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.
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.
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 at 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.
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.
Ways to maximize the flavor of the corn salsa
- 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.
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
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #jessicagavin on Instagram. I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
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.
- 4 ears of corn, (2 cups kernels, 286g, 10 ounces)
- 1 cup diced tomatoes, (143g, 5 ounces) ¼ inch dice
- 1 cup black beans , (160g, 5 ½ ounces) canned, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic , (3g)
- ½ cup cilantro leaves, (3g) chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño , (10g, ¼ ounce)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup diced avocado, (66g) ¼-inch dice
- 2 tablespoon lime juice, (30ml)
- black pepper, as needed for seasoning
- Preheat grill over high heat (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 the corn every 2 to 3 minutes to char each side. Transfer grilled corn to a plate.
- Remove the corn from the grill and allow to cool. Once cool to the touch cut the corn 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 corn salsa and add more salt and pepper as desired.
- Recipe makes 4 1/2 cups corn salsa.
- Serving Size: 1/2 cup
More Popular Appetizer Recipes
Shop the Recipe Tools
Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you!