How to boil corn

Wondering how long to boil corn on the cob? We’ve got you covered with this classic boiled corn on the cob recipe. Serve hot with lots of butter and salt.

Boiled Corn On The Cob Recipe

After trying so many various ways of cooking corn on the cob, I came to the conclusion that my favorite way is boiled corn on the cob.

It’s not the easiest way to make sweet corn but I like the flavor and texture. Maybe it’s because that is how my mom always made it so it is what is most familiar to me.

I can’t even remember how many times I’ve called my mom over the years to ask her low long to boil corn on the cob. Finally, I’ve got it here in a blog post so I won’t have to keep asking her!

Disclaimer: This post contains links to products for making this recipe. If you use those links, I may earn a commission. Learn more here.

How To Choose The Best Corn On The Cob

corn on the cob for boiling

Before talking about how long to boil corn on the cob, I want to talk about how to choose corn on the cob.

1. The best corn on the cob is the freshest corn on the cob. Try to purchase from farm stands or farmers markets when possible since it was most likely picked recently.

2. Go for the corn with bright green husks that are tightly wrapped around the cob.

3. Choose the ones with stems that are still moist.

4. The corn tassels should be silky, sticky and moist.

5. Check for wormholes, worms, and bugs.

6. If possible, peel back the tops of the husks to check the tip of the corn cob.

How Long To Boil Corn On The Cob

The one thing I forget and have to figure out each corn season is how long to boil corn on the cob.

The most important thing is that you don’t overcook it because then it gets mushy.

The fresher the corn on the cob, the less time it takes to cook.

Once you return the water to a boil, it takes about 5-7 minutes for the corn on the cob to get hot and tender.

Boiled Corn On The Cob Bite

Boiled Corn On The Cob FAQs

1. Should you add salt to the water when boiling corn on the cob? No, do not add salt to the water. The salt can toughen the corn. If you really want to add something, one of my best friend’s dads adds sugar to the water to sweeten the corn a bit more.

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2. How do you know when boiled corn on the cob is done? When the corn on the cob is fully cooked the yellow color of the corn is more intense. The kernels are plumper and more tender. You can test it by pricking a kernel with the tip of a sharp knife. But most importantly, the corn needs to be hot. You can use tongs to grab an ear of corn out of the water to check if it is hot.

3. How can I make boiled corn on the cob for a crowd? When making corn on the cob for large family gatherings, we bring more than one pot of water to a boil and cook the corn in batches. Keep the water boiling so that the next batch of corn on the cob can be added immediately.

4. How can I keep corn on the cob warm after cooking? When making multiple batches of corn on the cob, place the hot, cooked corn on the cob in a large roasting pan and cover with foil. Place the pan in the oven that has been preheated to 180˚F.

leftover boiled corn on the cob

How To Use Leftover Boiled Corn On The Cob

You figured out how long to boil corn on the cob but then made too much? Don’t worry we’ve got some recipes for that leftover sweet corn. Cut the cooked corn off the cob and use it in one of these recipes:

Corn Salad: This Corn Salad recipe is a creamy combination of fresh sweet corn, colorful peppers, and ripe tomatoes! It is the perfect summer salad for potlucks, picnics, and barbecues.

Grilled Cowboy Caviar: This Grilled Cowboy Caviar recipe is a flavorful, healthy appetizer that can also be served as a salad side dish. Grilled veggies are a fabulous addition!

Slow Cooker Corn Chowder: Easy slow cooker corn chowder with ham and potatoes is the perfect comfort food for a family dinner.

Tater Tot Chicken Pot Pie: Try making Tater Tot Chicken Pot Pie because admit it…pie crust is boring. The whole family will love this spin on the traditional chicken pot pie recipe.

Boiled Corn On The Cob Recipe Keyword: boiled corn on the cob, sweet corn

  • 4 ears corn on the cob
  • 4 tsp butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  1. Peel the corn on the cob and remove the silks.

  2. Fill a large stock pot or dutch oven about half full with water. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat.

  3. Add the peeled corn on the cob. Cover and return to a boil. Cook for 5-7 minutes.

  4. Remove the corn on the cob from the hot water and place on a platter. Serve while hot with butter and salt.

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Calories 113 Calories from Fat 45 Total Carbohydrates 16g 5% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

How to Boil Corn on the Cob

Knowing how to boil corn on the cob is probably one of the top ten kitchen skills you need to have in your cooking repertoire.  It’s that important.

No one- repeat, no one– wants to eat mushy corn on the cob.  It’s an offense against nature.  And, truthfully, it’s so easy to boil corn on the cob the right way that there’s absolutely no defense for cooking it the wrong way.

It’s been a long journey since I cooked my very first corn on the cob.  Many years ago, when I was a college student working in a university computer lab, our department had a little get-together where each of us were expected to help out in some way.

One person ran out to buy supplies.  Another set up a grill outside and grilled the hot dogs and hamburgers out in the Florida sun.  Meanwhile, the lab manager asked me to head down to the small kitchen on the first floor and cook the corn on the cob.

To this day, it’s a mystery to me why I got chosen for this duty.  I was 18, the youngest of the staff, and my cooking skills were pretty much limited to the four food groups of college: spaghetti, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and ramen noodles.

Nevertheless, I charged gamely downstairs and put a pot on to boil.  Having absolutely no idea how long to cook the ears, I simply tossed the shucked ears into the water, turned on the burner, and watched the corn darken slightly in color as the water simmered, then boiled for a few minutes.  Then I drained the water and carried the corn back upstairs in a large casserole dish.

Stack of corn on the cob ears sprinkled with sea salt to show how to boil corn on the cob

I still remember the unusual purple shade of that casserole dish.

Lunch was served, plates were made, and everyone tucked in.  Compliments poured in over the corn, leaving me nonplussed because the positive result was really nothing more than a total accident.  Everyone liked how crisp it was, as did I, so I made a mental note to try to make boiled corn on the cob the same way in the future.

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Fast forward a number of years, and I’ve expanded my cooking repertoire exponentially.  I won’t tell you that I never cook spaghetti, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, or ramen noodles anymore, but let’s just say that they they occur much less frequently.

My corn on the cob, however, is just the same as it ever was and is a frequent star of the table.  When corn is in season, I pick some up on almost every shopping trip.

I still don’t add anything to the water.  I still cook it crisp.  And the compliments just keep on coming.

So, in the spirit of that hapless young lady who accidentally got it right on the first try, I’d like to show you exactly how to boil corn on the cob.

These step-by-step directions for how to boil corn on the cob are completely foolproof. Easy instructions, exact cooking times, and perfect corn on the cob!

If you enjoy this recipe for boiled corn on the cob, you might also like these classic side dish recipes using fresh produce.

Pair this side dish with meatloaf made without eggs for a complete comfort food dinner.

Closeup of boiled corn on the cob kernels on a metal tray with salt

  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • Sea salt or smoked salt
  1. Remove the husks and strings of silk from the corn just before cooking. Snap off the stems. If the ears are too large to fit in your pot, break them in half.
  2. Fill a large pot, such as a Dutch oven, half full with water. Put the corn in the water. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil over high heat.
  3. Once the water is boiling, remove the lid and boil for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat, and let it stand uncovered for 10 minutes. Drain the water and serve the corn immediately.
  1. Rub the cooked corn with butter, then sprinkle with sea salt or smoked salt (smoked salt gives the corn a delightful flavor).

How to Boil Corn on the Cob Calories 128 Calories from Fat 54 Total Carbohydrates 16g 5%* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Cookbooks by Katie Moseman

Corn Cooking Tips

  • Roll the cooked corn over a stick of butter until you can’t see corn anymore. Corn’s not very good anyways.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • If you can, grill your corn on the cob instead. It’s better that way.

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