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The easiest, most basic way to cook corn on the cob: boiled! Here’s how long to boil and everything else you need to know.

Corn on the cob

Here’s a basic skill everyone needs to know: how to boil corn on the cob! This tried and true method is the easiest way to do it. Seasoned with butter, salt, and pepper, it’s truly a classic American side dish. The best part of summer is sinking your teeth into those golden, juicy morsels! Of course: you can get fancy, too. Here’s how long to boil corn, other best ways to cook it, and some tasty toppings.

More ways to cook corn? Go to How to Cook Corn on the Cob.

How to boil corn on the cob: tips and timing!

How long to boil corn on the cob? 5 minutes in a pot of boiling hot water. That’s right! There are only a few tips to making this classic recipe in your own home. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Allow 15 to 20 minutes for the water to boil. With a large pot of water, it takes quite a while to boil. Plan accordingly!
  • Generously salt the water. Just like you would with pasta, add about 1 tablespoon salt to the water.
  • Shuck the corn. It’s a given for the boiling method. (You can leave it on if you roast it.)
  • Add the corn and boil 5 minutes. Yep! 5 minutes is all you need for that classic, juicy corn on the cob.
How long to boil corn on the cob

4 more ways to cook corn

Boiling is the most basic way to cook corn: but there are lots of other tasty ways to cook it. Here are the best methods, in order of preference:

  1. Perfect Grilled Corn Smoky, charred and sweet, this method results in the best corn around! It’s got sensational flavor.
  2. Grilled Corn in Foil Wrap corn in foil and it’s a mostly hands-off method! It’s like a cross between grilled and boiled: sweet and juicy, with a lightly smoky undertone.
  3. Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob Here’s another no-fail way to cook corn! You don’t even have to remove the husk; just throw it right onto the oven grates.
  4. Microwave Corn on the Cob The fastest way! It’s quick and easy.
Corn on the cob

Best corn on the cob toppings!

Once you’ve boiled your corn on the cob: it’s time for the toppings! Here’s where you can get creative, outside of the standard butter, salt and pepper. Some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Paprika or smoked paprikaA sprinkle of red adds color and flavor: amp the smokiness by using smoked paprika.
  • Parmesan cheese and herbs. Butter, Parmesan, and a sprinkle of chopped basil, oregano or chives makes for a tasty cob.
  • Old Bay. This famous seasoning is perfect on corn; use purchased or homemade.
  • Mexican street corn (elote). A top way to eat corn on the cob is dressed up as elote: a creamy, spiced sauce, sprinkle of cheese, lime and cilantro.
  • Greek seasoning. This Greek seasoning features basil, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder: perfect for sprinkling on corn.
  • Ranch. Try this ranch seasoning on corn: it’s surprisingly good!
Corn on the cob

This corn on the cob recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free. (For vegan, use vegan butter or coconut oil.)

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Corn on the cob

Boiled Corn on the Cob

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


The easiest, most basic way to cook corn on the cob: boiled! Here’s how long to boil and everything else you need to know.


  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 to 8 ears corn
  • For serving: Butter, salt and pepper


  1. Place the salt in a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. This takes about 15 to 20 minutes, so plan accordingly. 
  2. Shuck the corn, removing the silk. 
  3. When the water is boiling, place the corn cobs in the pot. Boil covered for 5 minutes, until bright yellow and cooked through. Season with butter, salt and pepper. 
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Corn on the cob, How long to boil corn

More great corn recipes

When it’s corn season, you need inspiration to use up a bag! Here are more of our top corn recipes:

  • Creamy Corn Chowder This corn chowder is impossibly creamy and delicious: but there’s no heavy cream! Also try the vegan variation.
  • Smoked Corn on the Cob Making smoked corn infuses incredible flavor into this summer vegetable! Proof that your smoker’s not just for meat.
  • Classic Shrimp Boil Super classic! This easy meal of corn, potatoes and shrimp is perfect for a crowd. No plates required!
  • Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil Want a shrimp boil recipe that’s easy enough for a weeknight? Bake it!
  • Black Bean and Corn Salsa This zesty spin on salsa adds corn kernels for juicy bursts; perfect for dipping chips or topping tacos.
  • Fresh Corn Soup The sunny flavor is sweet and nuanced, and it’s full of healthy vegetables.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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