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Boiled Corn on the Cob

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Learn how to make boiled corn on the cob. There is nothing like fresh, sweet corn with lots of butter and sprinkled by salt. Hard to have just a few.

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Boiled Corn on the Cob
Boiled Corn on the Cob

Simple Ingredients and Easy Recipe

Simple recipe with just sugar and water and of course, corn. I have tried a few other recipes with other ingredients; however, our family still loves this one best.

This has been the family recipe for decades. We enjoy the sweet kernels with butter, salt, and some like pepper too.

Fresh Corn on the Cob Cleaned
Fresh Corn on the Cob Cleaned

How to Choose Ears of Sweet Corn

Whether you purchase your ears of corn at a farmers market or grocery store. Or, maybe you are lucky enough to have it out in your garden. Pull back a little of the husk near the silk and check to see that the corn kernels are ripe and plump looking.

What you don’t want to see is mold or dented kernels. Sometimes, there is a blemish or two on the cob, that is okay, just cut it off.

I generally check each ear of corn that I stuff into a bag.

Other Things to Look for in Fresh Corn

  • Make sure the tassels look brown and sticky, this means that the corn is fresh.
  • When peeling back the husk, you just need to peel enough to get a peek at the corn kernels.
  • The silk should be light and yellow, if it is dark the corn is not fresh.
  • The husk should look fresh and green, not dry and yellowish.

If you would prefer not to husk the corn or check the corn, groceries now have packets of corn on the cob already husked. It really is very convenience.

I have purchase these in the past and it is a time saver on a weeknight. All I have to do is the boiling and eating.

Preparing the Corn on the Cob

Just before cooking, husk the corn, pull off the silky threads, and cut out any blemishes with a pointed knife.

I generally boil the corn cob whole; however, you may want to cut it is half or in quarters before boiling.

Cooked Corn on the Cob with Butter Melting on it
Cooked Corn on the Cob with Butter Melting on it

Boiling the Perfect Corn

Use a large kettle to fit at least 4-5 ears of corn. However, that is not saying you can’t make more than that at a time.

The other day, I made 15 ears of corn. I filled the kettle, and let some ears of corn steam while the others cooked in the water. When the corn was done in the water, I took them out. Then added more corn to steam before it gets cooked in the water. It is like an assembly line.

Simple and Easy Method to Boil Corn on the Cob

You’ll need:

  • large pot of water with a lid
  • Corn
  • Sugar
  • Toppings for corn such as butter, salt, and pepper

Optional: Some recipes call for adding milk to the water; however, I personally don’t think this does anything for the corn. None the less, if you want to add milk to the water, please do. Generally, you would add 1 cup of milk.

Boiling Times for Sweet Corn

White sweet corn boils the fastest; 5-10 minutes. Bi-colored corn takes a bit longer closer to the 10-12 minute range. Generally, you will be able to smell the corn and see that the kernels have turned a darker yellow. That means it is done.

Adding Corn to Kettle
Adding Corn to Kettle

Serving the Corn

I enjoy my sweet corn easy to bit into. My father-in-law taught me how to put a little butter on the side of your plate. That way you can put the butter on the corn just before you bite into it. So much nicer than having the butter run off the corn. Yum!

My husband likes to cut his corn off the cob. On a plate, he holds the cob at the top, straight up and uses a pairing knife to cut down the corn cob.

While I enjoy my corn simply with butter, salt, and sometimes a little pepper; other people like to add some of these toppings.

  • Parmesan cheese
  • Hot sauce
  • Dried herbs
  • Fresh herbs, such as dill, or oregano

My daughter likes to use a corn holder skewer on the ends of her ears. This keeps her hands clean. We have had this set for years. They are very nice when the corn is really a bit too hot to hold, but not too hot to start nibbling.

Cooked Corn with a Corn Holder Skewer
Cooked Corn with a Corn Holder Skewer
Boiled Corn on the Cob
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Boiled Corn on the Cob

Learn how to make boiled corn on the cob. There is nothing like fresh, sweet corn with lots of butter and sprinkled by salt. Hard to have just a few.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Side Dish, Vegetable
Cuisine: American
Keyword: corn, side dish, sweet corn, vegetables
Servings: 6 pieces
Calories: 30kcal


  • 6 Cobs Sweet Corn Cleaned
  • 3 TBL Sugar
  • Water


  • Fill a large 5-6 Qt Kettle 3/4 full with water. Add the sugar and bring to a boil. Stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  • Add the sweet corn cobs and cover the kettle. Let boil until the corn is done. You will be able to smell it and see that the kernels have turned a darker color of yellow. About 10 minutes.

Note: today, I made 15 ears of corn. I piled the corn that would fit in the kettle with the lid on. Some were out of the water. After the corn in the water was done, I removed that corn and let the corn that was out of the water drop into the water. Then add more corn on top. Since the corn on top was steamed, it takes less time to cook in the water, but it still soaks up the sweetness of the water.

    Your Own Private Notes



    Calories: 30kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Sugar: 7g
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