How many calories in a medium corn on the cob with butter?

Corn on the cob is a classic summer treat that many people look forward to when corn is in season. It’s crunchy, sweet, and delicious, especially when slathered with butter. But many health-conscious folks wonder just how many calories are in a corn on the cob, particularly one prepared with butter. Let’s take a closer look at the calorie count so you know exactly what you’re consuming.

A Quick Answer

A medium ear of corn on the cob with 1 tablespoon of butter has about 185 calories. This is based on the following nutrition information:

  • A medium ear of corn on the cob (boiled) has about 123 calories
  • 1 tablespoon of butter has about 62 calories

So when you add 1 tablespoon of butter to a medium boiled ear of corn, the total calorie count comes to around 185 calories.

Calories in Plain Corn on the Cob

Let’s start by looking at the calories in just corn on the cob without any added butter. Keep in mind that the calorie count can vary a bit depending on the size of the ear.

Here are the approximate calories for different sizes of plain boiled corn on the cob, without added salt or butter:

  • Small ear: 77 calories
  • Medium ear: 123 calories
  • Large ear: 165 calories

As you can see, a medium plain boiled ear of corn has about 123 calories. This is a good benchmark to use when estimating calories if you don’t know the exact size.

Nutrition Facts for Medium Ear of Plain Corn

Specifically, one medium ear of boiled corn without butter or salt contains around:

  • 123 calories
  • 5 grams protein
  • 28 grams carbs
  • 4 grams fiber
  • 0 grams fat

As you can see, corn is high in carbs but contains almost no fat when served plain. The majority of calories come from the natural sugars in the corn.

Factors Affecting Calorie Count

When estimating the calories in plain corn on the cob, keep in mind that the exact amount can vary depending on:

  • Size – Smaller ears have fewer calories than larger, fatter ears of corn.
  • Cooking method – Corn boiled in water will be lower in calories than corn grilled in oil or roasted with seasonings.
  • Added ingredients – Plain corn has fewer calories than corn with added butter, oil, salt, seasonings, or other flavorings.

To get the most accurate count, check labels with nutrition facts or weigh cooked corn and use a fresh food calorie counter to estimate.

Calories in Corn on the Cob with Butter

When butter is added to corn on the cob, the calories increase significantly. For example, here’s how the calorie count changes when 1 tablespoon of butter is added:

  • Small ear: 144 calories
  • Medium ear: 185 calories
  • Large ear: 227 calories

As you can see, even a small ear of corn ends up with over 140 calories when butter is added. The medium ear with 1 tablespoon of butter is around 185 calories.

Nutrition Facts for Medium Ear with Butter

Specifically, one medium ear of corn on the cob with 1 tablespoon of butter contains approximately:

  • 185 calories
  • 5 grams protein
  • 28 grams carbs
  • 4 grams fiber
  • 8 grams fat

The majority of the calories still comes from the natural corn sugars. But the butter adds a significant amount of saturated fat, bumping up the calorie count.

Amount of Butter Matters

The calories in corn on the cob with butter will vary depending on exactly how much butter you add. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Medium ear with 1 tsp butter: 150 calories
  • Medium ear with 1 tbsp butter: 185 calories
  • Medium ear with 2 tbsp butter: 245 calories

As you can see, an additional tablespoon of butter tacks on an extra 60 calories. Portion sizes matter when adding high-calorie ingredients like butter.

Type of Butter Used

You can also reduce calories a bit by using lower calorie butter alternatives, such as:

  • Whipped butter: 50 calories per tablespoon
  • Light butter: 35-40 calories per tablespoon

So a medium ear with 1 tbsp of light butter would have about 160 calories total.

Healthiest Ways to Eat Corn on the Cob

If you’re looking to reduce the calorie count of corn on the cob, there are a few simple tips you can follow:

  • Skip the butter and add other seasonings instead for flavor. Try a spritz of lemon juice, a dash of paprika, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, or fresh herbs.
  • Use cooking spray instead of pouring on butter. You’ll get the buttery taste with way fewer calories.
  • Swap out regular butter for a lower calorie whipped or light variety.
  • Measure butter carefully and stick to about 1 tsp per ear. No need to drown it in butter.
  • Season plain steamed or boiled corn with just a pinch of salt instead of butter.

With these easy substitutions, you can still enjoy sweet, summery corn on the cob without all the extra calories from generous amounts of butter running down the sides.

Making Your Own Low-Cal Corn on the Cob

It’s easy to make your own low-calorie corn on the cob right at home. Here are some simple steps to follow:


  • Fresh corn, unhusked
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper (optional)
  • Lemon wedges (optional)


  1. Remove husks and silk from corn and rinse under cold water.
  2. Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the corn. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Carefully place corn in boiling water and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Remove corn from water and season with a pinch of salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top for extra flavor.

And that’s it! You’ll end up with tasty low-cal boiled corn on the cob to enjoy. No buttery calories required.

Nutrition Facts

Here are nutrition facts for a serving of homemade boiled corn on the cob made with no butter or oil:

  • 123 calories
  • 5g protein
  • 28g carbs
  • 4g fiber
  • 0g fat

As you can see, boiled corn on its own is low in calories and fat free, while still providing filling fiber from all the complex carbs. Pair it with grilled chicken or fish for a healthy, summery meal.

Common Questions

Is corn on the cob fattening?

On its own, plain corn on the cob is not fattening. A medium ear only has around 123 calories and is low in fat. However, when you add high-calorie ingredients like butter or oil, the calories can quickly add up. Just one tablespoon of butter tacks on an extra 60+ calories. So corn on the cob with butter can become high in calories, but plain boiled corn is a healthy choice.

Is corn on the cob healthy?

Yes, corn on the cob is a healthy vegetable that provides important nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As long as you don’t add too much butter or oil, it can be part of an overall healthy diet. Corn contains beneficial plant compounds that may help reduce inflammation and risk factors for certain diseases.

Is corn high in carbs?

Yes, corn does contain a high amount of natural carbohydrates. A medium ear of corn has around 28 grams of carbs. However, it also provides 4 grams of fiber, which slows down digestion and prevents spikes in blood sugar. The combination of carbs, fiber, and plant nutrients makes corn a healthy choice as part of a balanced diet for most people.

The Bottom Line

A medium ear of corn on the cob with 1 tablespoon of butter has about 185 calories. This comes from around 123 calories in the plain corn and 62 calories from the butter. To lighten it up, skip the butter and season with herbs, lime juice, salt, or other spices instead. Or opt for low-calorie whipped or light butter. Enjoying corn on the cob in moderation can be part of an overall healthy diet due to all the beneficial vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds corn provides.

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