Corn on the cob is a summertime staple that can be enjoyed in so many ways! While boiling corn on the cob is a classic way to cook it, you can also grill, steam, or roast it... you can eat corn in so many ways! But how long does it take to get perfectly tender and sweet corn? In just 5-7 minutes, you'll have the tastiest corn you've ever savored. Ready to learn our secret? We've had a few family parties and barbeques and tried until we found the perfect way to cook corn!
🥜 In a Nutshell
- Quick Guide: To achieve perfectly tender and flavorful corn on the cob, follow these steps: husk and rinse the corn, bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil, cook for 5-7 minutes, and enjoy with butter and seasoning. For detailed instructions, you will find a step-by-step guide in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Tips: Choose fresh corn, avoid overcooking, and enhance flavor by adding salt, sugar, or even milk to the boiling water.
- Boiling Methods: You can boil corn using water and salt for natural sweetness, milk and butter for creaminess, or by adding sugar and lemon juice for a tangy twist.
- Reheating: Leftover boiled corn can be easily reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop, ensuring you can enjoy your delicious corn at any time.
🌽 What is Corn?
Corn, scientifically known as Zea mays or maize, is a cereal grain with a rich history dating back over 7,000 years in the Americas, primarily in Central Mexico.
As one of the world's most vital crops, it serves dual roles as a staple for human consumption and a crucial component of animal feed. This versatile grain boasts a nutrient-rich profile, offering valuable carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins like B-complex and vitamin C, and essential minerals.
Corn has many varieties, each with distinct attributes and culinary uses. From the creation of traditional dishes like cornbread and tortillas to the beloved snack options of popcorn and corn chips, corn's culinary uses are virtually endless.
♨️ How to Choose the Best Corn for Boiling
When choosing corn to boil, remember these tips for the best results:
- Prioritize Freshness: Look for firm, plump ears with bright green husks.
- Check the Silk: Ensure the silk is moist, not slimy, as dry or brown silk may mean older corn.
- Inspect the Kernels: The kernels should be tightly packed, with no gaps or dents.
- Consider Local Corn: Local or regional corn is often fresher and tastier.
- Check Dates: When buying packaged corn, choose the one with the furthest date from today for freshness.
- Inspect for Flaws: Avoid corn with damage, wilted kernels, or moldy spots.
❓ How Long To Boil Corn On The Cob
First, you'll need to prepare the corn by husking it and removing any remaining silk. After that, give it a good rinse under cold water to ensure it's clean and silk-free.
Next, grab a large pot and fill it with water, adding a generous pinch of salt. Bring this water to a rolling boil – that means it's bubbling vigorously.
Now, gently place your fresh sweet corn into the pot and cover it with a lid. Let it boil for about 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the corn's freshness and size. You're aiming for kernels that are tender but not overly chewy. When using frozen corn on the cob, consider adding an extra minute or two to the cooking time.
Once your corn is perfectly cooked, use tongs to remove it from the pot and allow it to cool for a few minutes. At this point, you have some delicious options. You can brush the corn with butter, sprinkle it with salt, Parmesan cheese, or other seasonings, or simply enjoy it as is.
How To Store
For optimal storage, place your corn on the cob in the refrigerator until you're ready to prepare it.
Fresh sweet corn should be eaten within a few days, as older corn may start to lose its sweetness, texture, and flavor. You can store it in the fridge in a plastic bag or wrapped in foil to help keep it fresh.
If you have leftover sweet corn, you can store it in the fridge for up to four days. Simply wrap it in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container.
💡 Expert Tips and Tricks
1. Choose Fresh Corn
- The quality of the corn is essential when boiling, as it is important to choose corn that is fresh and sweet.
- Avoid corn that has dull or dark spots as they might indicate the presence of fungus or rot.
- An easy way to check if the corn is fresh is to press a kernel to ensure it is plump.
- If you purchase corn from the grocery store, the husk should be green and kept in a refrigerated section to preserve its freshness.
- Terminology fun fact: Shucking corn is a simple process that involves removing the husks and silk from the cob.
2. Don’t Overcook the Corn
- Corn should not be boiled for too long, as it will cause it to become tough and chewy and lose its sweet flavor.
- When boiling corn, it should be done for 5-7 minutes maximum, depending on the size, however, it shouldn't be undercooked either.
- One way to know if the corn is cooked is to pierce it with a fork, and if it can penetrate the kernels easily, reaching the corn cob, then it is ready to be taken off the heat.
3. Add Salt or Sugar (or Milk)
- Why add sugar to boil corn on the cob? One of the simplest ways to enhance the flavor of boiled corn on the cob is by adding salt to the boiling water or sprinkling it on the cooked corn. Salt helps bring out the natural sweetness of the corn. While adding sugar is less common, you can use it to enhance the sweetness if the corn is not as sweet as expected.
- If you're looking for a creamy and distinct flavor, consider making creamed corn by adding milk. However, this is different from the traditional method of boiling corn on the cob, which is often enjoyed with butter and a sprinkle of salt.
- For a complex flavor profile, you can experiment with adding other seasonings like garlic, thyme, or rosemary to the boiling water. This adds a unique twist to your boiled corn and can be a delightful change from the classic buttered corn.
✨ Best Ways To Boil Corn
1. Water and Salt
For a classic approach that retains the corn's natural sweetness and crunch, fill a pot with enough water to cover the corn and sprinkle in a pinch of salt. Once the water reaches a boil, add the corn and cook for 5-7 minutes until tender.
2. Milk and Butter
If you crave a creamy texture and richer flavor, combine equal parts water and milk with a tablespoon of unsalted butter. Let it simmer before introducing the corn and cooking for about 5-7 minutes. This method is perfect for those who savor a sweeter, creamier corn.
3. Sugar And Lemon Juice
To infuse your corn with a tangy and sweet twist, try this method. Fill a pot with water, then add a tablespoon each of sugar and lemon juice. Place the husked corn in the boiling water and cook for 5-7 minutes. This unique and flavorful corn topping is a crowd-pleaser.
🍲 How To Reheat Corn On The Cob
Reheating your delicious boiled corn on the cob is a breeze, whether you're planning ahead or dealing with some tasty leftovers. The two best methods for reheating are the microwave and stovetop.
- Microwave method: Start by dampening a paper towel and wrapping it around your corn. Pop it into the microwave for about 20 seconds, then check for that perfect heat level. If it's not quite there, continue heating in 10-second bursts until it's just right.
- Stovetop method: Fill a pot with enough water to cover the corn and let it come to a boil. Drop in your corn, and within 2-3 minutes, you'll have hot and scrumptious corn on the cob ready to enjoy.
🙋 People Also Ask [FAQs]
Milk adds sweetness and richness to the kernels, while also providing a buttery flavor.
You can boil corn in the husk, which usually takes about 10 minutes.
If the corn has a rancid or moldy smell, is slimy and mushy to touch, or has visible mold on it, then it should be discarded as it has gone bad.
🔑 Key Takeaways: How To Cook Corn On The Cob
- Boiling corn on the cob is a simple and delicious way to enjoy this summer staple and all you need is a pot of salted water, some fresh or frozen ears of corn, and in 5-7 minutes you will have perfectly cooked kernels that are tender but not chewy.
- Whether you’re boiling it with water and salt, milk and butter, or sugar and lemon juice, there are plenty of ways to bring out its natural sweetness while adding an extra layer of flavor.
- Leftover cooked corn can be reheated in the microwave and on the stovetop.
- If you want a taste of Mexican street corn [locally known as elotes], which uses grilled corn, simply pan fry the cooked corn in a frying pan once cooked and remove it as soon as it starts gaining color. Garnish with a mixture of mayonnaise, sour cream, cojita cheese [or Parmesan cheese if you can't find it], some chili powder or seasoning of your choice, and a nice squeeze of lime on top.
Perfectly Boiled Corn On The Cob
- 6 ears fresh corn on the cob with husks and silks removed
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 quarts water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- Fill a large stockpot with enough water to cover the ears of corn.
- Add salt to the water and bring it to a boil.
- Once the water is boiling, carefully add the ears of corn to the pot.
- Boil the corn for 5-7 minutes until they are tender.
- Remove the corn from the pot using tongs or a pair of kitchen mitts.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan and drizzle it over the cooked corn.
- Garnish it with some parsley (optional) and serve the corn on the cob hot!
- Remember to remove the husks and silk from the corn before boiling them.
- Do not overcook the corn as it may become tough or chewy.
- Adding salt to the water before boiling makes the corn more flavorful, as the salt won't just be on top.
- Adding butter to the corn after cooking is optional but adds an extra flavor punch.