Fresh Family Meals Made for Everyday Life

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Recipe At-A-Glance
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Gluten-Free45 min
This Mexican street corn salad can be whipped up in no time. It’s a quick summer side dish with a satisfying balance of spicy, savory, and sweet.
A serving bowl of finished mexican street corn salad garnished with cilantro leaves and a lime wedge.

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Mexican street corn salad is the perfect summer side dish! With the creamy mayonnaise, crunchy sweet corn, spicy chili powder, and tart lime juice, this corn salad is an explosion of tastes and textures. It’s a quick and easy grilled side that brightens up picnics and adds some zest to both indoor and outdoor summer get-togethers.

Close view of a full spoon of corn salad held above a serving bowl of salad in the background.

What is Mexican street corn?

Mexican street corn is a Mexican side dish that is often sold by street vendors in Mexico. Vendors grill the corn,  and then it’s slathered in mayo, lime juice, cilantro, chipotle chili powder, and cotija cheese. Keep in mind, we’re not an authority on Mexican cuisine since we aren’t Mexican, but you can learn more about this dish from Isabel over at Isabel Eats.

What is this corn salad made of?

This is a super simple fresh corn salad recipe that consists mainly of corn and spices. You probably have most of the ingredients at home already, but there are a few that you may have to make a quick run to the store to pick up. To make corn salad, you’ll need:

  • Fresh corn on the cob—The corn is the main part of this salad.
  • Avocado oil—You can substitute this with melted butter or olive oil.
  • Mayo—The creamy base that holds this salad together.
  • Hot sauce—Use any variety you want—I use Cholula.
  • Lime juice—You can use freshly squeezed limes or bottled lime juice.
  • Smoked paprika—This spice enhances the smoky grilled flavor.
  • Chili powder—Chili powder adds some mild, savory spice.
  • Cojita cheese—This is a tangy, salty Mexican cheese made from cow’s milk.
  • Salt and pepper—Salt enhances all the other flavors in this dish.
  • Red bell pepper—Raw veggies add some fresh flavor and crunch.
  • Red onion—Make sure you use red onions instead of yellow or white. Red onions are more mild and better suited to being eaten raw. 
  • Cilantro—Cilantro adds a distinctive flavor to this corn salad.

Wholefully Protip

If you’re having difficulty finding cojita, you can substitute in feta cheese. It has a similar salty flavor, although cojita cheese is more tangy and may even have hints of a pineapple flavor, depending on the season it was made in.

Overhead of ingredients needed to make mexican corn salad, including fresh corn, red bell pepper, lime, and seasonings. Corn kernels stirred together with dressing mixture in large white mixing bowl.

Do you need to cook corn for salads?

This recipe calls for corn cooked on the grill. If you’re making it in the winter—or you don’t have access to a grill—you can steam or boil your corn. Cooking your corn before adding it to the salad makes it a little more tender, but it stays nice and crisp. I like using the grill because it adds another layer of flavor to the corn that screams summer!

Will frozen corn work here?

I recommend sticking with fresh corn on the cob. It guarantees that your corn salad is crisp and juicy. Plus, keeping the corn on the cob allows you to grill it, which adds another dimension of flavor.

Wholefully Protip

If you use frozen corn, thaw it first, then sauté it in some butter on the stove. I’d recommend sautéeing canned corn in butter on the stove as well. Frozen or canned corn won’t have the same fresh crunch as corn on the cob, but they’ll work in a pinch.

A spoon digs into a serving bowl of mexican street corn salad garnished with fresh cilantro leaves.

How do I make a corn salad?

One of the best things about this Mexican street corn salad is how easy it is to prepare. There are really only a few steps between you and a delicious summer side dish.

  1. Grill the corn on a grill preheated to medium-high heat after covering the cobs in avocado oil. The cobs will take fifteen minutes to cook, and they need to be rotated after ten minutes of cooking.
  2. Mix the spices, lime juice, mayo, and hot sauce.
  3. Cut the corn off the cob after it’s cooled for a while and mix the kernels in with the bowl of sauce.
  4. Add the peppers, onions, cheese, and cilantro to the salad and toss to coat.

You can eat this summer salad right after mixing, or you can put it in the fridge to cool for an hour or two prior to serving.

What goes with corn salad?

Mexican street corn salad is a very versatile recipe that will go with pretty much anything. It pairs particularly well with other grill meals and it makes a great side to bring to a summer potluck.

If you’re searching for some perfect meals to pair with your corn salad, here are a few ideas.

Tight view of a large white serving bowl of creamy corn salad garnished with cilantro and a lime wedge.

Can you make this corn salad ahead of time?

Yes! Corn salad is the perfect make-ahead meal. If you’re planning on prepping this dish ahead of time, be sure to store it in two separate containers until you’re ready to serve. Put the corn kernels, onions, peppers, cilantro, and cheese in one container, and keep the mayo, spices, lime juice, and hot sauce in a separate one. This will keep your corn salad fresh and crisp.

How long will corn salad last in the fridge?

If you’re storing leftovers where you already mixed the ingredients together, your corn salad will last for up to three days in the fridge. Make sure to keep it in an airtight plastic or glass container. If you want your salad to stay crisp, keep the ingredients separate as outlined above.

Close view of sweet corn on the cob cooking on grill grates.

Can you freeze corn salad?

I wouldn’t recommend it. The corn in this salad is one of the few ingredients that would freeze well. Thankfully, it’s such a quick and easy dish to toss together that you don’t miss out on much by not freezing it.

One way to save time in the future would be to grill a bunch of the corn cobs ahead of time, cut the kernels off the cob, then freeze the kernels in an airtight container. When it comes time to assemble your salad, pull the corn out of the freezer and allow it to thaw completely. Then, mix in the rest of the ingredients for an easy and delicious side dish.

 

Tight view of a large white serving bowl of creamy corn salad garnished with cilantro and a lime wedge.

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This Mexican street corn salad can be whipped up in no time. It’s a quick summer side dish with a satisfying balance of spicy, savory, and sweet.

Ingredients

  • 6 fresh corn cobs, husked
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce (I used Cholula)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cojita cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Instructions

    1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, around 450 degrees. Brush your corn evenly with the avocado oil, then grill for 15 minutes, rotating after the first 10 minutes. Remove from your grill and set aside to cool.

    2. Meanwhile, combine the mayo, hot sauce, lime juice, smoked paprika, chili powder, and salt in a large bowl.

    3. Cut the cooled corn kernels off the grilled corn cobs, and place in the bowl. Stir to combine, then toss in the remaining ingredients. Serve!

Notes

  • This recipe keeps for up to 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. For super fresh tasting corn salad days later, combine the dressing ingredients (mayo, hot sauce, lime juice, paprika, chili powder, and salt) separately and wait until the day of to toss with the remaining ingredients.
  • The avocado oil can be substituted with melted butter if preferred.
  • You can use canned corn or frozen corn in place of fresh corn. Use 2 cans of drained, rinsed corn or roughly 3 cups of frozen corn that has been thawed.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 431Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 592mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 12g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

 

Kaitlyn Bain is a professional health and wellness writer with a passion for helping her clients educate their readers on healthy lifestyles. She loves cooking, reading, and exploring the outdoors on hikes with her family in Northern Ontario.

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