How to Remove Corn from the Cob (Without Making a Mess)

Take advantage of one of the summer's most popular vegetables by learning how to cut corn off the cob.

Cutting corn off the cob after bringing it home fresh from the market yields a delightfully sweet flavor that frozen or canned corn can't deliver. Sweet corn season runs roughly from May through September, depending on where you live, so stock up once you start seeing it at your market. Buying local is ideal for sweet corn because of its short shelf life.

Choose ears with plump, milky kernels that run all the way to the tip in tightly packed rows. As soon as the ears are picked, the sugars start converting to starch, reducing the corn's natural sweetness. To get the best flavor, cook or blanch and freeze corn the day it's picked or refrigerate up to 1 day.

Here are our easy steps to get corn off the cob and ready for eating.

Prep the Corn

Pull the husks and silks off the ear of corn with your hands; do this section by section. Once the husks are removed, use a stiff brush (or this handy corn desilker, $3, Amazon) to remove the remaining silks. You can also do this by hand, but it's a bit tedious.

Steady the ear of corn with one hand and face the stem away. Use a sturdy chef's knife to cut off the stem. This gives you a safe base to keep it stable for cutting. Rinse the ear.

Buy It: Zwilling Gourmet 8 in. Chef's Knife, $60, Williams-Sonoma

Person placing corn in water on stove
Scott Little

Blanch the Corn

You can skip this step if you plan to cook and serve the corn right away. However, blanch the ears first if you want to freeze cut corn. Before cutting corn off the cob:

  • Bring a large pot of water to boiling. Have a large bowl of ice water ready.
  • Place a few ears of corn at a time in the boiling water. Cook 4 minutes.
  • Using tongs, remove the corn and immediately plunge it into the ice water until cool. Drain excess water from the ears over the bowl before removing corn from the cob.
Person cutting corn off of cob
Andy Lyons

How to Cut Corn Off the Cob

Place an ear of corn, cut side down, on a cutting board (try this Farberware Nonslip Bamboo one for $8, Walmart), holding it near the top of the ear. Using a sharp knife ($135, Sur la Table), start at the top and cut downward with a gentle sawing motion, cutting corn off from the cob at about two-thirds the depth of the kernels. Continue cutting corn off the cob until all of the corn is removed. If you're the type who likes to use kitchen gadgets, try this easy, mess-free corn stripper ($7, Amazon) instead of your knife.

Test Kitchen Tip: When using fresh corn for recipes, one ear of corn equals approximately ½ cup corn cut off the cob.

use bundt pan to cut corn off cob
Andy Lyons

How to Cut Corn on the Cob Using a Bundt Pan

Using your bundt pan (such as this Wilton Fluted Tube Pan for $12, Walmart) is a handy trick for how to remove corn from the cob without kernels flying. All you have to do is place the cob's tip in the tube pan's center hole. Once secured, cut down the sides of the corn with a sharp knife. The kernels will fall into the pan instead of all over your counter. If using a nonstick pan, be careful not to scratch the interior. But even if you do knick the pan, it shouldn't be a big problem since baking cakes won't touch this part of the pan.

To Freeze Cut Corn

Add blanched and cooled cut corn to freezer-safe bags or containers with a measuring cup. Squeeze the air from the bags and seal. Label each bag or container with contents, amount, and date. Freeze up to 8 to 10 months.

Cooking Fresh Cut Corn

To enjoy your fresh corn cut off the cob, bring a small amount of salted water to boiling in a small saucepan. Add 2 cups cut corn, cover, and cook for 4 minutes. Or, to microwave, place 2 cups cut corn in a casserole dish with 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, covered, at high power for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring once. Drain corn.

Now that you've learned how to cut corn off the cob, try those fresh, sweet kernels in your favorite corn recipes. Stir them into a steaming pot of corn chowder, whip up some fresh corn cakes for an appetizer, or add them to fresh salsa for a quick snack.

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