Boiled Corn on the Cob Recipe
Boiled corn on the cob is the perfect summertime side dish. Boiling corn is the easiest cooking method and you’ll love our secret that makes this corn always sweet, juicy, and tender.
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Corn on the Cob Recipe:
The start of summer means it is corn on the cob season. I love this Boiled Corn on the Cob recipe for its simplicity. Perfect for summertime BBQs, this boiled corn is SO juicy.
Boiling corn on the cob is the most common way to cook it. If you love corn, be sure to also try our other corn recipes; Instant Pot Corn and Grilled Corn in Foil, so you are prepared to serve this perfect side dish all summer long!
How Long to Boil Corn:
Boiling corn on the cob ensures the kernels stay juicy and plump, yet finding the perfect length of time to boil corn depends on the age of your corn. Fresh ears of corn on the cob can be boiled in about 15 minutes. Ears of corn that may be a little older will take slightly longer – just be careful not to overcook! Check your kernels before removing them from the heat to ensure they are crisp-tender.
The Secret to Sweet Corn on the Cob:
I love corn on the cob at the peak of its season. However, sometimes finding the freshest corn can be tricky. The secret to ensuring perfectly sweet and juicy corn every time is to add sugar to the water. I learned this trick from my late friend Pearl who was like a Grandmother to me. This extra kick of sweetness makes a huge difference for boiled corn on the cob!
How to Cook Corn on the Cob:
- Shuck your corn and place corn in a large soup or stockpot and fill it with enough water to cover the corn.
- Bring water to a boil and add sugar. Cover, reduce heat to medium and boil for 15 minutes.
- When time is up, kernels should be crisp-tender. Remove from heat and drain. For easier eating, load each ear of corn onto a wooden skewer. If desired, butter, salt, and pepper your corn.
Pro Serving Tip: Serve your boiled corn on the cob on wooden skewers! This keeps your fingers from getting burned as you eat the freshly cooked corn. As an added bonus, the skewer allows you to butter your corn and not worry about the butter dripping all over your hands.
Leftover Corn on the Cob?
This boiled corn on the cob is best when eaten fresh and hot. If you can’t eat all of the corn in one sitting, wrap it in plastic wrap or foil and store it in the fridge then use those sweet juicy kernels for Corn Guacamole or fresh Avocado Corn Salad.
P.S. You can also keep the leftover bare cobs for the best Corn Chowder.
What to Serve with Corn on the Cob:
Try pairing corn on the cob with our Perfect Burgers and Potato Wedges at your next BBQ and don’t forget the Lemonade. Your guests will be begging for more.
More Summer Side Dish Recipes:
- Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad – our most popular summer salad
- Asian Chopped Salad – with the best Asian dressing
- Coleslaw Recipe – simple, creamy and excellent
- Cowboy Caviar – make a big batch since it disappears fast
- Strawberry Pretzel Salad – ok, not technically a ‘salad’
Boiled Corn on the Cob Recipe
Boiled corn on the cob is the perfect summertime side dish - simple, easy to make, and always sweet, juicy, and tender.
- 5 cobs of corn, shucked/peeled
- 1-2 Tbsp sugar, or salt
- unsalted butter, optional to serve
- Black pepper, freshly ground (optional)
Place corn in a large soup/stock pot and fill it with enough water to cover the corn.
Bring water to a boil and add 2 Tbsp of sugar (1 Tbsp for a smaller pot and 2 for a huge one).
Cover, reduce heat to medium and boil 15 minutes. When time is up, sample few kernels of corn before turning off. "Older" corn may take a few more minutes to cook. Kernels should be crisp-tender.
Remove from heat and drain. Butter and pepper your corn if you like. Best to eat it fresh, or wrap it in foil and save it for later.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen
Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review
I have boiled my corn with sugar like you do and yes it is delicious but more often than not, i wrap two full ears in saran wrap and microwave for five minutes and it is done and doesn’t heat up the kitchen on those hot days.
I find it much easier to just wrap an individual ear of corn in a wet paper towel and microwave for 2, yes, two, minutes!
Sounds good, thanks for the info!
Ever try deep frying corn on the cob? Really good after taking a deep fried turkey out of pot and then drop corn in. No butter required
Hi Doug. No, I have not. Sounds interesting. 🙂
I have never added sugar to corn before and I decided to give it a try – turned out amazing!! Thank You so much!!
You’re very welcome, Esther! So glad you enjoyed this recipe.
I’ve never heard of cooking con on the cob for 15 minutes. I was only to cook it for 3 to 4 minutes at the most.
Hi Mary, super fresh corn can be significantly faster.
Funny story but my mother’s name is Pearl. She was raised in the South. She taught me to put a healthy pinch of sugar in my boiled corn. It is delicious.
That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, Peggy!
I grew up on a small veggie farm. We never boiled corn for 15 minutes. If you use fresh corn on the cob (always buy the ones with small kernels) then you can boil for 3 to max 5 minutes. Yum- tastes fresh and natural – of course with lots of real butter on it. If you boil the corn for 15, you turn it into what we used to call horse corn. LOL.
I agree. – seems way to long to me – esp white corn that is tender already. I usually steam mine for 5 min – love your recipes and your blog Natasha !
Looks like you halve the corn before boiling. Much easier than doing it when they are too hot to touch. That doesn’t effect cooking time??
Hi Jane, that does not affect cooking time. I hope you love this recipe!
Hi Natasha! Love all your recipes, you are my go to!
We are doing a all day BBQ, can you keep this warm in the crock pot after you cook it or do you think it would get mushy?
Hi Crystal, I bet it would work to keep it warm in a crockpot. I would set it to low setting.
Once you have cooked the corn, if you have a cooler you can keep it warm for a long time in it.
My mother in law always added some milk into the boiling water. The corn was always sweet and delicious
Thank you so much for sharing that with me.
With all due respect, sweet corn has changed from the days of salting the water & boiling for that long.
We test boil a few ears & in the end, usually boil for about 3 minutes, rarely more than 5 minutes. Avoid salt as it can toughen the corn.
Sugar & starches start to change the moment it’s picked which also contributes to a tough or mushy experience.
Hi Patty! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I hope you give our version a try!
I agree with Patty. I bring the water to a boil then turn it off about 5 minutes.
We’re spoiled getting corn fresh from our garden at prime time but 15 min. is to long. 8-10 maximun!
I always say we start our water boiling before we pick out corn!! That’s fresh.
Hi Bruce, with super fresh and ripe corn, you are correct. Most grocery store corn will take about 15 minutes.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
I made the corn chowder. It was sensational and I’m not a very good cook
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Water should be boiled first add corn and never cook more than 5 minutes. 15 is way too long!
Hi Jen, it can also vary on the freshness of the corn.
Very true5 minutes is enough
Love most of your recipes, but corn on the cob only needs to simmer 3-4 minutes in previously boiling water, otherwise it gets tough. I prefer to cut it off the cob, place in a skillet, butter, sugar s&p, splash of cream and sook for ten minutes…no floss needed after eating this gem.
Thanks for your input, Joey! I hope you love every recipe that you will try.
Then it’s not corn on the cob.
I always eat these with french sauce, it is amazing.
You really should try it.
Try these and you are try it again and again.
Thank you so much for that suggestion Aglina! I’m so glad you enjoyed that!
Hi Aglina. May I ask? What’s fremch sauce? May I please have the recipe for it? I realize I can google it but I would love to try a tried & true version…
I love corn fixed this way. To mine I add a tablespoon of lemon juice and it gives it a natural sweet taste to any corn!!
Isn’t it so good! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe Sandra!
I luv ur recipes. Another way I do my corn is in the microwave. I remove some husks and put in the microwave for 2 min on one side and then roll it over and another 2 min. Remove and shuck the corn under cold water. Yum!
I’m so glad you’re enjoying our recipes, Hazel! Thank you for sharing that tip with us!
Put butter, salt and pepper to taste and wrap it in a damp paper towel. cook in micro wave for 3 minutes and it is done.
That’s the same as I do it. Cooking time depends on freshness of corn though.
I love watching your videos. You are so sweet and you look like your are really enjoying it, especially at tasting time! Hehe! I have another truck for the corn on the cab. My grand mother use to put milk in the water when she cooked the corn. It also makes the corn yummy and sweet!
Nice, thank you for sharing that with us, Diane! That sounds like a great idea.
Fresh summer corn on the cob does not need fifteen minutes! Bring pot to boil with corn in it, boil ONE minute, remove corn. I have cooked corn this way for seventy years, always sweet and tender!
Thank you for sharing that feedback with us Valli.
I agree with Valli- maybe as much as 2-3 minutes but no more!
I was raised in Canada and this is what we used to live on in the summer months, cooked exactly as your recipe Natasha. It used to be called Taber corn, the best in the world and the secret is definitely the addition of sugar and butter smeared all over it with a little salt. Perfect on young corn, as you say so sweet and tender. Thank you for the memories of my youth.
Aww that’s the best! I love it when a recipe can bring back all these great memories.
I want to make the corn salad for a BBQ. Can I make it a day ahead.
Hi Rita, It can be done, but I have always felt that fresh corn is best – the kernels are the plumpest and juiciest if enjoyed soon after it is cooked.
This corn on the cob recipe looks soo yummy!!!! Thank you for sharing
I hope you love it Stephanie!
This is a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing your secret!
You’re welcome Toni! I’m so glad you enjoyed that!
Very good but Im a butter and Old Bay kind of guy
That sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing that with us Bob!
I’m an old-timer, and they have hybridized corn to the point that unless it is eaten within an hour of picking it, it is already too sweet…I love corn, but not as a dessert.
That’s so interesting! We love corn on a cob! Thank you for sharing that with me, Patricia!
Perfect, Natasha! I boiled the corn 15 minutes and it was delicious.
I’m so happy you liked it! 🙂
Boil corn for 15 minutes? I usually boil fresh corn for 2-3 minutes, tops.
I do place the corn in already boiling water, then two minutes, including the time it takes to get to the boiling stage again.
Most fresh good corn can be eaten raw, so 15 minutes is overkill in my opinion.
I agree Mike. I live near a farm that sells their own corn. They recommend boiling it for 3 minutes max.
I also agree. I boil the water, then add the corn only—no salt or sugar—and boil the corn for 3 minutes, occasionally up to 5. It is always tender and very sweet. I would think that 15 minutes would yield tough and flavorless corn.
You would think wrong.
Farmers told me that pepper brings the flavor out in corn. Having grown up with Butter/Salt I thought this to be odd, but when I tried Shallot Pepper on my corn not only was I a believer, but have all my friend addicted to it too. To change it up I spritz with lemon juice so seasoning sticks & add a smidgen of Cayenne Pepper too. Fool proof way to know when your corn is ready is when you can smell it cooking.
Great to know, thank you so much for sharing!!!
Omg, I have Penzey’s Shallot Pepper and I can imagine this it would be amazing on corn. I have some corn on the cob so I’m making this tonight.
And thanks for the cooking tip, Natasha.
You’re welcome Janna!
Hi there I am Victoria all the way from Alaska, love your recipes, cook them like every other day… Wanted to let you know there is this awesome grilled corn on the cob recipe. We tasted it in florida on our vacation its very easy and taste delicious it would be cool if you would post it on here. All you need is Corn, mayo, parmesan cheese and grated red hot pepper flakes. So you grill the corn in the leaves wrapped in foil until it’s ready and then you unwrap the corn leaves( don’t rip off leaves use as a handle to hold the corn), brush the mayo on the corn, sprinkle Parmesan cheese and pepper and its ready to eat.
Hmmm that does sound good. I’ll go share it with my husband right now. Thank you!!!
This is one easy recipe, thank you for posting it.
It’s hard to make it easier than this
I usually only make 1-2 corn on the cobs at a time, so I just pop them in the microwave, shucks and all, and cook them for several minutes. The husks keeps the moisture in and they’re perfect. I like that you add sugar to the water–I will try this way when I need to make a big batch for a family barbecue.
Thats brilliant! Thanks Veronica. I never would have thought to put them in the micro with shucks on. I will have to try that.