Elevate your next picnic or barbecue with this Grilled Mexican Corn Salad! Smoky, sweet grilled corn is tossed with fresh lime juice, cilantro, red onion and cotija cheese for an easy, versatile side dish that everyone will love!

Mexican corn salad in a bowl with jalapeno on top

Summer means plenty of sun, relaxation, and maybe even a sandy beach if you’re lucky.  Not to mention outdoor barbecues on warm evenings, with some of the freshest, best foods of the season.  

Corn tops the charts on my list of the best foods of the season, and this Mexican Corn Salad is one great way to serve it up.

Mexican street corn, or elote, is a common Mexican street food.  It’s grilled corn on the cob rubbed with warm spices and coated with a creamy mixture of crema or mayo, and cotija cheese.  

It’s finished with lime juice for a nice pop of freshness, and it really doesn’t get much better! If you’re interested, try this classic Mexican street corn recipe.

I wanted to prepare classic Mexican street corn, but my family doesn’t like eating corn off the cob.  I decided to make a salad version instead, and I have to admit that I love it even more.

Street corn is so much easier to eat this way!  It’s not so messy and you can load it up with all the ingredients that you want!

My family actually did me a favor. πŸ™‚

Mexican corn salad in a white bowl with lime and cilantro

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • This Mexican corn salad recipe is packed with sweet charred corn and plenty of fresh flavor.
  • It’s an easy side dish that may be made in advance. It’s perfect for picnics and barbecues!
  • It’s gluten-free and vegetarian, and is easily customized to suit a dairy-free diet.
  • While fresh corn is recommended, this recipe may also be made with frozen corn. See recipe notes.

Recipe ingredients

This Mexican street corn salad includes basic ingredients that are easy to find at your local grocery store. Plus, you can customize it to your personal taste.

Mexican corn salad ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Corn. I recommend using fresh ears of corn for this recipe as the corn is the star, but frozen corn may also be used. See the recipe notes on how to prepare this corn salad with frozen corn. You may also use fresh pre-husked corn as a time saver, although it comes at a significantly higher price.
  • Lime juice. Be sure to use fresh lime juice as bottled just doesn’t have that fresh flavor.
  • JalapeΓ±o. To keep things mildly spicy, be sure to seed your jalapeΓ±o, or omit altogether if you’re spice intolerant. Substitute with your favorite chilis such as poblanos, anaheim or even roasted chili peppers.
  • Cotija cheese. Cotija is a crumbly Mexican cheese that’s salty in flavor, and is soft when fresh or hard when aged. If you can’t find it in your store, feta cheese is a good substitute. If lactose intolerant, omit and add avocado for creaminess.

How to make this recipe

This grilled Mexican corn salad couldn’t be easier to make.  The corn is rubbed with a simple rub, grilled until charred, and combined with the remaining ingredients.

Pro tip: If you’d rather not grill your corn, it may be boiled instead or frozen corn may even be used.

How to make Mexican corn salad collage
  1. Start by removing the husks and silk from the corn on the cob.  Rub the corn with a mixture of olive oil, cumin, smoked paprika and salt. 
  2. Grill for about 15 minutes until cooked and charred, then allow to cool until it’s easy to handle.
  3. Place on a cutting board and cut the corn kernels off of the cob and place in a medium bowl. Add the lime juice, cilantro, red onion and cotija cheese and toss to coat.

FAQs

Can I prepare this recipe in advance?

Yes, you can grill the corn up to 2 days in advance and assemble the salad just before serving.Β  Leftovers will keep in an air tight container for up to 3 days.

Can I use canned or frozen corn?

I recommend using fresh corn for this Mexican corn salad recipe as it is the star of the dish. If you don’t have access to fresh corn, I recommend using frozen corn over canned corn as it is frozen at its peak and it has a better texture. Simply thaw the corn, blot dry with paper towels and pan fry in olive oil for about 5 minutes until liquid has evaporated and the corn is cooked through and slightly charred.

How to serve this recipe

This Mexican corn salad recipe is extremely versatile and may be served a number of ways.

Recipe notes

  • Pro tip: While fresh corn is definitely the best for this recipe, frozen corn may also be used.  Thaw frozen corn and blot dry with paper towels.  Cook in a large skillet (cast iron works very well!) with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until cooked through and slightly charred, about 5 minutes.
  • Grill the corn up to 2 days in advance and assemble the salad when you’re ready to serve.
  • Store leftover salad in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Change things up by adding avocado, or toss with mayo or crema for a more traditional Mexican street corn salad!
Mexican corn salad topped with jalapeno, lime and cilantro

See these Grilling Recipes for more inspiration.

More corn recipes you’ll love:

If you make this recipe I’d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment and rating below, or tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Mexican corn salad in a bowl with jalapeno on top

Grilled Mexican Corn Salad

Grilled Mexican Corn Salad is packed with sweet, smoky charred corn and is bursting with fresh flavor. It's a versatile, easy side dish that's perfect for picnics and barbecues!
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Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ears grilled corn see my post on grilled corn on the cob and grill with husk off for maximum char; you will have about 4 cups of corn
  • 3 limes juiced
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup cotija cheese may be substituted with feta cheese

Instructions 

  • Combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, ground cumin, smoked paprika and salt in a small bowl. Rub the ears of corn with olive oil mixture.
  • Grill the corn following the instructions in my Grilled Corn on the Cob post. Remove from heat and let stand until cool enough to handle.
  • Place the corn on a cutting board and cut the kernels from the cob and place in a medium bowl. Add the remaining olive oil, lime juice, red onion, cilantro and cotija cheese, and toss until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Pro tip: While fresh corn is definitely the best for this recipe, frozen corn may also be used.Β  Thaw frozen corn and blot dry with paper towels.Β  Cook in a large skillet (cast iron works very well!) with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until cooked through and slightly charred, about 5 minutes.
  • Grill the corn up to 2 days in advance and assemble the salad when you’re ready to serve.
  • Store leftover salad in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Change things up by adding avocado, or toss with mayo or crema for a more traditional Mexican street corn salad!

Nutrition

Calories: 130kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 151mg, Potassium: 178mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 256IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 46mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

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