How to cook sweet 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.

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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.

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:

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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.

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

Benefits of frozen corn

Frozen corn beats canned corn any day of the week. And it’s a perfect substitute to fresh corn cobs. Why? For one thing, it’s cheaper. A big bag of frozen corn can last for several weeks in the freezer and when prepared correctly, tastes just as fresh as straight off the cob. And it actually takes less time to prepare than fresh. It’s nutritious too! There are actually fewer calories in frozen corn than in fresh or canned.Seasoned Frozen Corn with butter slices on top

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Basic tips for cooking frozen corn

  1. Don’t BOIL frozen corn! Just don’t do it. I know the package tells you to do it, but trust me, it zaps all the flavor out of the corn.
  2. Use a skillet. Stir-frying or sautéing frozen corn keeps it crisp, bright and flavorful.
  3. Add a little sugar. It’s ok, it won’t taste weird and it will bring out the natural sweet flavor.
  4. Don’t salt until ready to serve. Salting the corn too early can dehydrate it and won’t taste as sweet. Wait until after you’ve cooked it, then salt to taste.

More variations to try:

  • Easy Seasoned Corn: Add 2 cloves garlic and 1/2 tsp. thyme before cooking.
  • Mexican Street Corn: After cooking, add 1/3 c. quest fresco and sprinkle paprika and parsley over the top. Squeeze a little fresh lime over the top if desired.
  • Parmesan Corn: Add 2 cloves garlic before cooking. After cooking sprinkle 1/3 to 1/2 c. fresh parmesan cheese over the top.

More great recipes using corn:

Wanting to find more incredible corn side dishes? Look no further! We have a rich and creamy Slow Cooker Creamed Corn Side Dish, Grilled Mexican Street Corn, Grilled Cilantro Lime Corn on the Cob, Sweet Corn Tamalitos (Mexican Corn Cakes), or try some Fresh Corn Salsa as an appetizer, topping, or side dish!

Cooked corn sprinkled with pepper being scooped with a serving spoon

  • 1 lb frozen corn
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  1. Place corn in a colander and rinse with cold water until ice is no longer present. Shake off excess water over the sink.

  2. Place corn and butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat.

  3. Sprinkle sugar over corn and stir until butter is melted and corn is hot (about 5-6 minutes). Do not over cook.

  4. Season with Kosher salt and fresh black pepper if desired.

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