Husk On Or Off? What To Do When Roasting Corn Cobs In The Oven

Oven-roasting corn on the cob gives you a taste of summer in the dead of winter (or any time you don't feel like firing up the grill). It's an easy way to add flavor to soups or make a quick weeknight meal. But as easy as it is, there's no one-size-fits-all method to roasting corn. It all comes down to personal preference.

Roasting corn with the husk is hands down the easiest method. There's virtually no prep: Just cut off the visible silk strands at the top and remove loose pieces of husk. Once you're done, put the corn in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It'll be done in 30 minutes.

This method is tasty, too. Roasting corn in the husk produces juicy kernels, with a few browned ones; a winning combination. The husks dry and peel away as the corn roasts, falling off the cob when it's time to eat, a bonus if you don't have time to shuck corn. The downside is that you can't season the ears with butter or spices before cooking. It takes more time than roasting with the husk off, too, though only by a few minutes.

Roasting without the husks will leave you with drier, chewier kernels, but a rich, caramelized flavor. Rubbing the ears with seasoned butter beforehand or serving the corn with a sauce can help mitigate that dryness. Don't keep the cobs in as long, either. Check them at 20 minutes; they should be done at 25. 

If you can't choose, go halfway

So, what should you do if both options sound appetizing?

If you want the best of both worlds, you could shuck the corn halfway. Remove the silk and peel the leaves back just enough to expose the end of the ear. Add a little extra flavor by rubbing oil or melted butter down the sides of the cob, then fold the husks back into place. If you like the caramelized taste of shucked corn, leave the husks fairly loose. For more tender kernels, fold the husks back in closer to the ear.

Shucked cobs rolled in foil are popular, too. While the corn won't brown as well as it would without the foil, the foil steams the cobs for tender, succulent kernels. It's also a great way to add a little something extra: A daub of butter and a sprinkle of seasoning will give you cobs saturated with flavor. Ultimately, you shouldn't stress about the exact technique. With roasted corn, it's difficult to go wrong.