Mexican Corn Salad – Dinner at the Zoo

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This Mexican corn salad is corn kernels and vegetables tossed in a creamy lime dressing, then topped with cotjita cheese. A twist on the classic Mexican street corn that’s easy to eat and perfect for a potluck!

Corn salad is the perfect addition to any gathering, and this Mexican version features bold flavors like chile, lime and cilantro. It’s the perfect side dish to go with grilled chicken tenders or shrimp skewers.

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A bowl of Mexican corn salad topped with cotija cheese and fresh cilantro.

Corn on the cob is awesome as-is, but it’s even better when you add some other veggies and a creamy dressing to make Mexican corn salad. This corn salad is full of fresh and zingy flavors and is so easy to make.

How do you make Mexican corn salad?

It won’t come as a surprise that this recipe starts with plenty of corn. If corn is in season, you can slices your kernels off fresh cobs for the best results. If it’s not corn season but you still have a hankering for this salad, you can use frozen corn kernels that have been thawed. I’ve made this salad both ways and it always comes out great. The corn gets cooked in a little butter until it’s just started to char around the edges.

Sauteed corn in a skillet.

How do you get corn off the cob?

Cutting corn kernels off the cob can be a messy job because the kernels tend to bounce all over the place! You can buy a special tool called a corn stripper to make this task easier, or try placing the corn cob inside a large bowl as you cut to contain the mess.

The corn is then combined with red onion, bell pepper, fresh cilantro and jalapeno. You can remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapenos for a mild salad with very little heat. Or if you like spicy, leave some of those pepper seeds and ribs in the mix.

A salad bowl full of corn, red bell pepper, jalapeno, onion and cilantro.

The dressing is a creamy mixture of sour cream, mayonnaise and seasonings. It gives this salad that Mexican street corn style flavor without all the mess of trying to bite it off the cob.

A bowl of corn and vegetables topped with a creamy dressing.

The finishing touch is a sprinkle of cotija cheese. Cotija is a hard, crumbly Mexican cheese that can be found in many grocery stores If you’re unable to locate cotija, try using feta or parmesan cheese instead.

Mexican corn salad with red pepper, onion, cotija cheese and cilantro in a serving bowl.

What do you serve with Mexican corn salad?

I like to serve this salad as a side to some of my favorite grilled proteins such as

While Mexican corn salad is often thought of as a summer time dish, you really can make it all year round with frozen corn! I love that it’s simple, colorful, fresh tasting and of course super delicious.

Mexican Corn Salad

This Mexican corn salad is corn kernels and vegetables tossed in a creamy lime dressing, then topped with cotjita cheese. A twist on the classic Mexican street corn that’s easy to eat and perfect for a potluck!

Keyword corn salad, Mexican corn salad

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cups corn kernels fresh or frozen (thaw if using frozen)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 red bell pepper cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno seeds and ribs removed, then finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup cotija cheese finely grated

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a large pan over medium high heat.

  • Add the corn to the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes or until lightly charred. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • Let the corn cool to room temperature, then place it in a bowl with the red bell pepper, onion, jalapeno and chopped cilantro.

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, crema, mayonnaise, cumin, smoked paprika and chili powder. 

  • Pour the dressing over the corn mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with cotija cheese, additional chili powder, and additional cilantro, then serve. 

  • Salad can be stored, covered in the fridge, for up to 8 hours before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 187kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 388mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 20.3% | Vitamin C: 39.9% | Calcium: 6.1% | Iron: 4.7%

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