How to Cook Corn on the Cob

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

How to Cook Corn on the Cob



Recipe type: Side dish

  • 4 ears fresh corn, husked
  • olive oil, butter, lemon, salt & pepper, for serving
  • 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
  • adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
  • crumbled cotija cheese
  • chopped cilantro
  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.



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