These step-by-step directions for how to boil corn on the cob are completely foolproof. You’ll get easy instructions, exact cooking times, and perfect corn on the cob!
How to Boil Corn on the Cob
Knowing how to boil corn on the cob is probably one of the top ten kitchen skills you need to have in your cooking repertoire. It’s that important.
No one- repeat, no one– wants to eat mushy corn on the cob. It’s an offense against nature. And, truthfully, it’s so easy to boil corn on the cob the right way that there’s absolutely no defense for cooking it the wrong way.
It’s been a long journey since I cooked my very first corn on the cob. Many years ago, when I was a college student working in a university computer lab, our department had a little get-together where each of us were expected to help out in some way.
One person ran out to buy supplies. Another set up a grill outside and grilled the hot dogs and hamburgers out in the Florida sun. Meanwhile, the lab manager asked me to head down to the small kitchen on the first floor and cook the corn on the cob.
To this day, it’s a mystery to me why I got chosen for this duty. I was 18, the youngest of the staff, and my cooking skills were pretty much limited to the four food groups of college: spaghetti, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and ramen noodles.
Nevertheless, I charged gamely downstairs and put a pot on to boil. Having absolutely no idea how long to cook the ears, I simply tossed the shucked ears into the water, turned on the burner, and watched the corn darken slightly in color as the water simmered, then boiled for a few minutes. Then I drained the water and carried the corn back upstairs in a large casserole dish.
I still remember the unusual purple shade of that casserole dish.
Lunch was served, plates were made, and everyone tucked in. Compliments poured in over the corn, leaving me nonplussed because the positive result was really nothing more than a total accident. Everyone liked how crisp it was, as did I, so I made a mental note to try to make boiled corn on the cob the same way in the future.
Fast forward a number of years, and I’ve expanded my cooking repertoire exponentially. I won’t tell you that I never cook spaghetti, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, or ramen noodles anymore, but let’s just say that they they occur much less frequently.
My corn on the cob, however, is just the same as it ever was and is a frequent star of the table. When corn is in season, I pick some up on almost every shopping trip.
I still don’t add anything to the water. I still cook it crisp. And the compliments just keep on coming.
So, in the spirit of that hapless young lady who accidentally got it right on the first try, I’d like to show you exactly how to boil corn on the cob.
If you enjoy this recipe for boiled corn on the cob, you might also like these classic side dish recipes using fresh produce.
- How to steam broccoli the easy way
- Oven Roasted Potato Rounds
- Roasted Acorn Squash
- Baked Sweet Potatoes
Pair this side dish with meatloaf made without eggs for a complete comfort food dinner.
How to Boil Corn on the Cob
Get the exact cooking time for boiled corn on the cob. It's foolproof and easy once you learn how to boil corn on the cob!
- 6 ears Fresh corn
- 3 tbsp Butter
- Sea salt or smoked salt
- Remove the husks and strings of silk from the corn just before cooking. Snap off the stems. If the ears are too large to fit in your pot, break them in half.
- Fill a large pot, such as a Dutch oven, half full with water. Put the corn in the water. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil over high heat.
- Once the water is boiling, remove the lid and boil for 2 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat, and let it stand uncovered for 10 minutes. Drain the water and serve the corn immediately.
- Rub the cooked corn with butter, then sprinkle with sea salt or smoked salt (smoked salt gives the corn a delightful flavor).