The Secret To Easy Corn On The Cob Is In Your Slow Cooker

We are lucky that corn is available year-round in most regions, making it a frequent item to enjoy at restaurants and at home. There are many ways to enjoy the veggie, but if you want to eat it with your hands, nothing is easier than serving corn on the cob.

This beloved dish can be prepared in several ways, including boiled, steamed, microwaved, and grilled to perfection, which can add a smoky char. However, a slow cooker may be the easiest option to make corn on the cob, especially when entertaining. This is by far the slowest method, but it allows you to start the dish several hours earlier and focus on something else instead of being stuck in the kitchen waiting for water to boil.

To prepare the side in a slow cooker, start by cleaning and shucking the corn so you have bare pieces left. A 6-quart insert will fit about four ears, but if you are serving children or want smaller portions, cut the cobs in half (you may be able to accommodate a few more ears this way). Add 1 cup of water to the pot, replace the lid, and cook it on high for two to three hours until the kernels are tender. Avoid adding salt to the water, however, since it can cause the kernels to toughen; instead, season the corn before serving.

Slow cooker corn on the cob recipes

While corn doesn't need anything to taste delicious (in fact, it's delicious raw), you may want to change things up after you've eaten it a dozen times. Using the slow cooker method essentially boils the veggie, enabling you to swap in different liquids and seasonings to infuse flavor into the starchy staple.

To ensure even mediocre corn is sweet, especially early in the summer season or the wintertime, incorporate a few tablespoons of granulated sugar and a splash of white vinegar into the water. If you love the taste of buttered corn but don't love greasy fingers, cook the corn in milk and a stick of butter. In fact, you may even find that you don't need additional salt sprinkled on the cooked corn if you use salted butter.

Rely on your pantry to season the corn further: Add dried spices like bay leaves, peppercorns, and sprigs of fresh herbs like thyme to infuse the veggie; or, replace the water with more flavorful liquids like beer, stock, or coconut milk. For a Southeast Asian-flavored corn on the cob, use 1 cup of coconut milk, a lemongrass stalk, coriander, and a splash of soy sauce for umami flavor. When tender, garnish the cooked corn with sliced scallions and cilantro leaves (the fresh version of coriander). 

Amp up the flavor of corn on the cob

If you're looking to amp up the flavor of corn on the cob à la elote style, you can achieve it by creating foil packets to steam the corn alongside flavorful ingredients. You'll need a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil for each ear. If you use a thinner foil, double up on the wrap so the ingredients can't escape. Keep in mind, like street corn, elote can be messy to eat, so supply lots of napkins and consider serving the corn on a stick (semi-pointed wooden sticks, 3/16-inch thick, are perfect). 

Create a spread to slather on each ear of corn using softened butter, plain yogurt, or mayonnaise as the base. You will need roughly 1 tablespoon of spread per corn on the cob. For a smoky/sweet combination, mix softened butter, honey, and Mexican paprika in a small bowl, and add minced jalapeño or a pinch of cayenne for heat. Or, try a combination of miso paste, butter, and scallions for an umami-rich topping that balances the sweet corn. If you need more inspiration, look to Mediterranean flavors and use your favorite store-bought pesto.