This Easy Mexican Street Corn Salad makes the perfect side for taco night, entertaining or summer BBQ’s. Made with grilled sweet corn, roasted red pepper, cojita cheese and a chili lime cream sauce this Mexican Street Corn Salad is bursting with tex-mex flavor in every bite!
Mexican Street Corn Salad
Y’all tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, and I know it’s not an American holiday but I feel like we’ve adopted it and made it our own. Honestly, it’s probably one of my favorite holidays. Because what better way to celebrate than with guacamole, chips, salsa, tacos and margaritas! Now, that is MY kind of party!
As I was trying to think of what to make I realized I have a lot of unique recipes out there, but not a lot of “basics.” Well, today we are going back to the basics. Mexican Street Corn is all the way – but in salad form! You’re gonna love it!
What is Mexican Street Corn – elote?
Mexican Street Corn or Elote is sweet corn that is grilled over an open fire till it’s slightly charred on all sides. Then the corn is slathered in a sour cream and mayo combination then rolled in crumbled cojita cheese and garnished with chili powder, cilantro and lime juice! It is literally heaven on earth!
What is Esquites?
Ok, now that you know what elote is, let’s talk about esquites. Essentially, elote is grilled corn on the cob topped with all the above things and it’s with the husks pulled down to make a handle. Esquites, or Mexican Street Corn Salad, is the same corn, it’s just removed from the cob and served in a cup with lime juice, chili powder, hot sauce, cotija cheese, salt and mayo. So one is on the cob, the other is off the cob.
My version of Esquites is similar to the original but a bit different because I add a few extra ingredients because I like amp things up a bit!
Ingredients you’ll need for this Recipe:
- Sweet Corn: I prefer to use fresh corn in this recipe because I grill it to add extra flavor. However, if you only have canned or frozen you could do use that as well.
- Roasted Red Pepper: I love the pop of color and the flavor from the roasted red pepper instead of fresh added a nice change in taste that pairs perfectly with the rest of the corn salad.
- Green Onion: I like to add sliced green onions to this fresh corn salad to brighten it up a bit.
- Cojita Cheese: It’s a crumbly mexican cheese that typically comes in a block and you crumble it on your own. It kinda looks like feta cheese, but it’s a lot less salty! It’s great crumbled on tacos too.
- Cilantro: Adding fresh herbs at the end of a dish always brings a dish together and brightens it up!
- Black Beans: Adding black beans gives this salad more “protein” and makes it a little more of a meal as opposed to a light side. If you want to leave the black beans out, that’s ok too.
- Dressing: Typically Mexican Street Corn is slathered in a cream sauce made from mayonnaise, sour cream (or Mexican crema) and a few other items. My version has a little bit of mayonnaise, greek yogurt, lime juice, chili powder, ancho chili powder (for some heat) and smoked paprika. It’s like a chili lime cream sauce that you’ll be obsessed with!
How to make Mexican Street Corn Salad?
I like to make my Mexican Street Corn on the grill instead of sautéd in butter. It adds another flavor dimension from the smoky grill and you’re not adding butter to the dish either, which saves on calories. Here’s how to make it!
- Preheat grill to medium high heat, about 375-400°F.
- Make the Chili Lime Cream Sauce: to a small bowl add mayo, plain yogurt, lime juice, smoked paprika, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined and smooth. Set aside.
- Grill Corn: Shuck corn and place directly on grill. Grill each side for 3-4 minutes or until it’s slightly charred on all sides then remove from grill and let cool. Once corn has cooled down, slice the corn off the cob into a large bowl using a large knife.
- Assemble Salad: to the large bowl with the corn add roasted red pepper, fresh cilantro, green onion, cotija cheese, black beans and chili lime cream sauce. Using a spoon gently toss to coat everything with the sauce and serve.
Tips & Tricks for the Best Mexican Street Corn Salad:
Obviously, when you go to the internet you’re going to find thousands of ways to make an epic mexican corn salad. Here are the tips & tricks I use to make my dish pop.
- Grill it, don’t pan sear it. Yes, the traditional recipe calls for you to sauté the corn in butter. But honestly you get so much more flavor if you use fresh corn and place it directly on the grill. The char flavor adds a smoky flavor that sautéing in butter just cannot!
- Chili Powder is a key component to mexican street corn. It’s what you see sprinkled on top of the corn right before serving. I like to use two different kinds of chili powder. One that has that classic chili powder taste and then an ancho chili powder, made from ancho chilis that gives just a little bit of spice to change up the flavors.
- Add the sauce and fresh cilantro right before serving, this keeps the integrity of the dish so it doesn’t get soggy. Keeping the cilantro for the end brightens the dish right up and keeps it at it’s freshest state!
- Serve it warm. You can serve this corn salad warm or cold, I just like it warm because it reminds me of the way mexican street corn is served. Fresh and hot off the grill!
What to serve with this salad?
- Baja Fish Tacos
- Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas
- The Best Guacamole Recipe
- Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
- The Ultimate Classic Margarita Recipe
- Shrimp Tacos with Mango Avocado Salsa
This Easy Mexican Street Corn Salad ade with grilled sweet corn, roasted red pepper, cojita cheese and a chili lime cream sauce this Mexican Street Corn Salad is bursting with tex-mex flavor in every bite!
- 7 ears of sweet corn, shucked
- 1 roasted red pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup diced green onion
- 2/3 cup crumbled cojita cheese
- 1 cup low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
Chili Lime Cream Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons mayo (I use Dukes)
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 4 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- salt & pepper
- Preheat grill to medium high heat, about 375-400°F.
- To a small bowl add mayo, plain yogurt, lime juice, smoked paprika, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined and smooth. Set aside.
- Place corn directly on grill and grill each side for 3-4 minutes or until it’s slightly charred on all sides. Remove from grill. Once corn has cooled down, slice the corn off the cob and into a large bowl.
- To the large bowl of corn add roasted red pepper, fresh cilantro, green onion, cotija cheese, black beans and chili lime cream sauce.
- Using a spoon gently toss to coat everything with the sauce and serve.
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