Corn Salsa

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This delicious and easy corn salsa comes together in less than 10 minutes. It is good on everything from tacos to grilled meats to veggies, salads, and more.


One of my favorite things at Chipotle is their amazing Corn Salsa. Yep, that's right, while I love their Fajita Veggies, Sofritas, and Burrito Bowls, I truly love their corn salsa packed with tons of corn, cilantro, and red onion.

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, like these awesome salmon tacos or chicken street tacos. It's delicious on top of Mexican-inspired soups like this healthy taco soup. It's perfect loaded on burrito bowls, or on taco 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.

Ingredients and Substutions

  • Corn: Use fresh corn, canned corn, or defrosted frozen corn for this corn salsa. For a smoky flavor, char the corn in a pan before making the salsa or use grilled corn
  • Red onion: If possible, make sure to use red onion in this recipe since it tends to be sweeter in taste. For a mild onion flavor, soak the sliced red onions in cold water for 15-20 minutes. This makes them less pungent. You can also cook the onions or grill them for a milder flavor. 
  • Poblano pepper: These mild chile peppers add just a touch of spice to the salsa. You can leave them raw or you can roast them on an open flame. The Chipotle Roasted Chili Corn Salsa recipe uses roasted poblano peppers. For a spicier corn salsa, swap in jalapeno peppers or serrano peppers. Pickled jalapeno peppers can also be added.
  • Cilantro: Cilantro adds brightness and freshness to the salsa, especially if using canned corn. If you don't like cilantro, consider swapping in parsley or basil since this salsa needs fresh herbs.
  • Lime: Tons of fresh lime juice brings this salsa together and gives it the signature flavor expected in corn salsa. Lemon juice can be used but the flavor will be different. 
  • Salt and pepper: If your corn salsa tastes bland at all, make sure to add plenty of kosher salt and pepper. 

How to Serve with Corn Salsa

There are so many different ways to serve this corn salsa from classic chips and dips to the ultimate taco topping.

  • Tacos: I love to top tacos with this salsa. This salsa tastes great on almost any taco, but we especially love it with these easy pork tacos, blackened steak tacos, and fish tacos
  • Burrito bowls: Make a Chipotle favorite and add this corn salsa to your favorite burrito bowls.
  • Grilled meat: This salsa is actually pretty darn amazing atop a nice, juicy steak, pork, or is an easy way to level up grilled chicken breast.
  • Salads: Make a big salad with all your favorite greens and top with a scoop or two of corn salsa before adding your favorite healthy dressing.
  • As a dip: 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.
  • Burger topping: Add this to black bean burgers for a really tasty veggie burger. 
  • Grilled fish and shrimp: Remember that honey lime grilled salmon, it is over-the-top delicious with this corn salsa. It is also great with grilled shrimp. 

Ideas for Customizing Corn Salsa

Make this salsa your own with these easy recipe ideas. 

  • Make it spicy: 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!).
  • Add more vegetables: 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!
  • Add black beans: 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 avocado: Add chopped, ripe avocado to the salsa at the very end for some extra flavor and texture, and don't forget, healthy fats too!
  • Double the herbs: Chop some fresh basil or mint and add it to the salsa for even more flavor.

Tips & Tricks

Follow these tips to make sure the corn salsa turns out delicious every time.

  • Frozen corn: 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.
  • Storing leftover salsa: 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 marinate: Let the corn salsa sit for about 30 min to an hour before serving to allow all the flavors to combine.
  • Storing: 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!

  • 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.
  • 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 from 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, and 10 minutes if starting from frozen. Again, let cool in a bowl off the skillet before adding to the salsa.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about this corn salsa.

Chipotle corn salsa is made with defrosted frozen corn, roasted poblano peppers, fresh jalapeno peppers, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. It is a medium spice level and known as Roasted Chili Corn Salsa.

If you are lucky enough to find fresh corn on the cob, you can make corn salsa with the raw corn cut off the cob. The sweet corn doesn't need to be cooked and it will slightly soften from the lime juice in the salsa.

Bowl with corn salsa served over grilled salmon with extra corn salsa on the side.
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.


For a more exact copycat of the Chipotle Corn Salsa, roast the poblano pepper in the oven or on a gas-range. Then peel the skin, remove the seeds, and chop into bite sized pieces.

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About the author Meet 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
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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January 17, 2023 - 16:07
Absolutely! This will work with fresh, canned, or frozen corn.
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