How To Steam Corn Without A Steamer

Are you looking for a solution on how to steam corn without a steamer basket? We’ve got you covered – all it takes is a few simple steps, and you’ll have perfectly steamed corn in no time.

Steaming corn without a steamer is an easy and delicious way to enjoy this nutritious vegetable.

There are three main methods for accomplishing this – you can use your microwave, oven, large pot, or in a pressure cooker – each offering its unique benefits and drawbacks.

With some knowledge and experimentation, you can get perfectly cooked corn without needing a food steamer.

So, let’s get started!

How To Steam Corn Without A Steamer Basket

If you don’t have a steamer basket, don’t worry. There are three common methods for steaming corn without one.

Method 1: Steaming Corn In A Microwave

Steaming corn in the microwave is one of the quickest and easiest ways to prepare this versatile vegetable.

  1. Start by removing the husks and silks from your ears of corn, then rinse them off with cold water.
  2. Place the ears in a microwavable bowl and add enough water to cover the bottom.
  3. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel or lid.
  4. Then microwave on high for 4-5 minutes or until the kernels are tender but not mushy.
  5. Remove from heat and enjoy your perfectly steamed corn!

The main benefit of steaming corn in the microwave is that it’s quick and easy. You don’t need specialized equipment or a lot of time; it can be done in just a few minutes.

The biggest drawback of this method is that it can result in unevenly cooked corn, with some kernels still too tough while others are already getting mushy.

Additionally, there may not be enough liquid for moisture to be evenly distributed around the ears, resulting in dried-out spots.

But with some experimentation and practice, you can produce perfectly steamed corn in your microwave.

Method 2: Steaming Corn In An Oven

Steaming corn in the oven is one of the best ways to get perfectly cooked vegetables with minimal effort.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C)
  2. Then place the ears of husked and silked corn on a baking sheet.
  3. Cover them with aluminum foil, and pour in 1/4 cup water.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  5. When done, remove from heat and enjoy delicious steamed corn.

The advantages of this method include that it produces evenly cooked kernels, as well as does not require any specialized equipment. 

The downside is that it takes longer than microwave or stovetop methods.

Method 3: Steaming Corn In A Large Pot

Steaming Corn In A Large Pot

This is a great alternate option if you need a microwave or oven.

  1. Begin by bringing a few inches of salted water to a boil in your pot, then add the husked and silked ears of corn.
  2. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low, so it continues to simmer.
  3. Let the corn cook for 10-12 minutes or until it reaches your desired tenderness, occasionally stirring if necessary.
  4. Once done, remove the ears from the pot using tongs and enjoy!

The method is the most popular way to steam the corn, as many of us should have at least one pot in the kitchen. It’s relatively easy.

It can take longer to cook, and you may need to keep an eye on your pot while cooking since boiling water can boil over if left unattended.

But with patience and some simmering, you’ll be rewarded with perfectly steamed corn.

Method 4: Steaming Corn In A Pressure Cooker

Steaming corn in a pressure cooker is an easy and efficient way to cook perfectly tender vegetables.

  1. Begin by adding about a cup of water to the bottom of your cooker.
  2. Place the husked and silked ears of fresh or frozen corn onto the steamer rack, then close the lid and ensure it is secure.
  3. Use high heat and allow the cooker to reach full pressure, then reduce the heat to maintain pressure for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Once done, turn off the heat and let the pressure release naturally before removing the cooked ears of corn.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

The advantages of this method include that it takes less time than traditional methods while also producing evenly cooked kernels with maximum flavor retention.

However, you may need more specialized equipment, such as a pressure cooker, to utilize this method.


Here are frequently asked questions about steaming corn without a steamer.

Is It Safe To Steam Corn Without A Steamer?

Yes, it’s safe to steam corn without a steamer using any of the methods outlined in this article.

Just ensure that your chosen method is appropriate for the type and amount of corn you’re cooking, and follow all safety instructions provided with your chosen method.

Can You Steam Frozen Corn?

Yes, you can steam frozen corn using any methods outlined in this article. Just follow the instructions and adjust your cooking time accordingly if needed.

For example, steaming frozen corn will take longer than fresh ears but not as long as store-bought cooked corn. You may also need to add more water when steaming frozen corn.

Can You Steam Corn In The Husk?

Yes, you can steam corn in the husk, though it is not recommended as it will make the kernels soggy and less flavorful.

It is best to husk and silk your ears of corn before steaming so they cook evenly and retain maximum flavor.

How Do You Know When Corn Is Done Steaming?

Examining the kernels is the best way to tell when corn is steaming. When cooked, the kernels should be light yellow or golden in color and tender to the bite.

Additionally, you can test for doneness by piercing a kernel with a fork; if it slides off easily, your corn is done.

Is It Better To Boil Or Steam Corn?

It depends on your preference, but it is generally better to steam corn. Steaming keeps more of the corn’s nutrients and preserves its freshness and flavor. 

Boiling requires a longer cooking time and tends to leach out more vitamins and minerals.

Additionally, steaming produces tender kernels with less water loss so that you can enjoy all of the natural sweetness of your corn.

Related: Steaming vs. Boiling Vegetables.


Steaming corn without a steamer is easy and satisfying. You can use any of the methods outlined in this article to make perfect, tender ears of corn for your meals.

And remember that with each method comes an opportunity to get creative. Try adding spices and herbs to the boiling water or a pressure cooker to speed up cooking time.

No matter your chosen method, you’ll enjoy perfectly steamed corn’s sweet and tender taste!

Happy cooking!