How to Boil Corn on the Cob
Learn how to boil corn on the cob, perfectly every time. Enjoy this summer favorite with burgers, ribs, grilled chicken and more!
When it comes to summer side dishes, it doesn’t get much easier, or more delicious, than fresh corn on the cob. I remember devouring sweet summer corn as a kid, spread with butter and a bit of salt and pepper. I still can’t get enough of it to this day, and neither can my kids. If there’s one summer vegetable I can count on to be a hit with everyone at the table, it’s corn on the cob.
Which isn’t surprising given that fresh corn is bursting with natural sweetness and has the best crisp-tender texture. It’s irresistible as is, but a bit of butter, or better yet, Honey Butter or Garlic Butter, takes fresh corn to a whole new level of deliciousness.
There are many ways to cook corn on the cob, and today we’re sticking with the basics with this boiled corn on the cob recipe. Boiling corn on the cob is so simple, and in just a few minutes you’ll have sweet, tender corn ready to enjoy with your favorite summer meals.
How to Boil Corn on the Cob
- To start, remove the husks and silks from the corn. While you prep the corn, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Add the corn to the pot of boiling water. Boil the corn for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure that the corn cooks evenly.
- As soon as the corn is tender, remove it from the water and serve as desired.
How Long to Boil Corn on the Cob
Once you add the corn to the pot of boiling water, it will take about 6-8 minutes to cook. The exact cook time will depend on how tender you like your corn. I find that the corn cooks a bit faster when cooking fewer ears of corn.
There are a few tips you can follow to make sure your corn turns out perfect every time:
- It is best to shuck the corn (remove the husks) right before cooking. The husks keep the corn from drying out, maintaining the corn’s natural sweetness and moisture.
- You can adjust the amount of corn you cook, as long as you don’t overfill the pot. All of the corn should be submerged in the water so that it cooks evenly.
- If cooking a full pot of corn, you can cover the pot so that any corn that comes up out of the water steam cooks. Still be sure to stir it once or twice during the cook time to rotate the ears of corn in the water.
- If you have an Instant Pot, you will love this Instant Pot Corn on the Cob recipe. It’s easy and foolproof!
Choosing and Storing Corn on the Cob
To pick the best corn on the cob, look for husks that are bright green and wrapped tightly around the corn. The silks should be moist and silky. Avoid corn that has holes in the husks, as these could be a sign of insects. Finally, feel the corn cob to check that there are firm, plump kernels throughout the cob. If you feel soft spots or empty spots where kernels are missing, don’t choose that ear of corn.
While it may be tempting, don’t pull back the husks to take a peek at the corn. Doing so will cause the corn to start to dry out and lose some of its natural sweetness.
The sooner you can eat fresh corn after it’s harvested, the better. You just can’t beat farmer’s market corn, cooked and enjoyed the same day it was picked! If you can eat corn on the cob the same day you purchase it, great. If not, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To keep it fresh, sweet and moist, wrap it loosely in a plastic bag before storing in the fridge, making sure that there is no moisture in the bag.
What to Serve with Corn on the Cob
There are endless ways to dress up corn on the cob, such as sprinkling on Parmesan cheese, drizzling it with a sauce (we love Chimichurri) or making Mexican street corn with chipotle, lime juice and cotija cheese. Most often, though, we enjoy it with just butter, salt and pepper to let the flavor of the sweet, plump kernels shine!
Need some main course inspiration? Corn on the cob pairs well with:
- Burgers: Our favorites include Turkey Burgers, Air Fryer Hamburgers and Black Bean Burgers.
- Grilled Meats: Corn is the perfect easy side for Grilled Pork Chops, Grilled Steak and Grilled Chicken Thighs.
- Ribs: A batch of Slow Cooker Ribs or Instant Pot Ribs tastes even better served with buttery corn on the cob.
Or, slice the corn off of the cob and use it to make a Fresh Corn Salad. It’s always the hit of the party, and a great way to use grilled corn as well.
More Summer Side Dish Recipes
Complete your summer cookout with one of these mouthwatering side dishes:
How to Boil Corn on the Cob
- 4 ears corn on the cob*
- Remove the husks and silks from the corn.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the corn to the pot and make sure that all of the ears of corn are submerged in the water.
- Boil for 6-8 minutes, until just tender, stirring occasionally to make sure that all parts of the corn are in the water as it cooks.
- Remove corn from the water. Serve with butter, salt and pepper, or as desired.
- You can cook more or less corn at once, as long as all of the corn is submerged in the water as it cooks.
What is the easiest way to get the silk off.
I usually just pull them off with my fingers and most of the silks come off easily. Once most of the silks are off, you can use a vegetable brush to brush down the ear of corn and remove any remaining silks.
So glad to see a recipe that actually talks about boiling corn less rather than more. I grew up with a large garden most being corn for freezing. My mom always did her corn in small batches. Never all at once for dinner one bath for the start and a second batch if anyone wanted more, we always did. One trick my mom taught me when I couldn’t get as fresh of corn or it was the end of the season and corn wasn’t quite the same was to put one or two tablespoons of sugar in the boiling water. Made it taste almost as sweet as the corn when it was fresher.
Turned out great! Thanks Kristine for the super easy recipes because I didn’t know how to boil corn on the cob! Couldn’t be easier.