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Mexican Street Corn Salad with Chipotle Crema

This Mexican corn salad recipe (esquites) takes the flavors of elote—fresh sweet corn, lime juice, cotija cheese, and a mayo-based chipotle crema—and turns them into a beautiful summer salad.


Mexican Street Corn Salad in a large bowl served with chipotle crema

Elote, Without the Mess.

We love a messy summer BBQ as much as the next person—watermelon juice dripping down our SPF-streaked arms, grill smoke billowing into the air, chlorine in our hair, and a bottomless cooler full of ice-cold cans—but sometimes you just want to wear something nice and not immediately regret it. This Mexican street corn salad recipe (or esquites in Spanish) takes all of the flavors and textures that make elotes delicious—fresh sweet corn, lime juice, cotija cheese, and a chipotle crema made with mayo—and turns them into a beautiful salad. The only thing missing is the need for a million wet wipes, and we’re betting you’re OK with that.

close up of Mexican Street Corn salad

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Summer Doldrums Are No Match For This Easy, Grilled Mexican Corn Salad.

A bright, sunny summer corn salad is just about the best thing there is. When you can’t handle even the sight of another bowl of potato salad, sweet-savory cold corn salad is here to perk you back up! We love it because:

  • Our Mexico-inspired street corn salad is a delicious way to use up any leftover corn, which we always seem to have lurking around our fridge in late summer.
  • This Mexican corn salad packs a ton of flavor into one bowl, but uses just a few ingredients—grilled corn is the star of this eight-ingredient show.
  • AND if you really love this corn esquites recipe, keep it around all year! You can make it in winter—when you can just barely remember what August felt like—using frozen corn and it’ll still taste incredibly good. Creamy, spicy, cheery bites of summer are what get us through winter—how about you?
ingredients for Mexican Street Corn Salad
hand using sharp knife to remove corn kernels from corn ear
large bowl with chopped up ingredients for Mexican Street Corn Salad
Large bowl of Mexican Street Corn Salad

How To Make Corn Salad

Colorful and zesty has never been simpler than this easy corn salad recipe! Here’s how to make this Mexican street corn salad:

  1. Cook six ears of corn. You can grill it—for extra smokiness—or boil the corn, or even use frozen.
  2. Whip up a batch of chipotle mayo dressing. Creamy, easy and so good, there is no better cold corn salad dressing on earth.
  3. Slice, dice and toss! Chop up the veg—radishes, cilantro and green onions—that will take this from a bowlful of sweet corn with mayo (not that there’s anything wrong with that) to the true culinary joy that is fresh corn salad.
  4. Toss the vegetables and corn with your chipotle dressing and a little more chipotle powder, a squeeze of lime juice and plenty of crumbly cotija cheese. Chill (if you’d like to) and serve.
Mexican street corn salad in a large bowl with fresh lime wedges served on top

Tools You’ll Need:

  • You really need a good sharp knife for this corn salad recipe, especially if you’ll be using boiled or grilled corn on the cob and then cutting the sweet corn kernels from the cob. That’s an easy job, but a sharp knife is key.
  • A big bowl for serving.
  • A grill! Or a big pot for boiling corn, or a skillet if you’re using frozen corn.
  • If you grill the corn, you’ll probably want some grilling tongs.
  • Salad servers are nice, too.
  • Last but not least, we love our citrus juicer.

Other Summery, Mexican Dishes We Love:

When it comes to the flavors we crave when the sun comes out, it always comes back to the beautiful cuisine of Mexico. Pair these dishes with this Mexican corn salad recipe, and call it a cocktail party:

There’s Nothing Corny About How Much We Love this Salad

And we hope you’re as crazy about it as we are! If you make it and love it, let us know. Snap a photo of your esquites (Mexican corn salad) and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Mexican Street Corn Salad with Chipotle Crema

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  15 min
  • Calories: 129


  • 6 ears corn of corn, about 4 cups
  • 1/4 cup finely diced radishes
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice, from 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chipotle mayo
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder (or regular chili powder)


To make this salad with Grilled Corn: Heat a grill on high for 10 min. Husk the corn, completely removing the silky hairs and lay the corn directly on the hot grill. Once the corn begins to char, flip it to the other side. Continue flipping until the corn is charred on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Remove the corn from the grill and allow it to cool. Once the corn has cooled completely, use a sharp knife to remove the kernels from the corn.

To make this salad with Boiled Corn: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Husk the corn, completely removing silky hairs. Boil the corn cobs for 8 minutes before removing them from the water, set aside to cool. Once the corn has cooled completely, use a sharp knife to remove the kernels from the corn.

To make this salad with Frozen Corn: In a large skillet, set over high, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over high heat. Add 4 cups of frozen corn and spread them out into a single layer. Allow the corn to cook over high heat until it begins to char. Stir corn and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the corn to cool completely before using in the salad.

Assemble the salad:

In a medium sized bowl combine the corn kernels with the radishes, green onions, lime juice, salt and pepper. Toss the corn mixture with chipotle crema until completely coated. Add a little more if desired. Sprinkle the salad with cilantro, cotija and chipotle powder.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories129
  • Protein2 g
  • Carbohydrates19 g
  • Total Fat15 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium200 mg
  • Total Sugars5 g

Mexican Street Corn Salad with Chipotle Crema

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Anna

    Any suggestions for a dressing substitute for the chipotle mayo? My family won’t eat creamy dressings or sauces with mayo.

    Some sort of cilantro lime vinaigrette would work well. Hope you enjoy Anna.

  • Judy A Stanley

    Can this be made the day before?


  • Kate Sandersen

    can you make ahead and refrigerate or should this be served warm or right away

    I love this salad cold and it can definitely be made ahead of time!

  • Josh

    This recipe is amazing. I make this every time we smoke a pork shoulder. My family demands it. Thank you!

    That's so great to hear, so happy your family loves it. Thanks Josh!

  • Jenn

    This was perfect I loved the crunch from the radishes!

    Thanks Jenn!

  • Tresa

    I love this corn salad, it is so good and I always get so many compliments. I bring it to my family 4th of July picnic every year!

    yay, that's great to hear!