This easy Mexican Corn Salad recipe is a quick way to make a big bowl of “off the cob” elotes, but instead of being sold by the cup, it’s served as a spoon-ready batch in the form of Esquites.
Full of fresh flavor with a taste like traditional Mexican street food, you can create your own roasted corn salad at home and smother it with the same delicious creamy dressing.
Table of Contents
- Creamy Mexican Street Corn Salad Recipe
- Why we love this Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Elote Salad Ingredients
- Elote Corn Salad Substitutions and Additions
- Recommended Tools for making Corn Elote Salad
- How to make Elote Salad (Mexican Street Corn Salad)
- Elote Salad Recipe tips
- How to serve Elote Corn Salad
- How to store this Mexican Corn Salad Recipe
- Elote Salad FAQs
- More Great Mexican Recipes
- Corn Elote Salad (Mexican Corn Salad) Recipe
Creamy Mexican Street Corn Salad Recipe
This Mexican Corn Salad is a fusion of my favorite grilled Mexican street corn with my Corn Ribs, easily prepared in 10 minutes with an elote make-over.
The secret to my perfectly charred corn when you don’t feel like firing up the grill is to cook your kernels with butter over high heat; then it’s as simple as slathering the sauteed corn kernels with a creamy, slightly spicy, tangy, cheesy, lime-scented sauce.
Why make a mess when you can opt for esquites, a spoonable, shareable, fuss-free twist on elotes – wouldn’t you rather skip holding a slathered cob with your hands and consume it as a fork-friendly side?
Whether you’re celebrating taco Tuesday or throwing a family fiesta, This fresh Mexican Street Corn Salad recipe is the perfect side dish or appetizer dip summer BBQ’s and Mexican feasts.
What is Elote?
Elote is the authentic name for Mexican street corn. Sometimes, served as corn on the cob, other times served as a corn salad, Mexican street corn is a dish made with cooked sweet corn that has been coated in mayo and Mexican Crema and topped off with chili powder and sprinkled Cotija cheese.
Why we love this Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Quick and easy to make in 25 minutes.
- Uses simple ingredients.
- Crunchy, sweet, spicy, and creamy.
- Great make-ahead option for cookouts and picnics and can be served warm or cold.
- Works with all kinds of corn, from corn cooked outdoors on the grill to indoors in a pan using frozen or canned corn.
- Perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration, backyard barbecues, potlucks, casual lunches, or serving as a side dish for dinner.
Elote Salad Ingredients
- Frozen corn (the grilled corn in the frozen food section at Trader Joe’s works great)
- Salted butter
- Ground cumin
- Chipotle chili powder
- Black pepper
- Red onion
- Fresh cilantro
- Cotija Cheese: If you can’t find Cotija, you can use feta instead.
- Jalapeño (optional)
- Heavy cream
- Lime juice
Elote Corn Salad Substitutions and Additions
- Choose Your Cheese: If you cannot find cotija cheese, try substituting it for feta, goat, or even parmesan cheese.
- Make It Without Mayo: You can make your Mexican Corn Salad without mayo and use sour cream or greek yogurt instead. To make sure the flavor change isn’t so drastic I like to do half sour cream, half mayo. The mayonnaise gives it such a smooth velvety taste and texture.
- Add Some Spice: Feel free to add some spices, such as smoked paprika, ground cumin, and ground coriander to the dressing to make it spicier. Or add a few dashes of hot sauce if you want to add some heat!
- Vegan Version: To make this grilled corn salad vegan, replace the butter, Cotija Cheese, mayo, and heavy cream with your favorite non-dairy alternatives.
Recommended Tools for making Corn Elote Salad
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring tools
- Cast-iron skillet or nonstick skillet
How to make Elote Salad (Mexican Street Corn Salad)
- Make The Mexican Crema: Whisk together the mayonnaise, heavy cream, lime juice, chipotle chili powder, and salt, cover, and place in the refrigerator.
- Cook The Corn: Combine the corn and butter and cook until charred. Place the corn in a bowl and let cool for 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Combine: To the corn, add the cumin, chipotle chili powder, black pepper, salt, red onion, cilantro, cotija cheese, lime juice, jalapeno (optional), and Mexican Cream and stir together to combine.
- Serve: Top with additional Cotija Cheese and chopped cilantro. Serve slightly warm, room temperature, or cold. Enjoy!
Elote Salad Recipe tips
- If your corn looks too dry, add more Mexican Crema to it.
- The Crema recipe makes a little bit extra to account for the leftovers being dry the next day. Make sure to save the extras to mix into your leftovers and make the consistency more creamy.
- If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, you can a nonstick skillet instead.
- You can serve this Mexican street corn salad just after you make it, although I love it best after it chills for a bit.
- If corn is in season, feel free to use fresh grilled corn and slice kernels off your fresh corn cobs. To remove the corn from the cob, I love this handy tool!
How to serve Elote Corn Salad
Elote corn salad is great served as a side dish with any type of protein, like chicken, burgers, or fish. It is perfect for a BBQ or potluck.
How to store this Mexican Corn Salad Recipe
- To Store: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- To Freeze: I do not recommend freezing this dish.
Elote Salad FAQs
This corn salad is so versatile and makes a flavorful side, dip, or topping to many main meals. You can serve it as a salsa with tortilla chips and a side of guacamole; add it to a Burrito Bowl, Queso Chicken Tacos, Mini Enchilada Cups, or a Mexican Casserole.
It also makes a delicious topping for Grilled Chicken Breast and Grilled Salmon.
Either fresh or frozen will work for this dish. To save time, I use frozen corn to make my salad (and it’s available any time of the year).
Fresh is, well, fresh! Regardless of the type of corn you use, the most important part is to make sure you get a little char to the corn kernels from the pan fry so that the flavor mimics the classic Street Corn.
While they are similar, Mexican crema is different from sour cream and I would recommend sticking with the recipe listed above. Can sour cream be used as a substitute? I would not substitute sour cream for crema.
If you are in a pinch for time, grab a store-bought crema in place of making it homemade.
You can really serve elote hot, cold or chilled. There is no right way, whatever your preference is works!
Elotes are corn on the cob with toppings, while esquites are seasoned corn kernels in a cup.
More Great Mexican Recipes
Corn Elote Salad (Mexican Corn Salad)
- 4 cups frozen corn thawed
- 1 tbsp salted butter
- 1⁄4 tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ red onion diced
- ⅓ bunch cilantro chopped
- ½ cup Cotija Cheese crumbled
- 1 lime juiced
- ⅓-½ cup Mexican Crema recipe below
- 1 jalapeno seeded and diced *optional
MEXICAN CREMA INGREDIENTS:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 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 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, jalapeno (optional), and 1⁄3 – 1⁄2 cup Mexican Cream. Stir together to combine.
- Top with additional Cotija Cheese and chopped cilantro.
- Serve slightly warm, room temperature, or cold.
- A cast-iron skillet works best, but a nonstick skillet will do the trick too!
- If your corn looks too dry, add more Mexican Crema to it! The Crema recipe makes a little bit extra to account for the leftovers being dry the next day.
- If you have leftovers store in a tightly covered Tupperware or bowl. When you are ready to eat the leftovers add additional leftover Mexican Crema to make the consistency more creamy.
Sometimes referred to as elote, this Mexican street corn recipe is made of roasted sweet corn covered in a spicy mix of mayo, Mexican crema, and topped off with Cotija cheese.
It’s an authentic Mexican style dish that’s easy to make. Mexican street corn salad makes a perfect side dish for a summer night grill out or paired with tortilla chips for a delicious appetizer dip.