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How To Cook Corn From A Can

I am an expert at doctoring up a can of corn. Let me share my quick and easy tips with you!

Growing up in the South, I can tell you there is nothing finer in the summer than eating an ear of corn straight from the garden. 

Unfortunately, corn is not a year-round crop, so we often use canned corn throughout the winter and early spring when our frozen corn has been eaten. 

Canned corn can be bland compared to fresh corn, but it is easily spiced up. In this article, I’ll explain how to cook corn from a can in three different ways, share my favorite ways to spice up canned corn and answer some related canned corn questions. Let’s get started, shall we?

Do You Need To Cook Corn From A Can?

No, you do not need to cook corn from a can. Canned corn has already been cooked and is ready to eat straight out of the can.

How To Cook Corn From A Can

As previously mentioned, you do not need to “cook” canned corn. It is ready to eat straight out of the can. But most people heat up the corn on the stovetop or in the microwave and add some seasonings.  Here’s everything you need to know about canned corn.

How Long To Cook Canned Corn?

Canned corn is already cooked, so there is no need to “cook” it. You can heat a can of corn in the microwave in as little as 3 minutes or on the stovetop over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes.  

Are You Supposed To Drain Canned Corn?

Canned corn often has added salts and sugar. You do not have to rinse the corn if you don’t want to.

But I do. Most canned corn is high in sodium, so I always rinse it in a strainer.

How To Cook Canned Corn In The Microwave 

If you’re looking to heat up a can of corn quickly, the microwave is by far the easiest and fastest method. 

Things You Will Need:

  • Can Opener (unless your can has a pull tab)
  • Strainer (colander) 
  • Microwave-Safe Container
  • Spoon

Seasonings such as butter, salt, pepper, or any other desired seasonings.

Step By Step Instructions

1: Open the can of corn with a can opener or a pull tab, if the can has one.

2: Pour the corn and its juices into your colander (strainer).

3: Rinse the corn thoroughly with water to remove excess sodium.

4: After all the water has drained from your strainer, place the drained corn into a microwave-safe container.

5: Add in your seasonings, such as salt and pepper, or any other dry spices.

6: Stir so that your dry seasonings are distributed throughout your corn.

7: Add some butter on top of the corn.

8: Cover with a paper towel (this is optional but can prevent a mess in your microwave).

9: Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes and stir. If your corn isn’t heated through, repeat for another minute.

How To Cook Canned Corn On The Stove

When heating your canned corn on the stovetop, you have two options. You can either drain the corn and add some additional water to your pot or heat the corn in its canning juices.

For health reasons, I always pour off the canning juices to reduce sodium, but you can choose to heat the corn in its juices.

Things You Will Need:

  • Can Opener
  • Strainer (colander) 
  • Pot or saucepan
  • Slotted spoon

Seasonings such as butter, salt, pepper, or any other desired seasoning.

Step by Step Instructions

1: Open the canned corn with a can opener or its pull tab, if it has one.

2: Pour the contents of the can into a strainer and rinse with water.

3: Transfer the corn into a saucepan.

4: Add enough water to cover the corn.

5: Add butter then, salt and pepper, and any other seasonings you choose.

6: Over medium heat, bring the corn to a boil and heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

7: Remove your pot from the heat.

8: If serving the corn straight from the pot, use a slotted spoon. 

9: If you aren’t serving corn from the pot, drain the corn into a strainer to remove the juice and transfer it to a serving bowl. 

How To Cook Canned Corn In The Oven

Heating up canned corn in the oven takes much longer than the stovetop or microwave and is not practical unless you want roasted corn. Here are the steps you need to roast canned corn in the oven: 

Things You’ll Need:

  • Can Opener (unless your can has a pull tab)
  • Strainer (colander) 
  • Mixing bowl
  • Large baking sheet
  • Parchment paper or foil.
  • Spoon or spatula

Light tasting olive oil or some other neutral-tasting oil like canola or vegetable. 

Seasonings such as salt and pepper, paprika, or Old Bay (a favorite).

Step by Step Instructions

1: Make sure your oven rack is positioned in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F.

2: Open the canned corn with a can opener or its pull tab, if it has one.

3: Pour the contents of the can into a strainer and rinse with water.

4: Drain thoroughly and transfer the corn into a mixing bowl. 

5: Add about 2 to 3 teaspoons of olive oil per 15 oz can of corn to the mixing bowl.

6: Add about ½ teaspoon paprika, Old Bay, or your favorite spices per 15 oz can of corn.

7: Mix all ingredients thoroughly.

8: Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

9: Spread your corn mixture onto your lined baking sheet, making sure the corn in is one single layer.

10: Roast until it reaches the desired crunchiness, usually in 20 to 30 minutes. 

Tip: If your corn is starting to burn but isn’t crunchy enough for you, simply turn off the oven and let the corn continue to sit in the oven for another 15 minutes or so. 

How To Spice Up Canned Corn

There are so many ways to spice up canned corn besides salt and pepper. The possibilities are endless. Here are a few of my favorite ways.

What Can I Add to Canned Corn?

  1. Old Bay Seasoning if serving corn with fish or seafood.
  2. Chili Powder and Cumin for a Mexican flare.
  3. Butter, Garlic, and Parsley are great anytime.
  4. Oregano and Basil are perfect for corn with a Mediterranean-inspired meal.
  5. Italian Seasoning for an Italian Meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Canned Corn Go Bad?

Yes, canned corn can go bad.

Many canned food items, including corn, have “best by’ dates ranging from 2 to 5 years from the date of production.

The “best by” dates guarantee the quality of the product through that date, not its expiration date. If stored properly, canned corn can retain its quality beyond the best-by date printed on the can.

How To Tell If Canned Corn Is Bad

If the can of corn is dented, rusted, leaking, or swollen, throw it out. 

Canned foods are usually coated to prevent chemical reactions between the food and the metal can. If a can is dented, this layer could be broken, allowing for the can to rust and swell. 

Always err on the side of caution and discard dented, rusted, leaking, or swollen cans.

If your can is past its best-by date, it still may be safe to eat. 

First, inspect the can for dents or dings. Make sure it is not leaking or swollen. If it passes this test, open it.

Then, carefully inspect the corn. Does it look right? Does it smell ok?  If not, throw it out. Do not eat it.

If your canned corn passed the can inspection, looks and smells ok, it is probably safe to eat and can be heated up.

Once heated, take a tiny bite of the corn to ensure it tastes ok. If it tastes “off” in any way, don’t eat it and discard it immediately.

I don’t have a problem eating corn a month past its “best by” date, provided it passes all the above tests. 

Anything beyond that, I just toss it. For me, it’s not worth putting my family at risk of illness for a buck or less. 

Instead, I always label my cans with a Sharpie before putting them into the pantry and rotate them on a First-in, First-out (FIFO) basis.  The first cans that go into the pantry are the first ones eaten. 

I label every can with the month and year of expiration and always put the new purchases behind the ones already in the pantry.

For example, with a black Sharpie, I will write 08/22 and then put a circle around it.

How Much Corn Is In A Can?

The exact amount of corn in a 14.5 oz – 15 oz can vary from brand to brand. Generally, you can expect between 1 ½ cups of corn to 2 cups of corn per can.

How Many Cups Of Corn Are There In One Ear?

The amount of corn per ear varies widely, depending on the size of the cob. However, one average (medium) ear of corn should yield around ½ cup of kernels, and a large ear of corn around ¾ cup of kernels.

Final Thoughts From Cost-Effective Kitchen

One of the most effective ways to maintain a cost-effective kitchen is to maintain a well-stocked pantry or food stockpile, as I like to call it. 

Canned goods like corn are a major component of my stockpile due to their long shelf-life. 

Canned corn also makes for a quick side dish or an inexpensive way to bulk up soups and casseroles. 

Let me know if you have any additional questions, comments, or tips about canned corn. I’d love to hear from you!

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Until next time…