4 Easy Ways To Reheat Corn On The Cob

As one of the illustrious three sisters – corn, squash, and beans — corn on the cob has been heated and reheated on hearths, stovetops, and grills for 9,000 years. ​ When it's in season, from May until September, it's a popular fixture on dinner tables from coast to coast. And biting into it is something else. It's almost as if you can taste its long history in every sweet, crisp bite. As such, each pass across your tastebuds deserves to taste straight-off-the-stalk delicious.

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While some of the corn's taste comes from how well it's cultivated, a good portion of the flavor arises from using the right cooking — or in the case of leftovers, reheating — methods. Fortunately, there are a number of choices — oven, stovetop, microwave, and air fryer — each of which offer different tastes and textures, but all of which are extremely delicious.

Why you'd choose one cooking method over another depends on a number of factors. First and foremost, you'll be limited by the cooking equipment that you have. For example, not having a microwave means that's out as a means to reheat your corn on the cob leftovers. Second, your personal preference plays a role. Finally, some cooking methods are faster than others. That's something to consider if you're in a hurry. Here's what you need to know about each.

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Oven

Reheating your corn on the cob in the oven offers some big advantages, including giving you enough space to cook a large number of cobs at the same time. To get started, preheat the oven to between 325 degrees Fahrenheit and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This oven temperature is hot enough to ensure that the internal temperature of the corn reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit — a temperature that prevents food-borne illnesses caused by pathogens. However, the lower cooking temps won't dry your corn out.

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While you're waiting for the oven to heat up, cut several pieces of foil, allowing for one piece of foil for each ear of corn. It needs to be wide enough to completely close the foil around the corn cob and long enough to twist the foil shut on the top and bottom ends of the corn.

Next, place each piece of corn in foil. Add butter and seasonings. You may not need any if the corn has already been seasoned. The flavor of the "old" seasonings may grow stronger. Add some drops of water to each foil pouch. Finally, wrap the corn completely in foil, folding the front closed and then twisting the tops so that the corn gets sealed inside. Once the oven heats up the corn inside the foil, steam will start to form inside the foil, further ensuring that your corn doesn't dry out in the oven. It'll take between eight and 15 minutes, depending on your oven and other factors, to reheat the corn.

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Stovetop

Cooks have boiled corn on the stovetop for a long time. However, with the advent of modern cooking tools, there are more possibilities now. While boiling your leftover corn is still an option, steaming it offers you still another choice. Both methods only take a few minutes.

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To reheat your corn using the boiling method, start by setting water to boil in a pot. Once you have active bubbles, grab the corn with a pair of tongs and drop it into the boiling water. Cook it for about 10 minutes until it's hot.

If you've decided to steam the corn, a couple of steaming methods exist. Both require a pan with a lid. The first method uses a steam basket. Put the steam basket in the bottom of the pan and fill it with water until the water just touches the bottom of the basket. Drop the corn into the basket. Cover the pot and allow to boil. If you opt for this method, you may have to break the ears of corn in half to make them fit into the basket.

The second method requires no basket. Add a little bit of water to your pot and heat it up on medium high. It won't be enough to immerse the corn. Add the corn and cover with the lid. The steam from the water cooks the corn. Just a note: It may be necessary to replenish the water because it might boil dry before you're done.

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Microwave

Microwave ovens cook food by making the water, fat, and sugar molecules dance a jig, thanks to the microwaves — not the appliance, the actual waves — bouncing around inside the appliance. Because the molecules begin to vibrate at a very rapid pace, the food inside starts to warm up. This means that vegetables, including your leftover corn on the cob, heat up very quickly because of their high water and sugar content.

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So, what does this have to do with reheating your corn on the cob in the microwave? Just this. The microwave will reheat your corn, but if you don't prep it properly, it may dry out. To ensure that it doesn't, place the corn in a microwave safe bowl with a lid. Add a tablespoon or two of water. This allows the corn on the cob to steam. Cover the dish. Microwave the corn at 20- to 30-second intervals. Check the corn after each turn to see if it's heated. Continue to run the microwave on small intervals until your food gets hot.

If your microwave-safe dish doesn't have a lid, you can cover it with plastic. Puncture the top of the plastic a little or leave one corner open to allow steam to escape. Heat as usual. Avoid covering it with a paper towel because some of them can spark and cause a fire. As such, it's better to put them in the category of things-you-don't-put-into-the-microwave and leave it at that. 

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Air fryer

Fresh, roasted corn on the cob tastes like suppertime down on the farm, sweet and fresh with just a hint of crispy brown on the kernels. The browned spots are courtesy of the Maillard reaction, which activates when the sugars and proteins in food respond to the heat. Microwaving it doesn't usually have the same effect, and thus, doesn't offer the same oven-roasted flavor. But here's a hack. Air fryers work, in this instance, in the same way a conventional oven would, allowing you to skip the microwave. Aside from that, this underrated kitchen tool doesn't heat up the house in the same way the oven would, opening up the possibility for you to enjoy the roasted flavors without the heat. 

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Start by preheating the air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You may have to experiment here, depending on your unit. Once it warms up, rub some olive oil or butter on it, as well as any spices you'd like to add. Put your corn on the cob in the air fryer for four or five minutes, turning each cob over with a set of tongs about halfway through the cooking process. Watch the timing on this. It won't take very long to reheat your corn, given that the air fryer will cook raw corn in about eight minutes.

Finally, the corn cobs may be too long to fit into the air fryer. If that's the case, break them in half before you cook them.

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