This Is Why Southerners Boil Corn in Milk and Butter

Learn how to make corn on the cob with milk and butter for the ultimate summer side dish!

Have you ever boiled corn on the cob with milk? If not, you’re in for a sweet treat. The end result is rich, fresh corn that’s bursting with flavor. Plus it takes less than 10 minutes to cook!

Growing up in the South, eating corn on the cob was a weekly staple from early June through late August. Whether it was served alongside dinner or used in an appetizer, sweet corn was always the star of the meal.

I remember my mom teaching my sister and me how to pick corn at the grocery store or farmers market at a young age. Firm, plump cobs with tightly wrapped bright green husks that are slightly damp are the freshest. I know grilling corn is popular at barbecues and cooking corn in the air fryer is a quick alternative, but there’s an even better method: cooking corn on the cob with milk.

Why Do People Boil Corn in Milk?

Boiling corn on the cob brings out its natural sweetness. But if you want an even juicier and sweeter crisp-tender bite, swap out some of the water for milk. The milk enhances the flavor and texture. It also infuses the corn on the cob with milk and butter, resulting in salty, buttery kernels.

How to Boil Corn on the Cob with Milk


  • Water (enough to cover the corn)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter (a half stick)
  • 6 ears of corn, husks and silks removed


Step 1: Bring water to a boil

Fill a large stockpot about halfway with water. Bring it to a boil, then add the milk and butter.

Editor’s Tip: To make this dairy-free, use a non-dairy milk alternative (like soy milk) and plant-based butter.

Step 2: Cook the corn

Reduce the heat to a low simmer and add the corn. Cook the corn for 5-8 minutes, or until tender.

In-season corn is typically pretty sweet, but if it’s lacking flavor, add about a tablespoon of sugar.

Step 3: Enjoy fresh corn on the cob

Once cooked, remove corn using tongs and serve immediately. The corn will be melt-in-your-mouth creamy with just the right amount of crunch.

Serve corn on the cob as is or slathered in butter! I personally like to cut corn off the cob so it’s easier to eat. You can also use the kernels in these fresh corn recipes.

Other Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob

Cooked corn on the cobNelea Reazanteva/Getty Images

Beyond boiling, there are plenty of other ways to cook corn on the cob. There’s grilling corn on the cob, steaming corn, slow cooking corn on the cob or even microwaving it! Yup, the microwave!

Other Ways to Flavor Corn of the Cob

Not only are there more ways to cook corn on the cob, there are also other flavors to try out when cooking the grain. We adore this basil grilled corn along with this scrumptious Parmesan corn on the cob. And sriracha fans will not be able to get enough of this slow cooker sriracha corn. Yum!

However, while all these flavors are distinct, there’s nothing quite like the sweetness that comes from the tried and true method of boiling corn on the cob in milk.

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Jenna Urben
Jenna is a food blogger focused on sharing allergy-friendly recipes. Her favorite ingredients include sweet potatoes, chickpeas and squash.