Mexican Street Corn Salad: A Zesty Side Dish

Mexican Street Corn Salad, also known as “ensalada de elote”, is the perfect side dish to bring to any party, BBQ, or potluck, especially in the spring and summer months!

It’s simple to make, doesn’t take too many ingreients or effort, and is full of vibrant flavor. It’ll become a family favorite!

The smoky taste from the grilled corn goes perfectly with the zesty flavors of the lime crema.

The chili powder adds warmth and heat to the dish and makes it super interesting. It all goes so well together.

If you’re looking to mix it up a little at your next party, this Mexican Street Corn Salad will do the trick! It’s such a simply treat and bursting with Mexican flavors.

Why You’ll Love It

  • Simple to Make – it’s easy to prepare – only a few ingredients
  • Easy to Customize – adjust the flavors to your own taste buds
  • Perfect as a Side Dish: serve this with your main Mexican dishes!
  • Great for Parties: This salad is always a hit at potlucks and BBQs – it’s delicious!

This Mexican street corn salad features bold yet smooth flavors that highlight the vibrancy of Mexican cuisine and culture. It’s super sharable and perfect for gatherings year-round but especially during the summer months!

Ingredients and Substitutions

To prepare an authentic Mexican street corn salad, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Corn: Fresh corn on the cob is preferable for its sweetness and crunch. But if it’s not available or you’re on a time crunch, you can use canned or frozen corn
  • Cotija Cheese: This crumbly, salty cheese is a staple in Mexican cuisine and adds a distinctive sharpness. It’s a salty cheese, so additional salt really isn’t needed here.
  • Chili Powder: It adds a little smoky heat
  • Lime Crema: A tangy blend of sour cream and lime juice for a creamy dressing that really makes this side dish

Customization Options

When you make Mexican Street Corn Salad, always taste before final serving. Adjust as you see fit – adding more spice, salt, cheese or lime to suit your tastebuds!


  • Substitute Cotija: If you can’t find Cotija cheese, try Quesao Fresco,, crumbled Feta, or Parmeasano Regianno for a similar salty flavor.

Spice Level:

  • Chili Powder Adjustment: You can increase or decrease the amount of chili powder to control the heat.
  • Alternative Spices: Smoked paprika or a pinch of cayenne can also be declious and add more color to your crema.


  • Lime Crema Alternatives: Mexican crema or Greek yogurt can replace the sour cream.
  • Vegan Options: Use plant-based sour cream and cheese for a vegan twist.


  • Try other types of fresh herbs. Or replace the lime with lemon
  • Red onion, Avocado, and/or tomato can go well here, too

How to Make Mexican Street Corn Salad

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial with photos of how to make this Mexican street corn salad.

Preparation Steps:

Preparing the Corn

Grab you ears of corn and start shucking.

Shucking the Corn:

  1. Peel back the husks of each ear of corn.
  2. Using your hands, remove and discard the silks and husks.
  3. Rinse the corn with cool water to clean.

There are two methods you can choose between for cooking your corn: grill them OR boil them.

Grill Method:

  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  • Add your oil to the grill.
  • Place your corn onto the grill.
  • Grill your corn until the kernels are tender and you see several charred spots throughout. Usually about about 10 minutes.

Boiling Method:

  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil 
  • Place the corn in the pot and cook until tender, about 5 mintues
  • Using tongs, carefully remove the corn from the pot
  • Let the corn cool a few mintues

NEXT STEP: Cutting the Corn Kernels:

  • Stand up the corn on a flat and secure cutting board.
  • Using a sharp knife, slowly slice downward to remove the kernels from the middle of the cob.
  • Rotate the cob and remove all of the corn kernels.
  • Place the kernels into a large bowl and prepare to mix it with the rest of the ingredients. Now add the crumbled cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, and chili powder to the bowl with the corn.

Making the Lime Crema

To make your Lime Crema, gather your ingredients

  1. Zesting your lime to make about 1 teaspoon of lime zest.
  2. Squeeze the juice from the lime to get about 2 tablespoons.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of sour cream and mix till combined.
  4. Add 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
  5. Add cayenne pepper for more of a kick (optional)

Mix the ingredients vigorously until smooth. Make sure to adjust to suit your tastebuds: add more lime or salt, or even chili powder. Once you love the taste, sprinkle it over your cornto make your Mexican Street Corn Salad.

Chill the Lime Crema for at least 10 minutes before serving to let the flavors meld and to allow the crema to be nice and cold on the corn.

Mexican Street Corn Salad

This tasty Mexican Street Corn Salad recipe is made from a few simple ingredients and is so easy to toss together. Make it as a side dish and bring to all your parties and potlucks!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 people



  • 6 Ears of fresh corn
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 Cotija cheese, finely crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

For the Crema

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp mayoinasse
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 lime zest and juice


  • Preheat grill or skillet to medium-high heat if grilling your corn. If boiling, bring a large pot of water to boil.
  • Grill the corn kernels, turning occasionally until charred, about 10 minutes. If boiling, boil the born until tender.
  • To make the crema, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, lime zest, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir well and set aside.
  • Once the corn is cool enough to handle, carefully slice the kernels off the cob and place into a serving bowl.
  • Add the cotija cheese, chili powder, chopped cilantro, and chili powder to the corn bowl
  • Take your crema and drizzle or pour it over your corn, as heavy or light as you'd like. You can serve as is or mix it all together.
  • Add chopped cilantro and cotija cheese on top to garnish.

Serving Suggestions

When you’re ready to enjoy your Mexican Street Corn Salad, consider the following ways to serve them!

  • Tacos & Wraps: Add chicken or beef into a warm tortilla. Scoop the corn salad on top.
  • Grilled Meats: Serve alongside anything you’ve grilled. The lime crema and crunch of the corn pairs well with the smoky flavors of grilled meat.
  • Picnics & Potlucks: Add your Mexican Corn Salad into a beatuiful serving bowl and garish with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.
  • With Chips: Serve with tortilla chips as a dipping sauce, alongisde guacamole and salsa.
  • As a Topping: Spoon it over nachos, mashed potatoes, romaine lettuce, or pasta!
  • Vegetarian Dishes: Pair with black bean burgers or your main dish for an interesting meal.
  • Seafood: Combine with shrimp skewers or grilled fish.
  • Rice Bowls: This corn is PERFECT for rice or salad bowls. Mix it into your salad and rice bowls for a wonderfully zesty bite.

How to Store

Storing your Mexican Street Corn Salad is super important because you want it to be fresh and cool when serving.

In the Fridge:

 Place the salad in an airtight container.

  • Refrigerate within two hours of preparation.
  • You can make the salad up to 3 days in advance.
  •  Keep the lime crema separate if possible.

To Rejuvenate Leftovers:

  • Add more lime juice over the salad.
  • Sprinkle more cheesed and fresh cilantro on top
  • Adjust heat with chili powder or cayenne pepper.

Freezing is not recommended, as the texture will be compromised 

  • Cotija cheese can become soggy, so enjoy leftovers promptly for the best taste.
  • The salad may have a shorter fridge life if you’ve already mixed in the lime crema, as it contains dairy.

Pro Tip: Keep your salad chilled until serving to maintain the freshness of the ingredients.

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