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How to Boil Corn on the Cob

Updated on April 7, 2015
buttered corn on the cob
buttered corn on the cob

I love Corn on the Cob

A tasty buttery starch goes great with barbecue. While many barbecue lovers will go with a tasty baked potato (I love them as well), while in season, we'll prepare corn on the cob on the stove top to go with a beef brisket, pulled pork, and salmon.

Here's the easiest way to make crisp corn on the cob in just a few minutes!

Boiled Corn on the Cob

5 stars from 1 rating of Corn on the Cob

Cook Time for Corn on the Cob

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 8 min
Ready in: 18 min
Yields: 1 ear of corn per person

Ingredients for Boiled Corn on the Cob

  • Corn on the Cob, Shucked Corn
  • Dash Salt
  • To Taste Butter, coat to taste
  • Pot Water, enough so corn ears float
Freshly shucked corn on the cob
Freshly shucked corn on the cob

Instructions for Boiling Corn on the Cob

  1. Begin with whole ears of corn. Shuck each ear by removing the husk and the silk. You may want to shuck the corn over a paper bag because it can be a bit messy.
  2. Place a pot 3/4 full of water on the stove. The pot should be large enough so the corn will float in the water. Add a dash of salt to the water.
  3. Bring the pot of water to a boil.
  4. Add all the ears of corn to the boiling water. Cover the pot with a lid. Let them boil for 8 to 10 minutes long. Smaller ears of corn take less time to cook than large ears.
  5. To test an ear of corn for doneness, remove one ear from the pot with tongs. Run cold water over it and take a small bite. Corn that is full cooked will bright in color and have a little milk to it. If it wrinkles, it's been cooked too long.
  6. When done boiling, remove all the ears and let them dry in a straining bowl.
  7. Serve with butter.

How long to boil fresh corn on the cob?

Corn Cob Size
Time in Minutes to Boil
1/2 ear of corn
7 minutes
1/2 ear of corn
9 minutes
1 small ear of corn
8 minutes
1 large ear of corn
10+ minutes
The size of the corn impacts that cooking time. Most people prefer crisp corn on the cob, so be careful to avoid over cooking (wrinkling). Taste at the recommended time. If it's not done, boil longer.
Remove corn from boiling water with tongs
Remove corn from boiling water with tongs

Boiling water and tongs

I once saw my mother pull corn out of a boiling pot. It's a bad idea. Use tongs or thick rubber gloves to remove the ears from a boiling pot.

Rub butter on the corn
Rub butter on the corn

Using Corn Holders to Put Butter on the Cob

The best way to butter corn is by using corn holders inserted in the end of the cob and turning the ends back and forth while the cob spins on the top of a cube of butter.

In some households this technique is frowned upon, but it is the best way to do it!

Corn Cob Serving Size

In our family adults and kids eat an ear each. Our kids really like corn. However, I think most kids will be satisfied with half an ear. Tip: Snap the corn in half with your hands before boiling. It takes a little strength, but is pretty easy to break a cob in two.

Boiled or Grilled Corn?

Do you prefer corn on the cob boiled or grilled?

See results

Questions & Answers


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      • kiddiecreations profile image

        Nicole Kiddie Granath 2 months ago

        Nice hub on corn on the cob! Very detailed. I buy the corn pre-shucked from Trader Joe's or Sprouts. Then I just put it in boiling water for 10 minutes. Stab w/ a fork and see if it's done. Then cover w/ butter and Lawry's seasoning salt. Really yummy :)

      • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image

        Gina Welds Hulse 16 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

        I tend to do my corn Cajun style with lots of cumin, cayenne pepper, basil, garlic, onion, salt, black pepper, chili powder. I love it with a kick.

      • agusfanani profile image

        agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

        I love sweet corn on the cob, specially when it's boiled. The way it's served with butter or cheese makes it even much yummier. Hmm...the photos are mouthwatering...

      • carol7777 profile image

        carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

        It is the photos that are enticing..Even though this is not my favorite I found my mouth watering....

      • jtrader profile image

        jtrader 4 years ago

        I haven't had corn on the cob in a while.

      • Lady Guinevere profile image

        Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

        I love corn on the cob and can't wait until we get it here on the farm market. Aaa that won't be until July or August. Something to look forward too. A hint here too as well..don't shuck the corn before you put it on the grill. It keeps the moisture in and prevents scorching or burning. It als keeps all the nutrients in too. I do as everyone else by adding a bit of sugar to the boiling water. After the corn is picked it will lose some of it's sweetness and go to a more starchy flavor. Sugar adds the sweetness back in.

      • tsmog profile image

        Tim Mitchell 4 years ago from Escondido, CA

        I'm hungry, later like Wally the Gator, I'm off to the kitchen to discover somethun'

        Smile and thanks, I prefer not well done, knowing perfect at times is better . . . while offering ditto of the latter, yet it is later rhyming with gator, with a smile . . .


      • Paul Edmondson profile image

        Paul Edmondson 4 years ago from Burlingame, CA

        Adding a bit of sugar is a nice idea. I tend to do that when I grill it.

      • BigEd5857 profile image

        BigEd5857 4 years ago

        Add 1/4 cup milk and two tbsp sugar to water, result = best corn ever.