How To Cook Corn From A Can

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Learn my best cost-effective tips on how to cook corn from a can.

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Canned corn gets a bad rap. Many people say it is bland and doesn’t compare to frozen or fresh corn.

Well, it many ways, it’s true. But, that doesn’t mean can corn can’t be spiced up to create a wonderful side dish.

In this article, I’ll explain how to cook corn from a can 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. However, most people heat up canned corn on the stovetop or in the microwave with added seasonings. 

How Long To Cook Canned Corn?

Canned corn is already cooked so there is no need to “cook” it. You can heat up a can of corn in the microwave in as quickly as 2 to 3 minutes or on the stovetop over medium heat in 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 my canned corn 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:

Step By Step Instructions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 7: Add some butter on top of the corn.

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

Step 9: Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes and stir. Repeat for another minute if your corn isn’t heated through.

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 you can heat the corn in its canning juices.

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

Things You Will Need:

  • Can Opener (unless your can has a pull tab)
  • Strainer (colander) 
  • Pot or saucepan
  • Slotted spoon
  • Seasonings such as butter, salt and pepper, etc.

Step by Step Instructions

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

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

Step 3: Transfer the corn into a saucepan.

Step 4: Add enough water to cover the corn.

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

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

Step 7: Remove your pot from the heat.

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

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

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

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

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

Step 3: Drain thoroughly and transfer the corn into a mixing bowl. 

Step 4: Add about 2 to 3 teaspoons of olive oil per 15 oz can of corn to the mixing bowl.

Step 5: Add about ½ teaspoon paprika, Old Bay, or your favorite spices per 15 oz can of corn.

Step 6: Mix all ingredients thoroughly.

Step 7: Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Step 8: Spread your corn mixture onto your lined baking sheet, making sure the corn in is one single layer.

Step 9: Roast until it reaches the desired crunchiness, usually in 20 to 30 minutes. 

Tip: If your corn is starting to burn after about 20 minutes 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 butter, salt, and pepper. The possibilities are endless. Here are a few of my favorite ways to spice up corn.

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 inspired meal.

Related 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 the printed best by date. It is not the expiration date of the product.

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 on the inside to prevent chemical reactions between the food and the metal can. If a can is dented, this layer could be damaged allowing for the can to rust and swell. 

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

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

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

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 test, 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. 

In order to keep me out of this situation as much as possible, I always label my cans with a sharpie before putting them into the pantry and rotate on a First In, First Out (FIFO) basis.  The first cans that go into the pantry are the first ones eaten. 

Here’s how I label and organize my pantry to ensure food isn’t wasted.

How Many Cups Of Corn Is In A Can?

The exact amount of corn in a 14.5 oz – 15 oz can vary from brand to brand. With this in mind, 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.

Related Informational Guides:

Final Thoughts

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. 

As a result, canned goods like corn are a major component of my stockpile due to their long shelf-life.  No, I don’t always use canned corn. Honestly, I prefer fresh or frozen corn. However, if you eat canned corn, it should definitely have a place in your pantry, even if just a can or two for when you run out of frozen.

Corn makes for a quick side dish and is a great way to save money on meat as it can be used 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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