How Long To Boil Corn On The Cob 

 Last Update November 14, 2023

By Jenny Zhang

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There's something undeniably satisfying about biting into a perfectly boiled ear of corn on the cob. The sweetness of the kernels, the hint of salt, and that unmistakable crunch – it's a quintessential summer pleasure that brings back memories of backyard barbecues and picnics in the park.

Boiling corn on the cob may appear to be a simple task, and in many respects, it is. Nonetheless, attaining the perfect balance between tender kernels and vibrant flavor can be somewhat challenging if you lack the appropriate knowledge and techniques.

In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to become proficient in the art of boiling corn on the cob. Whether you're a seasoned chef looking to perfect your skills or a kitchen newbie eager to impress, we've got you covered.

how to boil corn on the cub

Boiling corn on the cob is one of the most popular ways to cook corn and is a timeless culinary technique that has delighted taste buds for generations. There's something undeniably satisfying about the simplicity of this method. It allows fresh corn's natural sweetness and crunch to shine, making it a perfect side dish for various meals and occasions. Whether you're hosting a summer barbecue, planning a cozy family dinner, or just craving a wholesome snack, learning how to boil corn on the cob is a valuable skill in your culinary repertoire. In this detailed guide, we'll walk you through each step, from selecting the best ears of corn to adding the finishing touches that elevate this humble vegetable into a mouthwatering delight.


Fresh sweet corn on the cob (as many ears as needed)


Salt (optional)

Melted butter (optional)

Seasonings of your choice (e.g., pepper, herbs, or chili powder)


Select The Perfect Corn

The journey to perfect boiled corn on the cob begins at the grocery store or local farmers' market. Seek out ears of corn with vibrant green husks that have a firm and slightly moist texture when touched. The kernels should appear plump and tightly packed, indicating freshness.

Remove Corn Husks

After obtaining your corn, it's time to prepare it for cooking. Delicately uncover the husks, ensuring they remain connected at the base. Then, remove the corn silk, those fine, thread-like strands that sometimes cling to the kernels. You can achieve this manually or employ a gentle brush to simplify the process.

Prepare a Large Pot

Choose a large pot that is big enough to accommodate the number of ears you plan to cook comfortably. Fill the large pot with adequate water to fully submerge the corn.

Season the Water (Optional)

For those who prefer corn seasoned, consider adding salt to the boiling water. A rule of thumb is to incorporate approximately 1-2 tablespoons of salt for every gallon of water. However, this step is entirely discretionary and can be adapted to your personal taste preferences.

Boil the Water

Position the pot on the stove over high heat and bring the water to a rolling boil. As you wait for the water to reach its boiling point, you'll start to notice the anticipation building – that sweet aroma of fresh corn wafting through the kitchen.

Add the Corn

Gently lower your husked corn cobs into the pot of boiling water. It's important not to overcrowd the pot, as doing so may affect the cooking time and the evenness of cooking.

Boil the Corn:

Allow the corn to boil for approximately 5-7 minutes. However, remember that the exact cooking time can vary based on factors such as the freshness and size of the corn. Smaller ears may be perfectly cooked in as little as 5 minutes, while larger ones might require closer to 7 minutes.

Test for Doneness

Carefully insert a fork or knife into a kernel to determine whether your corn is ready. If the fork easily penetrates the kernel and the corn feels tender, it's ready to be served.

Remove and Drain

Delicately extract the cooked corn from the pot with tongs or a slotted spoon. Allow it to drain for a moment to shake off any excess water.


Now, it's time for the delightful part - serving your corn on the cob, perfectly boiled. Place the corn on a platter or individual plates for your delighted guests or family members to enjoy.

Add Your Finishing Touches

While boiled corn on the cob is delicious on its own, many enjoy adding a touch of butter to each ear. You can melt butter and brush it over the corn for a rich, creamy finish. Moreover, you can add your preferred seasonings, like black pepper, herbs, or a touch of chili powder, to elevate the flavor according to your taste. Lastly, savor the delicious corn.

Fresh corn on the cob on a white plate

Image Source: Pexels

how long to boil corn

Cooking times for boiling corn on the cob can indeed vary based on several factors, but understanding these variables and their influence on your cooking process will help you achieve that perfectly tender, sweet, and crisp corn every time.

Size of the Corn

The size of the corn cobs is a critical factor influencing the cooking time. Smaller ears, often called "baby corn," will typically cook faster than larger, more mature ears.

Freshness of the Corn

Freshness matters when it comes to corn on the cob. The fresher the corn, the less time it takes to cook. Freshly picked corn tends to be more tender, and its sugars have not converted into starches as much as older corn, resulting in a sweeter flavor and quicker cooking.

Desired Doneness

The ideal doneness of corn on the cob varies from person to person. Some prefer corn with a slight crunch, while others like it tender and fully cooked. Modify the cooking time to reach your desired level of doneness.

Altitude and Water Temperature

Your location's altitude can affect the boiling point of water. Water boils at a lower temperature in elevated altitudes, which might necessitate slightly lengthier cooking durations. Additionally, if you start with cold water instead of boiling water, it will take longer to come to a boil and may affect the cooking time.

General Boiling Time

Now, let's break down some general guidelines for boiling corn on the cob:

Small to Medium Ears (Fresh Corn): Boil for about 5 to 7 minutes.

Large Ears (Fresh Corn): Boil for approximately 7 to 9 minutes.

Frozen Corn: Frozen corn on the cob typically cooks in about 8 to 10 minutes.

Boiling Time Based On Variety

Fresh Sweet Corn (Standard Variety)

Small to Medium Ears: Boil for about 5 to 7 minutes.

Large Ears: Boil for approximately 7 to 9 minutes.

Baby Corn (Miniature Variety)

Baby corn typically cooks very quickly due to its small size. Boil for approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

Frozen Corn on the Cob

Frozen corn on the cob may require a slightly longer cooking time than fresh cobs. Boil for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Older Corn (Less Fresh)

Older or less fresh corn may require a slightly longer cooking time to become tender. Cooking times can vary widely, but aim for about 9 to 12 minutes or until the kernels are tender.

Testing for Doneness

To determine if your corn is cooked to your liking, gently insert a fork or knife into a kernel. If it easily pierces the kernel and the corn feels tender, it's ready. Be mindful not to overcook, as excessive cooking can lead to mushy corn.

How To Store Leftover Corn On the Cob

Preserving leftover corn on the cob is straightforward, ensuring you can relish this delicious treat for another meal. Here's how to store corn on the cob properly:

Cool the Corn

Once you've relished your freshly cooked corn on the cob, let any leftovers cool to room temperature. If you find it more convenient or plan to use the corn kernels for other dishes, consider removing them from the cob before storage. To accomplish this, stand the cooked cob on its end and utilize a sharp knife to slice it down, separating the kernels from the cob. You can store the kernels in a separate container if desired.

Wrap for Protection

The most common method of storing leftover corn on the cob is individually wrapping each cob. You can use plastic wrap or aluminum foil for this task. Wrap the corn cob tightly to create a barrier against air, which can cause the corn to lose moisture and flavor.

Alternatively, you can put the wrapped corn cobs in an airtight container. Ensure the container has sufficient space to accommodate the cobs without squishing them. It's vital to avoid condensation inside the storage container, as moisture can cause the corn to deteriorate.

To monitor freshness, it's a wise practice to label the storage container or wrap it with the date when the corn was cooked. This will assist you in prioritizing the consumption of older leftovers.

Choose Between Refrigeration or Freezing

Keep the wrapped or containerized corn in the refrigerator for short-term storage (up to 2-3 days). However, freezing is a better option if you intend to preserve the corn for an extended period.

Just put the wrapped corn on the cob in the freezer to freeze the corn. It can retain its quality for 6-8 months or even longer when properly frozen. Freezing is a great choice if you want to relish corn on the cob when fresh corn is not easily accessible.

Jenny passionately advocates a holistic and natural approach to health and well-being. She has a Bachelor of Science degree and years of working in food sciences, specializing in organic & natural products. She is committed to helping others embrace a balanced, natural lifestyle that fosters well-being. Jenny believes that a harmonious balance between nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness is the key to unlocking the full potential of one’s well-being.