Corn with no silk
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How To Shuck Corn – Removing Corn Silk the Easy Way

Removing corn husks can be a messy job thanks to strings of corn silk.  These tips will teach you how to shuck corn cleanly and easily every time.

Corn mac and cheese and ear of corn

Have you ever tried to shuck corn and wound up with strings all over your corn?  I definitely have in the past!  I was lamenting to my mum about my stringy-corn-problems and she gave me the best idea for how to shuck corn so that you get silk-free corn every time.

Best way to shuck corn

What is corn silk?

We tend to think of corn silk as a nuisance that sticks to the ears of corn and makes our life difficult.  In actual fact, it has a real purpose!

The silk on ears of corn is a part of the female flowers of the corn plant.  It’s purpose it to trap pollen from the male flower (the tassel that protrudes from the top of the plant. Each strand of silk is connected to a corn kernel. 

When the wind blows, it shakes the pollen from the tassel so that it falls onto the ends of the silk.  Then each strand of silk carries a bit of the pollen down to the spot on the ear where it is attached.

So, we know that corn silk is a necessary evil, but how to we easily shuck corn without a corn silk mess?

What does it mean to shuck corn?

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word shuck means to peel off something. It often refers to clothing and many times the term refers to corn. It also refers to laying aside, as in bad habits.

When you shuck corn, you remove the outer husks of the ear of corn, leaving the cob (usually also with corn silk) free.

Learn How to Shuck Corn without a trace of Silk!

The key to this tutorial starts with the way that you cook the corn.  Many people shuck corn and then boil, steam or roast it. This is where the problem starts.  Those pieces of silk are determined to stick to the kernels and peeling the cobs ahead of time is going about it the hard way.

Instead, let steam inside the husks make it easy for you! This method will do two things at once – it will remove the silk and steam the corn as well.

Take your ear of corn and put it in the microwave and cook on high.  (If you have one ear of corn, put it in for two and half minutes.  If you have two ears, put them in for five minutes, etc etc.).

corn husk on a cutting board

When the timer goes off, take the corn out of the microwave.  I highly recommend holding your ear of corn with a  dish towel  or  silicone gloves because it will be hot!!

corn cob with end cut off

Hold the corn in one hand with your gloves or towel, and with the other, chop off the butt of the corn with a sharp knife.  You can use any type that works, but I find using a high quality serrated knife is easiest.  

The corn cob is pretty thick so using a serrated blade is more effective.  Don’t cut your corn too close to the butt, make sure you cut about an inch or so away from the end.

how to husk corn easily

Grab the top of the corn (with the dish towel or silicon mitt) and squeeze it until the corn starts to slide out of the bottom. I try to grab hold of it tightly to make sure I also have a hold of the silk if I can.

If you prefer, you can just shake the corn or tap it on the counter until it slips out of the husk instead of pulling on it.

How to peel corn easily

The corn will slide out cleanly and with no strings on it!  And as a bonus, it will already be steamed and ready to eat!

What if I want to shuck the corn and then cook it another way?

This trick works whether you want to cook and steam the corn at the same time, or just remove the silk.  For the latter, just reduce the time to about 30 seconds to one minute for four ears of corn, and shake the corn out the same way.

Your corn will be clean, silk free and ready to cook any way you choose.

I am so glad my mum shared this kitchen hack with me, so I can share it with you!  What are your favorite time-saving kitchen hacks?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

If you’re looking for a neat recipe to use your freshly shucked corn in, check out my recipe for Mexican Mac and Cheese!

Mac and cheese with corn and avocado

Pin it for later

Would you like a reminder of these tips for how to shuck corn?  Just pin this image to one of your household boards on Pinterest.How to shuck corn for silk free ears every time

Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in April of 2016. I have updated the post to add new photos and a printable project card.

Yield: Ears of silk free corn

How To Shuck Corn

How To Shuck Corn

Use these tips to get your corn out of the husks and have it silk free every time.

Active Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 1 minute
Total Time 6 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $2


  • Ears of Corn


  • Microwave


  1. Take your ear of corn and put it in the microwave.
  2. Heat on high for 2 1/2 minutes per ear.
  3. Using a dish towel, take the corn out of the microwave, it will be hot!
  4. Cut off the bottom inch or so of the corn.
  5. Using a dish towel squeeze the corn holding it at the top until the corn slides out.
  6. No more silk!!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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