Mexican Corn Salad

Smoky, tangy, creamy, and utterly delicious, this Mexican Corn Salad recipe gets a mega flavor boost from some additional ingredients and is sure to be the star of the show at your next backyard BBQ, potluck, or family dinner!  Enjoy it as a side, salad, or appetizer.

mexican corn salad recipe street food cotija cheese feta crema sour cream roasted grilled peppers lime cilantro

Mexican Corn Salad brings showcases corn in the very best of ways and always reminds me why I love it so much.  Along with the roasted corn we are adding roasted peppers for a beautiful flavor boost.  The roasted veggies are tossed with other ingredients and coated in a savory, creamy dressing along with fresh lime juice that cuts through the smokiness and adds a bright and refreshing tang.  If you love a little heat, feel free to add some hot chili powder, chili flakes, or a squirt of hot sauce.  This Mexican Street Corn Salad recipe is one that you’ll want to keep on hand because you’re sure to get repeated requests for it!

What is Mexican Corn Salad?

Corn has been a staple crop in Mexico since it was first cultivated by the Aztecs.  Mexican cuisine enjoys multiple ways of preparing corn and Mexican corn salad, known as Esquites or Mexican street corn salad, has been a favorite tradition for many years.  A popular dish in various regions of Mexico, it is commonly associated with Mexican street food culture.  Street vendors grill or boil fresh corn and combine the kernels with ingredients like mayonnaise or crema, cheese, peppers, lime juice, and chili powder, each region having their own twists.  Now recognized and enjoyed worldwide, Mexican corn salad is served in Mexican restaurants as a side dish, appetizer, or salad.

What to Serve with Mexican Corn Salad

Mexican corn salad can be a versatile side dish and pairs well with a variety of mains.  Here are a few ideas for what to serve with it:

  • Tacos: Whether beef, grilled chicken, shrimp, fish or vegetarian tacos, the flavors in this salad will complement your tacos and a refreshing element to your meal.
  • Grilled Meats, Poultry and Seafood:  Serve this salad alongside grilled chicken, steak, pork chops, ribs, or seafood.  The refreshing flavors of the salad will balance the richness of the grilled meats and seafood.
  • Enchiladas:  This salad will add a fresh and crunchy element to your chicken, beef, cheese, bean, or vegetable enchiladas, providing contrasting texture and flavor.
  • Quesadillas: This salad pairs beautifully with any kind of quesadilla, adding a refreshing flavor element.
  • Fajitas: This cool and refreshing Mexican corn salad beautifully balances the heat and spiciness of the sizzling fajitas.
  • Mexican Rice and Beans:  Serve this salad with your rice and beans to round out the meal.  Add a protein or not for a satisfying vegetarian meal.
  • Cookouts or Barbecues: This salad makes the perfect side to your barbecued favorites like burgers, hot dogs, grilled vegetables and other BBQ and picnic favorites.

mexican corn salad recipe street food cotija cheese feta crema sour cream roasted grilled peppers lime cilantro

Mexican Corn Salad Recipe

Let’s get started!

First we’re going to roast the corn and the peppers.  I like to roast everything in the oven; it’s simple and hands-off.  Alternatively, if you prefer you can also grill the corn on the cobs whole and then cut the kernels off the cobs one they’re cool enough to handle.

  • Roast the Peppers:  Cut the peppers in half, toss them with a tablespoon of oil, and place them cut side down on a lined baking sheet.  Heat the oven broiler and place them roughly 6 inches from the broiler element.  Roast the peppers for about 10 minutes or until the skins are blackened and blistery.  Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let them sit for about 10 minutes until their skins come off easily.  Peel off the skins of the peppers and finely chop them.  Let cool completely.  Set aside.
  • Roast the Corn:  Toss the corn in a tablespoon of oil and spread it out on the baking sheet.  Place it under the broiler and roast for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they brown.  Stir in the garlic towards the end.  Let cool completely.  Set aside.

roasting chiles and corn

  • Combine Everything:  In a large bowl, add the mayonnaise, crema, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to combine.  Add the corn, peppers, green onions, and cilantro and stir to combine.  Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or lime juice as needed.  Add the crumbled cheese and gently stir to combine.  Let it sit for a few minutes before serving.  Serve at room temperature or chilled garnished with some extra cilantro.


mexican corn salad recipe street food cotija cheese feta crema sour cream roasted grilled peppers lime cilantro

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