How Much Corn Is Really On Each Cob?

The U.S. grows a lot of corn. How much? According to the USDA, corn production for 2021 was a staggering 15.1 billion bushels, and the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report of September 2021 forecast the value of a bushel of corn at $5.45 with a projected 86 million acres of harvested area. Suffice it to say, that's a lot of corn fritters

Of course, not all that corn ends up on our tables. The USDA explains that much of the corn grown in the U.S. is destined to become livestock feed, and it's also used to produce ethanol as well as starch, sweeteners, oil, and alcohol.

Fresh corn has tons of applications in the kitchen, from elote (Mexican street corn) to delicious crab and corn chowder. Once those lovely ears of corn are shucked and all that pesky corn silk removed, you still face the task of cutting the corn off all the cobs until you get enough for your chosen recipe. But is there a trick for estimating how many ears of corn you'll need to obtain your desired amount of corn?

The average ear of corn has 800 kernels

Iowa Corn tells us that each ear of corn contains between 500 and 1200 kernels, and the average ear has around 800 kernels. According to the Kansas Farm Bureau, the average ear of corn has 16 rows of kernels, and a normal ear of corn will always have an even number of rows. But what does that mean in terms of a recipe?

Fortunately, you don't need to measure the yield of each ear of corn to determine the average yourself. There's a handy produce converter tool that does it for you. Their research showed that a medium ear of corn yields about ¾ cup of corn when it's cut off the cob. That means when your recipe calls for one cup of corn, you need slightly over a full ear of corn. Now that you know how much corn you can get from each ear, it's time to start experimenting with fresh corn in a range of recipes. Try adding some to your masa for tamales or to a delicious vegan taco salad.