How Long Do You Boil Corn on the Cob?

Golden ears of corn dripping with butter are a delicious summertime treat. But how long do you boil corn on the cob? Here's our tried-and-true method.

Slathered in butter and sprinkled with salt, there’s nothing like fresh ears of corn. For those of you who have ever wondered How long do you boil corn on the cob?—we’ve got you covered. Here’s how long you should boil one of our favorite summer foods.

Pair your corn with one of these fresh and easy recipes for the ultimate summer meal.

Cooking Time Depends on the Corn

Sweet corn peaks mid-summer, so you’ll find the freshest corn on the cob possible during that time. Whether you buy it directly from the farmer or your local grocery store, take note of how sweet the variety is. The freshest corn and super sweet varieties may require a shorter cooking time, while older corn may take longer to become tender.

Here are our tips on picking the best corn.

How to Boil Corn on the Cob


  • Ears of corn
  • One quart of water per ear of corn

Step 1: Prep the corn

Remove the husks and silk. Cut out any blemishes with a sharp knife.

Step 2: Place corn in boiling water

Once your pot of water is boiling, add the cobs. Cover the pan and let the water return to a boil.

Pro tip: Never boil your corn in salted water! It can make the kernels very tough.

Step 3: Boil for 3-5 minutes

Boil the corn until tender, 3-5 minutes. Remember, the cooking time will depend on the variety and maturity of your corn.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Turn off the heat and carefully remove the cobs with tongs. You can keep the remaining corn warm in the water for another 10 minutes without it becoming too tough. Or, place the corn on a platter and cover it with a dish towel. This keeps most of the heat in.

Try your corn with one of these easy flavored butter recipes!

Try Another Popular Corn-Boiling Method

The method above is the most popular way to boil corn, but you may prefer this method better, depending on how tender you like your corn. Once you place the corn into the boiling water, cover the pot, turn off the heat and let the corn sit in the water for 10 minutes. The corn will have a crisp-tender finish.

Here are other delicious ways to prepare corn on the cob.

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Alexa Hackfort
Alexa is a writer who believes there’s always room for ice cream. Based in Milwaukee, she enjoys exploring the city, tackling new recipes and planning her next trip.