Grilled Corn Salsa feature image
An easy-to make Chipotle copycat version Grilled Corn Salsa! The perfect balance of crisp and zesty, sweet and spicy, tangy, salty, and crunchy in every delicious fiesta bite.
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Table of Contents
  1. Homemade Grilled Corn Salsa (Chipotle copycat)
  2. Why We Love This Corn Salsa Recipe
  3. Ingredients / Shopping List
  4. How to Make the Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa
  5. Variations / Options / Add-In's
  6. Tips
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
  8. Serve Your Corn Salsa with these Great Recipes
  9. Grilled Corn Salsa Recipe

This easy-to-make homemade grilled Corn Salsa is everything I love about a “picante” sauce. It’s the perfect balance of crisp and zesty, sweet and spicy, tangy, salty, and crunchy in every delicious fiesta bite–a simple dish that adds complexity to any meal. Use our grilled corn instructions or substitute canned corn or frozen corn!

Grilled Corn Salsa hero image

Homemade Grilled Corn Salsa (Chipotle copycat)

This grilled corn salsa recipe is a rainbow of bright flavors, colors, and textures. Like Chipotle’s corn salsa, it has the most palate-pleasing combination of sweet, spicy and savory that makes any backyard barbeque anything but boring, but our copycat version is even better! 

Made with charred, barbequed, summer-fresh sweet corn and spicy jalapenos, tossed with juicy tomatoes and crunchy onions, stirred together with zesty cilantro, and a kick of spices, and then all brightened with the acidity of lemon juice, this salsa dresses up the drab. 

Whether you serve this salsa as an appetizer with chips, use it as a filling for burritos or enchiladas, spoon it over a salad, or top it over chicken or fish, it is a healthy vegetarian sauce, side, or condiment that can easily be eaten by the forkful. Our fresh corn salsa brings extra flavor to just about anything and embellishes all of your summer favorite foods.

The best part about this salsa, other than its taste of course, is that it is completely customizable. Add something creamy, like diced avocado or crumbled cheese, bulk it with black beans, toss in some chicken, or spice it up with a dash of smoked paprika. It can be a  make-your-own symphony of flavors and textures that just sings DELICIOUS!

Why We Love This Corn Salsa Recipe

  • Easy and quick to make
  • Can be prepared in advance
  • Healthy but tastes like an indulgence
  • Travels well and perfect for potlucks, picnics, pool parties, and barbeques
  • Chipotle copycat recipe
  • Customizable and versatile
  • Deliciously packed with many flavors and textures
  • Can be served as an appetizer, side, on a salad or condiment
tortilla chips dipped to the corn

Ingredients / Shopping List

  • Corn: I love to grill the corn because it gives the salsa a delicious smoky, charred flavor. If you can’t find in-season sweet corn, thawed frozen corn, or canned corn would work here too.
  • Salted butter: Feel free to use unsalted butter, but add a little more salt to the corn if you do.
  • Kosher salt: Corn LOVES salt because it awakens all the flavors! Use more or less to taste.  
  • Jalapeno pepper: Gives the salsa a spicy kick. For a spicier salsa you could use a Habanero pepper. For less spice consider using a poblano or bell pepper instead.
  • Roma tomatoes: Any type of tomato will work as a substitute here. I love almost all heirloom tomatoes when in season, as the taste is delicious.
  • Red onion: Adds crunch and sharp depth of flavor. You can also use yellow onions, sweet onions, or shallots but you will want to chop them a little smaller.
  • Lemon juice: Adds bright, zesty flavor. Lime juice will work well as a substitute, either fresh or from concentrate.
  • Cilantro: Adds bright flecks of green and fresh flavor.
  • Rice vinegar: Has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. White wine or red wine vinegar is the best replacement for this type of vinegar in this recipe.
  • Olive oil: You can use many different types of oils here, however coconut oil won’t work since it will become solid. Grapeseed, vegetable, canola, or avocado oil are all great options.
  • Cumin: Rounds out the flavor profile.
  • Garlic powder: I prefer to use garlic powder because it gets more evenly distributed but feel free to substitute with fresh garlic.
  • Chili powder

SEE FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD BELOW

How to Make the Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa

Enjoy the sweet taste of summer with this spicy and delicious grilled corn salsa. It is fresh and bright and only takes 10 minutes to prep.

Start by peeling back the corn husks and coating them with butter and a sprinkle of salt. Make sure to leave the husks attached at the base of each corn.

peel back the corn husks and coat them with butter and a sprinkle of salt

Once buttered and salted, pull each husk back of each ear of corn, making sure that each is completely covered by the husk. Grill the corn in the husk for 5 minutes on each side.
Place the jalapeno pepper directly on the grill and cook for 5-10 minutes or until it starts to char.
Pro Tip: The jalapeno should turn a dull green color and the skin will bubble slightly.
Pro Tip: You can substitute frozen or canned corn (but this is so much better!)

pull each husk back and put in the grill

Remove each corn from its husk and place them back on the grill for another 5-10 minutes, until they are slightly charred. 
Pro Tip: Be sure to turn the corn throughout the cooking process to let all sides receive the same amount of heat and char.

grilled corn and jalapeno in the grill

Remove both the corn and jalapeno from the grill and let them cool completely before cutting.
Now it’s time to make the salsa! Chop the Roma tomatoes, red onions, jalapeno and place them in a large bowl.
Once cooled, cut the corn off the cob and transfer it to the bowl that has the Roma tomatoes and red onions.
Pro Tip: If you want to make removing the corn super easy, consider a corn stripper. I love this one!

Roma tomatoes and red onions in the bowl.

Stir in the lemon juice, cilantro, rice vinegar, olive oil, salt, cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes or until chilled.
Serve your corn salsa in your favorite bowl and start dipping, scooping or topping!

salsa in a bowl

Variations / Options / Add-In’s

  • Lime Juice: Feel free to substitute the lemon juice with lime juice. Both will work great in this salsa recipe.
  • Seasonings: Add smoked paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper (depending on the amount of spice you want.
  • Proteins: Make this into a meal by adding your favorite protein. Some ideas are avocado, black beans, crumbled cheese, grilled chicken, steak, pork, fish or shrimp.
  • Vegetables: For additional crunch, you can add cucumber, red bell pepper, green onion, or scallion.
  • Fruit: Mangos pair well if you add black beans to this recipe and add a juicy pop of sweetness.
  • Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar works well in connection with lime juice and adds to the flavor profile without adding too much acidity.
  • Ways to serve Grilled Corn Salsa: This salsa can be eaten with almost anything, not just chips! Add it to tacos, quesadillas, salads, or burrito bowls.
  • Grains: Add quinoa, couscous, or rice to your salsa for a heartier salsa.
grilled corn with spoon

Tips

  • If you do not have a grill, you can either use a grill plate on your stove top to cook the corn and jalapenos. Another option is to oven roast the corn. Make sure to husk your corn, rub it in butter and salt, and wrap each individual piece in aluminum foil. Bake at 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, making sure to turn once during the cooking process.
  • Fresh corn on the cob is best for this recipe, but you can use frozen corn kernels instead. Be sure to defrost and drain it prior to use.
  • It is best to use fresh corn on the cob immediately, especially if you get it from a local farmer. Fresh corn is the sweetest and juiciest when used within the first 1-2 days.  The sugars begin converting to starch soon after the corn is harvested. You can store your corn in the refrigerator to stall this process.
  • The easiest way to cut corn off the cob is to stand it upright on a cutting board and slice down the corn with the knife slightly angled in so you get all of the kernels. 
  • This recipe tastes best when prepared in advance so the flavors have a chance to meld.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store corn salsa?

You can store this salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator or the freezer.

How long will salsa keep?

In the refrigerator, your salsa will last up to one week. If you store it in the freezer, it will last for up to one year, but be aware that the consistency might change.

What can I use this salsa for?

There are so many delicious ways to eat this salsa. Use this salsa as the classic tortilla chip dip. Try it in a burger, atop some guacamole. Add it to some grilled chicken for a lovely marinade/sauce. Spoon it into some fajitas. Make taco or burrito bowls and add a generous dollop on top.

Can I prepare Corn Salsa in advance?

Yes! Corn salsa keeps extremely well because it doesn’t have any immediately perishable ingredients. If you add additional ingredients such as avocados or cheese, then it should be served immediately.

Is corn salsa healthy?

Homemade corn salsa is healthy and made with fresh ingredients! Low in sodium, calories and unhealthy fats, this salsa is a good source of potassium, vitamins and antioxidants.

Can I use frozen corn or canned corn instead of grilling the corn on the cob?

Yes, you can substitute frozen corn or canned corn and your salsa will still be delicious!

salsa in a bowl

Serve Your Corn Salsa with these Great Recipes

The BEST Chicken Enchiladas | Sheet Pan Nachos | Puffy Tacos | Blooming Quesadilla Ring | Oven Baked Beef Tacos | Campfire Nachos | Sheet Pan Quesadillas | Grilled Salmon

5 from 1 vote
Grilled Corn Salsa feature image

Grilled Corn Salsa

Serves — 4
An easy-to make Chipotle copycat version Grilled Corn Salsa! The perfect balance of crisp and zesty, sweet and spicy, tangy, salty, and crunchy in every delicious fiesta bite.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Ingredients
  

Grilled Corn

  • 4 ears corn with husks on
  • 2 tbsp salted butter softened
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Salsa

  • 1 Jalapeno pepper
  • 2 Roma tomatoes chopped
  • ½ red onion approx. ½ cup chopped
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice (about ½ a large lemon)
  • 2 tbsp minced cilantro
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp chili powder

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the grill to medium high heat (350-400 degrees F).
  • Prepare the corn for grilling by peeling back the husk (leave it attached at the base) and coating it with salted butter, followed by a pinch of salt. (I found that using my hands for this made it a lot easier.) Pull the husk back over the ear, making sure the corn is completely covered by the husk. Set aside while the grill heats.
  • Grill the corn, in the husk, for 5 minutes on each side.
  • Remove the corn from the husk and place back on the grill for another 5-10 minutes, until slightly charred. Be sure to turn the corn throughout the cooking process to let all sides receive the same amount of heat and char.
  • Place the jalapeno pepper directly on the grill and cook for 5-10 minutes or until it starts to char. The jalapeno should turn a dull green color and the skin will bubble slightly.
  • Once both the corn and jalapeno are done cooking, remove them from the grill and let them cool completely before cutting.
  • To make the salsa: In a large bowl, add the chopped Roma tomatoes and chopped red onions. Set aside for now.
  • Once cooled, cut the corn off the cob and transfer to the bowl that has the roma tomatoes and red onions.
  • Dice the jalapeno and add to the bowl.
  • Stir in the lemon juice, cilantro, rice vinegar, olive oil, salt, cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder until thoroughly combined.
  • Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes or until chilled.
  • Plate and serve.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage 
You can store this salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator or the freezer.
Tips:
  • If you do not have a grill, you can either use a grill plate on your stove top to cook the corn and jalapenos. Another option is to oven roast the corn. Make sure to husk your corn, rub it in butter and salt, and wrap each individual piece in aluminum foil. Bake at 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, making sure to turn once during the cooking process.
  • Fresh corn on the cob is best for this recipe, but you can use frozen corn kernels or canned corn instead. Be sure to defrost and drain it prior to use.
  • It is best to use fresh corn on the cob immediately, especially if you get it from a local farmer. Fresh corn is the sweetest and juiciest when used within the first 1-2 days.  The sugars begin converting to starch soon after the corn is harvested. You can store your corn in the refrigerator to stall this process.
  • The easiest way to cut corn off the cob is to stand it upright on a cutting board and slice down the corn with the knife slightly angled in so you get all of the kernels. 
  • This recipe tastes best when prepared in advance so the flavors have a chance to meld.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 2104mg | Potassium: 371mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 694IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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