This Mexican street corn salad is one of my all-time favorite summer sides. Fresh, bright, lightly creamy & spicy, it's easy to make and sure to please.
This Mexican street corn salad is my at-home version of all the elotes we ate in Austin. Creamy, tangy, and a bit spicy, it’s one of my favorite ways to showcase summer sweet corn. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know that fresh corn is one of my all-time favorite foods. Crisp, juicy, and sweet, you just can’t beat it. Of course, I’ll always love it straight off the cob, but this Mexican corn salad takes it to a whole new level.
Mexican Street Corn Salad Recipe Ingredients
If you’re not familiar with them, elotes are Mexican grilled corn topped with mayonnaise, hot sauce or chile powder, lime, and Cotija cheese. I used them as inspiration for this spicy, crisp, and creamy Mexican corn salad. It only has 1o ingredients, so each one adds something essential. Here’s what’s in it:
- Grilled corn is my starting point. It’s sweet, lightly charred, and juicy – delicious!
- Mayo gives the corn a lightly creamy coating.
- Lime juice and zest make it bright & zingy.
- Garlic & scallions add sharp, oniony accents.
- Cotija cheese dots it with tangy, salty pops of flavor. If you can’t find Cotija, use feta instead.
- Cilantro adds freshness.
- Smoked paprika underscores everything with a smoky depth of flavor. Chili powder works too!
- Jalapeño spices it up. Try pickled jalapeños for a fun variation!
- And sea salt ties it all together.
To make this salad, grill the corn on the cob and mix together the mayo, lime juice and zest, and garlic in a small bowl. Cut the corn kernels off the cob and add them to a bowl along with the scallions, Cotija cheese, cilantro, smoked paprika, and jalapeño. Fold in the dressing, and it’s ready to go.
You can serve this Mexican street corn salad just after you make it, although I love it best after it chills for a bit. Consequently, it’s a great make-ahead option for cookouts and picnics!
Mexican Corn Salad Serving Suggestions
This salad is a great one for making ahead, so bring it to any cookout on your calendar. It’s excellent with classic picnic fare like veggie burgers, BBQ sandwiches, black bean burgers, or portobello burgers.
It would also be a good addition to a Mexican-themed dinner. Serve it with any of these recipes:
- Rainbow Veggie Fajitas
- Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas
- Grilled Avocado with Veggie Ceviche (Stuff the corn salad into the avocados instead of the ceviche!)
- Jamaican Jackfruit Vegan Tacos
- Avocado Sweet Potato Tacos
- Or any of these 11 best vegetarian taco recipes!
If you have leftovers, add them to a DIY burrito bowl with cilantro lime rice and dressing, guacamole, black beans, pico de gallo, and mango or tomatillo salsa. Don’t forget the margaritas to drink!
More Favorite Summer Salads
If you love this Mexican corn salad, try one of these summer salad recipes next:
- Best Broccoli Salad
- Easy Pasta Salad
- Rainbow Orzo Salad
- Asian Slaw
- Cherry Tomato Couscous Salad
- Or any of these 37 best salad recipes!
Mexican Street Corn Salad
- 4 ears fresh corn, husked
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
- 1½ tablespoons mayo, (or vegan mayo)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- ⅓ cup chopped scallions
- ¼ cup crumbled Cotija, or feta cheese
- ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika or chili powder
- 1 jalapeño, diced*
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Brush the corn with olive oil and grill for 2 minutes per side, or until char marks form. Remove from grill and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the mayo, garlic, and lime zest and juice. Slice the kernels off the corn and add to the bowl along with the scallions. Stir to coat, then add the cheese, cilantro, smoked paprika, jalapeño, and salt. Season to taste and serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.
So delicious we made it two nights in a row! The second time, I doubled the recipe. Didn’t use jalapeños and subbed onion powder and garlic powder to make it more palate-friendly for someone who can’t stand seeing onions in his food. This is definitely a winner!
I’m so glad you loved it!
This was a big hit with us.
I served this with spicy shrimp tacos and everyone loved it. Perfect accompaniment. Hat off !
Just made this and it is delicious. Love having a dish that I can make before guests arrive and tastes good at room temperature.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
I made this for a dinner last night and it was such a hit!! everyone was asking for the recipe. Adding the bbq corn and bbq’d jalapenos was very crucial
I’m so glad it was a hit!
I was wondering if I can make this 2 days ahead of time? I am going to a bbq and have a lot of other things to prep ahead of time….. or should I just wait and make it the night before?
Hi Emily, you can – I’d leave the cilantro off until you’re ready to serve. I hope you enjoy!
Delicious! I used nonfat plain Greek yogurt instead of the mayo. I also subbed fresh corn for 2 cans of corn, drained and rinsed, and heated on the stove prior to adding to the salad.
Would it be a bad idea to use canned sweet corn? My grocery story is out of fresh corn!
Hi Abby, it’s best with fresh corn – a great recipe to make in the summer when it’s corn season. We have so many other great salads! https://www.loveandlemons.com/recipes/salad-recipes/
Made this for my daughter’s birthday picnic in October. Got some of the last fresh corn in the market. It was wonderful and everyone loved it. Put it together the night before and it carried well to our picnic. Everyone wanted the recipe.
I’m so glad everyone loved it!
I made the Mexican Street Corn Salad last night for a small get together. Needless to say my husband and I are bummed that there was no leftovers!
I only added 1/2 the jalapeño pepper and then added a 1/4 roasted red pepper. Added color and flavor.
Thank you for sharing. I have sent the recipe to those who enjoyed so much.
Hi Jan, I’m so glad you all loved it!
I’ve now made this 3 times. There is only one problem – even when I triple the recipe, there is never ANY left over! Adults, teens and kids alike!
It’s too simple and way too good. Our summer favorite, for sure! The only thing I change is the jalapeno pepper – I use Hungarian peppers because we have a bumper crop this summer!
Ha, I’m so glad everyone has loved it!
I made this last night for dinner with my in-laws. There wasn’t nothing left because it was so delicious! I tweaked the recipe by adding 5 ears of locally picked corn . I carried the corn slightly longer. Added a dollop of fat-free plain Greek yogurt and used regular paprika instead of smoked and left out jalapeño as I needed to make it mild. Also added a half of a chopped red pepper for some added pretty color. Next time I’d like to try it spicy! This recipe is definitely a keeper ! 😊
Hi Lori, I’m so glad everyone loved it!
This was delicious!!
I’m so glad you loved it!
Wanted to make this for the weekend but we are a mayo intolerant household.
Should I just add extra lime juice and cheese or sub in something like Greek yogurt or sour cream?
Hi Jenna – yep, any of those options you just mentioned will be just fine!
This salad was simply delicious! We enjoyed it very much and even our preschoolers ate it! I will be making this on repeat this summer!
Aww, I’m glad it was such a hit with everyone 🙂
Just made this and it was so easy and tasted excellent! Thank you!
Thanks! It was delicious!
When should the garlic come out?
sorry! just pull it out before you serve!
Hi. Tried making this salad but the cheese melted into a goo-ey mess. How long should i wait for the corn to cool down before adding the cheese? Thx.
oh weird – feta and cotija cheeses don’t really “melt” so I’ve never run into that. Let it cool until it’s room temp, and maybe reduce the mayo and that’ll help make it more fresh and crisp.
Jeanine, I am planning on making this salad tomorrow for a pre-fourth of July party (the best kind!). Do you think that it would still taste okay if I made it in the morning, refrigerated, and then served later that night? Should I add the cheese just before serving?
Hi Lauren… It should be ok, I would add the cheese just before serving. If you’re using fresh corn, I think it’ll hold up well and will retain a crunchy bite. Maybe cook the corn slightly less than you would otherwise, since it’ll get a little mushier after it sits in the fridge.