How Long to Boil Sweet Corn?

How Long to Boil Sweet Corn

Growing up, my parents would always serve sweet corn at dinner, cookouts, and family gatherings. And I have kept the tradition with my own kids. Sweet corn is exactly how it sounds, it’s corn that’s sweet. My kids actually prefer the sweeter taste. And, hey, if it gets them to eat a vegetable, that’s ok with me!

Sweet corn is very easy to prepare and cook. I ALWAYS boil my sweet corn. I add an extra ingredient to the water, so the corn comes out even sweeter. But the real key to boiling sweet corn is the length of time! You don’t want to overboil it.

Today, I am going to share with you my method of boiling sweet corn, so you will always get the perfect balance between flavor, tenderness, and crunch.

If you’d like to learn more, read further!

So, how long does it take to boil sweet corn?

Boiling sweet corn doesn’t take long at all. In fact, depending on how many you need to boil, you can have tasty boiled sweet corn in as little as 3 minutes!

Below is my reference guide for boiling sweet corn. The times I have listed have worked very well for me over the years!

Fresh, Unhusked and Silk Off

This is typically how you’d buy corn in the grocery store!

  • 1 to 2 ears of sweet corn– 3 to 5 minutes
  • 3 to 4 ears of sweet corn– 5 to 8 minutes
  • 4 to 6 ears of sweet corn– 8 to 10 minutes

Frozen, Unhusked and Silk Off

If you buy sweet corn and decide not to use it, you can freeze the corn for later use. You can still boil it, it will just take a little longer.

  • 1 to 2 ears of sweet corn– 4 to 6 minutes
  • 3 to 4 ears of sweet corn– 6 to 9 minutes
  • 4 to 6 ears of sweet corn– 9 to 11 minutes
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If your corn still has the silk and husks on, peel the silk off and cut the ends off of the sweet corn.

Step by Step Guide on Boiling Sweet Corn

Here is my step-by-step guide on boiling sweet corn to get the best tasting corn each and every time!

Step 1: Remove the silk and husk from the sweet corn if needed

I try to buy sweet corn with the silk removed and the husk already cut off. But if you didn’t, don’t worry! You can do that now. Simply peel the silk off and cut off the ends.

Step 2: Optional, wash the sweet corn

If you buy corn with the silk still on, this step is optional. The silk serves as a protectant of the corn and keeps away any bugs, dirt, or debris. But it’s always a good idea to wash anyway in case there are pesticides still lingering, especially sweet corn with the silk already off. Take a warm damp paper towel and thoroughly wipe the corn clean.

Step 3: Find a large pot, fill it with water, and bring it to a boil

For every ear of sweet corn you have, you’ll need about a quart of water. When you put the corn in, you want to be sure you can submerge the corn into the water leaving at least an inch on the top, to account for evaporation. Remember when I mentioned above there was one ingredient I added to bring out the sweetness in the corn? This is when you do it! Add a tablespoon of white table sugar to the water, along with a dash of salt.

The sugar will help bring the natural sugar in the sweet corn out!

Step 5: Add the sweet corn to the boiling water

It won’t take long when you add the sweet corn to water. See below for the quick reference guide on boiling sweet corn!

  • 1 to 2 ears of sweet corn– 3 to 5 minutes
  • 3 to 4 ears of sweet corn– 5 to 8 minutes
  • 4 to 6 ears of sweet corn– 8 to 10 minutes
  • 1 to 2 ears of frozen sweet corn– 4 to 6 minutes
  • 3 to 4 ears of frozen sweet corn– 6 to 9 minutes
  • 4 to 6 ears of frozen sweet corn– 9 to 11 minutes

Reduce the heat to a medium after placing the sweet corn in the water. Then set the time for the appropriate time!

Step 6: Remove the sweet corn from the water

Remove the sweet corn after the allotted time. At most, I’ll leave the sweet corn in for a couple additional minutes. But, be sure to turn the stove off and remove the pot from the heat. When removing the sweet corn from water, place in a large bowl with aluminum foil!

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Step 7: Enjoy

This is optional, but you can melt some butter and brush it on the corn. You may find you don’t need any butter though because the corn will be sweet enough!

Tips for Boiling Sweet Corn

Here are some tips to make sure you are boiling the best tasting sweet corn!

  1. Boil a little longer for more tender sweet corn. My family and I prefer tender, savory, easy to eat corn. The more tender the better. So, I always boil on the longer side!
  2. If you like your sweet corn on the crunchier side, use the minimum time listed. Use the minimum times if you like the bite and crunch while eating sweet corn.
  3. The tablespoon of sugar really brings out the flavor. The sugar doesn’t make it sweeter; it just helps bring out the natural sugars in the corn, providing a sweeter taste! If, however, you like your sweet corn as is, this is optional.

The Sweet Corn is Ready to Eat, Now What?

After boiling the sweet corn, grab a large bowl. Line it with aluminum foil and place the sweet corn in it. Cover with the rest of the aluminum foil. This will keep it hot if you’re not ready to eat it.

Having melted butter on the side is optional, but I think you’ll find that you don’t need it if you use my method to boil sweet corn!

It’s that easy!

Wrapping Up

Now you know my easy method and just how quick it can be to boil sweet corn. It’s even easier to get my kids to eat it!

Plus, when you use the process I’ve shared with you above, you can be rest assured that you are boiling the best possible tasting sweet corn you can.

Drop us a comment below letting us know how your sweet corn turns out!