Infused with big, bold, and delish flavors, this colorful and tasty Mexican Street Corn Salad is perfect for BBQs, potlucks, or just dinner on a Tuesday. Hungry? Read on and I, Chef Jenn, will show you all my tips and tricks to making this amazing elote salad perfectly every time!
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If you’ve ever been to Mexico or have spent time in the Southwest, you’ll know that street corn, also called elote, is everywhere. They take cobs of corn (either grilled or steamed) and roll them in mayonnaise, top them with a salty and crumbly cheese, and sprinkle them with everything from paprika to chipotle powder. Addictive and fun to eat, elote is delicious.
I’ve taken this Mexican street food classic and turned it into a salad. Perfect for hot summer days, this chilled salad is easy to pull together once you’ve got the corn grilled – or see my tips below for cheats on how to make this easy Mexican corn salad without a grill.
What You Need To Make Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Corn – corn on the cob is the best, but you can use frozen corn (see notes below)
- Olive oil
- Red bell pepper – green or orange also work but avoid yellow as it’ll be camouflaged by the corn
- Jalapeno – feel free to adjust if you like it more or less spicy
- Green onion – you can also use red onion
- Cotija cheese – see the notes below
- Lime juice
- Chili powder
What Kind oF Corn Works In this Recipe?
I prefer to use corn on the cob which I grill or have even popped into the air fryer. You can, however, just use a bag of frozen niblets. You’ll want to give them a quick cook before using them, so pop them in a skillet until they’re heated through, or steam the corn in the microwave for a few minutes. Let it chill before mixing with the other ingredients so you don’t melt the cheese.
What is Cotija Cheese?
Cotija cheese is a tangy, salty and crumbly cheese that is used throughout Mexico. You can find it from Mexican markets, some specialty cheese shops, and even your grocery store especially if you’re in the Southwest.
If you can’t find cotija cheese, feta is a good substitute. It has a similar flavor and texture and is usually more widely available.
How To Make This Street Corn Salad Recipe
- Prepare the corn by rubbing it with the olive oil and sprinkling it with salt and pepper. Grill it over medium heat until the corn starts to char a little bit. You’ll need to keep moving it around, rolling it, to grill all sides.
- When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the niblets off the cob and put them into a large bowl.
- Add the diced jalapeno, red bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, and about 1/2 the cotija cheese.
- Blend in the mayonnaise, lime juice, and chili powder. Adjust the seasoning.
- Top with remaining cotija cheese and chill before serving!
Chef Jenn’s Tips
- Jalapenos can be spicy or mild – it’s the luck of the draw. Add more or less jalapeno to the recipe to suit your spice preference
- Don’t like cilantro? This works wonderfully with fresh parsley, too
- Swap out the green onion for tangier red onion
- Don’t season with salt until you’ve added the cotija cheese as it is quite salty
- Add some black beans for added color and some extra protein
What to Serve With Elote Corn Salad
Anything grilled or smoked, like these amazing Smoked Chicken Thighs, pairs really well with this Mexican Street Corn Salad. Fajitas, seafood, tacos, enchiladas, and anything Mexican or Southwestern will also pair well with this dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, not really. Once mixed with the dressing and veggies, this recipe won’t freeze well. You can, however, keep it tightly wrapped in the fridge for 3-4 days, and the flavors are even better the next day!
Yes, this is a delightful chilled salad. Make sure you give it an hour or two in the fridge to thoroughly chill before serving.
Yes, but use the niblets, not the frozen corn on the cob. Simply thaw the niblets then cook them either in a bit of oil in a skillet or steam them first in the microwave. Chill the cooked corn before using so that it doesn’t melt the cheese.
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Step By Step Process
Mexican Street Corn Salad
- 4 cobs corn
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup sliced green onion
- 1/4 cup diced jalapeno
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 cup cotija cheese divided
- Grill the corn. Rub the corn on the cob with olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat until the cobs have some color but aren't burned. When cool, cut the niblets off the cobs and put into a large bowl.
- Mix the diced red bell pepper, green onion, jalapeno, mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, and chopped cilantro with the corn niblets. Mix well.
- Fold in half the cotija cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
- Top with the remaining cheese and chill thoroughly before serving.
A Note on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.