How to Cook Corn on the Cob

Learn how to cook corn on the cob with this easy recipe! Hot, sweet, and juicy, it's the best summer side dish. Seasoning variations included!

Corn on the cob

It finally feels like summer around here, and for me there’s nothing more summery than corn on the cob! When I was a little kid, I remember my mom covering the stoop on the back patio with ripped-open paper bags, and my sister and I would spend hours removing the husks.

I love sweet corn so many ways – I top it onto pizza, mix it into cornbread and cornbread stuffing, stuff it into tacos, blend it into hummus, add it to soups, chowder, and chili, or top it onto salad. You get the picture: I’m a corn addict!

But my favorite way to eat corn will always be the simplest: straight off the cob. While I love grilling it, my preferred method is steaming it on the stove. Because you don’t have to bring a huge pot of water to a boil, it takes much less time than boiling corn on the cob, and it comes out juicy, sweet, and delicious.

How to cook corn on the cob

How to Cook Corn on the Cob

Want to learn how to cook corn on the cob? Here’s the best way to do it:

  1. Fill a large skillet with one inch of water and add husked ears of corn in a single layer.
  2. When the water returns to a boil, cover the skillet and cook for 3 minutes, until the corn is bright yellow and tender.
  3. Drain, top with your favorite fixings (I like olive oil, salt, and lemon juice), and enjoy!

Alternatively, you can grill your corn, check out this post for grilling instructions!

How to cook corn on the cob

Corn on the Cob Variations

As I said above, my favorite way to top corn on the cob is simply with salt, olive oil, and a generous squeeze of lemon. You could also eat it the traditional way, rubbed in black pepper, butter, and salt. If you’re looking for something more creative, I highly recommend these two options:

  1. Basil Butter Corn on the Cob  – Pulse together butter, basil, and garlic in a food processor, and rub it onto the sweet corn. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and eat!
  2. Mexican Corn on the Cob – Brush steamed corn on the cob with adobo sauce from a can of chipotles and sprinkle crumbly Cotija cheese on top. I LOVE this combination, and if you do too, make sure you try this salad next.

Basil Butter Corn on the Cob Mexican Corn on the Cob

Corn on the Cob Serving Suggestions

Corn on the cob is one of the best summer side dishes. I love it with anything I’m grilling, like veggie burgers, black bean burgers, portobello burgers, or avocado!

Summery sandwiches like Oyster Mushroom Po’ Boys or BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches would be delicious with it as well.

And the Mexican version would be especially good with tacos like these or these.

Boiled corn on the cob on a plate

5.0 from 5 reviews

How to Cook Corn on the Cob

 
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Learn how to cook corn on the cob with this simple recipe + topping ideas! Hot, juicy, and sweet, it's the best summer side dish.
Author:
Recipe type: Side dish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 ears fresh corn, husked
  • olive oil, butter, lemon, salt & pepper, for serving
Basil Butter Corn on the Cob variation
  • ½ cup butter or vegan butter, at room temp
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  • ½ clove garlic
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mexican Corn on the Cob variation
  • adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
  • crumbled cotija cheese
  • chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, bring 1 inch of water to a boil and add the corn in a single layer. When the water returns to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook until hot, about 3 minutes. Drain.
  2. Season with olive oil or butter, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, as desired.
  3. Basil Butter Corn on the Cob: Blend softened butter with basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Slather it on corn with a squeeze of lemon.
  4. Mexican Corn on the Cob: Brush the corn with adobo sauce and top with cotija cheese and cilantro.

20 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. I’m all about the basil butter! Oh that looks so delicious! I love how simple and easy this recipe is.

  2. Serena from Www.sparklestyleandiy.blogspot.com
    04.17.2015

    Looks delicious!! Can’t wait to try basil butter on my corn, plus looks like an easy way to cook corn without getting out the grill.

  3. I’m kind of a corn fanatic in the summer! I always make compound butter too but I do chili and lime and garlic and cilantro!

  4. Ryan from apolishedpalate.com
    04.17.2015

    Great photos! It looks delicious!

    Ryan | A Polished Palate

  5. John from johnjsullivans.com
    04.18.2015

    Simple cheesy and delicious. Now the thing is scoring really good corn. Basil butter does rock out some wild flavours yeah? Good recipe and good life to corn!

  6. This looks fantastic! I’ve been cooking a lot of corn lately, a bit nostalgic of childhood in the U.S., since not many people know such a thing as “Corn on the Cob” in Europe and these recipes will definitely freshen up my recent obsession for those who have to eat with me. Thanks!

    Alexandra
    http://www.turquoisette.com

    • Teresa Davis
      05.24.2015

      Going to try as well. My current Mexican style is a very thin layer of mayo, a sprinkling of paprika, and rolled lightly in grated Cotija. Yummmmmy.

  7. Nina from homewithher.com
    04.18.2015

    I’m a fan of anything that involves cotija cheese so I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for the idea!

  8. I LOVE the basil butter one. Want to try that out. The “Indian” way of doing corn is adding combining equal parts paprika and salt, cut a lemon in half, take the lemon half and coat the fleshy side with the paprika mixture and coat the corn. 🙂

  9. At home, we only steam corns with a small amount of salt. No other additional seasoning. Your idea of toppings makes me want to steam corns right now!
    –craving-

  10. Carol
    04.29.2015

    Hello, this recipe is just perfect! I love corns and always wondered how should I cook them without cooking the same way. Lately I have been loving to search for the simple recipes and easy to cook; and I think this dish is the best! I am definitely going to try this recipe. I can already tell this is going to be my favorite dish to have. Thank you for the great recipe!

  11. LisaAdriane
    06.27.2019

    Wow, I’ve never seen a corn cob with that many white “spots” – is this common for the US?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.27.2019

      It is – it’s called bi-color sweet corn and it’s common in Illinois in the summer… I’m sure it varies by region and season.

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We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.