5 Smart Tips for Preparing Corn on the Cob

updated Jun 5, 2019
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

If you’re anything like me, you’re well on your way to getting your fill of sweet summer corn on the cob. But there are a few things to know to make absolutely sure you’re maximizing these ears of gold.

From knowing how to pick the freshest ears without peeling back the husk to a quick cooking method to an ingenious idea for cooking huge batches, these are five helpful tips to keep in your back pocket this summer.

1. The freshest ears of corn have brown, slightly sticky tassels.

There’s no need to pull back the husk when picking corn. Instead, choose ears that have brown tassels that are a little sticky to the touch. If the tassels look black or feel dry, that ear is old. Also choose corn that feels firm with plump, even kernels.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

2. Bundt pans are a surprising no-mess tool for getting corn off the cob.

Bundt and angel food cake pans aren’t just for baking cakes — they also double as a useful tool to cut corn off the cob without making a total mess.

3. Use the microwave for super-quick corn on the cob.

Don’t want to turn on the oven or wait for a pot of water to boil? Cook corn on the cob in the microwave instead. The husks trap the heat and steam the corn. In just a few minutes, you have piping-hot, sweet corn that’s ready to eat.

(Image credit: David Ort of Food with Legs)

4. You can even cook corn on the cob in a cooler.

If you’re cooking corn for a crowd (hello, giant backyard picnic), stop worrying about space on the stove or grill, and put your cooler to work instead. Line the bottom with a few foil pans, add the shucked ears of corn plus a couple kettle’s worth of boiling water, and shut the lid.

5. It’s not all about the kernels! Corn cobs are packed with flavor.

If you just cut all the kernels off the cob, you should reconsider tossing that cob away. Think of it as the hidden gem of the corn — it’s full of flavor and a nice way to add a little something extra to soups and stocks.