Mexican Corn Salad is a must-try side dishes now that grilling season is in full swing. Freshness and richness join forces in this delightful combination of fresh corn on the cob, crumbled cheese, and a creamy dressing.
This Mexican corn salad recipe takes its inspiration from elote, an ear of cheesy and spicy grilled corn on the cob in Mexican street food.
What is Corn Salad?
Mexican street corn salad is made with char-roasted corn as the foundation. Other ingredients include cotija cheese, olive oil, cherry tomatoes, and diced red onion and jalapenos.
Dressing for Corn Salad
Corn salad dressing is spiced with cumin, fresh chopped cilantro, and ancho chili powder (you can use whatever chili powder you have on hand). Smoked paprika is also a nice spice to toss in if you have it in your cupboard.
You have lots of options for other additions or substitutions in grilled Mexican corn salad.
- Toppings: Add some diced fresh poblano peppers, black beans or roasted red peppers to the salad.
- Cheese: A salted, aged crumbling cheese, is ideal, but Cotija might be hard to find, feta or queso fresco can be used instead.
How to Make Corn Salad
This recipe is quick and simple to put together. Even quicker when using leftover grilled corn from last nights barbecue! If you don’t have any leftover corn, start by char grilling corn on the cob. Toss some jalapeño cheddar burgers on as well!
- Pull back the husk on each ear, but leave attached, and rub off the silk.
- Using the husk as a handle, place whole cobs on the grill, turning every couple of minutes for about 10 minutes.
- When about a third of the kernels are partially charred, remove and use a sharp knife to slice them off the cob.
- Combine dressing ingredients.
- Combine the charred corn kernels (reserve a little for garnish) with remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
- Toss with dressing and refrigerate.
Cold Mexican corn salad should be served chilled, keep in the refrigerator for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend. It will keep for several days in the refrigerator but does not do well in the freezer.
Do You Have to Cook Frozen Corn for a Salad?
If you don’t have fresh corn on the cob, you can use frozen corn or microwave corn on the cob to make an easy Mexican corn salad. Frozen corn, like all freezer veggies, has been blanched in advance, so typically only requires thawing for use in a salad.
You could give it both of these a char treatment if you want by placing kernels on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and placing under the broiler for a minute or until the edges start to get some color.
Serve it alongside grilled BBQ chicken and an ice cold mango margarita for a tasty summer meal!
More Tasty Mexican Inspired Dishes
- Easy Taco Salad – a fresh and filling salad
- Salsa Chicken Casserole – 30 min meal!
- Ground Beef Enchiladas – a classic Mexican dish
- Cilantro Tomato Rice – made with a few ingredients already in your cupboard!
- Frito Corn Salad – ready in 10 mins!
Mexican Corn Salad
- 3 cobs corn
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- ¼ cup red onion diced
- 2 tablespoons jalapeno finely diced
- ⅓ cup cotija cheese or feta, crumbled
- 8 lime wedges for serving
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped
- ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- Combine all dressing ingredients and set aside.
- Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush corn cobs with olive oil and grill for 7-10 minutes, turning occasionally until lightly charred. Cool completely.
- Cut corn kernels off the cob and place in a bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients except lime and toss. Add dressing and toss to combine.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Top with additional cheese, cilantro and lime wedges if desired.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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I made this yesterday. It sounded a little strange but it was really delicious! I had 4 ears of corn so I used all of them and substituted smoked paprika for the chili powder. I will definitely be using this recipe again. When it was time to eat I forgot the limes. Looking forward to including them today!
I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe!
Great recipe. I would not change a thing!