It's so simple, but this is the best way to make Boiled Corn on the Cob that brings out it's sweet corn flavor. It's quite possibly the most iconic food of summer!

Summer side dishes are some of our favorites. Be sure to add Summer Fruit SaladRaspberry Pretzel Salad, and Deviled Egg Potato Salad to your summer cookout menu!

An image of boiled corn on the cob on a plate.

Best Corn on the Cob Recipe

Boiling corn on the cob is a very common way to cook it due to how incredibly easy this method is, but not all boiled corn recipes are the same. A couple simple, extra additions will give you the best boiled corn on the cob of your life!

An image of ears of sweet white corn.

As part of my American Eats series where I'm visiting some of the most popular and iconic recipes and flavors of each state, one state at a time, I would be remiss if I didn't include a recipe for corn on the cob to represent the state of Iowa right along with their ham balls.

Corn on the cob is one of those awesome vegetables that can go from a Mexican street fair to a tailgate and then be back in time for the holiday table setting. They're incredibly frugal when you buy them in season and knowing how to store and cook them is one way to get the most out of your budget and your events.

What you’ll need for Boiling Corn on the Cob

  • Ears of corn with husks and silk removed
  • Water
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice
An image of ears of corn on the cob being boiled in a large pot with milk and butter.

How to Boil Corn on the Cob

  1. Fill a large pot about ¾ of the way full with water and bring it to a boil. 
  2. Add in milk, butter, sugar and lemon juice, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. 
  3. Gently place the ears of corn into the boiling water and bring the water back to a boil.
  4. Cover the pot with a lid and turn off the heat. Let the corn cook for 6-10 minutes until tender.
  5. Serve with additional butter, salt, and pepper.
An image of corn on the cob being cooked in a pot of water, milk, and butter.

When is corn on the cob done boiling?

You can tell that your corn is done by watching how fast it dries off when you lift it out of the water with tongs. A hot cooked cob will steam itself dry within a few seconds whereas a colder lesser cooked corn cob will take quite a bit longer.

What to serve with Boiled Corn on the Cob

Boiled corn on the cob is that iconic food of summer. It’s the perfect addition to any backyard bar-b-q. I love a good Summer Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Poppy Seed Dressing or a Deviled Egg Potato Salad right alongside a good burger or amazing ribs that fall off the bone or the juiciest smoked brisket. Summer grilling is the best time of year!

How to store Boiled Corn

If there are any leftover ears of corn, it’s best stored when fully wrapped in tin foil and then placed in an airtight container. They can be stored in the fridge for three to five days.

Best Corn on the Cob FAQs

What happens when you over cook corn on the cob?

If you overcook your corn on the cob, it’s still edible - it’s just chewy. While the best corn on the cob recipes gives you crunchy and sweet corn to sink your teeth into, a batch of overcooked corn will be more mushy. But as long as you turn the water off after bringing it back to a boil, the corn can sit in the hot water for up to half an hour without overcooking.

Do you put corn in boiling water or before it boils?

You will want the water to be boiling before placing the corn into the pot. Especially with my corn on the cob recipe, you want to make sure the water is boiling so the sugar is fully dissolved before adding the corn.

How long does it take to boil corn on the cob?

The amount of time it takes to boil corn on the cob on average is 3-5 minutes. But, depending on your preference it can be longer or shorter! Depends on how crispy you want your corn!

Do you add anything to the water when boiling corn on the cob?

You can boil the corn in plain water, nothing added but it is so much better when the water is doctored up a bit! For example I put milk, butter, sugar, and a little bit of lemon juice in my water and it brings out the best flavor in the corn! It really does make a big difference!

An image of ears of boiled corn on the cob.

More corn recipes

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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Best Boiled Corn on the Cob

4.50 from 12 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
It's so simple, but this is the best way to make Boiled Corn on the Cob that brings out its sweet corn flavor. It's quite possibly the most iconic food of summer!


  • 6 ears corn on the cob husks and silk removed
  • 4-6 quarts water
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup butter 1 stick
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  • Fill a large pot about ¾ full of water and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in milk, butter, sugar and lemon juice, until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is mostly melted.
  • Place ears of corn into the boiling water, then bring back to a boil. Immediately cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let the corn cook in the hot water until tender, about 6-10 minutes, depending on how well you like your corn done.
  • Serve with additional butter, salt, and pepper.


Serving: 1ear | Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 304mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 707IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

More States I Have Visited in my American Eats Series

Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • IdahoIllinoisIndianaIowa • KansasKentuckyLouisiana • MaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNew JerseyNew YorkOregonPuerto RicoSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTexasUtahWisconsin

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. Judith Beals says:

    Interesting recipe! We Add sugar as well, but our family thinks you've killed the corn if it's cooked more than 3 minutes ....tops. Never tried adding lemon juice, although I will next time. There is 1 cup of milk in the list of ingredients, but I don't see it mentioned in the instructions. You must add it to the milk? It looks milky in the photo. Thank you for the recipe....I'll be giving it a try!

    1. Amy says:

      Thank you! I don't know how I missed that!

  2. Rachelle says:

    Hi! This definitely looks interesting! Just wanted to let you know that your directions don't say what to do with the milk or the butter (though I'm assuming they get added to the pot of water).

    1. Amy says:

      How in the world did I miss that? Thank you!

  3. Tony says:

    What does the milk accomplish?

    1. Amy says:

      Milk just seems to sweeten and tenderize the corn.

  4. Sam T. says:

    When I added the milk and lemon juice, the milk curdled. That is how one can make buttermilk in a pinch.