Like the iconic street food version, creamy, tangy dressing coats this delicious Mexican Corn Salad. It’s packed with Mexican flavors & just a hint of heat!
I love the vibrant colors and tastes of Mexican Corn Salad. Just like Grilled Mexican Street Corn Salad found on food carts south of the border, this salad celebrates the thriving tradition of Mexican street food. The tangy dressing pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the corn and veggies and is inspired by elotes, or street corn, served from countless roadside stands and food carts across Mexico.
Like the Mexican Corn Salad allrecipes lists, this recipe has a hint of heat that you can easily adjust. Of course, you can get creative and put your own spin on it. A popular variation on this dish is to create Mexican Street Corn Salad with avocado by simply adding chopped avocado.
This dynamic salad is easy to make, has bold flavors, and is a fabulous addition to any Mexican themed meal or even a summer BBQ or potluck!
How to Make Mexican Corn Salad
One of the most important steps in making Mexican Corn Salad is to char the corn. It ensures that you get that authentic grilled Mexican Corn Salad flavor. Begin by heating oil in a heavy skillet. Add the corn and onion until you have lightly charred the corn.
Then, add in the garlic and jalapeno for the last minute or so of cooking. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. While that cools, make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together. Mix the cooled corn with the tomatoes and radishes. Use just enough dressing to cover the salad and gently fold to coat.
Top with cilantro, pepitas, and cojita cheese. As a side note, making Mexican Corn Salad vegan is a snap! Just swap out the dairy products for vegan friendly equivalents!
What To Serve This Salad With:
Forget Taco Tuesdays, let’s go for an all out Mexican bonanza! Keep the street food theme running and make your own Sopes! My Carne Picada and Carne Guisada are perfect toppings to the Sopes or premade tortillas. Fire up the grill and take the party outside with Mexican Pollo Asado. Of course, you can never go wrong with a big pan of Beef Enchiladas! Mexican Corn Salad makes a winning combo with any of these dishes!
Can This Salad Be Ahead Of Time?
Much like the Mexican Street Corn Salad allrecipes puts out, this salad is really best assembled just before serving. I find that the flavors pop when prepared that way. However, you can make it up to a day ahead of time. When I’m pressed for time, I prep the veggies beforehand and store them in individual containers. I keep the dressing separate until it’s time to serve. You can mix it together in a flash for maximum flavor and convenience!
Recipe Notes for Corn Salad:
Corn: A lot of recipes for this salad call for using a certain number of ears of corn. There can be a significant difference in the size of each ear, and the amount of corn on them, so, rather than guess how much actual corn is on the cobs YOU’RE using I call for a specific amount of corn. This means you can use it off the cob if you want, but the recipe also works great with frozen corn. I would suggest partially thawing it before putting it in the skillet so it won’t take as long to brown.
Cotija: The cotija cheese we find in the U.S. is usually a little softer than what you’d find in Mexico (which is similar to a Parmesan). What I find in my grocery store is closer to the texture of feta, so you can substitute with that if needed.
Different brands of either Cotija or Feta cheese will contain varying amounts of salt. With most brands, I do not need to add any salt to the finished salad.
Heat: There’s a ½ tsp. of cayenne in this salad, which isn’t for the faint of heart. You can use less, according to your taste, or substitute a little paprika or chili powder. Want to up the heat more than the cayenne and hot sauce? You can use the suggestion of the Mexican street corn salad Serious Eats published and add a chopped jalapeno or two. These can be tossed in with the onions to toast a little or added as-is.
Cilantro: Speaking of green, to make this Mexican Corn Salad recipe cilantro really isn’t optional. I know people either love or hate this citrusy-herb, but I always recommend trying it until you like it! J If you’re allergic or there’s some nationwide shortage, you can substitute flat leaf parsley, but you’ll want to use about half as much since parsley adds bitterness you don’t want in this recipe.
Sour Cream vs. Crema: Like the street corn, and other corn salads, I make my Mexican Corn Salad recipe with mayo, but I also use sour cream. In Mexico, they’ll use crema, a less acidic but higher fat version of sour cream, so this emulates that and provides a little extra tang. There’s also lime juice and zest, which leaves pretty little green flecks in the dressing and adds concentrated lime flavor.
Serving: Everything has so much flavor already there’s no need to refrigerate this salad before serving. I actually prefer to serve it right after mixing it all together since the flavors seem to be the strongest when they’re closer to room temperature, but you can certainly serve this Mexican Corn Salad cold (it can even be made a day ahead).
Mexican Corn Salad Recipe
This Mexican Corn Salad Recipe is just like a little slice of Mexico in your kitchen! I’ll bet it becomes one of your regular go-to sides for taco night and beyond!
SAVE THIS MEXICAN CORN SALAD
TO YOUR MEXICAN FOOD OR SALAD BOARD FOR LATER
WE’D LOVE TO BE FRIENDS ON PINTEREST! WE’RE ALWAYS PINNING TASTY RECIPES!
Mexican Corn Salad
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 (15-ounce) bags corn kernels, thawed and well drained
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 4-5 radishes thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 lime zested and juiced
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 10 ounces cojita crumbled
- 3/4 cup pepitas
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- In a large, heavy bottom skillet, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Add corn and red onion and cook, until corn is slightly charred, about 5-7 minutes.
- Turn heat to low and add garlic, and jalapeno and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cooled corn, cut tomatoes, and radishes.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients until they are well combined.
- TO SERVE: Add just enough of the dressing to coat the cooled corn mixture and gently fold.
- Taste. Add more dressing if desired (You may have some dressing leftover). Pour salad out on a serving platter.
- Sprinkle the top of salad with cojita, pepitas, and remaining 1/2 cup cilantro. Serve
More Yummy Corn Salads To Consider:
Roasted Corn Salad
Charred corn and veggies come together with a tangy dressing in this delicious Roasted Corn Salad.
Frito Corn Salad
This quick and easy salad doubles as a dip and appetizer! Frito Corn Salad combines crunchy corn chips with a creamy corn and veggie mixture.
Corn And Tomato Salad
Full of veggies and bursting with freshness, Corn and Tomato Salad is fantastic summer salad that you can easily adjust based on what’s fresh in the store or your garden!
Black Bean Corn Salad
When the sun goes down, you’ll find carts full of crispy, cinnamon-dusted churros and one of the most well-known Mexican street foods: elotes or street corn. These are whole roasted or grilled ears, skewered and slathered in a creamy, salty schmear of mayo or Mexican crema, lime juice, cilantro, and cheese crumbles. You can also find a Mexican street corn salad (esquites), which is similar but served in a cup for easier eating.
Mexican Street Corn Salad
To mimic Mexican street corn, though, the kernels really need to be charred. Roasting or grilling the corn grounds this dish and gives it a warm, subtle smokiness and caramelized sweetness. Feel free to use grilled corn leftover from a weekend cookout, but otherwise browning the kernels in a skillet will produce great results.
More Mexican Dishes:
More Salad Recipes: