How many cups are in 2 ears of corn?

Corn is a popular vegetable grown around the world. It can be eaten fresh, canned, frozen, or processed into many products. An ear of corn refers to one cob with the kernels still attached. So how much corn is actually on an ear, and how many cups would you get from two ears?

Quick Answer

On average, one ear of corn contains around 0.5-1 cup of corn kernels. So two average-sized ears would contain approximately 1-2 cups of kernels.

How Many Kernels Are on an Ear of Corn?

An ear of corn contains hundreds of individual kernels arranged in rows going around the cob. The number of rows and number of kernels per row can vary depending on the corn variety.

Most corn varieties grow 16-20 rows around the cob, with 30-35 kernels per row. This works out to roughly 480-700 kernels per ear.

So-called “supersweet” corn varieties tend to have fewer rows and kernels per ear, around 12-16 rows and 20-28 kernels per row for 300-450 total kernels.

Kernel Size

In addition to the number of kernels, the size of the individual kernels also affects how much corn you get per ear. Kernel size can range from roughly 0.25 inches to 0.5 inches long.

Larger, fuller kernels will add more volume. Smaller, less developed kernels will yield less corn per ear.

Ear Size

The length and circumference of the cob itself also varies between corn varieties. Larger ear size means more rows around a longer cob, resulting in more kernels.

Corn ear size ranges from as short as 5 inches to as long as 10 inches. Circumference ranges from 2.5-4.5 inches around.

The combination of all these factors means that corn ears can hold anywhere from 200 kernels for small varieties to over 1000 kernels for large supersweet hybrids.

Volume of Kernels

Once the husk is removed, the volume of the kernels themselves depends on:

  • Number of kernels
  • Size of kernels
  • How densely packed the kernels are

Since an ear of corn contains several hundred kernels, the kernels are very dense when still on the cob.

For an average size ear, the kernels compress to around 1 cup total volume when still attached to the cob. Smaller or very large ears may be closer to 3/4 cups or 1 1/4 cups.

Effect of Husk

When the husk and silk are still on the ear, the total volume increases. The husk and silk add extra air space around the kernels.

With the husk on, an average ear of corn bulks up to around 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups total.

Volume When Kernels Are Cut Off

Once the kernels are cut off the cob, they become loose and spread out more. This increases the total volume compared to kernels still on the ear.

For an average ear of corn, removing the kernels increases the volume to around 1 to 1 1/4 cups.

So for two average ears, removing the kernels would give approximately 2 to 2 1/2 cups of kernels total.

Effect of Cutting Style

How the kernels are cut off also affects volume. Carefully slicing downward removes the kernels neatly. Slicing more haphazardly leaves some kernels partially attached, increasing the space between kernels.

Being less careful when cutting increases air space and ups the volume by an extra 1/4 cup or so per ear.

Weighing Kernels

Another way to measure the corn is by weight instead of volume. The weight of corn per ear ranges from 0.5-1.0 pound.

An average ear is around 3/4 pound. So two ears would be approximately 1 1/2 pounds.

Converting Weight to Volume

To convert weight to volume, keep in mind that 1 cup of fresh corn kernels weighs approximately:

  • 120-170 grams
  • 4-6 ounces

So 1 1/2 pounds of kernels would be approximately 2 to 2 2/3 cups after cutting from the cob.

Canned and Frozen Corn

For canned or frozen corn, the kernels are removed from the cob prior to processing. This gives a higher volume than corn on the cob.

One average ear of corn produces around 3/4 to 1 cup of canned or frozen kernels. So two ears makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

The packaging for canned and frozen corn may also list volume equivalents for reference. For example:

  • One 15 oz can = approx 1 2/3 cups kernels
  • One 10 oz box frozen = approx 1 1/2 cups kernels


So in summary, here are some guidelines for the volume of kernels from two ears of fresh corn:

  • Attached to cob: 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups
  • Cut from cob: 2 – 2 1/2 cups
  • Frozen/canned: 1 1/2 – 2 cups

The actual amount can vary based on the size of the ears and kernels, as well as how the corn is cut off the cob.

Weighing the kernels can also provide an estimate, with two ears providing approximately 1 – 1 1/2 pounds of corn.

When to Choose Corn on the Cob vs. Cut Kernels

Should you go with corn on the cob or remove the kernels? Here are some things to consider:

Corn on the Cob

  • Sweetest, freshest flavor
  • Fun, interactive eating experience
  • Less prep work required
  • Challenging to eat neatly
  • Harder to incorporate into other dishes

Cut Kernels

  • Easier to eat
  • Can be mixed into salads, salsas, etc.
  • Less messy
  • Kernels separate from cobs quickly
  • Can lose sweetness more quickly

So if you want the freshest taste and experience, go with corn on the cob. But cut kernels give you more flexibility in recipes.

How to Cut Kernels from Corn

If you do want to remove corn kernels from the cob, here is a simple method:

  1. Shuck corn by removing all husk and silk.
  2. Remove any stray strands of silk from the kernels.
  3. Place ear on a cutting board or plate to catch kernels.
  4. While holding the ear upright, slice downward along the sides of the cob with a sharp knife.
  5. Rotate and continue slicing to remove all kernels.
  6. Scrape the cobb with the back of the knife to release any remaining liquid and bits.

Be sure to slice from top to bottom in straight rows, rather than hacking randomly. This will give you neater, prettier kernels.

For safety, always securely hold the ear by the stem end as you slice. And slice away from yourself using just the tip of a sharp knife.

Corn Kernel Cutting Tips

  • Use a serrated knife for easiest slicing.
  • Chill corn briefly before cutting to make slicing easier.
  • Save cobs to make corn stock.
  • Freeze extra kernels for future use within a few days.

Uses for Cut Corn Kernels

Once you’ve removed those kernels, here are some delicious ways to use them:

Raw Corn Kernels

  • Salads
  • Salsas
  • Pico de gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Corn relish

Cooked Corn Kernels

  • Succotash
  • Corn pasta
  • Corn fritters
  • Cornbread
  • Corn chowder

So don’t limit yourself to just eating corn on the cob. Try some delicious recipes using those corn kernels too!

Storing Corn Kernels

Proper storage is important for preserving corn’s sweetness. Here are some tips:

  • Countertop: 1-2 days max
  • Refrigerator: 3-4 days in an airtight container
  • Freezer: 3 months to 1 year (blanch first for longest shelf life)

Freeze any kernels you won’t use right away. Thaw frozen kernels before using in recipes.

Can You Save and Regrow Corn Cobs?

If you want to regrow corn from a cob, it is possible by replanting the seeds left on the cob. Here’s how:

  1. Let corn dry on the stalk until kernels are mature.
  2. Harvest dried ears and remove most of the kernels, saving some attached.
  3. In spring, plant cobs 2-3 inches deep in soil outdoors.
  4. Water and allow several weeks to sprout before transplanting seedlings.

This method is not reliable compared to buying seeds, but it can produce a small corn patch if you have cobs to spare.

Comparisons of Corn Volume

To visualize how much corn you get per ear compared to common measures, here is a handy reference table:

1 Ear Corn With Husk Kernels Only
Small ear 3/4 cup 1/2 cup
Average ear 1 1/4 cup 3/4 – 1 cup
Large ear 1 1/2 cups 1 1/4 cups

Use this as a handy guide when portioning and substituting corn!

Fun Facts About Corn

Here are some fascinating facts about one of the most popular grains in the world:

  • Corn is a cereal grain that originated in Central America.
  • Archaeologists found 7,000-year-old corn cobs at sites in Mexico.
  • Native Americans cultivated and ate corn for centuries before European settlement.
  • The average American eats about 28 pounds of corn each year!
  • Iowa produces more corn than any other U.S. state.
  • Popcorn is a special variety that pops when heated.
  • Sweet corn is a genetic mutation that gives it extra sweetness.

Corn is truly an amazing and versatile plant that continues to be an essential food source!


An ear of corn contains anywhere from 200-1000 kernels depending on the size and variety. When cut off the cob, the kernels of one average ear produce around 3/4 to 1 cup fresh corn.

So for two medium ears, expect a yield of approximately 1 1/2 to 2 cups of kernels, or 1 to 1 1/2 pounds.

Corn is tastiest and sweetest when eaten fresh, so try enjoy it on the cob or cut it off for recipes and maximum flavor. Follow proper storage times, and sneak in some corn facts to impress your friends!

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