How Long To Microwave Corn (And Why)?

How Long To Microwave Corn (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 1 To 5 Minutes

Corn on the cob is the perfect dish for hot summers. However, standing over a pot waiting for the cob to boil can be difficult on a hot day. By microwaving corn, one skips lighting the grill or boiling water. Furthermore, compared to the other methods of cooking corn, microwaves can be the quickest. 

A microwave can cook frozen or fresh corn cob and corn kernels. It takes one to five minutes to cook corn, depending on whether it is different factors.  

How Long To Microwave Corn

How Long To Microwave Corn?

It takes between one and 5 minutes to heat corn in the microwave. The cooking time changes depending on the type of corn. 

A fresh corn cob cooks for three to five minutes in the microwave. The exact time depends on the number of ears used. One or two ears of corn microwave on high for 3 minutes, while three or four ears of corn cook for 4 minutes. If the cobs are large, then they take 5 minutes to cook until tender. Ensure to wrap the corn in a damp paper towel while cooking. If the corn is husked, then skip the step. 

One can cook fresh corn kernels in a bowl on the highest setting of the microwave for 5 minutes. Stir the corn kernels after it cooks, and drain the excess water. 

One must cook frozen corn cobs in a container with half an inch of water. 2 to 3 smaller ears of corn cook for 5 to 8 minutes, while 4 to 6 mini ears cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Frozen corn kernels, on the other hand, cook for 1 to 2 minutes in the microwave. 

To reheat corn on the cob, cook it for 2 to 3 minutes. Reheating corn kernels take a shorter time of one to two minutes.

The amount of cork cooked and the size of corn also affect the time taken. This means, more the number of corn cooked at a time, the longer the microwave time. In general, one can add 2 minutes per ear of corn. The time may vary from microwave to microwave. Additionally, larger corn cobs take longer to cook than smaller ones. 

Why Does It Take So Long To Microwave Corn?

A microwave is the quickest way to cook an ear of corn. During the cooking process, pectin in the corn kernels dissolves, making the cob soft. Additionally, starch in the cob absorbs water as it heats up, making the corn tender and juicy. Overall, corn can take anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes to cook, depending on if it is frozen or fresh.

Fresh corn cooks in 3 to 5 minutes as it has a high moisture content. Hence, starch molecules absorb significantly less water for the cob to become tender. 

Conversely, a frozen cob takes much longer to cook due to it being cold. Defrosting the cob will considerably reduce the cooking time because freezing and thawing corn causes small tears in the cell wall, making the kernels softer, thus, reducing cooking time. Frozen corn kernels take 1 to 2 minutes to become tender as they are much smaller in size than a cob.  

Cooking corn for longer than the recommended time causes a change in texture due to the complete breakdown of the cells wall. Additionally, overcooking speeds increase sugar to starch conversion, causing a loss of flavour and sweetness.

In summary,

Type Of CornTime Taken
Fresh corn cob3 to 5 minutes
Fresh corn kernels5 minutes
Frozen corn cob5 to 8 minutes
Frozen corn kernels1 to 2 minutes


Microwaving corn is the fastest way to cook it. While some believe that microwaving can destroy the nutrients present in the kernels, science shows that this is not true. 

Boiling corn for 10 minutes in high temperatures of 212 degrees Fahrenheit severely degrade essential nutrients. AS one cooks corn only for half the time in the microwave, nutrients like vitamin C, folate, thiamine and pantothenic acid remain intact to a certain extent. Additionally, fibres, carbs and protein become more digestible. 

Therefore, one must opt for cooking corn in the microwave for 1 to 5 minutes. 


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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