This recipe will teach you the simple process of how to boil corn on the cob. All you need is salted water and fresh corn!

cooked corn on a cob with butter on a plate

Boiled corn on the cob is a welcome side dish at any BBQ or potluck. Who doesn’t love the tender, juicy kernels popping in their mouth? And let us not forget about the slathering of butter…

Despite its simplicity, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding how to properly boil fresh corn. From cleaning to cooking, I’ve gathered all my best tips and tricks for you in this simple how-to guide. As a self-proclaimed corn addict, I’m confident my intel will have you well on your way to boiled corn glory!

How to Clean Corn on the Cob

Below, find a definitive guide to properly cleaning fresh corn.

  • Trim the Ends: You’ll notice that the kernels near the top and bottom of the cob are smaller, drier, and harder. Using a sharp knife, slice them off by removing both the stem and crown of the corn.
  • Slice the Husk: Instead of ripping away at the husk, slice it down the center. This will make it so much easier to remove the various layers.
  • Remove the Husk and Silk: Using your hands, peel away the husk and remove all the silk. If straggler silk threads are left behind, run your hand swiftly down the cob to free them from the kernels and rip them off.

How to Make Corn on the Cob

Making boiled corn on the cob only requires salt, water, fresh corn, and a few simple steps. Below, find a quick hitter overview of the recipe before you dive in.

  • Trim and Shuck the Corn: Cut away the stalk and tip of each ear of corn with a sharp knife. Next, remove the husks and silk.
  • Submerge the Corn: Fill a large pot with water, submerge the cleaned corn, and season the water with salt.
  • Boil the Corn: Bring the water to a boil and boil the corn for 45 minutes, or until the kernels turn bright yellow and tender. Remove the cobs from the water using a colander or tongs and enjoy!
corn on a cob in a pot with salt and water

Tips for the Best Boiled Corn on the Cob

Below, find a collection of tips and tricks to help you make the best boiled corn on the cob.

  • Prep the corn in advance. If you’re cooking for a large party or just like to stay ahead of the game, shuck and clean the corn a day in advance.
  • Sear corn on an open flame. To add a nice smokey flavor to your corn, pop the boiled cobs over an open flame for 2-3 minutes on each side. Hello, pretty grill marks!
  • Boil the corn over a long period of time. Some recipes claim that 10-20 minutes of boiling is enough, but a long boil makes all the difference when it comes to tender kernels. 45 minutes is the sweet spot!
  • Eat corn within 2 days of purchase. The longer corn sits in the refrigerator, the more it will lose its sweetness.
  • Opt for sweet corn. Sweet corn is by far the best type of corn for boiled corn on the cob.
  • Pick the best corn at the store. There are two things you want to look for when picking corn at the grocery store: 1) green, tightly wrapped husks and 2) brown and sticky tassels (the silk popping out of the top of the husk). If the husk is yellowing and browning or the silk tassels are dry, you know right away that the corn is old.
cooked corn on a cob with butter on a plate

Serving Boiled Corn on the Cob

Boiled corn on the cob fits into almost any spread. In particular, its sweetness is a welcome contrast to savory, grilled meats making it a tried-and-true side dish at BBQs. Pair it with grilled ribeye, grilled tilapia, or our amazing BBQ ribs.

You could also boil the corn and remove the kernels with a knife to add to a variety of salads, soups, and salsas. Corn tomato avocado salad, white bean chicken chili, and black bean and corn salsa are all great options. Bonus: The flavor of fresh, boiled corn is so much better than canned!

Storing Boiled Corn on the Cob

  • Refrigerating: Store leftover corn on the cob in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should stay fresh for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: To freeze leftover corn on the cob, let it cool down completely at room temperature. Then, place the cobs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pop the baking sheet into the freezer for a couple of hours. Wrap each frozen cob tightly in plastic wrap and store for up to 3 months. To thaw, let the cobs sit on the counter for a couple of hours.

Reheating Tip: To reheat corn on the cob, zap it in the microwave for 45 seconds. You can also pop it on the grill for 2-3 minutes per side or until the kernels turn golden brown.

FAQ

How do you know when boiled corn on the cob is done?

Boiled corn on the cob is done with the kernels turn a bright yellow color and are easily pierced with a fork. While it’s safe to eat corn on the cob raw or flash boiled, 45 minutes is the sweet spot for tender, juicy kernels.

How can I make boiled corn on the cob for a crowd?

Make boiled corn on the cob for a crowd by shucking and cleaning the corn a day in advance. On the day-of your party, bring an extra large soup pot to boil and boil the cobs in one big batch.

How long does it take to boil some corn?

Boiling corn on the cob can take as little as 10 minutes, but 45 minutes of boiling yields the most tender, juicy corn. It’s well worth the wait!

Why is my corn on the cob tough?

Your corn on the cob likely turned out tough for one or two reasons: 1) you didn’t boil it long enough or 2) it sat too long before being used. The longer corn sits after it’s pulled from the stalk, the more tough and dry the kernels become.

Can you boil corn on the cob too long?

Yes, you can over boil corn on the cob. If you push the cooking time past 45 minutes, the cobs can actually turn firm.

More Simple Veggie Side Dishes

About Author

Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.