Mexican Corn Salad is a wonderful fresh corn salad made for summer BBQ’s and Mexican feasts! It’s a giant salad form of Esquites, a corn street snack sold in cups on the streets of Mexico. Corn kernels are sautéed in butter and garlic until golden brown, then dressed in a creamy lime dressing and finished fresh coriander/cilantro and a hint of zing from Jalapeño. It’s outrageously and insanely good!
Mexican Corn Salad
This recipe generated a tizzy of excitement among my group of friends when I first started making it a few years back! Something a little different to the usual steamed-butter-slathered corn on the cob (and there is nothing wrong with that!!), it’s bright and colourful, and it’s a brilliant dish for sharing.
Mexican Corn Salad is essentially the giant salad form of Esquites which is a popular Mexican Street corn that is sold in cups by street vendors. And in fact, Esquites is the “off the cob” version of Elotes, the famous Mexican Street corn where cobs are grilled over charcoal before being slathered in a creamy-spicy sauce then rolled in crumbled cheese!
What goes in Mexican Corn Salad
Here’s what you need to make this corn salad:
The creamy dressing for Mexican Corn Salad
The dressing is a creamy mayonnaise based dressing with a lovely tang from lime juice and a savoury flavour boost from parmesan (this is the secret ingredient that gives this dish the wow factor!!).
You’ll find many versions use a lot more mayonnaise than I do. I prefer to use a mix of mayonnaise and sour cream to lighten it up a touch whilst still have a good amount of creamy dressing. This way we get the best of both worlds – lots of dressing but not overly rich! I use this for most of my mayo-based dressings, such as Coleslaw, Macaroni Salad, Broccoli Salad.
Fresh corn vs canned and frozen corn
This recipe will work with any type of corn BUT it is definitely best made with fresh corn because it browns the best when you sauté it in the butter and garlic.
How to cut corn off the cob
Here’s a tip for an easy way to cut corn kernels off the cob without the kernels flying everywhere! Just place an inverted ramekin in a large bowl OR use a bundt pan. Stand the corn cob on the ramekin then use a knife to cut the kernels off. The walls of the bowl / bundt pan will stop the kernels flying all over your counter!
How to make Mexican Corn Salad
This recipe starts off by pan frying the corn in butter and garlic until it’s tinged with gold, at which point you will need to summon the strength to not shovel spoonfuls of it straight into your mouth because golden brown buttery corn? YES!!!
But WAIT! It gets even better! While the corn is hot, add in the parmesan, mayonnaise, sour cream and lime and give it a good mix so the dressing melts and mingles with the butter on the corn and coats every kernel beautifully…
And lastly, we give it a hit of freshness with onion and coriander/cilantro, and jalapeño if you want a touch of heat, and finish with a sprinkle of Cotija (Mexican cheese like feta) if you happen to be fortunate enough to get your hands on it (which I am not) or feta, parmesan or goats cheese as a fallback.
To say my friends love this salad is an understatement. Whenever it makes an appearance, we’re in a situation where you have to eat fast, or miss out.
Literally. You snooze, you lose.
– Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Mexican Corn Salad
I urge you to use fresh corn if you can, but this is still super made with frozen corn. Wonderful side dish, especially for Mexican or South Western themed menus!
- 5 cups corn cut from the cob (~4 large ears) (or frozen corn, not thawed, Note 1)
- 2 tbsp / 30g butter
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (can cut down to 2 tbsp)
- 1/4 cup sour cream (or yoghurt)
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese , finely grated (Note 1)
- 1 tbsp Jalapeno , deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
- 1 cup coriander / cilantro leaves , roughly chopped
- 1 cup green onion , finely sliced (~2 stems)
- 1/2 red onion , finely chopped
- 2 – 3 tbsp lime juice , fresh (plus more to taste)
- 60g / 2 oz Cotija or Feta , crumbled (optional) (Note 2)
- Jalapeno slices, coriander/cilantro leaves, lime wedges , optional
Cut off kernels: Cut the corn off the cob (see photo in post or video for how I do this without getting corn everywhere!) If using frozen, do not thaw.
Brown corn: Melt butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and stir for 10 seconds. Add corn and cook for 5 minutes, stirring every now and then, until you get lovely golden brown bits and the corn is cooked and sweet (don’t stir constantly, harder to brown).
Season corn: Add salt and pepper halfway through cooking corn.
Toss with dressing: Transfer corn into large bowl. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice and parmesan. Toss well to combine – heat will “melt” dressing. Add coriander/cilantro, red onion, green onion and jalaepno. Toss again.
Serve: Transfer to serving bowl. Crumble over cotija/feta and garnishes of choice. Serve warm or at room temperature.
2. Cotija is a Mexican Cheese which is not available in Australia (to my knowledge). It’s like Feta but not as salty. It’s just a garnish, so it’s not essential.
3. Chipotle or Chili Powder – A touch of Chipotle or US Chili Powder would not go astray here. I don’t add them because I think this is super tasty as it is, but a little sprinkle mixed through or on top would be lovely.
4. Variations – Don’t feel obliged to strictly follow the recipe for the add ins. You could use normal onion instead of red (but cut it down a bit because it’s sharper) or eschallots, or just use more shallots/scallions. If you are one of those people who cannot stand coriander/cilantro, swap it for parsley. Jalapeño is optional, and you can sub with canned if you prefer. Or even use another spicy fresh chilli!
5. Light on dressing! This recipe is not meant to be coated thickly with mayo, like potato salad. Because the mayo and sour cream are added while the corn is hot, they melt and become a dressing. Feel free to increase/decrease the amount of mayo and/or sour cream if you want more/less!
6. Nutrition per serving, assuming 8 servings.
Originally published March 2017. Updated with new video and photos!
Life of Dozer
And from the original publication date:
Whenever I take a photo of Dozer running, all I can think is that there’s a lot of flapping. Ears, giant tongue, mouth flap, that feathered tail.
I know how he feels. I have quite a bit of flappage when I run too…..
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