How to Freeze Corn So You Can Enjoy a Taste of Summer Year Round

updated Sep 1, 2023
summer

Want to enjoy fresh corn all year long? Try these simple methods with thawing instructions.

Makes2 to 4 cups

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There are a few foods that unequivocally signal summer to me — ripe peaches, garden-fresh tomatoes, and, of course, sweet corn. If you’ve ever wanted to enjoy a bite of summer in the dead of winter, we’ve got good news: It’s unbelievably easy to freeze corn. Here are easy freezing methods for corn kernels (blanched and unblanched) and corn on the cob.

Quick Overview

Three Methods of Freezing Fresh Corn

  • Blanched corn kernels: To freeze, remove the kernels from the cob, blanch and dip the them into an ice bath, then dry and place it into freezer storage.
  • Unblanched corn kernels: To freeze, simply remove the kernels from the cob and place them in a freezer bag.
  • Corn on the cob: To freeze, shuck the corn, blanch and put them in an ice bath, then put in a freezer bag.

How to Choose the Best Corn for Freezing

To get the best flavor out of your frozen corn, you want to make sure you’re picking great peak-summer corn, no matter which method of freezing you choose. So, look for ears that feel heavy in your hand, with clean, white silks and no visible blemishes on the husk. You can also peel back the husks a bit to check for stowaway bugs or moldy kernels.

Freezing Method #1: Blanched Corn Kernels

Typically the corn you’ll find frozen at the grocery store has been blanched (or briefly put in boiling water and then cooled to preserve the quality) prior to freezing. This is a great option for freezing at home as well because it makes the corn even easier to use, as the cooking is already done.

Here’s how to freeze pre-blanched corn kernels:

  • Remove the corn from the cob
  • Blanch it in salted water for two minutes, drain, and immediately shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
  • Remove the corn to a towel to drain, pat dry, and then freeze in whatever quantity you prefer.
  • You can also boil the whole corn on the cob and then remove the kernels for freezing.

Recipes where your blanched frozen corn will be recooked and zhushed up work especially well. Here are a few to try:

Freezing Method #2: Unblanched Corn Kernels

My favorite way to freeze corn is raw because it’s easy to do and versatile to use once thawed.

  • First, remove kernels from the cob.
  • Once the kernels have been liberated from the cob, you can pop them in a freezer bag (or vacuum seal them if you’re fancy).
  • Label and date them, and store them in the freezer for up to 12 months.
  • Save your cobs too! You can freeze them the same way until you’re ready to make corn stock or corn chowder.

To use frozen raw corn place the whole bag of corn in the fridge overnight, or run the bag of corn under running water if you’re short on time. Frozen raw corn won’t have the same texture as fresh corn, so I wouldn’t recommend it for salads or fresh salsas, but it does work well in sautés, soups, and chili. Try it roasted in this corn and poblano burrito bowl.

Freezing Method #3: Corn on the Cob

You can also freeze whole cobs of corn. Here’s how:

  • Shuck the corn.
  • Blanch for about four minutes.
  • Shock the cobs in an ice bath before drying and freezing.
  • Make sure to remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible before popping them in the freezer.

To use frozen corn on the cob:

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil
  • Boil the cobs for two to three minutes, just enough to cook the kernels without getting them waterlogged.

While the texture of the corn won’t be as crisp and fresh, frozen corn on the cob is quite close in taste and texture to its fresh counterpart, and it makes a simple, quick side dish for busy weeknight dinners.

How To Freeze Corn (3 Easy Ways)

Want to enjoy fresh corn all year long? Try these simple methods with thawing instructions.

Makes 2 to 4 cups

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4 to 8

    corn cobs

Equipment

  • Wide pot
  • Tongs
  • Medium bowl
  • Chef's knife
  • Cutting board
  • Zip-top freezer bags
  • Permanent marker or pen

Instructions

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Method 1: How to Freeze Corn Kernels (Blanched)

  1. Shuck the corn: Remove the corn’s husk and silk. Trim dry ends or tops. Bring a wide pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. While the water boils, fill a large bowl with equal parts water and ice.

  2. Blanch the corn: Use tongs to add the corn cobs 2 to 4 at a time, depending on what your pot will hold. Boil for 4 minutes.

  3. Shock the corn: Remove the corn from the boiling water and place in the ice bath. Repeat blanching and shocking the remaining cobs.

  4. Cut the kernels from the cob: Remove the corn cobs from the ice bath. Cut the corn kernels from the cob by slicing from the top to the bottom of the corn cob, cutting between the kernels and the cob.

  5. Freeze the corn: Transfer the corn kernels into zip-top freezer bags, remove as much air as possible, seal, and label. Freeze the bags flat. Corn kernels can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.

  6. How to thaw: Put the whole bag in the fridge overnight so it’s ready to use the next day, or, if you’re short on time, place the frozen corn in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of water, cover, and heat on medium-high until the kernels break apart. Then use them as you would for any recipe, but keep in mind that frozen, pre-cooked corn may retain extra moisture.

Method 2: How to Freeze Corn Kernels (Unblanched)

  1. How to freeze: First, remove kernels from the cob. Once the kernels have been liberated from the cob, you can pop them in a freezer bag, label and date them, and store them in the freezer for up to 12 months.

  2. How to thaw: Place the whole bag of corn in the fridge overnight, or run the bag of corn under running water if you’re short on time.

Method 3: How to Freeze Whole Cobs of Corn

  1. How to freeze: Simply shuck, blanch for about four minutes, and shock the cobs in an ice bath before drying and freezing, removing as much air from the freezer bag as possible before popping them in the freezer.

  2. How to thaw: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and boil the cobs for two to three minutes, just enough to cook the kernels without getting them waterlogged.