15 Ways to Enjoy Fresh Corn OFF the Cob
We’re up to our ears in recipes for different ways you can use fresh corn kernels
Healthier, better-tasting meals are easier than you think with help from Yummly! Try it free now.
When I think of summer, I remember being very little and holding a large ear of corn with both hands. The butter would kiss my cheeks and I’d try to mimic the cartoons where they’d bite methodically like a typewriter: “Ding!” Here at Yummly, we love corn and want to eat it all year long. We’ll teach you how to shop for corn, get it off the cob for recipes that celebrate fresh kernels, and show you ways to save some for later.
Jump ahead to:
Note: The Yummly Meal Planner is available to paid subscribers.
How to source fresh corn
Source your corn as fresh and young as possible, from a roadside stand or farmers' market. The ear in the husk should feel soft and smell fresh with no off or moldy smells. The silk should be whispy white and not browned or wet; this end-tip will go bad first because it has the most exposure to air. Keep the husks on and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Shuck the corn at the store if you know you’re going to consume/prep it that day — plus, if they charge by the pound, you’ll save a few cents. When you shuck, keep an eye out for any sliminess or mold, but it’s ok if the corn kernels aren’t all the same color. Avoid pre-shucked corn, because you can’t tell when it was picked. (If that's all that's available, make sure you wrap it tightly with plastic wrap before storing or it will dry out, making the kernels chewy, starchy, and less flavorful). Corn begins to lose sweetness the moment it is plucked from the stalk, so try to consume it within three days. If you’re unable to find fresh corn, frozen is a cheaper substitute and eliminates prep time.
Being a city kid, I had no clue you could eat sweet corn raw until a recent camping trip to Pennsylvania. Before taking a bite of raw corn, wash it thoroughly because you don’t know if it has been sprayed with any pesticides. Fresh summer corn should taste sweet, milky, and crisp!
Prepping your corn
Blanching your corn preserves its flavor, brings out a bright yellow color, and makes it easier to slice. It’s also how most freezer corn is processed. To blanch, warm the raw corn for 1 minute in boiling water, then shock the ears in ice water to stop the cooking process and make it easier to handle. You can also grill it or cook large amounts in a cooler (just add boiling water).
How to cut corn off the cob
To remove the kernels from the corn cob, use a paring knife, not a chef's knife, for more control. Lob off the end for more stability, then stand the corn vertically and carefully saw downward with a sharp knife, cutting two-thirds of the way through the kernels to avoid the tough ends that attach to the cob. If you are less confident about your knife skills, cut the ear in half and cut downward. To keep the kernels from flying all over your cutting board, try nesting a small upsidedown bowl or a bundt pan inside a large bowl.
Once you’ve prepped your corn, you can get to cookin’ or flash freeze it for longer-term storage. For measuring purposes, each ear of corn yields around 1/2 cup of kernels. It’s best to saute frozen corn because it’s been blanched already. Add a bit of honey, sugar, or maple syrup to bring out more of the sweetness that may have been lost to the freezer, and salt them after you’ve turned off the heat to avoid losing moisture.
We’ve gathered a bushel of our favorite recipes for you to master, from easy, no-heat soups and salads to casseroles and sweets (if you dare to turn on your oven in the summertime).
1. As a topping for salads
For crunch and a pop of sweetness, sprinkle corn onto your salads.
2. In place of lettuce
Speaking of salad, swap out salad greens for a corn salad. Instead of a creamy dressing, this hearty version of a cobb salad uses lime and cilantro for a zesty finish.
Combine all of your summer favorites like peaches, tomatoes, and corn in this light and crunchy Panzanella. Simply toss everything and let it marinate for 30 minutes before serving.
4. Corn dip
Throw together this lightning-quick corn dip for a party. It can be served hot or cold with veggies, buttery crackers or tortilla chips.
5. Corn salsa
You might be familiar with elotes, or Mexican street corn. Meet its off-the-cob cousin, esquites. If you can find (or make!) crema instead of mayo, it’ll add a cultured sour note that plays well with the dulcet notes of sauteed corn.
7. Creamed corn
Creamed corn is one of the easiest side dishes you can make for your next meal. The butter and flour work together to create a roux that thickens up the heavy cream in this corn recipe.
8. …and use the leftover creamed corn for something new!
If you have leftover creamed corn, combine it with broth to make Chinese chicken and corn soup. This was a childhood favorite of mine because you pour a whipped egg into the hot broth to cook it into whispy spoonfuls. To take things in a completely different direction, use leftover creamed corn to make these easy hush puppies.
9. Corn chowder
Corn chowder is often spiked with a flavorful meat like spicy chorizo, but if you want to omit the meat, chilled corn soup is the way to go. Best of all, both recipes are easy to make-ahead. Just leave out the cream until you’re about to eat.
Don’t want to turn on the stove? Gazpacho to the rescue! All of the ingredients go into a blender and zip, you’re done!
Ignore Sylvester the Cat and your succotash will not suffer. When you combine a grain like corn with a legume like lima beans, it creates a complete protein. If lima beans aren’t your thing, edamame works just as well.
12. Corn casseroles
13. Corn-filled baked goods
Forget the diner; corn-studded hoecakes (a type of corn cake) and waffles are all you need and are easy to make at home. Or if you’ve already got a batter that you love, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh corn to it. It can swing savory or sweet if you add syrup or spiced compound butter.
14. Corn ice cream
To cool you off, churn sweet corn ice cream. It’s way better than storebought and only contains six ingredients.
15. Corn broth
I freeze leftover cobs to make broth. When I have 6 or so, I boil them in 12 cups of water for an hour. When removing the cobs after the broth cools down, scrape the sides with the edge of a knife to “milk it.” Corn broth plays perfectly in miso soup with scallion and tofu.
More summer meal inspiration
Explore more ways to enjoy corn and other summery foods in the articles below.