This Mexican street corn salad is the perfect summertime side dish, or you can turn it into a main course with grilled shrimp or chicken. It’s sweet, salty, smoky, crunchy and creamy, and it tastes like a lightened-up version of Mexican street corn!

Close up of fork taking bite of Mexican street corn salad.

Easy Mexican street corn salad recipe

Whenever we have sweet corn with dinner I always make a few extra cobs so that I can use the kernels later in the week. This Mexican street corn salad is our favorite way to use up leftover corn, but it’s also reason enough to cook it in the first place. The salad is inspired by Mexican street corn but tastes lighter and more vibrant, with a range of textures and tastes.

Overhead shot of sweet corn salad on table with glass of wine on the side

Creamy ancho dressing

The creamy but light ancho dressing is a cinch to make and ties everything together. Lime juice and mayonnaise provide the base for the dressing. They get whisked with garlic, smoked paprika and ancho chile powder for flavor. If you can’t find ancho chile powder (which is simply ground ancho chilies) you can use a regular chili powder blend instead (which is a blend of ground chilies with other spices such as cumin and oregano). The dressing can be made several days ahead of time.

Close-up side view of corn salad.

How to make Mexican corn salad

  • Make the creamy ancho dressing.
  • Toss cooked corn kernels (you can use boiled, steamed or grilled corn!) with peppery arugula, crunchy radishes and cilantro.
  • Drizzle on the dressing, and toss to coat.
  • Crumble salty cotija or feta cheese over the top of the salad, and garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds (which are optional). Serve!
Overhead shot of half-eaten plate of Mexican street corn salad.

How to serve Mexican street corn salad

The corn salad is fantastic on its own, or alongside grilled meats, fish or burgers. I love to pile it over pounded cooked chicken breasts for a Mexican take on chicken paillard. You can also serve it as a main course by topping the salad with shrimp or chicken!

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Mexican Street Corn Salad with Creamy Ancho Dressing

This easy salad is a spectacular showcase for summer corn. It's sweet, salty, smoky, crunchy and creamy, and it tastes like a lightened-up version of Mexican street corn! You'll need cooked corn kernels for this recipe, which you can either steam, boil or grill (it's a great way to use up leftover corn!). If the corn is really fresh you can even use it raw. If you can’t find ancho chile powder, you can use a standard chili powder blend. Serve the salad as a side dish, or turn it into a main course by topping it with grilled shrimp or chicken. Sometimes I add avocado as well.
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: corn salad, sweet corn recipes, sweet corn salad
Servings: 4 -6 people

Ingredients

Dressing

  • ½ teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad

  • 4 cups cooked corn kernels (about 4 cobs)
  • 3 handfuls baby arugula
  • 4-5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup crumbled feta or cotija cheese
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

Instructions

Make the dressing

  • In a small bowl, combine the lime zest, lime juice and grated garlic clove. Whisk in the mayonnaise, ancho chile powder, smoked paprika and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble the salad

  • In a large bowl, toss the corn kernels with the arugula, radishes and cilantro. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the feta or cotija cheese and the pumpkin seeds (if using); serve it up!

Notes

Do Ahead: The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Tips:
  • This is a great way to use up leftover cooked corn. You could use steamed, boiled or grilled corn. If the corn is really fresh and sweet you can even use it raw! 
  • If you can’t find ancho chile powder (which is just ground ancho chilies) you can use a chili powder blend instead (which is a mix of ground chilies with other spices). 

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