Corn is a delicious and versatile vegetable that adds color, texture, and sweetness to a dish. You may think canned corn can’t be as good as fresh corn, but it is just as good. Like most other canned veggies, the corn is picked and packaged at its peak ripeness. So, it is just as sweet and crisp as fresh corn.
Canned corn can be used in a variety of dishes. It can be a side dish on its own or added to a fresh taco salad. It is a great way to sneak in some yummy veggies into your kid’s meals!
But many canned corn brands use a preservation liquid that can make the corn a bit salty. Luckily there are many ways to elevate canned corn so it tastes like it came right off the cob. Experiment with some of the tips on this list and see what works best for your tastes.
Read on to discover some of the best tips on how to make canned corn better.
Add a Bit of Butter
The canned corn is technically already cooked, but heating it up with a bit of butter really brings out its natural flavors. It browns the corn a bit to give it a smokier flavor that works really well in salsas or as a side at the family BBQ. There are two different ways to do this that will make the canned corn taste exquisite.
The first way is to melt the butter in a medium-heat pan, then add in the drained canned corn. Wait until the corn kernels start to sizzle in the pan. Stir the corn around to ensure all sides of the corn are covered in buttery goodness. Optionally, you can add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
The second way is by heating the corn in a microwave or pan, then adding the butter when you serve it. Some people feel that it tastes closer to corn on the cob when prepared this way.
Spice It Up!
Butter and corn are a pretty great match, but there is so much more you can add to canned corn. Whether you want something spicy, Mediterranean, or sweet, there is a spice you can use. Try out different combinations of spices and see what you and your family enjoy best.
- Spicy corn mix: chili powder, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes.
- Mediterranean twist: thyme, citrus herb seasoning, cumin, coriander, or rosemary.
- Savory additions: butter, cream cheese, chicken or beef broth, or parmesan cheese.
Try mixing different seasonings and see what you can come up with!
Be mindful of which canned corn you buy
Unfortunately, not all canned corn is created equal. For the best outcome in your recipe, make sure to use a can of corn that says “sweet corn.” This variety will have a naturally sweeter kernel, so the flavors will stand out more in your dish. The preservation liquid in the can usually contains quite a bit of salt, so going for “sweet corn,” makes it a little less salty.
If you want to boost the sweetness of your canned corn, then you can add a pinch of sugar or honey. Their sweet flavors will help bring out the natural sweetness of canned corn.
Avoid Starch on Starch Meals
Sometimes the best way to eat canned corn is by combining it with other delicious ingredients. Corn is a wonderful side dish, but it is a starchy vegetable. Try to serve corn with non-starchy foods (unless there are going to be a ton of side dishes). Some delicious non-starchy pairings are brussels sprouts, beans, chicken breast, or steak.
Dishes like pasta have lots of starch and will not pair as well with the corn. Food needs to be balanced, so having different types of foods on a plate will make a delightful meal.
Keep Some of the Liquid
Most of the time you use canned corn, you drain and rinse the corn kernels. Though this is an essential step, similar to pasta water, it is essential to keep a little bit of liquid for later use. Using the liquid from the can will provide a bit of extra flavor to the dish, and more importantly starch. The starch from the liquid will help the butter, spices, or whatever you choose to adhere to the corn kernels better.
You only need to add about a tablespoon of the liquid into the corn when heating it up. It will also help to keep the corn nice and moist. No one likes dry corn! If you want to use this tip, but skip out on the extra sodium, you can simply add a splash of water. The spices and buttery flavor will still stick to the corn. Just not as much as with the canned corn’s liquid.
Broth It Up!
Looking for an easy way to pack the corn with lots of flavor? Use broth! When you heat up your corn, skip the water or canning liquid, and go for broth instead. You can use any broth you like. They will all provide an extra level of flavor that was not there before.
Using broth adds a lot of flavor, but it can add in a bit of sodium as well. If you plan to use this tip, then I recommend draining and rinsing the corn first. This will make sure all the salts come from the broth that is cooking the corn. After adding in the broth, you can add in more salt to taste.
Cook it on the stovetop
Canned corn can be eaten straight from the can, but if you want to eat flavor-packed corn, then cook it on the stovetop. It may take an extra step, but it will bring out a lot of the corn’s flavor. Cooking it on the stovetop will also turn the corn into a gorgeous golden color. These golden bites will make the corn taste as though it has been roasted on the grill.
It is incredibly easy to cook on the stovetop, so do not worry about using this tip – even if you aren’t the best chef!
First, drain and rinse your canned corn. Add the corn to a saucepan or pan of your choice. Turn the stove to medium heat and start stirring the corn. Make sure to stir constantly, so the corn doesn’t burn and each kernel is properly heated.
Add your butter, seasonings, broth, etc., and cook for a little longer. The best way to check the corn’s doneness is by tasting it! Take a bite of the corn and see if you want to cook it for a bit longer, or add some more seasoning.
Cooking with a Microwave
Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. If you don’t feel like cooking on the stove, you can easily make canned corn more delicious with the help of a microwave. It is an easy process, and won’t take long. Follow these steps and tips to heat up your corn in the microwave.
Similar to cooking on the stove, drain and rinse your canned corn. Choose your favorite microwave-safe container and put the corn in there. Add whichever seasonings you would like with a bit of oil. It is better to use oil instead of butter when heating the corn via the microwave.
Before you put the corn into the microwave, cover whatever container you use. But, make sure there is a bit of a gap in the covering. Some air needs to be let out during the microwave process, or some of the kernels will explode. Exploded corn is probably not what you want to eat for dinner.
Place the corn into the microwave for 2 minutes on high heat. The container is going to be hot, so carefully remove it from the microwave. Mix the corn a bit and give it a taste. If you want any more salt or seasonings, then you can add in a little extra at this step.
Microwave again, with the container partially sealed, for another 2 minutes. Carefully take it out of the microwave, mix again, and the corn is ready for eating.
Roast Your Canned Corn in the Oven
Some people do not like the traditional cooked corn flavor but prefer the roasted variety. With its sweet, roasted flavor, there is no wonder so many people love oven-roasted corn. It is great as a snack, or as a nice bit of crunch in a corn salsa. It still stays nice and sweet but is a bit more savory than when it is cooked on the stove or in the microwave.
To cook it in the oven, you only need to follow a few easy steps.
- Drain and wash your canned corn, and then dry the kernels with a paper towel. Try to get them as dry as you possibly can. Once dry, add a bit of oil to the corn kernels.
- Place the corn on a sheet tray in a single layer, so that each kernel has some space. Without a bit of space, the kernels will not cook and brown as evenly.
- Bake the corn in the oven at 450F for about 7 minutes. The time needed will vary greatly, so make sure to check on the corn periodically through the baking process. Halfway through the corn’s time in the oven, shake the tray around a bit so each kernel roasts evenly.
- You will know the corn is roasted to perfection when they become a deep golden color. Take them out of the oven and add whatever seasonings you would like at this point. Voila! They are ready to eat!
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