A Precise Guide to How Long You Should Boil Corn On the Cob

It’s easy to accidentally cook corn too long.

March 29, 2022

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Corn boiling


Corn boiling

Photo by: izzzy71/Getty Images

izzzy71/Getty Images

By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen

Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.

Fresh, sweet corn on the cob is one of nature’s most perfect summer vegetables, whether you eat it raw, grill it, or boil it. Learning how to boil corn on the cob is a simple cooking technique that will pay dividends all summer long. All you need is to add shucked corn to a large pot of salted boiling water and cook until kernels are bright yellow and crisp-tender (for a detailed how-to, check out our How to Boil Corn on the Cob story). Still, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to maximize results and enjoyment, including how long to boil corn—you can overdo it.

How Long to Boil Corn on the Cob

Boil shucked corn on the cob in salted boiling water until the kernels are bright yellow and retain a crisp-tender texture, about 3 to 5 minutes . Take care not to crowd the pot to ensure that the cobs cook evenly—4 cobs at a time in a large pot is a good rule of thumb.

How Long to Boil Sweet Corn

Most corn on the cob destined to be boiled and eaten is classified as sweet corn (there are also super sweet varieties). Sweet corn should be boiled until the kernels turn bright yellow, about 3 to 5 minutes. Corn on the cob purchased locally tends to be fresher than ears procured at the grocery store, and therefore requires less time to cook, so keep a close eye.

How Long to Boil Frozen Corn on the Cob

Frozen corn on the cob, boiled while still frozen, will take a little bit longer to boil, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Can You Boil Corn Too Long?

Yes, you can boil corn too long. If you leave the cobs in boiling water for too long, the corn’s starch content will absorb too much water and its pectin will dissolve, yielding kernels with a soggy texture.

How to Store Corn on the Cob

Corn is best consumed on the day you purchase it. Ideally, you shouldn’t shuck corn until you are ready to cook it, otherwise the kernels will dry out and you’ll end up with starchy-tasting corn on the cob once you boil it. Store corn on the cob in their husks loose in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. If you have shucked, uncooked corn on the cob, you can store ears inside resealable plastic bags in the refrigerator, for up to 2 days.

If you don’t plan to use fresh corn on the cob within 2 to 3 days, you can store it in the freezer. To store corn on the cob in the freezer, shuck the corn, remove any excess silk, and wrap individual ears tightly with plastic wrap or foil, then store them in a resealable freezer-safe bag or container for up to 12 months (watch out for freezer burn).

To store leftover cooked corn on the cob, wrap cobs in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Stored this way, cooked corn on the cob will last for 3 to 5 days in the fridge.

Steamed sweetcorn on the cob with butter


Steamed sweetcorn on the cob with butter

Photo by: GMVozd/Getty Images

GMVozd/Getty Images

How to Reheat Corn on the Cob

It is best to reheat boiled corn on the cob in the oven, but you can also reheat corn on the cob the microwave (which can be more efficient if you’re reheating 1 or 2 ears of corn), or on the stovetop in a pot of boiling water.

Oven: Tightly wrap cooked corn on the cob in individual aluminum foil packets and heat in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 5 to 7 minutes. If the corn feels especially dry or it’s been stored in the fridge for several days, add a teaspoon of water to the foil packets before securing.

Microwave: Place ears of cooked corn on the cob on a microwave safe plate or in a microwave safe dish, cover loosely with damp paper towel, and microwave on low in 10 to 20 second bursts, rotating the corn until heated through.

Stove-top: Bring a large pot of water (unsalted) to a boil, add cobs and reheat at a low boil for 1 to 2 minutes.

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