How To Tell If Corn On The Cob Is Done: See Failproof Signs

For me, it’s easier to tell corn is done when cooking the kernels than when cooking it with the cob. You can take a few kernels with a spoon, give them a bite and know whether they are ready to eat or not.

Corn on the cob is bigger and requires more work when you are cooking it. However, there is a way around it. There are ways to tell corn on the cob is done and ready to eat. And you can check for doneness without breaking a sweat.

In this article, I’ll be discussing signs of doneness to watch out for when cooking corn on the cob through different methods.

How do you tell corn on the cob is done?

Below are different ways to tell corn on the cob is done:

1. Has the color changed?

Raw corn on the cob has a yellow color. But as it cooks and becomes ready to eat, the yellow color deepens, and the kernels become plump. If you notice these signs on your corn, it’s time to take it off heat.

2. How long have you been cooking it?

This method is good for starters. Set a timer and use the duration to tell if it is done. It takes 3 to 5 minutes to cook corn on the cob if you put it in already boiling water.

If you put the corn in the water before it starts boiling, it’ll take 10 minutes to cook the corn to doneness. Set your timer accordingly.

3. Poke the kernels, what happens?

If you forgot to set a timer, another way to tell corn on the cob is done is to poke the kernels with a knife. When corn is done, the kernels become soft and will easily take in the knife.

4. Have you tried tasting the corn?

If you are not sure about your results from the methods above, try this. Carefully take out the corn and taste a few kernels. When you have your desired texture, you can take it off the heat.

5. Any more moisture?

Carefully take out the corn on the cob. If the water on the corn dries off quickly, it is done. As corn cooks, the heat penetrates the interior of the corn, and it easily loses moisture.

But if the water on the corn does not dry up quickly, it is not done yet. Allow it to cook for a few more minutes.

How long should you cook corn on the cob?

The cooking time for corn on the cob depends on the cooking method, the number of ears of corn you are cooking, and the type of corn.

Fresh and husked corn cooks in less time than frozen, unhusked, pre-packaged, and dry corn. Fresh corn cooks in 3 to 5 minutes, depending on whether you want it soft or hard.

Unhusked corn takes up to 10 minutes to get done. Frozen corn that has not been thawed takes 8 to 10 minutes to cook. You can shorten the cooking time by thawing it beforehand.

Additionally, how long you cook corn on the cob also depends on the texture you want to achieve. The cooking times mentioned above are for boiling corn on the cob.

Cooking corn on the cob on a grill or roasting it in an oven will take much longer. Both methods take 15 to 20 minutes to get the corn ready to eat. The cooking temperature influences cooking time.

How to perfectly boil corn on the cob

  • Get fresh ears of corn. Remove the husks and the silk threads
  • Check for blemishes and cut them off
  • You can also cut the ears of corn in halves to get them to cook faster
  • Afterward, fill a big stock pot with water, add salt to it, and bring it to a boil
  • Submerge the ears of corn into the boiling water and cover the pot
  • Allow the corn to boil for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how many ears of corn you’re cooking and how tender you want the kernels to be
  • Thereafter, turn off the heat and take the corn out of the water
  • Serve with butter (optional)

Can you eat half-cooked corn on the cob?

Yes, you can.

People cook their corn differently. Some people prefer their corn kernels hard, while others prefer them soft. If you prefer it half-cooked, you can stop cooking the corn halfway through the cooking process.

How do you tell corn on the cob is done on the grill?

It takes 15 to 20 minutes to grill corn on the cob. When corn on the cob is done grilling, the kernels should have a bright yellow color. And there should be uniformity as well.

How do you tell corn on the cob is done in the oven?

The kernels of oven-roasted corn will look swollen and shiny.

There will be browned kernels as well. At this point, you can take the corn out of the oven. Leave it to cool before you serve.

Can you overcook corn on the cob?

Yes, you can.

When you cook corn for too long, it’ll come out chewy. You can avoid overcooking corn if you keep an eye on it while it’s cooking.


Can you fix overcooked corn on the cob?

No, you cannot. The best remedy would have been when you started cooking the corn. Overcooked corn is still edible but chewy.

Why is your corn on the cob still hard after cooking?

Corn on the cob will remain hard after cooking if the corn is too old.

As corn dries out, the sugars convert to starch, and the kernels become very hard.

How do you know that corn on the cob is still fresh?

Fresh corn on the cob should look fresh, bright yellow, and have an earthy smell. If you notice a rancid smell, mold growth, or a slimy texture, the corn is going bad, and you should discard it.


If you always ended up burning your fingers trying to check if your corn on the cob is ready, sorry about that. But you can be sure that it’s not going to happen again.

When next you’re boiling or roasting corn on the cob, carefully examine the corn and watch out for these signs. Keep an eye on your corn to prevent it from becoming overcooked.

Thanks for reading.

Want to become a kitchen expert? Visit Millenora to read more helpful articles.