Creamy Corn Salad

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Jalapeño popper-inspired Creamy Corn Salad has grilled corn, jalapeños, and green onions. This salad has a creamy cheese-filled dressing with plenty of spices! Crispy bacon and fresh cilantro top everything off.

Pair Creamy Corn Salad with grilled chicken or grilled steak and make it a meal with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts.

Overhead image of Creamy Corn Salad.

Last summer, my mom tore out a recipe for a creamy corn salad from a magazine and gave it to me to make (a subtle hint, perhaps?). Well, she moved right after that, so I never did get around to making it for her before she left. While she didn’t ever get to try it, I’ve made it for my family a few times this summer and they can’t get enough of it! I can’t wait to make it for her the next time I see her (and corn is in season) because I have no doubt she’ll love it too.

The corn is crisp, the dressing is creamy, and the salad has a delicious smoky flavor. I’ve changed it a bit the last few times I’ve made it and knew it needed a place here on the site. Thanks, mom and Taste of Home for this craveable Creamy Corn Salad!

Process shot-- Image of the grilled corn on the cob and the kernels being removed for Creamy Corn Salad.

How to grill corn on the cob

While a lot of grilled corn recipes call for the husk to be left on, I prefer shucking and removing the leaves and silk first. Below are the steps to grilling corn on the cob for Creamy Corn Salad.

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (about 400 degrees F).
  2. Prepare the grill by cleaning with a grill brush to remove any built-up residue and then oiling the grill. I do this by drenching a rolled-up paper towel in vegetable oil and then rubbing it on the grates right before adding on the corn.
  3. While the grill is preheating, shuck corn and remove all silk strands.
  4. Rub vegetable oil all over the cob and sprinkle with fine sea salt.
  5. Place the ears of corn directly on the prepared grill rack and cook (with the lid closed) for about 12-20 minutes, flipping 4 times total, every 3-5 minutes.

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 seasonings and sour cream mixture that goes with this recipe.

Creamy Corn Salad dressing

The “dressing” for this salad is made up of sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese, plenty of spices, sharp Cheddar cheese, and pepper jack cheese. It’s packed with flavor and reminiscent of a favorite on the website: elote! Here are a few quick tips:

  • Make sure cream cheese is softened: If it’s cold, it won’t mix properly into the other ingredients (it will be lumpy!). Soften at room temperature for at least an hour or microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. The cream cheese should be easy to stir.
  • Use freshly grated cheese: Pre-shredded packaged cheese has a cellulose coating that keeps it from clumping together. Because of that cellulose coating, it doesn’t mix in this dressing as well or taste as good.
  • Add plenty of spice: Not all spices are created equal. Depending on the spices you use and personal spice preferences, you may want less or more of what is written in the recipe. Add gradually and taste often. Make sure to taste after the salad is finished for any additional seasoning needed.

Process shot-- Image of the sour cream dressing all mixed together in a bowl.

Creamy Corn Salad variations

  • Not a fan of spice? Replace the jalapeños with green bell pepper (grill the pepper– directions are on this steak fajitas post!). To further reduce the spice, replace pepper jack cheese with Monterey jack cheese.
  • Don’t have an outdoor grill? Use a grill pan to prepare the corn on the stove instead! Alternatively, you can use this guide to cooking corn on the cob. You can use canned corn in this salad, but it will lack a bit of texture and flavor.
  • Want a vegetarian salad? Leave out the bacon; no replacement needed!
  • Don’t like cream cheese? If you’re not a fan, it’s fine to leave it out. You may want to slightly increase the mayo and sour cream addition. The salad tastes slightly less creamy without the cream cheese, but it’s still scrumptious.

Up-close image of a chip being dipped into Creamy Corn Salad with cilantro on top.

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Creamy Corn Salad

5 from 5 votes
JJalapeño popper-inspired Creamy Corn Salad has grilled corn, jalapeños, and green onions. This salad has a creamy cheese-filled dressing with plenty of spices! Crispy bacon and fresh cilantro top everything off.
Print Recipe

Creamy Corn Salad

5 from 5 votes
JJalapeño popper-inspired Creamy Corn Salad has grilled corn, jalapeños, and green onions. This salad has a creamy cheese-filled dressing with plenty of spices! Crispy bacon and fresh cilantro top everything off.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword creamy corn salad
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings, as a side
Calories 461kcal
Cost $5.72

Ingredients

  • 8 ears fresh corn on the cob grilled, cooled, and cut from cob (about 4 cups)
  • 4 green onions grilled and chopped
  • 2 small jalapeño peppers grilled and diced
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream (fat free works great!)
  • 1 cup good-quality mayonnaise
  • 2 ounces full-fat cream cheese (only 2 ounces, don't use the entire container), softened (lower fat/reduced fat tends to get watery)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon roasted garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (use smoked paprika for a smokier flavor)
  • 1 cup freshly grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated pepper jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup cooked and crumbled center-cut bacon
  • Freshly diced cilantro optional

Instructions

  • GRILL: Preheat grill to medium heat (400 degrees F). Shuck corn and discard silks. Drizzle corn, green onions, and jalapeños with olive oil and then lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub the oil and salt/pepper into all sides of the veggies. 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).
  • GRILL CONT.: Add the corn, green onions, and jalapeños 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. 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.
  • DRESSING: Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream and mayonnaise. Make sure cream cheese is at room temperature (if necessary, microwave for 30 seconds to a minute and whisk with a fork until smooth and easy to stir). Add into the sour cream and mayo mixture. Add in all of the spices: cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, and paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper ( I add about 1/4 teaspoon of each). Stir until dressing is smooth. Grate cheeses: extra-sharp cheddar and pepper jack. Add to the dressing and stir.
  • FINISH: Thinly slice charred green onions, dice the jalapeños and add to salad. Cut the corn off the cob (see video for how I do it -- lay on the side and cut down -- use a sharp knife) and add to the salad. Stir together and taste -- adjust seasoning to taste and serve with crumbled bacon and fresh cilantro on top.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 727mg | Potassium: 539mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1086IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 368mg | Iron: 2mg

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Yummy salad. I forgot to roast the jalapeño and green onion. It was still really good. I served cilantro in the side, as I hate it. Love this recipe though! Thank you!!

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