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This secret method for making the Perfect Corn on the Cob comes straight from our Mom’s kitchen. It comes out sweet and crunchy every time.
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Perfect Corn on the Cob
There’s something about the look and smell of a bright yellow cob of corn sitting on your plate that just feels like your’e about to enjoy a home cooked meal. Generally I think of summer time, with all its cookouts and barbecues and sweet, crunchy, fresh summer corn. But you want to know a secret? Not all corn on the cob is nice and sweet when you buy it. That’s where my mom’s Perfect Corn on the Cob recipe comes in.
Be sure to check out ALL of our recipes using corn including our popular Corn Chowder, Fresh Corn Salsa, or our sweet and savory corn casserole (aka corn pudding). You can use fresh corn from the cob or use our favorite method for cooking frozen corn to use in any of our recipes!
What’s the Secret?
My mom always makes the perfect corn on the cob. It always turns out crunchy and sweet. Her secret? Sugar. Not all corn is nice and sweet when you buy it. This is a great way to cheat and your guests will never know!
Usually people throw salt in the water when cooking corn on the cob, but guess what — salt in the water actually toughens and dehydrates the corn. It’s better if you add salt after the corn is cooked. Instead, throw some sugar in the water before it comes to a boil.
Butter Me Up
Butter and season several pieces of corn on the cob at one time by melting a stick of butter in a baking dish. Roll each one around while seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep in the baking dish to serve. Give it an extra roll before plating to make it extra buttery.
More Ways To Make Corn On The Cob
The recipe below is our favorite method because it is quick, easy, and foolproof. You get perfectly sweet, buttery, crunchy corn every time. In addition to this method are several other trusted ways to cook corn on the cob. If you are limited on stove-top space or just want to try something new, you can try any of these other methods:
In The Oven
First of all, peel and butter the corn and season as desired. Next, wrap the corn up in foil and roast at 450-degrees F for 20 minutes. Then, remove from oven and allow to rest 2-3 minutes before unwrapping.
In The Instant Pot
Place a trivet in the Instant Pot. Then, add 1 cup cold water. Brush melted butter on up to 6 pieces of corn (peeled) and place them on the trivet. Then, close and seal Instant Pot and cook for 1 minute on high pressure and slow release for 1 minute before doing a quick release. Season and serve.
In The Slow Cooker
Peel corn (up to 8 pieces) and brush with butter. Season as desired. Place ½ cup of water in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.
In The Air Fryer
Cut corn into pieces so it will fit in the air fryer. However, don’t overcrowd. Then, brush corn with melted butter or spray with cooking spray. Air fry at 350-degrees for 15 minutes, turning half-way through. Season and serve.
In The Microwave
Peel corn and wrap in a damp paper towel. Place on a plate and microwave for 5 minutes. Season and serve. (Not our favorite way as far as taste goes, but it is the FASTEST way and works great in a pinch.)
On The Grill
Leave husks on the corn but trim off the silks. Grill over medium-high heat for 13-15 minutes, turning often to distribute heat. If you have peeled corn, wrap the corn in foil with some butter and then grill. Get our full instructions on how to grill corn on the cob, HERE. Try our mouth-watering Grilled Mexican Street Corn or grill your corn in our Cajun Grilled Foil Packets. Don’t forget to use your leftover grilled corn in our refreshing Grilled Corn Salad!
Frequently Asked Questions
For this recipe, we simmer the corn on low heat for 8-10 minutes (this keeps the milk from curdling). If you are using only water, do a high boil for 5 minutes then remove from heat and allow to rest 2-3 minutes. Remove corn immediately, season, and serve.
Yes. To keep your corn fresh, you will want to refrigerate it as soon as you get it home from the store. The sooner you use corn, the better. It is best not to wait longer than 24 hours before cooking the corn after bringing it home from the market/store.
After you have cooked your corn, it can last 3-5 days in the refrigerator covered or in an airtight container. You can store it as-is (on the cob), or just the cooked kernels.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Shuck corn and blanch in the water for 2 minutes. Remove immediately and dry with paper towels. You can freeze the corn on the cob whole or cut the kernels off (preferred method). Place whole corn or kernels on a baking sheet and freeze for 3-4 hours. After frozen, place in freezer-safe bags or airtight container and immediately return to the freezer.
Place directly in a skillet with butter and sauté until cooked through. Get the FULL recipe HERE.
Read Next: Easy BBQ and Grilling Recipes
Delicious Recipes Using Corn
We love eating corn fresh off the cob but we also love adding fresh corn to many of our recipes. If you have some leftover corn, simply stand the corn up vertically on a plate or cutting board and use a sharp knife to run down the sides to get the kernels off. You can keep these kernels in the fridge for up to 5 days and/or use them in your favorite recipes, including:
- Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
- Mexican Street Corn Cups
- 5-Minute Creamy Corn Dip
- Sweet Corn Cake (aka Tomalitos)
How To Make Perfect Corn on the Cob
Perfect Corn on the Cob
- Large Stockpot
- 3 quarts water enough to cover corn
- 2 cups milk (we like using whole)
- 1/2 cup butter optional
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 ears corn on the cob shucked
- butter to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fill a large stockpot about halfway with cold water, add milk, butter (optional), and sugar and bring to a LOW simmer. Do not add salt.
- Once water is at a low simmer, add corn. Cover and simmer for about 8-10 minutes.
- Remove corn with tongs and serve with butter, salt and pepper (see tips above).
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It looks like there is a stick of butter in the water and milk in the photo. Was something left out of the recipe by chance?
Sorry about that, we are updating the recipe. The butter in the water and milk mixture is optional!
you know you spelled PREPARE wrong right? It’s not “prepear”…it is PREPARE? Just an observation Only trying to be helpful.
I’m not sure what you are referring to in this post, but we do work with a company named Prepear. Prepear is a cooking app that provides menu planning and cookbooks.
Great recipe! Will definitely be my go-to.
Thank you for the recipe, it was absolutely delicious and we all loved it!
Great idea…my family is tryimg to cut down on sugar, so I used honey…equally delicious result!
Always sugar , never salt…
Great Recipe !
My mom uses sugar as well. I actually cook it with butter and it tastes about the same but then you don't have to use butter before you eat it.
LOVE corn on the cob but have always thought of it as a summer treat-this sounds fab!! So does the Inside out panini!! Yum-o:)
I would never have thought of that but it's a great idea! I love corn that is just a little sweet and it's always so disappointing when it doesn't turn out that way. Thanks for the tip!
Oh, and I wanted to share that my family loves putting Seasoned Salt on our corn. It really adds a nice zing to it.