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Does cooked corn go bad?

Corn is a popular vegetable that is featured in many classic summer dishes. Unlike raw corn, which can last 5-7 days in the refrigerator, cooked corn has a shorter shelf life. So does cooked corn go bad? How can you tell if cooked corn has gone bad? What’s the best way to store leftover cooked corn?

Does Cooked Corn Go Bad?

Yes, cooked corn can go bad. The exact shelf life depends on how it was cooked:

Boiled Corn

Freshly boiled corn will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator. The corn kernels begin drying out after that, but may still be safe to eat for another 1-2 days.

Grilled Corn

Grilled corn has a shorter shelf life of 2-3 days. The dry heat of grilling causes the corn to lose moisture quickly.

Microwaved Corn

Microwaved corn will stay fresh for 3-4 days, similar to boiled corn.

Canned or Frozen Corn

Commercially canned or frozen corn that has been cooked can last significantly longer — up to 7-10 days after being reheated. The canning/freezing process helps preserve the corn.

How To Tell If Cooked Corn Has Gone Bad

Here are some signs that cooked corn has spoiled and is unsafe to eat:

Signs of Spoilage Description
Mold You may see furry mold growing on the corn, especially in humid environments. This mold can come in various colors like white, green, black, orange, etc.
Slimy Texture The corn kernels feel excessively soft or slimy.
Sour Odor The corn gives off a sour, unpleasant smell.
Discoloration The corn kernels look yellow, brown or grey, instead of their normally bright yellow.

As soon as you notice any signs of spoilage, it’s best to discard the corn. Don’t taste corn that smells or looks questionable.

What Makes Cooked Corn Go Bad?

There are a few reasons why cooked corn doesn’t stay fresh indefinitely:

Bacteria Growth

Like most cooked foods, corn is prone to bacterial growth after several days. Bacteria thrive in the moist, warm environment of cooked corn. E. coli, salmonella, listeria and bacillus cereus are bacteria that can contaminate corn and cause foodborne illness.

Moisture Loss

Cooked corn kernels quickly start drying out in the refrigerator. This moisture loss leads to texture changes, like chewy or shriveled corn.

Starch Retrogradation

This process causes the starches in corn to crystallize and lose their soft, creamy texture. Over time, retrogradation gives corn an unappealing gummy or crunchy consistency.

How To Extend The Shelf Life Of Cooked Corn

You can get the most out of your cooked corn by storing it properly. Here are some tips for keeping corn fresh longer:

Refrigerate Promptly

Don’t let cooked corn sit out at room temperature. Refrigerate leftover corn within 1-2 hours after cooking.

Store in Airtight Container

An airtight container like a sturdy plasticware or glass storage container prevents moisture loss.

Use Ice Bath

Plunging freshly cooked corn into an ice bath stops the cooking process so corn stays crisp. Drain before refrigerating.

Blanch Before Freezing

If freezing corn, blanch it briefly in boiling water, then in ice water to help it retain color and texture.

Portion Into Smaller Containers

Dividing corn into smaller shallow containers makes it chill faster in the fridge.

Keep Refrigerator Clean

Avoid cross-contamination by keeping fridge clean and free of old food spills.

How Long Does Cooked Corn Last In The Fridge?

In summary, here’s how long you can expect cooked corn to last in refrigerator temperatures of 40°F or below:

Type of Cooked Corn Refrigerator Shelf Life
Freshly Boiled or Microwaved Corn 3 to 4 days
Grilled Corn 2 to 3 days
Canned or Frozen Corn 7 to 10 days after reheating

Keep in mind that these timelines assume proper refrigeration and storage. Discard corn sooner if you notice any signs of spoilage.

How To Store Cooked Corn For Long-Term Use

For longer-term storage beyond 3-4 days, you can freeze cooked corn:


Blanch corn in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then immediately transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking. Drain and pat dry.


Place corn kernels in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze until solid, about 2 hours. Transfer to resealable plastic freezer bags.

Label & Freeze

Label bags with date and contents. Remove as much air as possible and seal. Frozen, blanched corn will last about 8-12 months.

Thaw Safely

Thaw frozen corn overnight in the refrigerator or in cold water. Cook thawed corn immediately and don’t refreeze.

Can You Freeze Cooked Corn On The Cob?

You can freeze whole ears of shucked corn, but the results are soggy and less flavorful. It’s best to freeze kernels for a better texture.


Like all cooked vegetables, corn has a limited shelf life. Properly stored fresh cooked corn keeps for 3-4 days in the refrigerator before quality declines. Refrigerate corn promptly after cooking and keep in an airtight container to prevent premature spoilage. Look for signs like mold, foul smell or sliminess, and discard corn immediately if you see any spoilage. For longer storage, blanch and freeze kernels. With proper handling, you can safely enjoy delicious corn while minimizing waste.