How to Freeze Corn in Three Simple Steps

open bag of uncooked frozen corn
How to Freeze Corn So It LastsQwart - Getty Images

[table-of-contents] stripped

If there's a veggie staple that I couldn't live without, it's corn. There are dozens of things you can do with corn. I love it all times of the year.

When it's in season, we'll drive out to the country looking for roadside stands or—if we don't have time—haunt our local Saturday farmers' market, looking for the one with the biggest pile and the longest lines. (Trust a crowd to know what's good.)

Sweet corn in season is so good that, when it's ripe enough, you don't even really have to boil it. You can just eat it off the cob, and it's perfect.

Out of season, of course, I do what most everyone does: rely on the bags of frozen kernels for Thanksgiving's corn pudding or to put in a warm chicken soup on a wintry day.

But that corn isn't necessarily purchased from the supermarket. One of the smartest and easiest things you can do is buy a whole bunch of local sweet corn when it's in peak season, and then freeze it all for later! It's simpler and more straightforward than canning, and it's an easy way to ensure you have great-tasting corn all year.

Best Method: How to Freeze Fresh Corn

To ensure that your frozen corn looks and tastes its best, you want to follow a three-step process: 1. Blanch it. 2. Shock it. 3. Cut it.

Though other sites might suggest skipping one or more of these steps, we find that the results aren't as great. Here's how we recommend doing it.

a person cooking food in a pot
Charlyne Mattox

Step 1: Blanch the corn in boiling water for 1 to 3 minutes.

All raw vegetables have enzymes in them that will make them turn soggy and fall apart when they are frozen and then thawed. Blanching, or briefly boiling them, stops this process.

a bowl of food
Charlyne Mattox

Step 2: Shock the corn in ice water for 1 to 3 minutes.

You don't want to entirely cook the corn before freezing. It will then be overdone when you cook it later. So, shocking the corn— placing it in ice water—stops the cooking process.

a person cutting a cake
Charlyne Mattox

Step 3: Cut the corn off the cob.

Remove the corn from the ice water, pat it dry, place it on a clean surface, and— using a sharp knife—cut off the kernels. Then, simply place them in a well-labeled bag and put them in the freezer.

a person putting cheese on a sandwich
Charlyne Mattox

Voilà! You have the season's freshest corn, frozen and ready to use in all manner of recipes throughout the year.

Got more questions? Hopefully these answers will help.

frozen corn in bag in freezer close up
Qwart - Getty Images

Can You Freeze Corn on the Cob?

Yes, technically, you can! But the bigger question is: Would you want to? Frozen corn on the cob doesn't boil or grill well; the kernels are shriveled or burst from the freezing and thawing process.

You can cut the frozen corn off the cob and cook with it that way, but it's much more difficult to cut cobs of frozen corn. In short, you'd be saving a small amount of time on the front end and causing more headaches and work on the back end. And the cobs themselves are just taking up extra freezer space. That's why we recommend cutting it off the cob before freezing.

Can You Freeze Corn Without Blanching It?

Again, technically, yes! It's your house and you can do as you like. But we don't recommend it. The blanching process may seem like an unnecessary step, but it really does keep frozen corn from turning mushy and falling apart when you cook with it.

If you're not convinced, try a side-by-side test! Freeze a small batch of unblanched corn, and then try blanching and freezing a second batch. Take them out, and steam them both. We found that the blanched corn is much more appetizing, but, of course, you may feel differently.

How Long Does Frozen Corn Last?

According to the USDA (our go-to source on food safety) frozen food of all kinds is safe to eat more or less indefinitely. That doesn't mean that it will taste great indefinitely, but it won't make you sick.

The biggest enemies of food in the freezer are air and moisture. Air will dry out food, causing it to look desiccated. Moisture will turn in to ice crystals, causing freezer burn and affecting the flavor.

The more tightly you wrap your food, the longer it can last, but—in general—you should expect frozen corn to last about 10 to 12 months at most—and by that time, you should have fresh corn in season again!

Do You Thaw Frozen Corn Before Cooking?

If you're using frozen corn in soups, casseroles, or baked goods, you don't! You can simply stir the frozen corn straight into the liquid or batter and proceed. Generally, because frozen corn is so small, it won't take long to thaw out and won't affect cooking times much, if at all.

If you're making something like a corn salad, where the recipe calls for uncooked kernels, you can simply let the corn thaw, and then use it.

Corn-and-Ham Risotto

Photo credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner, Food Styling By: Marian Cooper Cairns and Lindsey Fine Lower
Photo credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner, Food Styling By: Marian Cooper Cairns and Lindsey Fine Lower

Corn-and-Bacon Fritters

Photo credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Photo credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Creamy Chicken Soup with Corn

Photo credit: Brian Woodcock
Photo credit: Brian Woodcock

Corn Salad with Bacon and Honey

Photo credit: Dana Gallagher
Photo credit: Dana Gallagher

You Might Also Like