Corn Salsa Recipe

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Bright, crisp, and fresh Corn Salsa with fresh corn on the cob, herbs, onions, adds in a bit of kick from jalapeños. Serve this salsa with chips for the ultimate summer appetizer!

If you’re not serving chips, pair this salsa with one of these chicken dinners: honey lime chicken, pineapple chicken, or cilantro lime chicken.

Overhead image of Corn Salsa in a bowl with a spoon on the side.

Welp, it must be the week of corn recipes, because I started the week sharing creamy corn salad, I’m sharing this grilled Corn Salsa today, and later this week I’ll be sharing an avocado chicken salad (updated to add the link) with — you guessed it — corn! 

But if you’re not a fan of corn on the cob, don’t worry; I have a few more summer recipes coming up and in the meantime, enjoy a teriyaki burger or the best taco lettuce wraps I’ve ever had! 

Process shot-- Image of all the ingredients for Corn Salsa in the bowl ready to be mixed.

Corn Salsa is easy to make and the perfect appetizer or side on a hot summer day. I made a similar salsa to top this taco chicken and it’s remained one of the most popular recipes on the site. While this recipe is easy to make, I do have a few tips (as always).

Corn Salsa tips

  • Fresh corn: Fresh corn is always going to be the best option for corn salsa; it tastes so much better and has a great crispness. I like to grill the corn first (see directions below), but you can also cut the kernels off the cob and add them to this salsa raw. If you’re grilling the corn you can also grill the jalapeño and green onions for a smokier flavor.
    • If you do choose to grill the corn or saute it, be sure to allow the corn time to fully cool before adding to the salsa.
  • Even sizes: Aim to cut each ingredient into similar sizes for uniformity and the best texture. 
  • Chill: After assembling, chill this salsa in the fridge so the flavors have time to meld and intensify.

Grill the corn: While you don’t have to grill the corn on the cob, it is incredible when grilled!

  • To grill corn on the cob: Peel off the husks and remove silk (discard both). Rub vegetable oil on all sides of the corn and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place on heated, cleaned, and greased grill (400 degrees F) and rotate every 3-4 minutes or until charred. Remove, let cool and then slice off the cob. You can also use this same method for a grill pan.
  • Alternatively, you can sauté corn in a skillet. Cut kernels from the cob and add in an even layer in a hot (heat to high heat) large cast-iron skillet 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until kernels are lightly charred. Remove and let cool completely before adding to the salsa.

QUICK TIP

How do you pick the best corn on the cob at the market? Look for green husks, slightly damp silks, and a moist, green stem. If you see dry brown instead of a lively green, the corn is probably old. Another way to identify old corn is to peel back the husk and look at the kernels. If you see indentations in each kernel, that means the corn is drying out–because it’s old.

Process shot-- Image of the dressing being poured over the Corn Salsa.

Variations

  • Spicy Corn Salsa: As is, this salsa is a medium to mild heat (depending on who you ask). To amp up the heat, add in some more diced jalapeños and increase the amount of chili powder in the dressing.
  • Canned Corn Salsa: While I don’t recommend canned corn for this salsa, it can work in a pinch. Canned corn isn’t as crisp or fresh tasting, so you may want to amp up seasonings in the dressing. 
  • Corn Salsa for tacos: If you want to add this salsa to tacos, this chicken tacos recipe has pretty much the same salsa on top, with a creamy dressing instead of the vinaigrette in this recipe.
  • For more acidity: Increase the lime juice (1 or so tablespoons) and/or add up to 1 more teaspoon of vinegar.
  • Corn Salsa with avocado: We LOVE adding diced avocado to this salsa. Chop a ripe, medium-sized avocado and stir it into the salsa — no other changes necessary!
  • Creamy Corn Salsa: For a creamier dressing on this corn salsa, try the dressing on this Mexican street corn pasta salad — it’s a reader favorite!
  • Other ideas: Chopped roasted red bell peppers (or fresh peppers), cooked and crumbled bacon, drained and rinsed black beans, chopped/diced tomatoes, fresh basil are all outstanding options.

Overhead image of Corn Salsa with a chip being dipped in it.

More salsa recipes

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Corn Salsa

5 from 9 votes
Bright, crisp, and fresh Corn Salsa with fresh corn on the cob, herbs, onions, adds in a bit of kick from jalapeños. Serve this salsa with chips for the ultimate summer appetizer!
Print Recipe

Corn Salsa

5 from 9 votes
Bright, crisp, and fresh Corn Salsa with fresh corn on the cob, herbs, onions, adds in a bit of kick from jalapeños. Serve this salsa with chips for the ultimate summer appetizer!
Course Salad, Side Dish, Snack, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Keyword corn salsa recipe
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chilling Time 20 minutes
Total Time 57 minutes
Servings 4 -6 as an appetizer
Calories 12kcal
Cost $3.38

Ingredients

  • 4 fresh ears of corn (~ 3 cups)
  • 1/2 medium red onion diced (~ 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro finely chopped (~ 1/2 cup, loosely measured after chopping)
  • 1 to 2 medium jalapeños finely diced (use 1 for mild-to-medium salsa or 2 for more spicy salsa; ~1/4 cup for mild)
  • 3 green onions thinly sliced
  • 2 juicy large limes (1 teaspoon zest, 1/4 cup juice)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH: chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, white sugar
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • Optional OPTIONAL additions: feel free to add in a diced avocado, 1 cup rinsed/drained black beans, diced red pepper -- whatever you'd like that's around 1 cup!

Instructions

  • OPTIONAL GRILL: Preheat grill to medium heat (400 degrees F). Shuck corn and discard silks. Drizzle corn (option: also grill the green onions and jalapeños -- See Note 1) with olive oil and then lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub the oil and salt/pepper into all sides of the corn. Prepare the grill by cleaning and then generously oil the grill (I drench a rolled-up paper towel in vegetable oil and, holding it with tongs, rub it over the grill grates). Add the corn to the heated grill over direct heat. Grill corn about 10-12 minutes total, rotating every 3-4 minutes until bright yellow and lightly charred. (Alternatively, cut raw kernels off the cob and use in salsa) Let grilled corn cool completely before cutting it off the cob.
  • CHOP: Add kernels to a large bowl (if you grilled them, allow to cool completely). Add in the finely diced red onion (See Note 2), finely chopped cilantro, finely diced jalapeños, and thinly sliced green onions. Toss gently to combine.
  • DRESSING: Combine the lime zest, lime juice, vinegar, chili powder, cumin, paprika, white sugar, and salt & pepper (to taste; I add about 1/2 teaspoon of each; DON'T add salt to the dressing if you salted the corn) in a Mason jar. Shake to combine. Pour over ingredients and gently stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate to marinate (allow flavors to intensify and meld) for 15-20 minutes. Stir and then serve!
  • STORAGE: Store in a bowl, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days. We like this salsa best the same day its made. Gently stir before serving any leftovers.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Drizzle jalapeños and green onions with olive oil and then lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub the oil and salt/pepper into all sides of the veggies. Grill green onions 1 minute, flip, and grill another minute or until lightly charred. Grill jalapeños 1-2 minutes, flip and grill another 1-2 minutes or until lightly charred. Remove veggies from grill and onto a plate to cool to room temperature.
Note 2: To take away the "bite" of red onions, chop and submerge them in a bowl or cup of ice-cold water. Let the onions sit for at least ten minutes (stir 1-2 times) and then thoroughly drain and add to the recipe.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 12kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 286IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

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Adapted from Food Network and my Loaded Sweet Potatoes

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14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    MMMmmm grilling this corn sure gives it an out of this world color – and probably flavor too! Can’t wait to find out

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