Answering the age-old question of how long to boil corn on the cob. But first, a little story…
If there’s one thing that says “summer” to me, it might just be corn on the cob. When my family visited my grandmother in Michigan every summer, “Doo-Dah” would bring us corn on the cob for the requisite family cookout. My dozens of cousins and second cousins (well, close to dozens) and I sat in the yard, shucking the corn and taking off as much of the silk as we could, happily anticipating the feast ahead.
A few short hours later would find us happily munching the kernels off of the cobs, which we had buttered and sprinkled with salt. Delightful!
My father taught me how to eat the corn neatly so it wouldn’t get stuck in your teeth, by popping the kernels off one row at a time using your bottom teeth, rather than digging in with a CHOMP! It works, and has the added benefit of a typewriter joke. Finish the line of corn, say “Ding!” and start over. Well, that’s what my dad does anyway.
He also taught me the delights of eating leftover corn, still cold from the fridge, with a sprinkle of salt. It’s one of my favorite summertime treats to eat corn this way, so I usually get extras so I can intentionally have leftovers.
Unfortunately, when I moved out on my own, I discovered that I wasn’t actually sure about how long to boil corn on the cob. Or the best way to cook it at all. I tried microwaving it, boiling it endlessly, seasoning the water with a variety of things… but nothing was ever quite right.
So after reading about a dozen “recipes” and formulas for corn on the cob, the guy and I settled on this method (which is a conglomeration of a couple different ones), which turned out to be a happy discovery. THIS is how corn on the cob should be!*
So here it is… the “recipe” – and the secret of how long to boil corn on the cob.
How to Boil Corn on the Cob Perfectly
- Lots of water
- ¼ -1/2 cup sugar
- Several ears of corn on the cob
- Fill your pot with water (leave room for the corn!)
- Add the sugar.
- Drop in your corn.
- Bring everything to a boil, making sure the sugar is dissolved in the water.
- Boil for no longer than 8 minutes.
- Remove from the water and let it cool enough for handling and eating.
- Handle it and eat it.
It was perfect! Well, almost perfect. It was early-season corn and not the best I’ve ever had, but it was delicious and cooked properly! With just a smear of butter and a few shakes of salt, it was delicious with our dinner of tomato pie.
And I had my 2 ears of leftover corn reserved in the fridge for later, when I enjoyed them cold, and sprinkled with salt.
Now that you’ve got such an easy delicious recipe for how long to boil corn on the cob, don’t forget it!
*Unless it’s grilled, which is equally as delicious, and always a special treat. I LOVE grilled corn on the cob.