The easiest way to cook the best corn on the cob is boiling! Learn how to boil corn on the cob the whole family will love in this simple tutorial.
Summertime is the BEST produce time! So many delicious fruits and veggies are ripe and in season at farmers markets, farm stands, and grocery stores, so it feels like there are endless delicious easy side dishes to pair with the grilled chicken, BBQ ribs, gluten-free fried chicken, and burgers we love in the summer.
We’ve been tackling all kinds of classic summer side dishes over the last few weeks, from the BEST baked beans, to classic coleslaw and potato salad, but today I’m sharing what might be THE most classic summer side dish around: good ol’ corn on the cob!
Everyone has their favorite way to cook corn on the cob. Some people grill corn, others turn to their instant pot or microwave, but in my opinion, the EASIEST way and best way to cook corn is to boil it on the stove top.
This easy way to cook corn on the cob gives me perfect corn every time. The texture is PERFECT! The corn still has it’s crisp-tender texture and natural sweetness, and the color is stunning.
Here’s what you need to make boiled corn on the cob…
Here’s What You Need To Boil Corn:
- Fresh Corn On The Cob. This easy method is for fresh sweet corn (rather than frozen corn). Remove the bright green husks and the fine corn silk (the sticky threads inside) before cooking. I usually plan on about 1 whole cob of corn/ear of corn per person, unless I have a lot of side dishes available. Then I estimate half a cob of corn per person and cut them in half before cooking.
- Water. A big pot of water!
- Salt. I like to add a little salt to the water when I’m boiling corn for flavor (kind of like you do for pasta or potatoes!)
- Toppings. Then, you just need your favorite toppings for corn on the cob. (We’ve got ideas below!)
Voila! That’s it! The ingredients are simple, so let’s dive into technique.
How To Boil Corn, Step By Step (Without Overcooking It):
- Start Bringing The Water To A Boil. Start by filling a large pot or Dutch oven with water. You’ll want the water at least 5-6 inches deep, but make sure you have at least 2 inch of room at the top of the pot to allow for bubbling & adding the corn. Let the water come up to a boil on medium-high heat on the stove while you prep the corn, if you haven’t aready.
- Shuck & Prepare The Corn. If you haven’t already, remove the outer green leaves and corn silk (thin, wispy fibrous strings). Discard these, then rinse off the corn to remove any extra debris. If desired, cut the corn cobs in half with a sharp knife for smaller portions.
- Salt The Water. When the water is boiling, add a generous sprinkle of salt (1/2-1 Tablespoon of kosher salt) to the water.
- Cook The Corn. Use tongs to carefully lower 3-4 corn cobs or sections into the boiling water at a time. (Try not to over-crowd the pot or the water won’t circulate as well.) Allow the corn to boil 2-4 minutes, rotating the corn as needed so the water touches all sides. Carefully use the tongs to remove the corn and set aside on a plate. Repeat until all corn has been cooked.
- Serve the corn warm with butter, salt, pepper, parmesan or cotija cheese, chili powder, lime wedges, or your favorite toppings. (If you need to cook multiple batches, store corn on a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm while you cook the rest of the corn)
- Store. Keep leftover cooked corn in an airtight container in the refrigerator 3-5 days.
How Long Do You Boil Corn On The Cob?
2-4 minutes is usually long enough to get crisp-tender corn that retains its sweetness. If you’re cooking a lot of ears at a time, or prefer softer corn, you may prefer to add 1-2 minutes to the cook time. You can tell your corn is done boiling when the color is vibrant (a nice bright yellow!) and kernels look plump and tender. This will only take a few minutes–not much time at all!
Corn Toppings & Flavor Boosters To Try
Fresh, ripe summer sweet corn is often good enough to eat on its own, but it’s also fun to add some toppings. Here are some of the best corn toppings & ways to serve corn on the cob:
- Butter, Salt & Pepper. This combo is a classic for a reason! Brush or spread a little melted butter and finish with salt and pepper for classic flavor that’s almost always a win! My mom would cut a stick of butter in half and keep it wrapped. That way we could use the wrapper as a handle, then use the end of a cold stick of butter to butter the corn.
- Elotes. Mimic the flavor in classic Mexican-style street corn with mayo or crema, lime juice and lime zest, chili powder, cotija cheese, and salt.
- Chili Butter. Add some kick with chili butter or jalapeño butter!
- Honey Butter. This whipped honey butter is remarkably good on corn! It sounds crazy, but it works!
- Herb Butter. Or add a layer of freshness with herb butter. Choose from fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, sage, chives, parsley, and more!
- Chili Powder or Paprika. I love a little sprinkle of chili powder or some smoked paprika f
- Parmesan Cheese. Add some umami with a little parmesan on top!
- Bacon. Add a little smoky flavor with some cooked, crumbled bacon (or bacon butter!)
Or, use it in your favorite recipes! Or, cut it off the cob and use for your favorite recipes, like fresh corn salsa, burrito bowls, tacos, corn salad, cowboy caviar, Mexican street corn salad, and more!
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Boiled Corn On The Cob:
A Trick For Shucking Corn. Don’t know how to shuck corn? It’s truly as simple as removing the outer green husk and the fine corn silk threads inside. But those pesky corn silk threads can be annoying to work on! My favorite way is to pull off as much of the corn husks and corn silk as I can, then use a paper towel to help get any leftover corn silk threads off. The paper towel is just abrasive enough to help get those threads outta there!
How To Get Corn Off The Cob. If you’d rather take the corn off the cob so it’s easier to eat or you can use it in a recipe, let the corn cool enough that it’s easy to handle. Stand the corn cob up on the stem end in a deep mixing bowl (or a large cutting board) and use a sharp knife, to cut the corn off each side of the cob. Some people recommend using a bundt pan to support the cob and catch the kernels, but I find a deep mixing bowl works better for me.
Freeze It For Later. If you’d like to freeze the corn for later, I recommend reducing the boiling time to just 1-2 minutes. This will allow you to cook it additionally later without over-cooking. Boil 1-2 minutes, cool enough to handle, then cut the corn off the cob, place in freezer-safe bags, label, and freeze up to 6 months.
Do You Put Corn In Before Or After The Water Boils? I recommend after the water boils. You’ll have the most consistent temperature to work with once the water reaches boiling.
⭐ Don’t forget to leave a star review and comment below when you make our boiled corn on the cob recipe. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!Print