Farmers begin to harvest corn in the late summer or early fall and foodies start to salivate at about the same time, imagining all the golden yellow goodness that is about to grace their plates.
There’s nothing else quite like the experience of eating corn on the cob. Not even eating corn kernels compares. It’s the process of holding the cob in your hands and taking a big juicy bite that makes your eyes roll back in your head in pure bliss. Yes, it’s messy. Yes, it gets caught in your teeth. No, you wouldn’t trade it for anything.
The problem is that corn on the cob is so delicious that, if you’re anything like me, you think you’ll eat way more than your body can physically handle in one sitting. So you end up with leftover cooked corn. If this is you right now, don’t panic.
How do you reheat corn on the cob? There are five best ways to reheat corn on the cob, including in the microwave, in boiling water, on the grill, and baking or broiling it in the oven. All of these ways are reliable, but the best way depends on how you cooked your corn on the cob initially.
This article is going to walk you through multiple different techniques you can use to learn how to reheat corn on the cob.
How to Reheat Corn on the Cob – The 5 Best Ways
1. In the microwave
Your microwave is the quickest and easiest solution for warming up corn on the cob. Find a microwave-safe dish (I like this set from Amazon) that is large enough to set your corn inside so that it’s laying flat on the dish.
Add about 1 -2 tablespoons of water to the bottom of the dish and cover it with a plate or microwave cover. This will let your corn steam nicely, instead of drying out. Set the microwave for 45 seconds and then flip your corn over. Put it back in for another 30 – 45 seconds, depending on the power of your microwave.
If you aren’t convinced your corn is hot enough, you can put it back in for 30 seconds at a time. Because of the water, be careful when you take off the lid as there will be a small cloud of steam coming out.
2. In boiling water
If you boiled your corn the first time you cooked it, you can reboil it very quickly to warm it back up.
All you have to do is bring a large pot (like this one) of water to a boil, add your corn and let it soak in the hot bath for 1 – 2 minutes maximum. It will take longer to get the water boiling than it will take to thoroughly warm your corn, so don’t put it in and forget it.
Another tip is to never salt your water before boiling corn, either to cook it originally or to reheat it. Salt will actually dry out the kernels a little bit, and steal away some of the sweetness. All you need is water. You can add your salt and butter to the cooked corn, right before you bite into it.
3. On the grill
If you grilled your corn the first time you cooked it, you won’t want to boil it to reheat it. Instead, you can heat up your grill once more and reheat the corn this way. If you boiled the corn the first time, grilling it as a reheat option will subtly alter the taste, giving you an entirely new experience to enjoy.
You may want to use a pastry brush to lightly coat your corn with some oil to bring out the flavors.
Again, it does not take long for cooked corn to warm up, so keep your eye on it. For best results, you’ll want to rotate the corn every 30 seconds until it’s nicely warmed all the way around. This usually takes 2 full rotations per corn cob.
4. Baking it in the oven
This is the most time-intensive way to warm up your previously cooked corn on the cob, but if you’re a die-hard oven enthusiast, or if you are reheating your corn in the winter and simply want an excuse to stand beside a nice warm oven, this will be a great solution for you.
You have a few choices for using your oven.
You can find a dish that is large enough to lay your corn flat inside, and add a little bit of water to the bottom of the dish. Cover it with foil and put it in an oven warmed to 400F. It will take about 5 minutes to nicely steam in your oven.
5. Broiling it in the oven
You can also use the broil setting to toast your corn instead. Place a cooling tray inside a baking sheet and then put your corn on top of the tray.
Place the whole thing in your oven, at least 6 inches away from the heat source.
After 1 minute, rotate the corn 45 degrees. Repeat the process until the corn has been toasted all the way around. It may take 2 full rotations to warm up thoroughly, but you should judge this for yourself.
How to Buy and Store Corn on the Cob
Before you can reheat corn on the cob, you need to choose the best fresh corn you can find and cook it in the first place.
To choose your corn in a husk, look for bright green colors without any dried out pieces on the leaves. Take a close look over each ear of corn looking for little wormholes and put those ones back, unless you’re looking for extra protein with your corn.
Without peeling the husk back, run your fingers through the silk at the top. They should feel soft and very slightly moist. Finally, give the corn a squeeze to make sure it feels firm, and not soft or squishy, and completely full of kernels the whole way up.
Refrigerate Corn on the Cob
If you have fresh corn on the cob or leftover cooked corn that you plan on reheating soon, you want to make sure you store it properly in your fridge to keep it fresh.
Make sure that your corn is cooled down to room temperature before refrigerating, but don’t forget it on your counter. Bacteria love the sugar in corn, so make sure you get it in your fridge within 2 hours of being cooked.
The two best ways to store corn on the cob are as follows:
- Individually wrap each cob in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, making sure they are well protected from air exposure
- Adding your corn cobs to a Ziploc bag and removing as much air as possible before sealing. You can store multiple cobs in each bag, but it helps to zig-zag them so that the tops and bottoms are flipped with each cob. Make sure that they don’t stack but are nicely flat and that your bag isn’t so full that it won’t seal properly.
Well stored cooked corn on the will stay fresh in your fridge for 3 to 5 days.
Freeze Corn on the Cob
Corn is all harvested at the same time, which means your farmer’s markets and grocery stores are going to be flooded with fresh corn at a certain time of year, and then within a month or so, it will be back to canned or frozen corn for the majority of your cooking.
If you love having corn on the cob, one of the best ways to enjoy it all year long is to buy in bulk while it’s fresh and freeze the majority of it for consumption throughout the entire year.
Fresh Corn on the Cob
The quickest and easiest way to freeze fresh corn on the cob is to leave it in the husk, if you bought it this way, because the natural covering will best protect your corn from any ice crystals forming.
If it has already been husked for you, that is just fine, but they may not stay fresh in your freezer for quite as long. It’s an incredibly easy food to freeze.
Simply place it inside a freezer-safe Ziploc bag, squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible, seal it, and freeze it. You can put more than 1 cob in the bag, just make sure they’re each flat and the seal is perfectly tight.
Before you put your sealed bag in the freezer, it’s a good idea to date it so that you know when it went in. When it’s frozen in the husk, it will last for up to 1 year, however, if it’s husked you’ll want to eat it within 6 – 8 months if possible.
Cooked Corn on the Cob
If you’ve already cooked your corn on the cob and then discovered you or your family didn’t eat as much as you thought you would, you can freeze cooked corn. However if you leave it on the cob, it won’t keep it’s quality very well. Your best bet is to cut off the kernels before freezing.
Once you have your kernels separated from the cob, spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze them like this for 30 minutes – 1 hour so that they freeze as individual kernels. At this point, you can transfer the kernels to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Be sure to get as much air out of the bag as possible and date your bag so you know when they were frozen.
As long as it’s properly sealed, corn kernels will stay fresh in your freezer for up to 1 year. Once you thaw your corn, it will stay fresh in your fridge for up to 3 days.
How long does it take to boil an ear of corn?
If you have purchased pre-husked corn, you can add your corn to a pot of unsalted water that is already boiling. Fresh corn will take only a few minutes to cook, so check after about 3 minutes but if you have an ear of large corn or many in the pot, it may take closer to 5 minutes.
If your corn is a little bit older, letting it cook for an extra minute or two will soften it up and make it easier and more tasty to eat. If you have purchased corn with the husks left on, you can cook them in the husks by adding an additional 3 – 5 minutes to your cooking time (see more information below).
Is corn on the cob good for you?
As with almost all foods, there are benefits and disadvantages to eating corn on the cob. It is a hearty vegetable packed with fiber and many different vitamins and minerals, though it’s rather low in protein or healthy fats.
The wide variety of vitamins and antioxidants in corn have been shown to help keep your eyes in good shape, improve digestions, and even protect you against certain types of cancer. So yes, corn on the cob can be very good for you.
There are 2 main disadvantages to corn:
- It is quite starchy, which means that it will convert to glucose easily and may spike your blood sugar levels. This is something to watch for if you’re diabetic or insulin resistant. However, because of the great fiber content, it does balance better than, for example, eating a candy bar.
- Corn is one of the most genetically modified crops currently in production. The research on GMO crops and genetically engineered crops are highly controversial, and ranges from “it will do nothing to harm your health,” to “it will kill you for sure.” If you can find organic corn, this disadvantage disappears, and this would be a good food to hedge your bets on if possible.
It’s also important to mention that corn on the cob has a lot of nutritional benefits, but corn-based products do not. In fact, most corn-based products are definitively bad for you.
Can you cook corn on the cob in the husk?
You can absolutely cook corn on the cob while it’s still in the husk and, in fact, it’s much easier than trying to husk your corn before cooking it.
Corn in the husk can often be bought for less because there’s more work to be done, but if you boil, grill or even microwave your corn with the husk on, it will all slide off easily and cleanly once it’s cook with very little hassle.
All you need to do is add an extra 3 – 5 minutes to your cooking time. Once it’s cooked, slice the bottom of and the husk and all the silk threads will slide off in one piece.
Is sweet corn and corn on the cob the same thing?
All sweet corn grows on the cob, but not all corn on the cob is sweet corn. Sweet corn can also be found as kernels, either frozen or canned. If you’re eating corn that looks like corn, chances are it is sweet corn.
However, if you’re eating a product make form corn, it is probably made from field corn. Field corn can also be purchased as corn on the cob, but it’s not nearly as pleasant, so you’re not likely to see it sold as such. Field corn harvested when it’s older, dryer and much less sweet, so it’s more commonly processed into cornmeal, cornflour or used for chips or flakes.
What is it called when you take corn off the cob?
The process by which you remove the corn kernels from the cob is called shucking or kerneling. The result is that you get corn kernels or some people call them niblets, depending on where you’re from.
Niblets is actually a name that was trademarked by Green Giant, but it has become something of an eponym in North America, similar to Kleenex in reference to tissues.
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