1. Set up to four ears of corn in the microwave.
Cooking whole, raw corn on the cob is a cinch. Gather your corn (husks on) and set them in the microwave. You may place them on a paper towel or a microwave-safe plate, but as long as the husks are on and your microwave is clean, this isn’t required. If you’re cooking more than four ears, limit yourself to batches of four at a time — many microwaves will have trouble heating more than four at once.
- Don’t take the husks off yet. If you’ve already done this, your corn isn’t ruined, but leaving the husks on will help keep the ears moist and delicious. You can wrap the ears in a paper towel if desired to duplicate the effect of the husks.
2. Microwave for at least three minutes.
Set your microwave to “HIGH” or its default cooking setting for between three and five minutes. Depending on the number of ears you’re cooking, the precise cooking time can vary — one online source recommends three minutes for one or two ears and four minutes for three or four ears.
- Because microwaves can vary in terms of cooking strength, you may find that it’s a good idea to cook a little less time than you think you need to, then check on the corn. You can always cook the corn for an extra minute or two if needed, but you can’t “undo” the damage once it’s overdone.
3. Let the corn cool.
After a few minutes in the microwave, the ears’ outer husks may not feel terribly hot, but the insides are likely piping hot. To avoid injury, set the corn (husks still on) on a wire cooling rack for about five minutes to cool. You’re ready to proceed when the silks (the stringy part inside the husk) and the tops of the leaves are cool enough to handle with your bare hands.
4. Shuck just before serving.
One of the benefits of leaving the husks on (besides preserving the internal moisture of the ears of corn) is that they act like insulators, keeping the kernels fairly warm. As soon as you take the husks off, however, the kernels will start to cool much more rapidly, so wait until right before you’re ready to eat to do your shucking.
- Be careful while you shuck the corn — the insides can still be hot. If you’re unsure, peel back the husk a little bit and carefully feel the kernels with the back of your hand.