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How to Cook Corn on the Cob on the Stove

When we have a barbecue, everyone in our family eats one ear of corn each. Our kids really like corn.

Buttered corn on the cob

Buttered corn on the cob

I Love Corn on the Cob

A tasty buttery starch goes great with barbecue. While many barbecue lovers will go with a tasty baked potato (I love them as well), my family and I prefer to prepare corn on the cob on the stovetop to go with a beef brisket, pulled pork, or salmon.

Here's the easiest way to make crisp corn on the cob in just a few minutes!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

8 min

18 min

1 ear of corn per person


  • corn on the cob, shucked
  • dash salt
  • butter, to taste
  • water
Freshly shucked corn on the cob

Freshly shucked corn on the cob


  1. Begin with whole ears of corn. Shuck each ear by removing the husk and the silk. You may want to shuck the corn over a paper bag because it can be a bit messy.
  2. Place a pot 3/4 full of water on the stove. The pot should be large enough that the corn will float in the water. Add a dash of salt to the water.
  3. Bring the pot of water to a boil.
  4. Add all the ears of corn to the boiling water. Cover the pot with a lid. Boil for 8 to 10 minutes. Note that smaller ears of corn take less time to cook than larger ones.
  5. To test an ear of corn for doneness, remove it from the pot with tongs. Run cold water over it, then take a small bite. Corn that is fully cooked will be bright in color and have a little milk to it. If it wrinkles, it's been cooked too long.
  6. When done, remove all the ears and let them dry in a straining bowl.
  7. Serve with butter.

How Long Does It Take to Boil Corn?

The size of the corn impacts that cooking time. Most people prefer crisp corn on the cob, so avoid overcooking (which leads to wrinkling). Taste at the recommended time. If it's not done, boil longer.

Corn Cob SizeTime in Minutes to BoilTaste

1/2 ear of corn

7 minutes


1/2 ear of corn

9 minutes


1 small ear of corn

8 minutes


1 large ear of corn

10+ minutes


Remove corn from boiling water with tongs.

Remove corn from boiling water with tongs.

Boiling Water and Tongs

I once saw my mother pull corn out of a boiling pot with her bare hands. It's a bad idea. Use tongs or thick rubber gloves to remove the ears from a boiling pot.

Rub butter on the corn.

Rub butter on the corn.

Using Corn Holders to Put Butter on the Cob

The best way to butter an ear of corn is by using corn holders inserted into the end of the cob and turning the ends back and forth while the cob spins on the top of a cube of butter. In some households, this technique is frowned upon. In ours, it's considered the best way to do it!

Serving Sizes

In our family, adults and kids both eat one ear each. Our kids really like corn. However, I think most kids would be satisfied with half an ear.

Tip: Snap the corn in half with your hands before boiling. It takes a little strength, but it's pretty easy to break a cob in two.