soak in cold water for 1 hour. Wrap individually in plastic wrap or paper towel (loosely). Zap on high for 2 minutes per cob.


  • Keeping husks attached, peel them back and remove all silk. Soak for 20 minutes in cold water (ends down in a pail works fine), then recover ears with the husks. Heat 2 to 3 mins. for each cob.


  • Clean and shuck outer leaves & strings, rinse well then wrap individually in paper towel, next run under the tap–soak the paper towel thoroughly. Squeeze the excess moisture out then zap on high for 2 mins. per ear (wet paper towel still on).


  • Clean and shuck the amount you are working with. Place each in a large ziploc freezer bag (the microwavable kind), a pat of butter and a dash of salt.
  • Seal bags, but keep an inch or so open so the steam can escape.
  • Carefully arrange bags in the microwave with the vented seams side up. Zap for 1 minute.
  • Roll them in butter (still in the bag). Put back in and zap them for another minute or so.

Other Methods

Let’s Try Grilling:

  • Strip, wash then rub the ears all over with a stick of butter.
  • Place on a sheet of aluminum foil, season with salt and pepper.
  • Roll each in a sheet of foil, twisting each end closed.
  • Preheat the grill on high.
  • Arrange prepared corn on the top shelf.
  • Close the grill and check in 10 minutes.
  • When you hear them start to sizzle, turn and cook for another 5 mins. (turn them over one time).
  • Close lid.
  • When you hear a sizzling, popping noise (approximately 15 to 20 mins.), it’s ready and can be removed.
  • Keep each of them wrapped in foil and they will stay warm for about 20 to 30 mins., giving you time to get the rest of the meal ready.

Source: Chef Tips host Jason Hill (video)


  • Husk by pulling down the leaves in two halves (keeping them attached at the bottom).
  • Remove silk.
  • Soak the ears in water for approximately an hour. This step keeps the husks from catching fire and also steams the kernels a bit.
  • Place them directly on the grill, make sure the leaves are covering the corn completely so they protect the kernels from direct heat.
  • Cook on medium.
  • After about 7 or 8 minutes, turn over and continue until done.
  • The outer husks will be burned a bit and the inside kernels will be caramelized in various spots giving an added delightful flavor.

Source: BBQMyWay (video)

Quick & Easy:

The times can vary depending on how fresh the ears are and how tender or soft you prefer the kernels.

Oven Roasted: Preheat oven to 350° F. Arrange directly on the oven rack and roast for 30 minutes or until the kernels are soft. Peel down the husks and use as a handle when eating. Seriously easy! Source: Food Network.

Steaming: Couldn’t be simpler! Strip it down from outer coverings and rinse well under a running tap. Now place them in the steamer basket after water has been brought to a boil, cover with lid. Let steam for approximately 10 mins. until done.

How To Boil: First clean & shuck then place in a large pot. Cover with cold water. Top with a lid and bring to a boil. When the pot is rolling, turn off the heat and sit for 1 or 2 mins. then the batch should be done. Another method that draws out the sweetness is to first bring the pot to a boil, toss in about 1/4 cup sugar then add prepped corn. Top with a lid and cook for approximately 5 minutes (until done). For a variance in flavor, you can also do this in milk which gives delicious results, details located at Mom Advice.

Interested in trying some tasty recipes or add a bit of variety to the same old side dish? Here are a bunch for you to check out, some sound so delicious and have some interesting ingredient twists (such as lime, molasses, bacon, parmesan cheese and more)…yum!

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    • Joette

    How about this: Husk corn, remove silk. wrap each cob in some clear plastic wrap (saran, glad…) Place in microwave with tips facing the center. Microwave 2 minutes per cob, flip cobs and microwave 2 minutes more per cob. No need to wash, scrub, put in butter, salt… cook and season after its cooked

    • Lynn Webber

    Don’t use plastic wrap; as it melts it’s toxic.

      • Lester

      My wife has been using it for years and never had any melt, now that she has passed I just needed the time per ear.

    • jewell

    try leaving the shuck and silk on the cob, microwave 3 minutes per ear. the silk come off the corn clean and easy. corn is hot so be careful. nice and crispy. tip by jewell.

      • Sean

      I completely agree with Jewell, this method is very easy and silk comes off easily! I usually peel the husk back wet the ear then replace it and wrap with the wet paper towel as above. Perfect corn every time!

    • Marilyn

    As a widow getting used to cooking for one, I decided to see if I could microwave a couple of ears of fresh corn on the cob. I usually do the boiling water thing, turning the heat off, and letting the corn sit in the pan with the lid on for 20 minutes. Your instructions will let me enjoy fresh corn often. Thanks!

    • nana

    I do mine just as Jewell writes. I do wet the outside husk by a quick rinse under the water tap. It is aamzing how the silk doesn’t require tedious picking. Comes right off.

    • Marge Dabikk

    The best luck I’ve ever had with corn on the cob is the easiest.
    Peel back some of the husk from the tip, just to check for any little wriggly things. If you see any, this will not work. When you’ve checked, and the corn is free of unwanted protein, put it in the microwave, husk and all, for 2-3 minutes per ear. I’ve forgotten how to time this, so experiment the first time.
    When the corn is don, grab a couple of paper towels and remove the husks. The silk comes off EASILY, unlike when it’s uncooked, and it’s the best corn you’ve ever eaten.

    • Michon

    I leave the first layer or two of husk on the cob, leave the silk and everything, and just microwave one ear for two minutes. No water added or anything, just pop it in…husks and silk come off easily and corn is delish.

    • Judy

    I have one of those Tupperware steamer dishes (with removable insert). Steam an ear or two, husks removed down to about the last layer, and the silk still on the corn for about 4 minutes. When done, peel back the husk to use as a handle, and the silk will come right off. Just today tried the ziploc bag method. Only cooked the corn for about a minute, rolled it in the butter and added some seasoning and it came out really nice, with a little crunch, excellent. Really good ideas – easy, quick, and with good results.

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