You're just three ingredients away from the best corn on the cob — and it's not boiled

Nothing should have to be confusing about cooking corn

Published May 4, 2021 9:30AM (EDT)

 (James Ransom / Food52)
(James Ransom / Food52)

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Nothing should have to be confusing about corn.

But your mom may have told you to boil it for 10 minutes; your mother-in-law, for seven. Your dad may have let it roll on the stove until he remembered it. There's been an age-old debate on the best way to cook corn on the cob – and, at the center, how long to boil it.

Get this: We don't boil it at all.

Instead, we boil water on it's own, then toss in the corn. Once the water gets back up to a boil, we simply shut off the heat. You can let the corn hang out in the pot for a few minutes, or until dinner's ready, or until you just can't resist the promise of its perfection.

So no need to worry about timing; no need to worry about wrinkly kernels; no need to worry about upsetting the family tradition. The best way to cook corn turns out to be the easiest.


Recipe: Best Ever Corn On The Cob

Serves: 4


  • 4 ears shucked fresh corn
  • Butter and salt, for serving


  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add the corn. Once the water gets back up to a boil, shut off the heat.
  2. Let the corn sit the pot for a few minutes (or until dinner's ready).
  3. Serve with butter and salt.

* * *

Craving more corn?

Corn, Bacon, and Clam Stew

A one-pot meal doesn't have to be reserved for wintry nights to be deeply comforting. This corn, bacon, and clam stew, with bursts of sweet juiciness thanks to sungold tomatoes, actually screams "summer!" — this winning "Your Best Corn Recipe" is best served on one of those breezy, yet warm evenings, preferably.

Creamed Corn 

Shockingly, our best creamed corn recipe does not include cream (don't worry: it does include corn!) "Fatty, grassy cream can be a bit overpowering, and corn is, in fact, plenty creamy on its own," explains recipe developer Anna Billingskog. "The starchy, sweetly corn-y juices that usually get tossed out with the cob thicken, somewhat magically, into a luxurious 'cream' when heated." How cool is that?!

Sweet Corn Butter from Whitney Wright

It's another corn-taking-dairy's-place recipe! "Renaissance woman Whitney Wright may have learned the sorcery of one-ingredient corn butter on the line at Per Se restaurant in New York City, but it's all the delicious ways she uses it that are really genius," writes Genius Recipes columnist Kristin Miglore. "Spread it on toast and biscuits as you would butter (without needing to wait for it to soften!), fold it into vegetables in place of cream, blend it into ice creams and milkshakes, and the list goes on." Yes, please!

Corn Ice Cream 

I scream, you scream, we all scream for . . . corn ice cream? Oh yes. Food editor Emma Laperruque knows that corn and cream go together like bread and butter, so she decided to literally blend them together into a sweet and starchy ice cream base. With a hint of tang from buttermilk, corn ice cream is particularly perfect when scooped over a slice of blueberry pie.

Grilled Corn and Ranch Pizza

When grilled, recipe developer Eric Kim notes that corn "gets chewy and inexplicably sweeter," which already sounds like the start of a dreamy summer dinner. Then comes the pizza part. As Kim notes, "the real clincher is the masochistic drizzle of ranch dressing," which becomes the sauce for this pizza. Paired with fresh basil and plenty of mozzarella, it's a dinner worth repeating.

Sourdough Corn Fritters

You'll need a sourdough starter to make these corn-packed fritters (if you don't already have one bubbling away on the counter, check out this guide — all you really need is flour, water, and time.) Paired with eggs and fresh corn kernels, Emma Laperruque notes that these "just as happy alongside a summery lunch of lettuces dressed with oil and vinegar, as they are a puddle of warm maple syrup or honey."

By Brette Warshaw

MORE FROM Brette Warshaw

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