Grilled Corn Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing

4.75 from 31 votes
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Grilled corn salad drizzled with creamy lime dressing. Fresh ears of corn are roasted on the grill to add a smoky flavor. Serve it alongside your favorite protein for a complete dinner!

Grilled Corn Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing

As the weather warms up there’s no better time to fire up the barbecue and cook outside. This Mexican-inspired grilled corn salad is made up of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, bell peppers, radish, avocado, and green onions.

This colorful and crunchy vegetable mix is tossed with a creamy lime dressing that has nice a spicy kick. Serve this side dish with grilled chicken or steak to create easy weeknight dinners. This salad is also perfect to bring to your next potluck.

How to make grilled corn salad

  • Shuck fresh corn and brush kernels with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with salt.
  • Add to the grill, cover and cook until lightly charred on each side.
  • When the roasted corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off the cob.
  • In a large bowl combine corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, bell pepper, radishes, avocado, and green onions.
  • In a small bowl add crema, lime zest, lime juice, honey, cilantro, serrano pepper, black pepper, salt, and garlic then toss to combine.

Cooking corn on the cob

There are various ways to cook corn on the cob although, only the grill can achieve a flavorful smokey char. It’s the perfect time to dust off the barbecue and practice your grilling techniques.

I like to remove the husk so that the surface sizzles and browns on the grates for instant flavor. Coating the corn with a light layer of olive oil protects it from completely burning.

grilled corn

No grill? Use canned or frozen corn

Corn is at its peak season from June to September, so the remainder of the time canned or frozen corn comes in handy. Simply defrost and drain well, then add to a hot frying pan or cast iron skillet with a little bit of oil or butter. Saute on high heat, stirring every few minutes until the outside of the kernels lightly brown. Allow it to cool then mix the corn into the salad.

Corn salad ingredients

For intense crunch factor, add diced English cucumbers, red and green onions, red bell peppers, and radishes. Ripe chopped tomatoes add some juiciness. If you have cherry tomatoes on hand slice them in half and toss them in.

Pieces of bright green and creamy avocado add some richness and healthy fats to the dish. If you want to add extra protein to this vegetarian recipe, canned or homemade black beans are a great option.

colorful corn salad with diced tomatoes and avocado

Creamy lime dressing

The base of the dressing is crema, a Mexican table cream. It has a very light tartness, but with a pourable consistency. Sour cream or even plain yogurt would work, but you may need to bump up the sweetener level and add some water to thin out the dressing.

The crema gets whisked together with freshly squeezed lime juice, zest, honey, chopped cilantro, minced serrano peppers, garlic. Season with salt and pepper as needed. I noticed that over time the sauce gets spicier, and lasts for up to 4 to 5 days refrigerated in an airtight container.

Make it ahead of time

This hearty grilled corn salad is great to pack up and bring to a picnic or potluck. The robust ingredients store well, about 5 days. However, I recommend cutting the avocado the day of serving so it does not turn brown.

The recipe makes a large batch for feeding a crowd or meal prepping. Generously top with the spicy lime dressing and your tastebuds will be happy. Enjoy!

close up of a grilled corn salad with creamy dressing

More grilling recipes

Grilling corn with the husk removed

Removing the hush and silk allows direct contact with the hot grill to brown the kernels very quickly. When using this method brush the corn with a high temperature cooking oil like olive oil or vegetable oil to create a thin protective barrier so that it chars nicely, but won’t burn.

Grilled Corn Salad

Grilled corn salad drizzled with creamy lime dressing. Fresh ears of corn are roasted on the grill to add a smoky flavor and mixed with colorful vegetables.
4.75 from 31 votes
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Course Side
Cuisine Mexican

Ingredients 
 

Grilled Corn Salad

  • 4 ears of corn, about 3 cups of kernels
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing corn
  • kosher salt, for seasoning corn
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes, seeds removed, ½-inch dice
  • 1 cup diced English cucumbers, seeds removed, ½-inch dice
  • ¾ cup diced red onions, ¼-inch dice
  • ¾ cup diced red bell pepper, ¼-inch dice
  • ¼ cup sliced radishes
  • 1 avocado, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon sliced green onions

Creamy Lime Dressing

  • ½ cup crema, or light sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon minced serrano pepper
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic

Instructions 

  • Remove the husk and silk from the corn, brush with olive oil and season with salt.
  • Preheat the grill on high heat about 400 to 450ºF (204 to 232ºC).
  • Dip a folded piece of paper towel in some olive oil. Holding it with tongs, use this to grease the grill grates.
  • Add the corn to the grill and cover, cook for about 8 to 12 minutes, flipping every 2 to 3 minutes to char each side.
  • Transfer the grilled corn to a plate. Once cooled, slice off the kernels.
  • In a large bowl toss to combine the grilled corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, bell peppers, radish, avocado, and green onions.
  • In a small bowl whisk together crema, lime zest, lime juice, honey, cilantro, serrano pepper, black pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt, and garlic.
  • Garnish with cilantro leaves, and season with more salt or pepper as desired.
  • Drizzle the corn salad with the creamy lime dressing or serve on the side.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 6 servings
Calories 197kcal (10%)Carbohydrates 24g (8%)Protein 4g (8%)Fat 11g (17%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Cholesterol 10mg (3%)Sodium 198mg (8%)Potassium 505mg (14%)Fiber 5g (20%)Sugar 11g (12%)Vitamin A 900IU (18%)Vitamin C 39.1mg (47%)Calcium 55mg (6%)Iron 1.1mg (6%)

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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9 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Ginger says

    I’ve made this twice now, and regardless of what I serve with it, its the hit of the meal. People rave about it! A great summer side dish and so versatile too – I’m thinking of adding grilled shrimp next time and making it a meal!

  2. Sherry DeRoch says

    I made this a month or so ago and it was amazing. Made exactly as written and didn’t change a thing. Wonderful with b-b-qued chicken.

  3. Stacy Merrill says

    I recently purchased your cookbook, and am love the recipes and cooking tips! I saw this corn salad and had make it. It’s so delicious as a side dish, or even a main meal with some added protein. I will be sharing this with my friends and definitely be making this again!

  4. Kathleen Fleming says

    Made this salad for Father’s Day to go with barbecued salmon. Three days later my husband is still raving about it. I have often seen pictures of grilled corn but for some reason never tried it. Turns out, easy peasy to do and the smoky flavour is to die for. Back to the husband. He says, just add chick peas for protein and a nice loaf of bread and dinner is on the table. Thanks so much for another stand out recipe.

    • JJ says

      Nice review, Kathleen!
      It DOES look like a delicious salad…any time of the year, but an even better as a simple summer supper after a day at the pool.