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Sep 7, 2009 02:12 PM

Knife Skills: Slicing Corn Off the Cob

I'm making sweet corn soup today, which required slicing 8 cobs of corn. I used my handy-dandy chef's knife, put the base of the cob on the cutting board and sliced down 5 or 6 times around the cob, then held the cob at an angle with the tip pointing down to get the top kernels I missed. I got my corn, but frequently the knife slipped and I ended up with half-kernels (not a problem for this use, but something I'd like to avoid in the future), and by the end of the operation the counter, the floor and I were all covered in little corn fragments. There's got to be a better way! What is it?

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  1. I have used two methods:
    One-get large bowl and a small bowl. Place the small bowl upsidedown in the large bowl. Place cob on top of small bowl and slice down. The large bowl collects the flying kernels.
    See method here:
    Two-cut the corn on a large cutting board and tilt the cob slightly as you slice down. It reduces the flying kernels significantly.

    1. Try cutting the cobs in half first so you have two small cobs with flat ends. Place the flat end down on the cutting board so you have a stable base and use a sawing motion to ensure that the knife doesn't slip leaving you with half kernels and corn bits all over the place. You might try using a serrated bread knife if a chef's knife isn't working well.

      Happy cutting!


      1. have not tried it but I hear that using a bundt pan is the way to go - put cob in the center hole and slice down, kernels fall into the pan.

        3 Replies
        1. re: elfcook

          I love the bundt pan method. It solves the flying-kernel problem, and because the cob is lodged in the little hole in the center pillar of the pan, it's really stable, so I can control my knife more easily. It also makes milking the cob a cinch.

          1. re: litchick

            An angel food pan is even better, i you have one, since it's easier to empty and get the milk out.

            Do not hold the knife blade parallel to the counter. Angle the point downward and start slicing at the tip, moving the blade to one side as you slice downward, so that by the bottom of the cob, the tang end of the blade is doing the cutting. Much less force this way, and the knife glides easily down the cob.,

            1. re: greygarious

              That's exactly how Jacques Pepin has said to do over the years, i.e. using the entire blade of the knife. More recently he demonstrated it in one of these episodes:


              Sorry don't remember which one. But I've had pretty good success since trying my best to ape him do it.

        2. If you don't mind the pieces not looking quite so pretty, it works just as well to lay the corncob on its side and slice down that way... the kernels don't fly around nearly so much because they have less distance to travel to the board.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kajikit

            This is how I do it most often. I've stood them up in a bowl and the cutting board but the cleanest way is on it's side on the board. I then scrape the milk out with the spine of the knife.

          2. I have always just used one bowl, on the large side, and haven't had kernels flying all around the kitchen. Nor do a cut the cobs in half, I use a whole one, but what does seem to help is use a serrated knife and a sawing action.