The secret to creating the best corn on the cob ever is as simple as boiling corn in milk. Whether you are using fresh corn on the cob or frozen corn, boiling corn on the cob in milk will bring out the sweetness in your corn in a way at simply water only cannot do!
We of course show you all of the tips and tricks on the best way to boil corn on the cob (fresh or frozen), even if your personal preference is to boil the corn in water too!
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Boiling Corn in milk?
It may seem a little strange to boil your corn on the cob in milk, but trust us on this one. Once you try adding milk to your pot of boiling water you may not go back to simply using water alone.
Additionally, when you add both milk and butter to your pot, the corn on the cob takes on a new level of flavor you didn't think was possible! The milk adds a natural sweetness to the corn from the carbohydrates in it, and the butter, well that adds a creaminess that only butter can add.
So even if you have always used the traditional stand-by of a pot of water only for your corn, let's try something new today so you can serve corn on the cob that is a WHOLE LOTTA YUM!
Boiled Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob boiled in milk is a great option for both gluten-free and vegetarian eaters. Those who follow a vegan lifestyle are going to have to skip the milk and butter or use dairy-free alternatives. Corn is naturally not a low-carb food, so if you are following a low-carb lifestyle you may want to be super careful and just eat half of a piece and watch your carb intake carefully during the rest of the day.
Why this is the Best Way to Cook Corn on the Cob
- Including milk and butter takes your corn from bland to bursting with flavor! You may even find there is no need for additional butter when serving.
- This recipe works for both fresh corn and frozen without having to alter the cook-time.
- The whole recipe needs just 3 ingredients!
Boiling corn on the cob in milk gives you the best tasting corn ever, so why not pair it with some equally flavorful dishes to create an entire meal that is sure to please? These oven-baked baby back ribs and this tomato basil mozzarella salad is a great place to start!
If you are looking for some additional corn recipes perfect for summer, be sure to try our instant pot corn or our esquites recipe (Mexican Street Corn Salad) that uses a bag of frozen corn.
Boiled Corn on the Cob ingredients
Boiling your corn in milk will be one of the easiest recipes you make that will also give you seriously flavorful results. Start with some fresh or frozen corn on the cob, add a cup of milk, and a stick of salt-free butter, grab your stock-pot, and get ready to make corn that tastes amazing!
- 4 ears, cut in half if desired
- 1 cup milk (or water)
- 1 stick butter, cut into pieces
- sugar (optional)
***Note: If you're cooking frozen corn on the cob, they typically come in a package with either 4 whole ears of corn or corn that is already cut into sections.
Reminder: Do not add salt to the pot, as it can toughen the corn. Save that for after cooking. 😉
How to Boil Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob is one of those flavors of summer that we simply can't avoid. Simply yet bursting with flavor, no cookout is complete without it.
Shuck the Corn
If you are working with fresh corn you are going to want to first shuck the corn. To do this you simply pull the green husks down to the both of the corn. It can take a moment, and this is a messy process, so it's best to do this with two hands over a garbage can.
Remove any extra strands of silk that are still stuck to the corn.
You can either leave the cobs whole or you can break them in half, they'll take the same amount of cooking time either way.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once it starts boiling, turn the stove down to medium heat.
Using tongs, gently insert the corn cobs into the boiling water.
If you're using milk, butter, and/or sugar, add these to the pot now.
With the pot at a simmer and not a hard boil, cook the fresh corn for 7-9 minutes. At this time the corn will still have a little bit of crunch to it. If you prefer your corn even softer, feel free to cook a few minutes longer.
When your corn is done cooking, turn off the heat and let it sit in the pot of hot water until ready to serve. We've found that it typically keeps for up to 30 minutes in a pot without getting soggy.
You can either remove the corn with tongs and place it on a serving platter or drain the pot with a colander over the sink.
Serve your corn with additional butter, salt, and pepper.
To keep the individual ears of corn warmer, wrap them in aluminum foil.
How to Cook Frozen Corn on the Cob
Cooking frozen corn on the cob isn't very different from cooking fresh. However, frozen corn comes already shucked so you can skip out on that messy step.
Frozen corn on the cob is already partially boiled before it was flash frozen during peak season, so being able to enjoy it year-round is a terrific alternative. It typically comes in packages of corn cobs that are already cut in half.
How Long to Boil Frozen Corn on the Cob?
Since corn on the cob (frozen) was partially cooked beforehand, you might be surprised that both fresh and frozen corn cobs cook in the same amount of time.
In fact, because it was pre-cooked, you don't even need to defrost your frozen corn before cooking. Frozen corn on the cob seriously makes the EASIEST and BEST way to enjoy corn on the cob year-round.
Following the same recipe steps above for the fresh corn version, you'll simply simmer the frozen corn for 7-9 minutes, or until heated through.
Adding milk, butter, or sugar to the pot is a personal preference and up to you.
How easy is that?! No one would ever know you swapped frozen corn for fresh!
Boiled Corn on the Cob recipe tips
- Many people like to add a little bit of sugar when they are boiling corn in milk for the added sweetness. We don't feel this is necessary, however, the option is there for you to try it.
- As tempting as it may be to add salt to the water, please don't do it! This will cause your corn to be tough, and that is the opposite of a WHOLE LOTTA YUM.
- Serve your corn on the cob with additional butter, salt, and pepper.
- Get adventurous with your corn by offering parmesan cheese, chili powder, and paprika as well.
- Turn your boiled corn on the cob in Mexican street corn for a crowd-pleasing dish!
How to store Boiled Corn on the Cob
- Store: Store the cooled down corn in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 3 to 5 days.
- Reheat: The easiest way to reheat leftover corn on the cob is either in the microwave or on the stove top. To microwave corn, place it in a microwave safe dish, cover with a damp paper towel, and microwave the corn on high for 1-2 minutes or until it’ heated through. To reheat corn on the stovetop, fill a pot with a small amount of water and bring it to a boil. Add the corn and simmer it for 4-5 minutes or until it’s heated through.
- Freezing: If you want to store the corn for a longer period, you can also freeze it. Wrapped properly in freezer-safe bags or heavy-duty aluminum foil, frozen cooked corn on the cob can maintain its best quality for about 10 to 12 months.
Boiling Corn FAQs
Corn is a summertime and BBQ favorite that pairs well with most any dish. If you are unsure of where to start, or simply are looking for some inspiration, check out this list of ideas!
- Oven-baked ribs
- Pressure cooker baked beans
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Healthy coleslaw
- Caprese salad
When you are at your local farmers market or in your grocery store, please know that fresh, locally grown corn is always the best. August is the peak season for fresh corn and a great time to grab some.
Look for husks that are bright green and have silky tassels peeking out. The outside should feel slightly damp as well. Don't buy corn that is faded green in color or that is starting to show black mildew spots on the husks.
And remember, your final results are only as good as the ingredients you select.
Corn on the cob is done when it's bright yellow and tender. One way to test it is by using a fork to prick a kernel. If it's tender and the juice that squirts out is milky, your corn is done. Generally, boiling corn on the cob takes about 7 to 10 minutes.
Most recipes suggest starting with boiling water, which we do in our boiled corn post as well. This method ensures that the corn heats up more evenly. However, some people prefer starting with cold water and bringing the water and corn to a boil together, believing that it can result in more tender corn. Both methods can work, so it's really a matter of personal preference.
Easy Corn Recipes
- Instant pot corn on the cob
- Mexican street corn salad (with frozen corn)
- Mexican street corn
- Corn dip with cream cheese
- Air fryer frozen corn on the cob
- Mexican street corn recipes
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