Home Side Dish Mexican Street Corn Salad

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Mexican street corn salad has the perfect balance of smoky, spicy, tangy and creamy flavors. It’s light, colorful, and ideal for summer grilling.

Also known as esquites or elote en vaso, this is about to become your new obsession! 

It has the same incredible taste and textures as the classic street food, but it’s turned into an easy-to-eat salad. How can you beat that?

Overhead view of Mexican street corn salad with cilantro, onions, and garnished with lime.
WANT TO SAVE THIS RECIPE?
Enter your email below & we'll send it straight to your inbox.

Why You’ll Love This Mexican Street Corn Salad

Eye-Catching Presentation: The vibrant colors from the corn, red onion, jalapeno, and cilantro make this dish visually appealing, adding a festive and appetizing touch to any meal spread.

Texture Extravaganza: The combination of charred corn kernels, creamy dressing, and crunchy extras makes this super exciting and textural.

Easy Preparation: The recipe is straightforward and quick, requiring minimal cooking skills and easy-to-find ingredients. So it’s excellent for novice and experienced cooks alike.

Corn, cilantro, chopped jalapeno, chopped red onions, and crumbled cheese in a glass bowl.

Ingredients

  • Fresh Sweet Corn: Grilled, fresh corn just can’t be beat! But you can use frozen or canned in a pinch.
  • Olive Oil: Brushed on the corn to get it sizzling.
  • Red Onion: Diced for a sharp, peppery bite that balances the corn’s sweetness.
  • Jalapeño Pepper: Finely chopped for a spicy kick. Seed it first to tame the heat.
  • Garlic: For a touch of aromatic depth.
  • Mayonnaise: Creates a lusciously creamy dressing that coats every kernel.
  • Cotija Cheese: This salty, crumbly Mexican cheese brings an authentic street corn taste.
  • Fresh Lime Juice: A bright burst of citrus that makes all the flavors pop.
  • Chili Powder, Smoked Paprika, and Salt: A triple threat seasoning blend for savory, smoky, spicy notes.
  • Chopped Fresh Cilantro: A generous sprinkle adds fresh, herbal flavor and a pop of green color.
Vibrant Mexican street corn salad, featuring cotija cheese and a zesty lime dressing.

How to Make Mexican Street Corn Salad

Elote is a beloved street snack. Warm, roasted corn slathered in creamy sauce and crumbly cheese is pretty hard to beat, after all.

Or is it? With these simple steps, you get all that goodness without the mess!

1. CHAR the corn on the grill or in a skillet. 

2. MIX with the rest of the ingredients until everything is well combined. 

3. SERVE warm or cover and chill until ready to eat. Enjoy!

Irresistible Esquites, garnished with crumbled cotija cheese and chopped green bell peppers.

Tips For the Best Mexican Street Corn Salad

Whether you serve Mexican street corn salad as a side, appetizer, or main, this vibrant dish is guaranteed to steal the show. 

The best part? It comes together in under 30 minutes.

Check out these tips, then let’s get to it!

  • Char the corn. For the best flavor, grill or char the corn before cutting the kernels off the cob. This adds a smoky, caramelized flavor.
  • Fresh substitutes. If fresh corn is out of season, you can use frozen or canned corn kernels. Thaw, drain, and pat dry before charring in a skillet.
  • Cotija substitutes. If you can’t find cotija cheese, use crumbled feta, queso fresco, or parmesan. It won’t be quite the same, but it’ll still be yummy!
  • Adjust the spice. I usually add 2-3 jalapeños because we like it spicy. Start with one and go from there if you’re unsure. 
  • Dairy options. For a lighter salad, use Greek yogurt in place of some or all of the mayonnaise.
  • Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad. Cook 1 pound of pasta to al dente, drain well, then toss in the dressing with the warm corn. I suggest also adding an extra 1/4 cup of mayo, sour cream, or cream cheese to the dressing. 
  • Make ahead. This salad can be prepared several hours in advance. Toss with the dressing right before serving for the best texture.
  • Variations. Add black beans, diced avocado, tomatoes, or bacon for different variations on the classic recipe.
  • Serving ideas. Serve as a side dish with tacos, fajitas, grilled meats, or as a dip with tortilla chips.
Creamy Mexican street corn salad with with lime and chopped red onions.

How to Store

Once you try this Mexican street corn salad, it’ll quickly become your new summer staple. It’s fresh, flavorful, and completely addictive.

Here’s how to keep it fresh:

To Store: Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Give it a stir before serving to redistribute the dressing. 

To Make Ahead: Grill and cut the corn, make the dressing, and cut/dice the extras. Store everything separately in airtight containers for 1-2 days, then mix well just before serving. 

Note: I don’t recommend freezing this as the creamy dressing will turn watery after thawing. 

More Corn Sides You’ll Love

Honey Cornbread Muffins
Honey Butter Skillet Corn
3-Ingredient Ranch Cornbread
Frito Corn Salad

WANT TO SAVE THIS RECIPE?
Enter your email below & we'll send it straight to your inbox.

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Course: Side DishCuisine: Mexican
Servings

4-6

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Calories

205

kcal

Mexican street corn salad has the perfect balance of smoky, spicy, tangy and creamy flavors. It’s light, colorful, and ideal for summer grilling.

Ingredients

  • 4 ears fresh sweet corn, husks removed (about 4-5 cups of corn)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/2 cup diced red onion

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese (or feta), plus more for garnish

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  • Grilled corn: Brush the corn with olive oil. Grill over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred on all sides. Let cool slightly, then use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cobs into a large bowl.
  • Fried corn: Alternatively, cut the kernels off the cobs or use frozen/canned corn (thawed and drained). Pan-fry in a large skillet over medium-high heat until lightly charred. Let cool slightly then transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add the diced red onion, jalapeño, garlic, mayonnaise, cotija cheese, lime juice, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, and cilantro to the bowl. Toss until everything is evenly combined and the corn is well coated.
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with additional cotija cheese, a sprinkle of chili powder, and extra fresh cilantro, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Dairy options. For a lighter salad, use Greek yogurt in place of some or all of the mayonnaise.
  • Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad. Cook 1 pound of pasta to al dente, drain well, then toss in the dressing with the warm corn. I suggest also adding an extra 1/4 cup of mayo, sour cream, or cream cheese to the dressing. 

Did you like the recipe?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 2

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Thanks!

Share on social media:

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

Leave a Comment