How to cook corn on the cob correctly: on stove or grill, and what to avoid

how to cook corn

Outlines how to cook corn on the cob in a saucepan on the stove or on the grill, with easy flavor ideas and tips, and what to avoid doing.

Cooked corn on the cob is the perfect summer vegetable. They are quick to prepare, light and can be seasoned deliciously. We’ll show you how to do it and what to look out for.

What to look out for

There are different types of corn, but not all of them are suitable for consumption. However, corn on the cob that you can buy at the market or supermarket is edible. You should make sure that the leaves on the cob have not dried out. If they are dried out, then the corn is too and you can no longer eat it. 

Corn on the cob with plump, yellow kernels are particularly suitable. Between July and October you can buy fresh corn regionally and seasonally .

Tip: Do not add salt to the water when cooking , otherwise the corn kernels will be cooked  but still remain hard, because the salt toughens them. For the perfect corn on the cob, it’s best to add a little sugar to the water, which intensifies the aroma.

How to cook corn on the cob: the classic saucepan way

Preparing corn on the cob is not difficult. However, the cooking times vary depending on whether you buy a pre-cooked or raw cob. You usually only have to simmer a pre-cooked corn on the cob for a few minutes; it takes longer with raw corn. 

How to cook fresh corn:

  1. If your corn still has leaves, you will need to remove them and, if necessary, cut off the stem of the corn cob.
  2. Now put the corn on the cob in enough hot water and bring it to a boil in a covered saucepan with a teaspoon of sugar.
  3. Now cook the corn on the cob for about 15 minutes on medium heat. Depending on the size and number of corn cobs, this can take longer.
  4. To see if your corn is done, you can prick the kernels with a toothpick. When your corn is done, the kernels should offer some resistance, but the toothpick should be able to poke into it softly.
  5. Now let the finished corn drain a little and sprinkle it with herbs and salt and brush it with butter or oil.

How to cook corn: grilling

Corn on the cob from the grill are often offered in summer together with various other grilled food at a barbecue evening, be it in a small group or with more eaters present, and are sold out in no time.

Grilling corn on the cob is pretty straightforward if you follow a few rules.
This includes, for example, if you prefer tender corn in the bite as in this recipe suggestion, you should first pre-cook corn on the cob before grilling, brush with butter and wrap it in aluminum foil on the grill. In this way you can prepare the corn on the cob hours or the day before and store it wrapped in the refrigerator until use.

2 corn cobs (approx. 250 g each)
20 g herb butter or
fresh salted butter
Solid aluminum grill foil for wrapping
Salt for seasoning

  1. For the preparation of this recipe, grilled corn on the cob, first remove the outer leaves oir husk, and then the ‘silk’ from the fresh corn on the cob. Or use already cleaned and prepared sweet corn cobs.
  2. Then follow the instructions above for cooking the corn in water, for 12-15 minutes. 
  3. Then rinse the cobs briefly under cold water (blanch) and let them dry a little on a sheet of paper towel. 
  4. For the herb butter, stir a piece of butter in a cup with a little salt until smooth.
  5. Add fresh herbs chopped into small pieces and, if you like, stir in some pressed garlic into the butter. Some people also like to add lemon zest and/or chilli flakes to the butter.
  6. Brush the still warm corn on the cob all around with half of the butter and place in the middle on an appropriate size piece of aluminum grill foil.
  7. First place the foil on the right and left over half of the corn on the cob.
  8. Pull the two wider sides up and close them tightly at the top.
  9. Prepared in this way, the wrapped corn on the cob can now be placed on the grill or left in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  10. For grilling: Place the corn on the cob aluminum packet on the hot grate of the charcoal grill, electric or gas grill, or under the activated grill in the oven and grill in total for about 25 – 40 minutes at not too high a heat.
  11. After halfway through, press the top of the aluminum packet firmly again, turn it and grill the other side of the corn on the cob.
  12. For serving: either serve the corn on the cob in the foil, or cut it once or remove it whole and only now season with salt and just enjoy.
  13. Tip: Prepared in this way, the corn kernels are soft and juicy and the delicate buttery taste of the salted butter, herb butter or lemon butter make the enjoyment complete.

An original Mexican sauce for corn on the cob

You need these ingredients for the recipe:

  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Lemon juice


Mix in the mayonnaise, sour cream, spices and a little lemon. After grilling, brush the corn on the cob with the creamy mixture and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and finely chopped jalapeño chilli. Delicious!

How do I remove corn kernels from the cob?

how to cook corn

You can hold the cooked corn on the cob with your hands and “nibble” it in the classic way. If you want to avoid a small to medium-sized mess – especially with children -, use the following trick to get the sweet corn kernels: Place the corn on the cob vertically on the middle part of a pan for cupcakes. Hold the cob with one hand while you use a knife in the other hand to cut the grains along the length of the cob. The pan catches the delicious corn kernels – done! 

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