The Magic Corn Trick

by | May 26, 2012 | Side Dishes, Vegetable Recipes

Here in California we already have fresh sweet corn showing up in grocery stores. It hasn’t hit the farmer’s markets yet, so it must be coming up from Southern California. We’ve already had it a few times for dinner.

When it comes to cooking, I will take shortcuts to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as I can as long as it does not impact the flavor of the dish I am making. When I discovered this magic corn cooking trick I was elated because there is minimal cleanup, I don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to get the silk off of the corn, and the overall prep and cook time is shorter. An additional bonus of the magic corn trick is that I don’t boil all of the nutrients out of the corn.

Are you ready for this? Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat or an ear of corn out of the husk.

1. Remove a few of the outer husks that might be dirty.

2. Cut the bottoms off of the corn. Be sure to cut above the part of the cob where the husk is attached. It would be above the part of the cob where it starts to round down.

3. Place a moist paper towel on the bottom of the microwave or on top of the carousel and place the corn on the paper towel.

4. Use this guide for your cook time. Remember the cook time can vary for each microwave.

1 ear – 2 minutes

2 ears – 3 to 4 minutes

3 ears – 5 to 6 minutes

4 ears – 7 to 8 minutes

6 ears – 8 to 9 minutes

5. After cooking, let the corn sit about 2 minutes. It will continue to cook and will be cooler and easier to handle. If you let it sit too long, the silk will stick to the ear and will be harder to clean.

6. Pick the cooked corn up by the top (you might want to use an oven mitt if it is too hot to handle) and squeeze and lightly shake out the ear of corn. It should just slide out leaving the silk and all of the husks intact.

7. Just like magic, your corn is cleaned and cooked!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend.



Fear of losing nutritional value of corn using this method:  For those of you that have posted comments about microwave ovens robbing the food of nutrients, that is not true. Microwaving preserves more nutrients than boiling. Read this:

Fear of getting cancer from using microwave:  Microwaving food does not cause cancer. However, you should not microwave food in plastic containers. No plastic in these instructions! If you want to read more on this topic, read this:

Fear of microwaving worms in the corn: For those of you that commented about microwaving worms, I always check my corn for worms before I microwave it. When I check for worms, I carefully open the top of the corn and take a peek. If your corn has a worm, you will see the trail starting at the top of the ear of corn or you will see a hole in the side of the husk. Most of the time I do this at the farmer’s market or grocery store, so that I don’t have to deal with the worm at home. This ain’t my first rodeo folks. Having worked on a family farm, I’ve handled my share of corn! 

Will this method work by boiling the corn? I have not tried it, but I don’t think so. I think the silk might stick to the corn if it gets too wet and I’m pretty sure the husks will come off of the ear of corn. If anyone has tried it, please let us know how it turned out.

Will this method work on the grill?  Yes, but the clean up is not as easy. Some of the husks do come off during grilling and some of the silk will stick to the ear when you remove the husks. The corn will have a nice smoky flavor.  Be sure to soak the corn in water for 15 to 20 minutes before grilling and cut off the silk sticking out of the top. You will also need to check the corn occasionally to be sure the husks haven’t caught fire.

Using this method in the oven:  We received a trip from one our readers that said, “You can do this in the oven too – just put the corn on a rack at 350 F for about 20 minutes and take it out. Same results.”  -Thanks for the tip, I’m looking forward to trying it!

If you can’t say anything nice . . . . :  Although this blog was originally posted in May 2012, over 400,000 people visited this site during the month of April 2013. The majority of these people were excited about learning a quick, clean, and easy way to prepare corn on the cob. If this idea is not something that interests you, you think that microwaving the corn will make it taste like cardboard, or you have been doing it for years and we must be dense because we didn’t know about it, we all don’t need or want to hear about it.