How to Boil Corn on the Cob

published Jul 3, 2024

Here's how to make the most of summer’s best.


Prep10 minutes

Cook5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Corn is a wonderful thing. In the summer, this starchy side really hits its stride. We add it to everything — from savory esquites to corn chowder — and enjoy it all by itself (grilled corn can’t be beat). Corn on the cob is a crowd favorite, and you’ll love how easy it is to prepare. If you can boil water, you’re halfway to enjoying corn on the cob. Plus, it goes well with a wide variety of dishes like pulled pork and veggie burgers. Here, we’ll walk you through the easiest, best way to boil corn. So get shucking! 

Why You’ll Love It

  • It’s easier than grilling. Grilled corn is amazing, but boiled corn can be just as satisfying and delicious. This recipe couldn’t be simpler. All you need is fresh corn, kosher salt, and water. 
  • It cooks in five minutes. As soon as your water comes to a boil, drop in your corn and set a timer — that’s it. 

Key Ingredients for Boiling Corn

  • Corn: You’ll need just 4 ears of corn. And if you’re on the hunt for shopping tips, we’ve got a guide to buying the best corn
  • Kosher salt: One tablespoon will season the water just right. 
  • Butter: Trust us — you’re going to want to add some butter at the end too. Butter and corn are made for each other! The recipe calls for salted, but unsalted butter works well too; you might just want to sprinkle extra salt on top. 
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Debbie Wee

How to Boil Corn

  1. Warm up a pot of water. Start by getting a big pot of water on the stove. You want enough water to comfortably cover all four ears of corn. Add one tablespoon of kosher salt to the water. 
  2. Shuck the corn. While it’s coming to a boil, shuck the corn and make sure to remove any lingering corn silks by running the cob under water. 
  3. Boil the corn. When the water is boiling, use tongs to add the cobs, one at a time, to the pot — no need to cover. Boil the corn for 5 minutes, and then use tongs to remove the cobs to a plate. Add butter at this point if you want.
Credit: Photo: Erik Bernstein; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

What to Serve with Boiled Corn

Corn on the cob is a great choice for a backyard cookout, served in a bowl so folks can help themselves. You may even want to cut the cob in half to make smaller portions when serving a crowd. 

For an easy weeknight dinner, pair it with any of the following mains: 

More Corn on the Cob Recipes

How to Boil Corn Recipe

Here's how to make the most of summer’s best.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt

  • 4 ears

    fresh corn on the cob

  • Salted butter (optional)


  1. Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, shuck 4 ears of corn and rinse to remove any extra silks.

  2. Use tongs to carefully add the corn to the boiling water. Boil until yellow corn kernels become more brightly colored and white corn kernels turn a light yellow color, about 5 minutes. Use tongs to transfer the corn to a plate. Serve with salted butter if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.