Mexican-inspired grilled corn salad with cotija

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The Grilled Corn Salad is inspired by Mexican street corn (elote) made with chili-lemon seasoning and cotija cheese, lighter and without mayonnaise.

Grilled Corn Salad with Cotija

If you need some easy-to-make side dishes this summer, you’ll love this. Grilled Corn Salad with Cotija. It’s inspired by elote, a Mexican corn on the cob topped with mayonnaise and topped with chili powder, lemon juice and cheese. For this Mexican street corn salad, I take the corn off the cob, skip the mayonnaise, and toss it all together for a light summer side dish. This dish is great with fryer salmon, grilled chicken, shrimp, fish, rice, etc., making it the perfect accompaniment to any summer barbecue. If you prefer Mediterranean flavors, you might like this Grilled Corn Salad with Feta and Mint or try this Corn Salad with Avocado and Tomato.

grilled corn

Ingredients to make the Grilled Corn Salad:

This healthy Mexican corn salad uses all the ingredients in elote, but without the mayonnaise.

  • corn on the cob – Grill the husked corn directly on the grill for a charred, smoky flavor that elevates this salad. If you want to use frozen, that’s fine.
  • Scallion – any onion will do here, but I love chives in this salad. You can also use red onion or chives.
  • Cotija cheese – cotija is normally used in elote, you can also use crumbled fresh cheese or feta cheese if you prefer.
  • Cilantro – for freshness, but if you hate the taste, you can use chives instead.
  • chili seasoning – as Tajin or Trader Joe’s Everything But The Elote Seasoning
  • lemon slicesto serve that is squeezed over the salad to add flavor and acidity.

Can you grill corn in advance for corn salad?

Yes, you can prepare your corn in advance. You can peel, grill and remove the kernels from the cob the day before making the salad.

How to grill corn for salad

  1. To grill the corn for this salad, start by removing the husks and heating the grill to medium-high.
  2. Then grill the corn for 10 to 12 minutes, turning the cobs so all sides touch the grill.
  3. Once they are charred in spots, remove the corn from the grill to cool.

If you don’t have a grill, you can cook the corn in a skillet on the stove using the same method.

How to make corn salad

  1. After the corn is grilled and cooled, remove the kernels from the cob. The easiest way is to place the cob in a large bowl and use a sharp knife to cut the kernels.
  2. Add the chives and cotija to the bowl with the corn and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Add the Tajin, cilantro, salt and pepper.
  4. Serve topped with more Tajin sprinkled on top and lemon wedges, if desired. Leftovers keep in the fridge for up to four days.


  • Cheese – Sub queso fresco or feta for cotija.
  • No grill, no problems! You can use a grill if you don’t have a grill. If you are making this salad when the corn is not in season, you can use frozen corn.
  • onions – Swap the chives or chives for red onion.
  • Additional: Add diced avocado, tomato, canned black beans, or chopped jalapeno for seasoning.

How to make grilled corn salad

Mexican grilled corn salad with cojita

More Summer Corn Salad Recipes You’ll Love:

Grilled Corn Salad with Cotija


117 cals
4 Protein
13 carbohydrates
6.5 fats

Setup time: 15 minutes

Time to cook: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

The Grilled Corn Salad is inspired by Mexican street corn (elote) and made with chili seasoning, chives and cotija cheese without mayonnaise.

  • 6 large or 7 medium ears of corn, 6 cups
  • 1/4 glass chopped chives
  • two soup spoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 glass Cotija cheese, fell apart
  • two soup spoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Tajin, Chili Lime Seasoning or Trader Joes Anything but Elote Seasoning, plus more for coverage
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • lemon slices, optional to serve
  • Set the grid to medium-high. Peel the corn.

  • Grill for 10 to 12 minutes, turning frequently, until charred in spots. Transfer to a cutting board and set aside to cool.

  • Cut the kernels from the cob. Place the corn, chives and cotija cheese in a medium salad bowl. Drizzle with oil and mix.

  • Add the tajin (chili lime seasoning), cilantro and mix again. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed.

  • Serve topped with more lemon seasoning and fresh lemon wedges, if desired.

Serving: 3/4 cup, Calories: 117kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 6.5g, Saturated fat: twog, Cholesterol: 7.5mg, Sodium: 211mg, Fiber: 1.5g, Sugar: 4g

Key words: Summer BBQ Sides, Elote Salad, Grilled Corn Salad, Mexican Street Corn Salad

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