Perfect Corn on the Cob – Boiling Corn

How to Cook Corn on the Cob – Please, never over cook your fresh corn!

Boiling is the quickest, easiest, and tastiest way to prepare perfect corn on the cob.  Too many people do not know how to correctly boil fresh summer corn on the cob.  It is a very easy technique and produces the most delicious and perfect corn on the cob.  My mother and my grandmother taught me this technique on how to boil perfect corn on the cob.  You do not need to add any sugar to this delicious fresh summer corn,

Corn should be cooked quickly and not left to sit in the boiling water very long.  Fresh corn is at its best when it is very milky inside.  If overcooked, it will dry out quickly.


Perfect Corn On The Cob

How To Grill Corn On The Cob – Grilled Corn on the Cob is a popular menu item for barbecues and clambakes, and it is very easy to do.  Grilled corn on the cob is not only tasty, but grilling your corn never fails to impress your guests.  Fresh corn on the cob can be cooked on your barbecue either wrapped in aluminum foil or in its own husks.  Either way, the corn will be delicious!

Check out Corn Hints, Tips, and Information and also more great Corn Recipes.

Perfect Corn On The Cob
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
  • Fresh ears of corn as many as you want
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Selecting fresh corn on the cob:  

  2. Good corn on the cob always begins with selecting the freshest and just ripe ears of your favorite variety of corn.  The absolute best corn is corn that is picked ripe and straight from your own vegetable garden!  Now I know everybody can not have a garden and grow their own corn, so pick fresh corn from your local market carefully!

  3. When buying corn at the market, the husks (outer green covering) should be bright green and fit snugly around the ear of corn.  The kernels should be in tight rows right to the tip of the ear of corn, and be plump and milky.  In the grocery store, it is perfectly acceptable (well maybe a little frowned on) to peel back the outer green husk to check and see if the corn looks OK to you.

  4. Husking the corn:

  5. For maximum freshness, husk the corn just before cooking.  When ready to cook your corn on the cob, pull all the husks off of the corn and discard.  Remove silk (the white hairy threads just under the husk) from the corn and discard.  TIP: To help remove the silk, wet a paper towel and wipe down the corn

  6. Perfect Corn on the Cob    Perfect Corn on the Cob

  7. How to boil and cook corn on the cob:

  8. Choose a pot large enough to hold the amount of corn you want to cook, with room for water to cover the corn.  Cover pot and bring cold unsalted water just to a boil on high heat.  Some people like to add a little sugar to the boiling water, but never add salt as it will only toughen the corn.

  9. Add husked corn ears and bring the water back to a boil on high heat (covered or not).  Since corn tends to float on top of the water, I cover the pot.  This helps the water come back to a boil faster and helps the corn cook.  It will take approximately 3 to 4 minutes to bring the water back to a boil.  Once water comes back to a boil, immediately remove the corn ears from the water.  The corn is now cooked perfectly and NOT overcooked.

  10. Perfect Corn on the Cob    Perfect Corn on the Cob

  11. Boiling time is a matter of taste; some people like to just boil them a minute or two to warm their corn on the cob, leaving the kernels crisp and fresh.  Others like to let them boil 3 to 10 minutes for softer kernels.  How long you cook your corn on the cob depends on your tastes, but Grandma Myers' Corn Tip is my family's way of cooking them (see below):

  12. Grandma Myers' Corn Tip - Put a pot of water on the stove.  While the water comes to a boil, choose and husk your corn.  Drop the corn into the boiling water.  When the water comes to a boil again, remove the corn from the water.  IT'S DONE!

  13. Remove the cooked corn ears from the hot water with tongs.

  14. Serve with butter, salt, and pepper.  Some people like to roll their hot corn on a stick of butter, others spread the butter with a knife.  Your choice!

  15. TIP:  If you're having a party, borrow this trick from markets in Mexico.  Vendors selling ears of corn for snacks keep them ready and waiting for several hours in tubs of lukewarm water.  Instead of butter, ears are rubbed with lime wedges and sprinkled with salt.  This nonfat alternative is very good. I have not tried this technique.

Comments and Reviews

36 Responses to “Perfect Corn on the Cob – Boiling Corn”

  1. roger jahn

    what is white corn Mahindi? Not sure but someone close is selling a lot of it. Also, what is your tip for freezing corn on cob. We bring water to boil, boil 2 to 4 minutes and then take out of water and put in cold water with ice cubes for a few minutes and freeze for a day or so and then vacuum pak. corn does not taste as fresh as before freezing

    • Linda Stradley

      Mahindi – Translates from Swahili to English to mean corn. In Hindi it describes the henna plant.

      I, personally do not freeze corn on the cob. We like to eat it immediately after cooking.

    • Hathcock

      White corn as far as the “on the cob” variety is the same as yellow corn just a different color…..try it.

      • tomcat

        the difference between white corn and yellow is, yellow corn has vitamin A in it and white does not, that is why yellow is yellow

      • Vickie

        Answer is INCORRECT.! Born and raised in the South, I know corn. There is a distinct difference between white and yellow corn. In fact there varieties of each. Silver Queen is very common in Eastern NC. It is white corn with smaller kernels and thus more tender than yellow corn. Yellow corn has larger kernels and is more substantial than white corn. Different varieties are available in each type of corn. Hybrids, different growing seasons, different characteristics. Though not comprehensive I list a a few common facts about corn. Call N C State University and you can learn more that you want to about corn.


    I freeze corn after I cut it off the cooked cob. It is great in little freezer bags for soup or casseroles.

    • Janet

      That is a fantastic idea. Great to have the. Corn ready to use in soup

  3. Donna Little

    I live in New Mexico. Each year in August we anxiously await the arrival of the Moriarty sweet corn from Scwebach farms in Moriarty. People come from miles around to get this corn and even visitors from Iowa confessed that it’s better than their corn. I buy a few dozen and freeze them in the husks in zipper freezer bags to enjoy all year long. A couple of years ago I wanted to bless my family in California when I went out there to visit in November. I took the frozen corn, wrapped each bag in 3 layers of newspaper and taped it close, put the packages inside doubled cooler bags (like you bring frozen food home from the store), added a couple of freezer packs and packed them in a separate suitcase. When I arrived at my destination, even though we stopped for lunch, the corn was still totally frozen when I got to my brother’s house about six hours after leaving my house! My family was over joyed to have fresh corn in the winter. I’m doing this again this year! It’s awesome with Chipotle Lime Butter!

    • Ceu

      Donna, thank you for your information. When your freeze your corn, do you remove the hair/strings before freezing?

    • Jenny

      I’ve been freezing corn in the husk for years. Just gather or buy and drop in plastic bags and freeze. Easiest and best tasting,

    • C Luttrell

      Santa Fe, NM here. My Sis and I recently went to Schwebach Farms in Moriarty and got lots of corn and other goodies! We even found an orange (inside) watermelon, which I haven’t seen in years! — I relate to everything you said and recommend Schwebach above all other farms near the area because it’s full of heart and soul. Someone from our family has purchased from them at least 50 years and likely more. (50 + ??? Yikes!) I was told the farm is now owned by 3 families but the super quality is still there.

  4. Shawn Curtis

    I trim the silk even with the husks. HINT: Make sure the water is boiling before you start to husk the corn. Husk the corn under cool running water. These two steps help keep the corn from turning mushy.

  5. Louise

    I cook mine in the microwave As Is:
    I just put the cob straight from the store as is, husk and all in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes depending on the size of the cob it comes out delicious it is really fast and sweet .

  6. BILL

    Leave corn in husk, open top of husk, rinse in running water, and wrap in wax paper (twist both edges to seal place). Cook in microwave for 2 or 3 minutes. Wearing an ov-glove, cut off the bottom end and grab the top pull husk and silk comes out. Enjoy!

  7. Melissa L. Bryant

    I discovered so many new ideas reading these comments. I really enjoyed the article, as well. Thank you everyone for your input!

  8. Andrew

    I was in Mexico and I tasted the lime rubbed and salted corn. It’s super amazing and surprisingly refreshing!

  9. Mike

    The best way to cook corn on the cob is to roast it. Soak the corn in water first, with sugar, and salt for about an hour, and put it right on the grill.
    Cook 5 minutes on each side, turning 4 times, on 1/4 turns.
    Best corn you’ll ever have.

    • Aaron Beasley

      That’s the way I usually do but with out the sugar I’m going to try that next time!

    • Retta

      Adding a stick of butter & a cup of whole milk to the water adds buttery flavor & extra sweetness & tenderness.

      • Laura

        I have found this way of making sweet corn rather common in Wisconsin. Making mine this way for the first time today here in Georgia. Fingers crossed!!!

  10. gerry hays

    We freeze fresh picked corn husk and all, inside a plastic shopping bag immediately after picking. Whenever we want some for a meal we put the ears (still in husks) into a pot of water and then bring to a boil. Tastes just like fresh picked!! Try it, you’ll like it!!!!

  11. Eric Buras

    I like to husk the corn, wrap in foil with butter, and then toss on the grill for 20 minutes rotating every five minutes and not over direct heat if I can help it. Frozen corn can take up to an hour doing this. As a bonus, adding honey to the butter is good. The lime and cilantro compound butter is also a great idea.

  12. Flower

    The way my family and I do it when we camp is we husk the corn set down foil slab however much butter we want onto the corn wrap the corn put it on the edge of the grill so the fire isn’t directly on it and we turn it every couple minutes. And it’s usually completely done in 15 to 20 minutes. Then we unwrap the corn and salt it however we prefer and Wala done! Enjoy 🙂 it’s the best way I think 🙂

  13. Dan

    As a Nebraska boy who has eaten more than my fair share of sweet corn, the best way to preserve it is to shuck the ears, then blanch them for 2 minutes in unsalted boiling water. This kills any bacteria for better preservation. Transfer to ice water to stop the cooking process. Cut the kearnels from the cob, vacuum pack into boil-safe bags, and freeze. To prepare, bring pot of water to a boil, drop the bag in, and cook for 10 min. Season with good butter, salt and pepper. We raised tons of sweet corn during the summer months, and enjoyed a taste of summer all winter long this way.

  14. Lynn

    I’m currently visiting in Oaxaca, Mexico and the street vendors sell something called elotes – it’s corn on the cob, either boiled or grilled, smothered in mayonnaise, then sprinkled with grated cheese, chili pepper and lime juice. It sounds kind of disgusting, but it’s actually delicious!!

  15. Glenda

    I wrap mine in damp paper towel & nuke it in microwave for 3 minutes. Always comes out tender & juicy!

    • C Luttrell

      I will try your method…especially because I detest washing pans! Thanks!

  16. Kevin in DC

    I enjoy fresh corn from the farmer’s market. I remove the husk then place in a steamer or lobster pot with a tight lid. I sprinkle a dash of sugar and steam for 10 minutes. Great taste with or without butter Sometimes on the grill I dip the corn in sweet chili sauce, wrap in foil and pierce. A change of taste. Thanks all for sharing.

  17. Treeza

    Regretably I live in a semi urban area where my best options are Farmer’s Market. Recently I stopped at a Farm Stand in upstate NY. Bought 4 ears of corn but admittrdky and embarrassing I did not know the best method to cook the corn. I love the various methods but started with “what’s cooking Ameria”. Needless to say I wolfed down 2 ears while preparing a salad. I look forward to trying the other meyhods listed.

  18. Flower

    Olathe Sweet Corn… the best of the best! Tender, slightly sweet, and a mix of pale yellow and white kernals. YUM! butter is all that is needed, if that.

  19. virginia williams

    i put milk and sugar in the wtaer when i boil corn….i guess its a texas thing…but the lactic acid from the milk tenderizes the corn alot.

  20. Robert Cooper

    New Jersey white corn…best of the best! Sweet….

  21. James McPhail

    Large pot 2 cobs -> when tossed in corn the water did not stop boiling, so the tip was useless

    • Nancy

      Sorry your water didn’t slow from a boil, usually when you add something cold to boiling water, the boil slows, then works it’s way back up to a full boil. Basically, I leave mine in for 1 minute and pull it out. Hope you still enjoyed your corn.

  22. debbie stack

    great ideas!

  23. Karen

    My family sometimes made a meal of just corn on the cob. To butter it without mess, we’d butter a piece of bread and roll the cob in it. We’d reuse the bread til the end, then eat it, too.


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