Corn Salsa

This restaurant style corn salsa comes together in less than 10 minutes and is so good with everything from tacos to grilled meats to veggies, salads, and more.

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Corn is still in season so I am making ALLLLL the corn everything including corn salsa. Yep, that's right, salsa with corn as the dominant ingredient instead of tomatoes. You may have seen a version of this at your favorite take-out Mexican restaurant chain.

While I love a good tomato salsa and I love a good fruit salsa, this time of year I am all about the corn salsa made from fresh, farmstand corn. (And don't fret if you don't have fresh corn or it's not in season, frozen corn will work too!)

Corn salsa is so versatile, you can add it to tacos, on top of soups, in sandwiches, or on salads. Make up a big batch and eat it all week, I'm telling you, you're going to want more than one batch!

Chipotle corn salsa in a jar with red onion, lime juice, cilantro, and poblano pepper.

What to serve with for Corn Salsa

  • I love to top tacos with this salsa. You can even go crazy and layer the tomato salsas and the corn salsas — go ahead, there are no rules!
  • This salsa is actually pretty darn amazing atop a nice, juicy steak, pork, or and even gives a boring, grilled chicken breast some umph.
  • Make a big salad with all your favorite greens and ingredients and top with a scoop or two of corn salsa before adding your favorite healthy dressing.
  • You know what all salsas were really made for? Tortilla chips! Pick up a bag of baked tortilla chips and pour yourself a bowl to go alongside this salsa.
  • A scoop of salsa goes so great in this Chicken Tortilla soup as well and adds a great flavor and texture.
  • Remember that honey lime grilled salmon, it is over the top delicious with this corn salsa.

Ideas for Customizing Corn Salsa

  • Are you a spicy gal (or guy) like myself? Then I suggest adding some diced fresh or jarred jalapenos or other chilis to the salsa (in addition to the poblanos if you're feeling it!).
  • This salsa could also take a little more veggies in the way of some finely diced red bell peppers, or halved or quartered cherry tomatoes if you simply must have tomatoes in your salsa!
  • I've been known to throw a can of rinsed and drained black beans into this salsa to make it more of a meal with added protein.
  • Add a chopped, ripe avocado to the salsa at the very end for some extra flavor and texture, and don't forget, healthy fats too!
  • Chop some cilantro and add it into the salsa for a bit of that earthy salsa flavor you might be craving.

Tips & Tricks for making this salsa

  • If you are using frozen corn, allow it to thaw before adding to the salsa. If it seems watery, drain it over a colander before adding in the rest of the ingredients.
  • If you're making a lot of this salsa, may I suggest packaging it in single servings or in serving sizes that you'll be using for the meal, it'll be easy to grab one container at a time if you are worried about your portion sizes.
  • Let the corn salsa sit for about 30 min to an hour before serving to allow all the flavors to combine.
  • Corn salsa will keep for about 5 days in the fridge — which perfectly fits into a five-day meal plan! Coincidence?

Salsa with corn, cilantro, onion, and lime juice served over grilled salmon.

How do I char corn?

Want a deeper, richer corn flavor in the salsa? Give it a char!

  • Charring on the grill: Shuck the corn and take off all the silks. Rub a teaspoon of oil all over the corn and roast right on the grill grates for about 10 minutes, turning often. Wait for the corn to cool before cutting off the kernels for the salsa.
  • Charring on the stovetop: Heat up a grill pan or large skillet to medium-high heat, put the shucked and de-silked corn on the pan (oil first if you like) and cook for 10 minutes, rotating as you cook, until it's tender. Let cool before removing the corn off the stalk.
  • Charring frozen corn: Using a cast iron or another non-stick skillet, add a little neutral-tasting oil to the pan and then pour in frozen corn. Let it cook, stirring here and there, until char starts to form on the corn. It'll take about 5 minutes if thawed, 10 if starting from frozen. Again, let cool in a bowl off the skillet before adding to the salsa.
The Recipe
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Corn Salsa

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  • 3 cups corn (or 12 oz bag frozen, defrosted corn)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced (use 1-2 jalapenos for spicier)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • Salt and pepper

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Mix together all the ingredients. Taste and season with salt, pepper, or extra lime juice if needed.


Corn options: This recipe will work with fresh raw corn, boiled corn, grilled corn, canned corn, or defrosted frozen corn. When corn is in season, I love using fresh corn to elevate the recipe.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 72
Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
Saturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 12mg
Total Carbohydrate 16g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 5g
Protein 3g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
1 Comment
On Corn Salsa
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Erica Fortunato
September 8, 2020 - 16:10
Can I do this recipe with canned corn instead?
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