How to Boil Corn on the Cob

Ya, ya, ya. I know what you are thinking… you have always known how to boil corn on the cob. You boil some water, throw the corn ears in and wait until it turns a bright yellow.

How hard can that be?

tongs holding an ear of corn


You will love this Boiling Corn on the Cob technique

Corn is a miraculous vegetable. It can be cooked eaten so many different ways. From grilling, to boiling, baking, frying, popping or even steaming, it is sweet and delicious.

It can be eaten on its own, in a salad, topped on pizza, baked into bread, fried into pancakes, paired with cheese lumped into soups and stews. It is truly a verstile ingredient.

Boil Corn on the Cob

Forget what you think you know about how long to boil corn and in what liquid. This method is simple, yet makes the corn super flavorful!

Well, you are also here reading this which suggests you think I know something about boiling corn that you don’t. Maybe you know my trick, maybe you don’t. Keep reading… 

Some people have theories about starting with cold water vs. hot water. But I sincerely think my method yields the best corn, no matter the temperature of the water.

The BEST recipe for Cooking Corn on the Cob

Before I give away the secret technique, I do understand that a really good ear of corn doesn’t need anything special. I totally agree with that statement.

When you hit the sweet spot at the end of the summer when all the roadside stands are selling corn for super cheap, buy it. Buy it and eat it every night for dinner just plain.

ears of fresh corn

It doesn’t need anything else. No butter, no salt and no pepper. The perfect side dish.

I could honestly eat corn with every meal. It’s so incredibly easy to make, and it is delicious! You couldn’t ask for anything better.

seasoned corn on the cob

I also love watching my Facebook feed flood with folks claiming their state has the best corn. People get very territorial and emotional over corn on the cob. 

Boil Corn Seasoning

But when you aren’t in that few week period, or in the middle of the winter, you aren’t going to get that succulent, sweet-on-its-own perfect corn. You are going to need to doctor it up a bit. 

There are lots of ways to season sweet corn outside of butter and salt that I love, but I also see the importance of having a basic corn recipe. One that complements the masses instead of the few. And this How to Boil Corn is the base for that recipe. 

The trick? Not just water. Water + milk + butter. And boil. 

how long to boil corn

Milk helps to sweeten the lack luster kernels while butter cooks its way into every nook and cranny. Nothing makes me more sad than slathering my corn cob with a pad of butter, only to find most of it pooling on the plate. You know how much I love and respect butter! 

Here we are essentially poaching fresh corn in butter, much like you would a lobster tail. It will come out not needing any further buttering, although I have been known to still try and get a little more on. 

corn on the cob seasoning

How to Boil Corn on the Cob

Start by filling a stock pot or Dutch oven with water. Add in the salted butter and milk and bring to a boil. Add the husked corn, cover the pot and boil for 10 minutes (or a little longer if you need.)

After you remove your corn from boiling, then a little sprinkle of all-purpose best corn on the cob seasoning will give it the finishing touch it needs before gracing the table. It makes the best side dish for literally any meal!

how to boil corn for pinterest

How long to boil corn on the cob?

The general rule is to boil corn for 10 minutes, however cooking time does vary based on altitude and also the size of your corn. 

You might need to boil a large ear it a little longer at 15 minutes or small ones shorter for 8 minutes. The good news is that it is hard to hurt it and it won’t dry out because the boiling liquid keeps it subtle.

How to cook corn on the cob for a crowd?

When I’m making it for a crowd, I like to cut each ear of corn in half. If you’re anything like me, there will be plenty of food for your guests to choose from, so smaller portions help to ensure they get to try everything.

I also use a large stock pot to fit the maximum number of ears.

If you need to boil the corn in multiple batches, just cover the corn in foil to keep the heat in.

boiled corn for pinterest

Tools for Boiling Corn:

Dutch Oven– every kitchen should have one! They are heavy. They are expensive. They are worth it! 

Corn Husk Silker Remover Tool– It is easy to get the husks off, but getting the silks off is another story! Use this easy tool, just pass it through!

How to Boil Corn on the Cob FAQs

Do you put corn in before or after the water boils?

You can add the corn before or after the water boils. It is fairly hearty. I like to add mine after the water boils so it doesn’t get overcooked.

How do I know when my corn on the cob is done boiling?

The corn will be a vibrant color of yellow. The kernels will be plumper and tender to the touch (but don’t burn yourself!)

Other delicious ways to make corn:

Instant Pot Corn Chowder turns an already easy corn chowder recipe into a quick, FLAVORFUL and delicious potato corn chowder. Perfect for fall! #cornchowderrecipe #instantpotcornchowder #potatocornchowder

Instant Pot Corn Chowder

This Instant Pot Corn Chowder is a potato corn chowder that’s packed with flavor! Using an instant pot makes this already easy soup even easier! You’ll never want to make another corn chowder recipe again.
See The Recipe!
close up corn cakes

Griddle Corn Cakes

Fresh and fluffy- these griddle corn cakes can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner with 10+ east variations to make them southwestern, cheesy, bacon-lover and more!
See The Recipe!
overhead shot of sliced instant pot cornbread

Instant Pot Cornbread Recipe

Instant Pot Sweet Cornbread is an easy cornbread recipe made with honey making it both sweet and moist. Made in the Instant Pot, it cooks in half the time! 
See The Recipe!
boiling corn

Boil Corn on the Cob

5 from 14 votes
Forget what you think you know about how to boil corn on the cob. This method for boiled corn is simple, yet makes the corn super flavorful!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 8



  • Fill a large stock pot or Dutch oven 3/4 of the way with water. Bring to a low boil.
  • Add salted butter and whole milk and bring to a low boil.
  • Add corn and boil for 10 minutes.
  • Remove, tapping to get off excess water, and place on a serving tray.
  • Add desired corn seasoning or butter and serve immediately.
  • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!



If you are using unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt to boiling water.


Calories: 198 kcal, Carbohydrates: 18 g, Protein: 4 g, Fat: 14 g, Saturated Fat: 8 g, Cholesterol: 34 mg, Sodium: 128 mg, Potassium: 283 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 7 g, Vitamin A: 570 IU, Vitamin C: 6.1 mg, Calcium: 40 mg, Iron: 0.5 mg
Calories: 198
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: boiling corn, how long to boil corn, how to boil corn on the cob
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

5 from 14 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. This sounds liek an absolutely delicious way to boil and enjoy corn on the cob. It happens to be one of my other halves favourites so I will try out this recipe for him.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ll never boil corn on the cob any other way! Adding butter and milk makes a huge difference. Thanks for sharing your method!

  3. 5 stars
    Ok, this is mind blowing! I have never heard of this boiling method, but I love it. I’m in love with corn on the cob and this sounds like it makes the best corn ever. Can’t wait to try it!