Food

Mexican Corn Salad Recipe

at a glance
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
5 from 1 vote

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Made with fresh corn on the cob, mayo, sour cream, poblanos, chili powder, and cotija cheese (plus a few other ingredients), this Mexican street corn salad is such a yummy side dish to serve at your next gathering!

a bowl of mexican street corn salad garnished with cotija cheese, cilantro, lime wedges, and tajin

Best Mexican Street Corn Salad Recipe

This Mexican street corn salad is really delicious, y’all. With mayo, sour cream, chili powder, lime juice, and cotija cheese (plus a couple other ingredients!), it’s really similar to elote (a popular Mexican street food made with fresh corn on the cob smothered in a creamy sauce and sprinkled with cheese and chili powder).

Served alongside other Mexican-inspired dishes that you love or a big, juicy, grilled hamburger, this Mexican street corn salad is a side dish that’ll truly be enjoyed by all! 

Mexican Street Corn Salad Ingredients

This corn salad includes all of the classic Mexican street corn ingredients but is made in scoopable, salad form. Here’s everything you’ll need:

all of the ingredients for a mexican street corn salad in groups on a very large cutting board
  • Corn – to start, you’ll need 4 large ears of corn with the husks removed. Feel free to use about 3 cups of frozen and defrosted corn if that sounds more manageable to you! Do note that if you’re using frozen and defrosted corn, you won’t need to grill it.
  • Poblano Peppers – you’ll also need 2 poblano peppers. Don’t worry, poblano peppers aren’t too spicy — they’re mostly just super flavorful! If you still aren’t sure, though, feel free to swap the poblano peppers for red bell peppers — that would be delicious. 
  • Avocado Oil or EVOO – you’ll brush the poblano peppers and ears of corn with either 2 tablespoons of avocado or extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Mayo – 2 tablespoons of mayo (THIS is our favorite store-bought brand!) help the corn salad to really hold together. 
  • Sour Cream – you’ll use 3 tablespoons of sour cream alongside the mayo to hold everything together and create a really delicious creaminess to the salad.
  • Lime Juice – a ¼ cup of fresh lime juice really brightens everything + adds a punch of acidity. Fresh lime juice is a must, so don’t go bottled here!
  • Chili Powder – 1 teaspoon of chili powder adds such a Mexican street corn flavor to the salad!
  • Salt – you’ll also need a ½ teaspoon of salt.
  • Cilantro – cilantro is ALWAYS a good idea in our book. For this Mexican street corn salad, you’ll need 1 bunch of roughly chopped cilantro.
  • Red Onion – ½ of a diced red onion brings a nice crunch and a bold punch of flavor.
  • Cotija Cheese – a ½ cup of cotija cheese (plus more for garnish, of course) finishes everything off beautifully. I mean, when is cheese *not* a good idea?

It isn’t! While both cotija cheese and queso fresco are white cheeses often used in Mexican cuisine, cotija cheese actually tends to have a much bolder flavor than queso fresco.  

Good question! If you can’t find cotija cheese, look for queso fresco, feta, or parmesan. While none of these are a perfect replacement, they’ll all get the job done!

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make Mexican street corn salad:

  1. Preheat the grill and brush the poblano peppers and corn with oil – to start, you’ll want to preheat the grill to medium-high heat, and then brush the poblano peppers and corn with the olive or avocado oil.
  2. Grill the poblanos and corn – once the grill is hot and ready, place the poblano peppers and corn directly on the grill grates, close the grill, and cook for 5 minutes. Then, flip the corn and peppers and cook for an additional 5 minutes with the grill lid closed, until the skin of the poblano peppers have blistered and the corn has grill marks.
  3. Cut the corn kernels from the cob and clean the peppers – once grilled and ready, cut the corn kernels from the cob and clean the poblano peppers. To clean the poblano peppers, peel the skin from the peppers once they are cool enough to touch, then split the peppers open and remove the seeds. Once clean, dice the peppers.
  4. Combine everything – whisk together the mayo, sour cream, lime juice, chili powder, and salt in a large bowl, then add the corn kernels, diced poblano peppers, cilantro, onion, and cotija cheese. Toss to combine! 
  5. Garnish and serve – garnish the Mexican street corn salad with additional cotija cheese and serve.

Note: this isn’t necessarily a *spicy* corn salad! If you want to increase the spice, though, you can use chipotle chili powder instead of regular, mild chili powder or by adding a jalapeno or serrano pepper to the salad.

2 blistered poblano peppers on the grates of a gas grill
a person peeling the skin off of grilled poblano peppers
a large whisk sitting in a glass bowl of sauce for a mexican street corn salad
2 husked cobs of corn with grill marks on a the grates of a gas grill
a person using a knife to scrape the seeds out of charred poblano peppers
the ingredients for a mexican street corn salad in a large bowl being mixed together with a rubber spatula
a person cutting the corn off of the cob using a large knife
the ingredients for a mexican street corn salad sauce in a large glass bowl next to a large whisk
a bowl of mexican street corn salad garnished with cotija cheese, cilantro, lime wedges, and tajin

Mexican street corn salad is slightly tangy from the sour cream, really creamy, and so yummy. The corn itself brings a touch of natural sweetness to the dish and the mayo, sour cream, peppers, and chili powder add a hint of savory spice. The punch of lime juice really brightens everything up and makes the finished dish really refreshing!

We just used regular ole ears of yellow corn here, but you can absolutely use frozen (and thawed) yellow corn kernels if you’d like. If you go that route, you’ll just skip the corn grilling part of the recipe! 

That depends on if you used whole ears of corn (like we did) or frozen and thawed yellow corn kernels. If you use ears of corn, you’ll need to cook them (which we chose to do on the grill), but if you use frozen and thawed corn kernels, you can leave them as is.

Yes! If you don’t want to grill, we’d recommend defrosting frozen corn kernels instead of using corn on the cob. Alternatively, you could boil or roast your corn on the cob. For the poblanos, you would broil them on high for 4-5 minutes per side, until the skin turns black and blisters. 

Serving Suggestions for Mexican Street Corn Salad

This Mexican street corn salad would make for a really delicious side at a gathering, pool party, outdoor BBQ, or even just as part of a regular family dinner. Here are our best suggestions for what to serve with it:

Don’t feel like just because this dish is a typical part of Mexican cuisine, you *have* to serve it with another Mexican dish, though! This street corn salad would be equally as delicious alongside grilled burgers or chicken breasts!

a bowl of mexican street corn salad garnished with cotija cheese, cilantro, lime wedges, and tajin

Yes, this salad would be great prepped in advance! The only thing we’d advise against is mixing up the cilantro ahead of time and waiting to sprinkle the cheese on top. The corn and peppers are sturdy enough to hold up to the dressing. 

If you have leftover Mexican street corn salad, simply store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

While the salad itself will stay good for up to 4 days, know that you may need to give it a good stir to reincorporate everything before enjoying.

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Mexican Corn Salad Recipe

By: Amber Goulden
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
This Mexican corn salad has all the flavors of classic street corn and is the perfect side for summer gatherings!

Ingredients  

  • 4 ears of corn husks removed (or about 3 cups frozen and defrosted corn)
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 2 tablespoons avocado or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • ½ cup cotija cheese plus more for garnish
  •  

Instructions

  • Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, then brush the poblano peppers and corn with the olive oil.
  • Place the poblano peppers and corn on the grill, then close the grill and cook for 5 minutes. Flip the corn and peppers and cook for an additional 5 minutes with the grill lid closed, until the skin of the poblano pepper has blistered and the corn has grill marks.
  • Cut the corn from the cob, then clean the poblano peppers. To clean the peppers, peel the skin from the peppers once they are cool enough to touch, then split the peppers open and remove the seeds. Once clean, dice the peppers.
  • Whisk together the mayo, sour cream, lime juice, chili powder, and salt in a large bowl, then add the corn, poblano peppers, cilantro, onion, and cotija cheese. Toss to combine, then garnish with additional cotija cheese and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • If you don't want to grill the corn, you can use frozen, defrosted corn instead and broil the poblano peppers. To do that, set your oven to broil on high, then cook the poblano peppers for 4-5 minutes per side until their skin turns black and blisters. 
Meet the Author
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Cassy Joy Garcia

HOWDY! I’m Cassy Joy and I am just so happy you’re here. I’m the founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Nutrition Consultant here at Fed and Fit. What started as a food blog back in 2011 has evolved now into so much more.
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  1. Kristen says

    Kristen —  08/04/2021 At 17:10

    5 stars
    This was so good my husband and I couldn’t stop eating it straight from the mixing bowl! We halved the recipe and it was the perfect amount for just us two. It’s the perfect summer side, so fresh yet hearty!

    • Brandi Schilhab says

      Brandi Schilhab —  08/06/2021 At 14:07

      I’m so glad you both loved it Kristen! Thanks so much for sharing this with us!

  2. Kathryn says

    Kathryn —  04/29/2022 At 13:07

    An easy alternative to grilling the corn (or using frozen) is to cut the raw kernels off the cob and saute them in olive oil on the stove. The raw kernels are really easy to cut off and you don’t have to wait for the ears to cool first. In my mind, it’s a really fast and simple way to keep the fresh corn flavor without firing up the old grill!

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  05/03/2022 At 02:32

      Thank you for sharing that tip, Kathryn! -Melissa

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