August 13th, 2012

How to Make Perfect Corn on the Cob

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Groovy Green Livin Corn on the Cob

My love of corn on the cob began when I was very young. Every summer I looked forward to going to the Sweet Corn Festival in Wisconsin. Once the nominal admission fee was paid it was all you can eat. Let’s just say I don’t do well with buffets. I have vivid memories of feasting on sweet corn until I was physically sick.

Fast forward to the present. The sweet corn festival continues in my very own dining room usually 2-3 times a week. My kids request and then devour corn on the cob. Even our dog is well trained to eat it right off the cob.

We had friends visiting from Chicago this past weekend and we got into a discussion about the best way to cook corn on the cob (exciting, I know!). For years I have added the corn to cold water and boiled them together. Our friends boil the water first and then add the corn. So what’s the best method to create perfect corn on the cob? I did a little research in my very own test kitchen and came up with the answer.

Selecting the corn

If growing your own corn isn’t an option (it’s not for me) then carefully hand select your ears of corn at the farmers market or super market.

  • I always peel back the husk at the market to check on the corn inside. If it doesn’t look good, don’t buy it.
  • Look for bright green husks that fit snugly around the ear of corn. The kernels should be in tight rows right to the top of the ear of corn-not white, small kernels, but full sized yellow kernels.
  • Buy organic when you can.

How to cook corn on the cob


Groovy Green Livin Corn on the cob boiling


  • Husk the corn just before cooking to keep the corn fresh.
  • Remove as much of the silk as possible.
  • Fill a large pot with water and bring water to a boil. I use a big stainless steel stock pot.
  • Drop in husked ears of corn.
  • Once water comes to boil again remove corn with tongs. Leave in a little longer if you like your corn on the softer side.
  • I don’t put salt or butter on my corn. I love the flavor just the way it is.

Now you have perfect corn on the cob.


Groovy Green Livin grilled corn on the cob

I tried grilling corn on the cob last year for the first time and it didn’t disappoint.


  • Soak corn on the cob in bowl of water (don’t remove husk) for at least 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat the grill on medium heat.
  • Remove corn from water.
  • Place the soaked corn in the husk on the grill.
  • Cook for 20 minutes, turning the corn every 5 minutes.
  • Use a fork to determine if the kernels are soft. If they are then the corn is done.
  • Remove the corn from grill with tongsand peel away husk and silk. Use pot holders or dish towel to hold corn-it will be very hot to the touch.


What’s your favorite way to make corn on the cob?


[Photos used under Creative Commons from slgckgc, Keith McDuffee, Oakley Originals/Flickr]

12 Responses to “How to Make Perfect Corn on the Cob”

  1. We cook it the way you describe above (boiling) but only for one minute, at most, after the water boils. And it always comes out perfectly. And we eat it plain, as well. Great corn doesn’t need anything to improve it! 🙂

  2. I’ve nominated a Sunshine Award to you

  3. I just had corn salad 2 nights ago and we grilled the corn, but we didn’t leave the husks on. I peeled them, and put some oil on the cobs and BBQed! Yum.

  4. Hi Aviva,

    Corn is so simple and delicious! No need for butter and salt usually.

  5. Hi Cat, Thanks so much for the Sunshine Award. I’m honored 🙂

  6. Another great way to enjoy corn! Thanks Stephanie. I’ll have to try grilling without the husk.

  7. My boiling technique is just like yours! And I’m glad you explained the grill method, too, as I’ve been invited to a potluck BBQ this weekend and would like to bring corn!

  8. I never got around to going to the corn festival in Sun Prairie! My favorite topping for corn is sriracha. Just a little bit, though. 🙂

  9. Hi Kiersten, I have such good memories of the Corn Festival! I have never tried sriracha on corn-sounds like an interesting combination.

  10. Hi Andrea! Grilling corn is very simple. The only issue I’ve had is the corn is extremely hot so peeling off the husk and silk is a bit challenging. Let me know how it goes at the BBQ.

  11. […] How to Make Perfect Corn on the Cob | Groovy Green Livin […]

  12. […] love of corn on the cob began when I was very young. Every summer I looked forward to going to the Sweet Corn Festival in […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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