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How to Cook the Best Corn on the Cob: We’re All Ears!

It doesn’t get much better than boiling a little corn on the cob and smothering it with butter and salt. It’s one of those perfect summer foods because you can eat it with your hands (Corn holders are a must!) 

There are tons of ways to customize these sweet, sweet kernels. But first, let’s get down to the basics that will make this side dish a-maize-ing. (Sorry to be corny!)

Grilled Corn and Corn Holders

How to Pick Out the Best Fresh Corn

When looking at a pile of unhusked corn at the grocery store, it might feel like you’re playing the lottery. You won’t know if you choose correctly until you husk it at home.

Look for ears with green, moist husks that cling tightly to the corn and silk tips that are deep brown. But the whole silk shouldn’t be dried up.

It’s okay to peel the husk slightly in the store (we won’t tell) and check the top row of kernels for plumpness and density. The ultimate test is to pierce a kernel with your fingernail. If it’s milky, it’s just right. But, if the corn looks flattened with tightly packed kernels, it’s a no-go. The corn is overgrown and will taste starchy.

Corn in a cast iron pan
Photo: @jennlott

Yellow Corn vs. White Corn

Typically, white corn is more tender, but it’s really a matter of preference. Supersweet corn (usually sold in tray packs) will be sugary but have less corn flavor than varieties you can find at farmer’s markets.

How to Store Fresh Corn

Why wait? Eat that corn the same day you buy it for maximum sweetness. But, if you must, refrigerate the corn with the husks on for up to two days. Don’t shuck until you’re ready to cook.

Ways to Prep Corn

Here are three of our simple ways to prepare corn on the cob. When you’re eating it hot off the grill or stovetop, grab corn holders so you can hold your corn comfortably. 


When boiling water for corn on the cob, salt the water very well. (Think salty like the ocean!) The added salt in the boiling water doesn’t make the corn taste salty, but helps keep the natural corn flavor inside the kernels.


Grill with the husks on to protect the kernels while still giving them that great smoky flavor. Pro tip: Open the husk and pull off the corn silk before grilling.


You can enjoy raw corn as long as the kernels are from freshly picked ears that are sweet and tender. Cut the kernels from the cob and toss them in a salad.

Grilled Corn and Corn Holders

Street Corn & Toppings

This is the moment your grilled corn can launch your backyard cookout to legendary status. It’s all about the customized toppings. Yes, butter. Yes, salt. But corn is also a ready-made canvas for some spice!


Top with pesto and Parmesan cheese.


Top with chili powder, cotija cheese, cilantro, lime juice, and mayo or butter.

It’s salt with a little extra something, and it goes on everything.


Combine ketchup, apple cider vinegar, and Smoky Barbecue Rub to taste and brush it on the corn.

Aw, Shucks! More Corny Recipes

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