Slow-Cooked Corn Is So Easy You'll Never Go Back To The Grill Again

The end of the summer and early fall is prime corn season in the U.S., and there are so many ways to eat this vegetable. From succotash to corn salad recipes, there are tons of dishes to celebrate the corn harvest. But nothing beats eating corn on the cob. It's a backyard barbecue staple and a must-have at any clam bake. If you're planning to feed a crowd, there's a super-easy way to steam a big batch of corn without messing around with a big pot of water: by using your slow cooker.

You might only think about your slow cooker when it's time to make a batch of pulled pork or a pot roast. But these kitchen workhorses are great for all kinds of tasks, including steaming corn. Plus, it doesn't get more low-maintenance than making food with a slow cooker. All you have to do is set the corn up in the slow cooker, turn it on, and let the gentle heat slowly steam the corn to perfection. 

As a bonus, the slow cooker will keep the corn at the right temperature throughout your meal.

Prep the corn for the slow cooker

The beauty of slow cookers is that they'll faithfully make dinner while you're setting the table or tending to the grill. And even though steaming vegetables isn't difficult, it's nice to have the freedom to be doing anything else besides staring at a pot waiting for water to boil when you're making a meal for a crowd.

If you've got a bag of corn that's ready for slow cooking, all you need to do to prepare it for the slow cooker is shuck it. Once the corn is peeled and the silk removed, snap the ears in half so that you can arrange and move them around in the bowl of the slow cooker. (Whole ears of corn will steam just as well, but you can fit more in if they're in smaller chunks.) A standard slow cooker holds about 6 to 7 quarts, which should fit around 8 good-sized ears of corn.

Once the corn is in the slow cooker, pour about ½ to ¾ of a cup of water into the bottom of the bowl. If you'd like, you can prop the corn up and away from the water using a steamer basket, but it's not necessary. Corn is pretty resilient, even in boiled water, so letting the bottom parts cook in the water won't make it soggy.

Seasoning slow-cooked corn on the cob

Before you turn on the slow cooker, be sure to add some flavor. Fresh, sweet corn tastes great with butter or oil, salt, and pepper. There are lots of herbs and spices that work well with corn, too. If you want to add any dried spices, such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, or peppercorns, add some at the beginning of the steaming process, and then add more at the end, right before serving, to punch up the flavor. 

Fresh herbs, meanwhile, will lose a lot of flavor sitting in a hot slow cooker for an extended amount of time. So don't put anything leafy, such as fresh basil, cilantro, or tarragon, into the slow cooker until after the corn is cooked.

Once the corn is seasoned and ready to go, turn on the slow cooker and let it do its thing on high for about three hours. When the kernels start to look bright yellow, it's almost time to serve. Toss a few tablespoons of butter, any fresh herbs or spice mix, and some salt and pepper and mix it all around so that every piece gets buttered. (This way, nobody has to struggle with individually buttering their corn.) Once your corn is seasoned to taste, it's time to serve it.