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Mexican Corn Salad

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close up overhead shot of Mexican corn salad garnished with parsley then topped with Cotija cheese and lime slices
A sweet corn dip made with Mexican crema, spices, cotija cheese, this Mexican corn salad is a delicious way to transform elote (Mexican street corn) into a tasty chunky salsa or side dish!
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Table of Contents
  1. Mexican Corn Salad Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Mexican Corn Salad Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This Mexican corn salad recipe has all the favorite flavors of elote. It is made of sweet corn cooked in a skillet, then covered in a spicy mix of Mexican crema, jalapeño, spices, and topped off with cotija cheese to create an easy side dish.

If you love this Mexican salad, you have to try grilled elote as well. The corn salad would also be perfect when paired with easy-to-make dinner dishes like our ground beef enchiladas.

close up overhead shot of Mexican corn salad garnished with parsley then topped with Cotija cheese and lime slices

Mexican Corn Salad Ingredients

Mexican Corn Salad raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 4 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ⅓ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced (optional)
  • ⅓ to ½ cup Mexican crema (see recipe below)

Mexican Crema

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

CREMA: A common question that arises when making this simple salad recipe, is whether Mexican crema is the same as sour cream. While they are similar, Mexican crema is different from sour cream, and I would recommend sticking with the recipe for the creamy dressing listed above; however, it is an option if that is all you have or if you prefer the taste.

​​Mexican crema is runnier and lighter than sour cream. It has a tangy sweetness to it that sour cream is lacking. The outcome of your Mexican street corn salad recipe will be enhanced greatly by using the crema recipe over sour cream.

GRILLED CORN: This delicious salad can be made using fresh corn on the cob instead of kernel corn.

How To Make This Mexican Corn Salad Recipe

STEP ONE: In a medium bowl, combine the Mexican crema ingredients and whisk them together. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to add the corn mixture.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

The time in the refrigerator allows the crema to thicken which is exactly what you want. The longer you leave it (even up to 24 hours), the better.

mexican crema ingredients whisked together in a bowl

STEP TWO: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add thawed corn kernels and butter. Stir well to combine. Let it cook in the pan, stirring often until the corn starts to look charred.

PRO TIP:

A cast-iron skillet works best, but a nonstick skillet will do the trick, too.

corn cooked on a skillet with butter

STEP THREE: Place corn into a large bowl and let it cool for 10 minutes, stirring often and allowing the corn to cool evenly.

STEP FOUR: Add the cumin, chipotle chili powder, black pepper, salt, red onion, cilantro, and cotija cheese, juice from 1 lime, jalapeño (if you like, this is optional), and ⅓ to ½ cup of Mexican crema. Stir together all of the ingredients to combine.

PRO TIP:

If the crema is too thick for your liking when you are ready to use it, a splash of lime juice will thin it out as needed.

ingredients combined in a bowl

STEP FIVE: Top with additional cotija cheese and chopped cilantro.

STEP SIX: Serve slightly warm, room temperature, or cold.

How To Serve

You can serve this authentic Mexican street corn salad either warm or cold. Serve it alongside shrimp tacos with spicy cilantro lime sauce or our enchilada cups for a Mexican-inspired meal.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: If you have leftovers of this famous Mexican street corn salad, store them in a tightly covered airtight container or bowl. When you are ready to eat the leftovers, add additional leftover Mexican crema to make the consistency more creamy. The crema recipe makes a little bit extra to account for the corn being a bit dry the next day so make sure to save any extras.

IN THE FREEZER: We don’t recommend freezing this salad as the creamy dressing will not remain creamy during the freezing process.

a large serving bowl full of Mexican corn salad

Whether you’re celebrating taco Tuesdays or throwing a family fiesta, this classic Mexican street corn salad is the perfect side dish or appetizer dip. Also known as elote, this corn salad recipe is full of delicious fresh flavor. From the sweet corn mixed with a homemade Mexican crema to the sprinkling of fresh cotija cheese and spicy seasoning, this is an easy-to-make, authentic dish.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What type of corn should I use?

You can use either frozen corn or fresh grilled or boiled corn cut from the cob for this creamy corn salad recipe.

What is cotija cheese and where can I find it?

Cotija cheese is a white, firm, dry, and slightly salty cheese that originated in Mexico. You can find it at most specialty stores or Latino markets. If you cannot find it, you can use either feta cheese or parmesan cheese in its place for a great alternative.

Is there something I can substitute for Mexican crema?

If necessary, you could substitute sour cream for the crema, although it will have a different taste. Crema is lighter than sour cream and has a tangy taste lacking in sour cream.

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close up overhead shot of Mexican corn salad garnished with parsley then topped with Cotija cheese and lime slices

Mexican Corn Salad

5 from 3 votes
A sweet corn dip made with Mexican crema, spices, cotija cheese, this Mexican corn salad is a delicious way to transform elote (Mexican street corn) into a tasty chunky salsa or side dish!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ⅓ to ½ cup Mexican crema, see recipe below
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced (optional)
  • ½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled

Mexican Crema

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl, combine Mexican crema ingredients and whisk together. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to add to the corn mixture.
  • In a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add thawed corn and butter. Stir well to combine. Let cook in pan stirring often until the corn starts to look charred.
  • Place corn into a bowl and let cool for 10 minutes, stirring often allowing the corn to cool evenly.
  • Add the cumin, chipotle chili powder, black pepper, salt, red onion, cilantro, and cotija cheese, juice from 1 lime, jalapeño (optional), and ⅓ to ½ cup Mexican crema. Stir together to combine.
  • Top with additional cotija cheese and chopped cilantro.
  • Serve slightly warm, room temperature, or cold. 

Video

Notes

  • The time in the refrigerator allows the crema to thicken which is exactly what you want. The longer you leave it (even up to 24 hours), the better.
  • A cast-iron skillet works best, but a nonstick skillet will do the trick, too.
  • If the crema is too thick for your liking when you are ready to use it, a splash of lime juice will thin it out as needed.
  • If your corn looks too dry, add more crema to it. The crema recipe makes a little bit extra to account for the leftovers being dry the next day.

Nutrition

Calories: 386kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 491mg | Potassium: 390mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 569IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 1mg
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