Corn Salsa

4.72 from 35 votes
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Corn salsa is a colorful and healthy dip loaded with vegetables and beans. The kernels are fire roasted on the grill for a smoky flavor. Serve this easy to make an appetizer with crunchy tortilla chips or add to meat or seafood for a tasty topping.

Corn Salsa

It’s a no brainer to grab pico de gallo or guacamole as a quick appetizer, but surprise your taste buds with corn salsa! When corn on the cob is fresh and just picked, it’s a nice switch up to incorporate into Mexican-inspired dishes. The smoky, sweet, and crisp bursts of fresh vegetables can be a gluten-free stand-alone side dish, topping, or starter.

By lightly charring the outside husk on the grill, the kernels infuse with a smoldering flavor. Sliced right off the cob and tossed with juicy tomatoes, creamy avocados, chopped garlic and cilantro, spicy jalapeño, black beans, and freshly squeezed lime juice make for a vibrant and healthy cousin to other popular dips. It’s easy to pull together, and I’ve got shortcuts and tips to enjoy this salsa all year long.

several ears of grilled corn on a sheet tray

How to make corn salsa

  • Preheat the grill on high and grease the grates.
  • Remove the silk and leave one layer of husk on the cob.
  • Cover and grill the corn until lightly charred, 8 to 12 minutes.
  • Once cooled cut the kernels off of the cob.
  • Combine grilled corn, tomatoes, beans, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, and salt.
  • Add avocado cubes and lime juice, stir gently to combine.

How to grill corn on the cob

The best way to grill corn on the cob is with a thin layer of husk intact and silk removed. Cooking the corn with high heat quickly adds a light flavorful char on the kernels. Leaving one layer of fibrous husk protects the delicate vegetable from completely burning yet still transfers smoky flavor to the surface.

I have also used the technique of removing the husk completely and brushing with olive oil for making elotes with good success. Just make sure to keep an eye on the corn so it doesn’t blacken too quickly.

knife cutting grilled corn kernels off of a cob

Can you use frozen or canned corn?

Yes! Frozen or canned corn can be used for this salsa if you’re short on time, or corn is not at its peak season. Simply defrost the chilled corn, or open the can and drain well. The precooked corn can be added straight to the dip. If you want to add a charred flavor, heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat, and sauté the corn in some olive oil for a few minutes until lightly browned but stays plump.

What ingredients are used to make corn salsa?

The key ingredients to make a crunchy salsa is a combination of plump corn kernels, diced tomatoes, black beans, garlic, herbaceous cilantro, lime, spicy jalapeño, avocados, salt, and pepper.

corn salsa with diced avocados and tomatoes mixed in a bowl

Ways to maximize the flavor

  • Fresh corn tastes the best, but it’s easy to substitute canned or frozen.
  • Feel free to use any type of tomato that looks the ripest, I typically use Roma or even cherry tomatoes.
  • Canned black beans are super convenient to use and add extra fiber and protein. However, you’ll be surprised how easy and affordable it is to make black beans from scratch!
  • Make sure to pick a ripe avocado, which will add a little touch of creaminess.
  • Lime juice provides a mild and fruity tartness, but if you have lemons on hand and want a stronger pucker, squeeze them in!
  • If you want extra crunch, finely chop some red onions or bell peppers and toss them into the salsa.
  • For a hotter spicer corn salsa, sprinkle in some chili powder, cayenne, or red pepper.

bowl of corn salsa with tortilla chips

What can you serve corn salsa with?

  • Add on top of burrito bowls
  • Top on fish tacos
  • Add top grilled chicken or steak
  • Toss with shredded lettuce, kale, or spinach for a quick salad
  • Serve with tortilla chips or homemade pita chips
  • Add as a side dish to chicken enchiladas

A quick tip for keeping diced avocado green

Submerging diced avocado immediately into a  bowl of water helps to keep it lime green for a longer period. When the avocado flesh is cut, browning occurs when the polyphenol oxidase enzyme in the cell walls of the fruit reactions with oxygen in the atmosphere. The water acts as a barrier to oxygen to slow the color change.

Corn Salsa

Easy corn salsa recipe with avocado and black beans. Made with either canned or grilled corn for an easy appetizer that goes perfect with tortilla chips.
4.72 from 35 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 9 servings
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mexican


  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes, ¼-inch dice
  • 1 cup black beans , canned, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup diced avocado, ¼-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • black pepper, as needed for seasoning


  • Preheat grill over high heat at about 400 to 450ºF (204 to 232ºC).
  • Carefully grease the cooking grates with the oil using a paper towel and tongs.
  • Remove the husk except for one layer and remove the silk.
  • Add the corn to the grill and cover, cook for 8 to 12 minutes, flipping every 2 to 3 minutes to char each side. Transfer to a plate and cool.
  • Once cool to the touch cut the corn kernels off of the cob with a chef's knife.
  • In a medium bowl combine corn, tomatoes, black beans, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño and salt.
  • Add avocado and lime juice, stir gently to combine.
  • Taste and add more salt or pepper as desired.


  • Recipe Yield: 4 ½ cups
  • Serving Size: ½ cup
  • Four ears of corn should yield about 2 cups of kernels (286g, 10 ounces).

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 9 servings
Calories 65kcal (3%)Carbohydrates 13g (4%)Protein 3g (6%)Sodium 73mg (3%)Potassium 230mg (7%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 3g (3%)Vitamin A 165IU (3%)Vitamin C 6.4mg (8%)Calcium 13mg (1%)Iron 0.9mg (5%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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