Mexican Corn Salad

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Fresh, bright, light, creamy, tangy and gently spiced Mexican Corn Salad. The perfect refreshing side dish with a bit of kick and creaminess, this easy side dish has just the right balance of contrasting textures and flavors.

Mexican Corn Salad is smoky, sweet, spicy and tangy - with just a hint of cheese. This easy and flavorful corn salad can be served warm or cold, as a side salad for BBQ dishes or Mexican-inspired mains; as a chip dip; or as a topping on tacos, enchiladas, or other favorite dishes.

Mexican Corn Salad Recipe

When I originally whipped up this Mexican Corn Salad recipe for my family, I was just riffing off of our favorite Mexican Elotes recipe, but since I always do some research before I share a recipe inspired by another culture, I found out that this is already a staple dish offered by Mexican street vendors.

Referred to as “esquites” – the “off the cob” version of elote, this Mexican Street Corn Salad is often sold in small cups from Mexican street vendors as an alternative to elotes which are whole cobs of corn roasted and seasoned with butter, chili and lime then drizzled with a mayonnaise-and—sour-cream-based dressing and sprinkled with or rolled in cojita cheese crumbles and cilantro.

It’s a spoon-ready and less messy alternative to Mexican street corn.

This easy and flavorful corn salad can be served warm or cold, as a side salad for BBQ dishes or Mexican-inspired mains; as a chip dip; or as a topping on tacos, enchiladas, or other favorite dishes.

Mexican Corn Salad is smoky, sweet, spicy and tangy – with just a hint of cheese. The acidity of the lime cuts through the richness of the homemade crema dressing, while the caramelized sugars and smokiness of the charred sweet corn contrast beautifully with the hit of spice.

It’s a wonderful alternative to a bland corn salsa (let’s admit it – most are bland) or that can of peaches and cream corn kernals most of us were raised on.

To make this recipe even easier, I recommend using a corn cob stripping tool or using this bundt pan hack.

close-up image of Mexican corn salad in a black bowl with ingredients to make it in the background

Mexican Corn Salad Variations:

  • Use taco seasoning or Tajin in place of the seasonings called for in the recipe
  • Use crumbled feta cheese or shredded Parmesan cheese if you can’t source cojita cheese
  • Sprinkle some juice from a jar of pickled jalapeños to add a bit of spicy tanginess
  • Add in chopped bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives or chiles
  • Add some protein with a can of drained and well-rinsed black beans
  • Omit or swap out the cilantro for parsley if you’re one of the unfortunate group who gets a soap taste from cilantro
  • Use yogurt instead of sour cream

Should I grill corn for Mexican corn salad? If you have extra time, you can grill or roast whole corn, but honestly, it doesn’t make a huge flavour difference (as much as some puritans will claim it does) and pan-frying the corn will still result in the same delicious salad.

Can I use frozen corn for Mexican corn salad? Yes! Simply rinse and ensure any chunks of ice are melted off before adding to a pan to toast.

Can I prepare Mexican corn salad in advance? Yes, Mexican corn salad is best if refrigerated for a few hours, can be made ahead or stored for up to 4 days.

How to store Mexican corn salad: If you need to prepare more than a couple days ahead, I recommend storing the dressing and vegetables separately to prevent the salad from becoming watery.

composite image showing an overhead image of Mexican corn salad in a black bowl along with ingredients to make it and two images showing how to prepare

Mexican Corn Salad Ingredients

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.

Tip: to make this recipe even easier, I recommend using a corn cob stripping tool or using this bundt pan hack.

labeled image of ingredients needed to make mexican corn salad

Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful

  • Cast Iron Skillet <– I love the versatility of a good cast-iron pan – you can make everything from eggs to dessert in them and they transition easily from the stove to the oven. This one is pre-seasoned and great for even heating
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Sharp Kitchen Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Large Spoon or Spatula
overhead image of Mexican corn salad in a black bowl with ingredients to make it in the background

How to Make Mexican Corn Salad

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.

in-process images of how to make mexican corn salad

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the corn. Stir and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until fragrant and slightly charred in spots.

in-process images of how to make mexican corn salad

Place the corn in a bowl. If you want to serve chilled, cool before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.

Stir in most of the red onion, jalapenos and cilantro, reserving some for garnish.

in-process images of how to make mexican corn salad

Stir in the mayonnaise and sour cream, then season with cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.

in-process images of how to make mexican corn salad

Add cojita cheese and lime juice, then stir until just combined.

in-process images of how to make mexican corn salad

Serve garnished with remaining red onion, jalapenos and cilantro.

Pin this Spoon-Ready Mexican Corn Salad for your next BBQ or Mexican dish night:

Fresh, bright, light, creamy, tangy and gently spiced Mexican Corn Salad. The perfect refreshing side dish with a bit of kick and creaminess, this easy side dish has just the right balance of contrasting textures and flavors.

Grab your free printable recipe card for our Mexican Corn Salad recipe:

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Yield: 4-6 servings

Mexican Corn Salad

Mexican Corn Salad
Mexican Corn Salad is smoky, sweet, spicy and tangy - with just a hint of cheese. This easy and flavorful corn salad can be served warm or cold, as a side salad for BBQ dishes or Mexican-inspired mains; as a chip dip; or as a topping on tacos, enchiladas, or other favorite dishes.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Corn Kernels
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 teaspoons Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon White Pepper
  • 1 Jalapeno, minced (deseeded if desired)
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 Red Onion, minced
  • 1/3 cup Cojita Cheese, or more to taste
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Lime Juice, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the corn. Stir and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until fragrant and slightly charred in spots.
  3. Place the corn in a bowl. If you want to serve chilled, cool before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
  4. Stir in most of the red onion, jalapenos and cilantro, reserving some for garnish.
  5. Stir in the mayonnaise and sour cream, then season with cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.
  6. Add cojita cheese and lime juice, then stir until just combined.
  7. Serve garnished with remaining red onion, jalapenos and cilantro.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 232Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 476mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 6g

Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.

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Mexican corn salad in a black bowl with ingredients needed to make the recipe in the background

I hope your family loves this easy Mexican street corn salad recipe as much as mine does!

For more ways to make veggies delicious, check out our full vegetable recipe collection here:

For more scrumptious side dishes, check out our full side dish recipe collection here:

For more delicious salads, check out our full salad recipe collection here:

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