How to Tell if Corn on the Cob Is Done Cooking?

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Cook corn on the cob until it is tender and hot.
Cook corn on the cob until it is tender and hot. (Image: Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Cooking corn is not an exact science, but there is a little bit of art involved. Whether you are using the grill, oven or stove, cook corn on the cob just right so the kernels are tender and full of flavor. Cooking it too long toughens the kernels, which makes them chewy and loses their sweet flavor. Cooking it too short makes the kernels too crunchy and not heated all the way through. Serve your perfectly cooked corn on the cob with butter, lime juice or herbs.

Use a timer. At 450 degrees Fahrenheit, corn on the cob cooked on the grill or in the oven takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook, provided you turn them every 5 minutes. In boiling water, it takes about 3 to 5 minutes to cook corn on the cob. If you put the corn in before the water boils, it can take closer to 10 minutes to cook.

Pierce the kernels with a paring knife. They should be tender and pierce easily. They should not be mushy or tough.

Taste it to see if the corn is tender and a bit soft, but crisp at the same time with the texture you prefer. Some people prefer corn cooked longer than others. Cook the corn longer if desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not add salt to the water when boiling corn on the cob. According to University of Illinois, it toughens the kernels.

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