Boiling corn on the cob is perfect for backyard bbqs and other get-togethers, and it only takes minutes to make.

Learn how long to boil corn on the cob to make sweet and tender corn. Boiling corn on the cob is perfect for backyard bbqs and other get-togethers, and it only takes minutes to make. Serve it hot with butter and salt for a delicious side dish or appetizer everyone will love!

Learn how to boil corn easily with a few simple steps to make a delicious side dish or appetizer everyone will love

Boiling corn on the cob is one of the easiest ways to cook sweet corn, especially when you need to make it in quantity. Other options include steamed, baked, microwaved or grilled corn. Kids enjoy it as much as adults, and it works beautifully when you’re entertaining guests who may be vegetarian or vegan.

Serve corn on the cob as a side dish for bbq mains like chicken, pulled pork and steak. Corn is also great to put out as an appetizer while the other dishes are cooking. When you feel like boiling corn with other ingredients, give this delicious shrimp boil a try.

Fresh corn husks have a smooth green sheen with sticky tassels on the tops

HOW TO BOIL CORN ON THE COB

The peak season for American sweet corn is May through September. It’s best to go to farmers markets or farm stands and ask them when the corn was picked. They’ll usually tell you, but when you have to decide for yourself then look for:

  • The husks should have a nice green sheen
  • The tassels on top should be moist and even tacky
  • The stems should be moist

It’s also good to peel back the tassel a few inches to inspect the kernels, which should be bright-colored and free of worm holes. Brown spots on the outside or inside are usually warning signs of inferior corn.

Peeling corn on the cob to remove the husks and silky tassels before boiling

HOW LONG TO BOIL CORN ON THE COB

How long you boil corn depends on the freshness of the corn! That’s because freshly picked corn only needs brief exposure to heat to activate its sugars for a great taste. Cooking longer converts the sugar to starch, which is not so flavorful!

As the days pass after picking, the kernels firm up and require more cooking time to soften. Here’s a quick guideline on how long to boil corn based on freshness:

CornBoiling time
In-season and freshly picked3-5 min
In-season and several days old5-7 min
Off-season or older corn10-15 min

A lot of people use a 20 minute rule, but it’s really excessive unless you’re cooking tough old corn. Think of it like cooking a steak until it’s well-done – you can do it, but it’ll be tougher. In the same way, fresh corn will lose some of its texture and flavor after 20 minutes of boiling.

Boiling corn on the cob in a large pot

When is boiled corn on the cob done?

The corn on the cob is cooked when the kernels are tender and its color has brightened up. Try poking the corn in the pot with a wooden spoon, and it should have the firmness of an orange when cooked vs. an apple when still undercooked.

When sweet corn is overcooked, the kernels will look flat and worn instead of plump and juicy. The texture becomes chewy without much flavor.

How long to boil corn on the cob depends primarily on freshness of the corn

Make Ahead Tips

Corn on the cob will stay warm on a plate for 15-20 minutes. If you need more time, drain the water from the pot and keep it covered in the pot, or covered with foil on a platter.

While freshly cooked is always best, there are several easy options for reheating boiled corn on the cob:

  1. Drop it into boiling water for one minute.
  2. Microwave it in several 20-second intervals until hot (depends on microwave power).
  3. Bake or grill at 200°F / 100°C for 10 minutes.

Boiled corn on the cob recipe brushed with butter and salt for the perfect side dish

TIPS FOR BOILING CORN ON THE COB

  • Do not salt the water for corn! Save the salt for the table, as introducing it during cooking will make the kernels tough.
  • For extra flavor, you can add a tablespoon or two of sugar to the boiling water. However, if your corn is already fresh and sweet…. maybe there’s no need.
  • When cooking for a crowd, use one extra-large pot or two large pots simultaneously to avoid cooking endless batches of corn. Keep the water boiling throughout.
  • Corn on the cob will stay warm for a good 15 minutes. Cover with foil to retain the heat longer.
  • Store uncooked corn in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it to preserve freshness.
  • Boiled corn on the cob, once cooled, can be frozen if stored in sealed ziptop bags. The texture once thawed is slightly inferior to fresh sweet corn, but it’s an option nonetheless.

How long do you boil corn on the cob depends on the freshness of the corn and whether you prefer a softer or crisper texture of the corn kernels

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4.5 from 2 votes

Boiled Corn on the Cob

Learn how long to boil corn on the cob to make the sweetest and tastiest corn that everyone will love. Boiling corn on the cob is perfect for backyard bbqs and other get-togethers, and it only takes minutes to make. Serve it hot with butter and salt as a delicious side dish or appetizer.
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 ears corn on the cob
  • 2 tbsp butter, unsalted or salted
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

  • Fill a large pot halfway with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, shuck the corn by peeling back the husks and removing the silky strings.
  • Cut out any brown parts with the tip of a paring knife. If your pot is on the smaller side, break the corn in half to fit.
  • Add the corn to the boiling water.
  • Cover and cook until done (this will depend on the corn - see note)
  • Using tongs, remove the corn from the pot to a serving platter.
  • Brush with butter and sprinkle with salt. Serve hot and enjoy!

Notes

The exact boiling time depends on the freshness of the corn:
CornBoiling time
In-season and freshly picked3-5 min
In-season and several days old5-7 min
Off-season or older corn10-15 min
 
Nutrition Facts
Boiled Corn on the Cob
Amount Per Serving
Calories 111 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 10mg3%
Sodium 47mg2%
Potassium 243mg7%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 285IU6%
Vitamin C 6.1mg7%
Calcium 2mg0%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Please read our nutrition disclaimer.

Author: TipBuzz
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: boiled corn, how long to boil corn on the cob, how to boil corn
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EQUIPMENT FOR BOILING CORN ON THE COB