Mexican Corn Salad

4.86 from 7 votes

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This is my take on Esquites, or Mexican Corn Salad. It is absolutely brimming with flavor from 🔥 charred fresh corn, spicy jalapeno, tart sour cream, zesty lime, and pungent Tajin seasoning. Although this recipe is not traditional, I tried to use similar ingredients prominent in Mexican culture. This salad is refreshing and creamy and the smell of the charred corn 🌽 reminds me of a tropical vacation. This makes the perfect side to grilled seafood, topped on tacos, or even enjoyed as a salsa and scooped up with tortilla chips.

If this dish is native to your culture, please be kind enough to share your recipes and traditions with me in the comments. I love bringing awareness to different cultures, so I hope you enjoy this delicious dish!

Why You’ll Love Mexican Corn Salad

This 🇲🇽 Mexican Corn Salad is summer on a plate and the perfect side dish for your next barbecue. Inspired by Mexican Street Corn 🌽, this dish is oh-so-creamy and fresh, with spiciness and deep flavors from the jalapeno and Tajin seasoning. The lime juice makes it bright and fresh and the Cotija cheese brings the flavors together with a beautiful, tangy creaminess that’s irresistible.

How to Prepare Mexican Corn Salad

🔥 Start by preheating the barbecue to medium-high heat.

🌽 Now, brush each ear of corn with some avocado oil.

⏲️ Grill the corn for 15 to 20 minutes, turning the corn every few minutes, until charred on all sides.

❄️ Remove the corn from the grill and then cool.

🥣 Using a sharp knife, remove the corn kernels from the cobs and then transfer the kernels to a serving bowl.

🔪 Next, seed and finely chop the jalapeno, finely chop the scallion and finely dice the parsley. Then add them to the bowl of corn and toss.

🥄 In a separate bowl or measuring cup, add the sour cream, mayo, lime juice, and Tajin seasoning. Then mix everything together really well and pour the dressing on top of the corn.

👩‍🍳 Finally, toss everything together again and crumble some Cotija cheese on top.

Nonna’s Tip 🌽

To easily and cleanly remove the kernels from the corn cobs, use a Bundt pan! Working with one ear of grilled corn at a time, place the ear (vertically) in the middle of the Bundt pan and, using a sharp knife, carefully shave the kernels off the cob. The kernels will fall into the pan.

Mexican Corn Salad
Mexican Corn Salad

Variations and Substitutions for Mexican Corn Salad

  1. Feel free to boil the 🌽 corn if you don’t have a barbecue or grill.
  2. If you don’t want any spice, simply omit the jalapeno or use less to taste. You can also go as 🔥hot as you prefer: leave in the seeds for even more heat.
  3. Make this Mexican Corn Salad dairy-free by replacing the sour cream and Cotija cheese with your favorite non-dairy variety.
  4. To lighten things up, use plain yogurt instead of sour cream. 
  5. While 🌿 cilantro is a more traditional Mexican ingredient, if you don’t like it, feel free to use parsley instead.
  6. If you don’t have Tajin Seasoning, use a mix of 🌶️ chili powder with some lime zest instead.

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Common Questions

How do I properly remove the corn kernels from the cob?

To easily and cleanly remove the kernels from the corn cobs, use a Bundt pan! Working with one ear of grilled corn at a time, place the ear (vertically) in the middle of the Bundt pan and, using a sharp knife, carefully shave the kernels off the cob. The kernels will fall into the pan.

Can I make this Mexican corn salad dairy-free?

Yes, you absolutely can make this recipe dairy-free by replacing the sour cream and Cotija cheese with your favorite non-dairy variety.

What can I use instead of cojita?

You can omit the Cotija cheese altogether or use feta cheese instead.

Do I have to prepare the corn on the bbq?

Not at all! I do love the charred flavor of the corn in this dish, but you can certainly boil the corn or use an air fryer to cook the corn. I have a whole post about making Air Fryer Corn!

can I make this salad ahead?

This salad keeps well in the fridge for a few days. I doubt it will even last that long (because it’s so irresistible), but make sure you cover it in the fridge and bring it to room temp before you want to enjoy it as the dressing can solidify a bit. 

Can use frozen corn in this Mexican corn salad recipe?

I haven’t tried it but I think that you can also use frozen corn instead of fresh here. I would perhaps fry it in a little bit of oil in a pan before tossing it. 

what is tajin seasoning?

Tajín Seasoning is a delicious chili-lime seasoning that you can find online or in practically any grocery store now. If you can’t find Tajín you can use chili powder with some lime zest and a sprinkle of salt.

Mexican Corn Salad

Mexican Corn Salad

Inspired by Mexican Street Corn, this dish is oh-so-creamy and fresh, with spiciness and deep flavors from the jalapeno and Tajin seasoning. The lime juice makes it bright and the Cotija cheese brings the flavors together with a tangy creaminess that's irresistible.
4.86 from 7 votes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 4 ears corn, husks and silks removed
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 large jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped, to taste
  • 1 scallion, or green onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, or parsley, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Tajin seasoning, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cotija cheese, or feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions 

  • Preheat the barbecue to medium-high heat. Brush each ear of corn with some avocado oil. Grill the corn for 15 to 20 minutes, turning the corn every few minutes, until charred on all sides.
  • Feel free to boil the corn as well if you don’t have a barbecue or grill. Remove the corn and let it cool before cutting off the kernels.
  • Remove the corn kernels from the cob: Using a Bundt pan is optional but really effective (working slow, steady, and firmly on a cutting board will also work). Working with one ear of grilled corn at a time, place the ear (vertically) in the middle of the Bundt pan and, using a sharp knife, carefully shave the kernels off the cob. The kernels will fall into the pan. Repeat with all the corn. Transfer the corn to a serving bowl.
  • Add the jalapeno, scallions, and herbs to the bowl of corn. Give it a toss.
  • In a separate bowl or measuring cup, add the sour cream, mayo, lime juice, and Tajin. Mix well and pour the dressing on top of the corn. Mix again and enjoy!
  • If you want to crumble in some Cotija cheese (or feta) feel free to do so.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 216kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 22mg, Sodium: 254mg, Potassium: 66mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 307IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 67mg, Iron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

4.86 from 7 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Extremely delicious! I decreased the mayo to 1 tbsp and used 1 tbsp plain non-fat greek yogurt. And wow! So good. This is definitely going to be a staple. I will make it for every gathering from now on.

    1. Noelle, this makes me so happy. Glad you loved the Corn Salad. You can always make more dressing and store it in the fridge

  2. 5 stars
    When you shared this recipe I was so excited to try it. Wow!!! I made this today and it is beyond delicious!! All the ingredients come together so well and the dressing is something else. I can literally gulp it doen on its own. Thank you for sharing this recipe. You are amazing at what you do!!

    1. HI Maha! wow so kind, thank you so much and I am grateful for you. Appreciate the nice words

  3. Thanks for sharing the Mexican Corn Salad! It looks delicious. I will be using this recipe at my next cookout! My family enjoy the side dishes we prepare. I will send you the review for this dish, (always have critics at my dinners!). Have a great summer with your family! Kat Hodge ❤️