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This Corn Salad is the ultimate summer salad! It’s made with fresh sweet corn, black beans, avocado and tomatoes, all tied together with a zesty chili-lime dressing. This easy recipe is great for making ahead and always the hit of the party!

I originally published this corn salad recipe in June 2016 and to this day I look forward to fresh corn season just so I can make this summery salad!

Corn salad in a serving bowl with a lime wedge.

The Best Corn Salad

This corn salad is one of my all-time favorite salad recipes. When I was first testing this recipe, I was hoping that it would turn out to be a delicious and easy side dish for summer meals. Well, this corn salad recipe turned out to be even better than I had hoped! We could not stop eating it, and Brad and I polished off the entire bowl in two days.

This corn salad is such a tasty combination of flavors, and I just love how colorful it is, too. There’s smoky grilled sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, tangy Cotija cheese and creamy avocado, plus a delicious chili-lime dressing to bring it all together.

I made this salad for 4th of July last year and it was a hit! I got lots of compliments from everyone!

Veronica
Fresh corn salad in a serving bowl with a lime wedge.

Ways I’ve Served this Corn Salad

We love to host BBQ’s and pool parties in the summer, and this corn salad is one of my go-to dishes to make for a gathering of family and friends. Here are a few of the ways I’ve served it:

Ingredients and Substitution Options

Here’s what you’ll need to make this corn salad. Find the full recipe with measurements in the recipe card below.

Ingredients for corn salad recipe with labels on each ingredient.
  • Corn on the Cob: Since the corn is the star of this recipe, it’s best to use fresh corn on the cob, not canned or frozen corn. You’ll get the best flavor and texture with fresh corn.
  • Black Beans: Canned black beans add filling protein and fiber to the salad.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Use ripe cherry or grape tomatoes.
  • Red Onion: Adds a punch of sharp, spicy flavor.
  • Fresh Cilantro: Its flavor complements the other ingredients in the salad.
  • Cotija Cheese: It adds a tangy, creamy element to the corn salad. Feta makes a great substitute.
  • Avocado: I love adding avocado to salads, and it goes especially well in this one.
  • Corn Salad Dressing: For the dressing you’ll need fresh lime juice, olive oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Grilled corn on the cob with other salad ingredients around it.

Cooking the Corn

This recipe starts with fresh corn on the cob. I prefer to cook the corn on the grill, because grilled corn on the cob adds so much flavor to the salad. You’ll find instructions for how to grill the corn in the recipe card below.

If you don’t have access to a grill, you can boil the corn, make Air Fryer corn on the cob, or cook it in your Instant Pot using my Instant Pot corn on the cob recipe.

Corn salad ingredients in a mixing bowl with dish of dressing next to it.

How to Make Corn Salad

  1. Grill the corn, or cook it using your preferred method.
  2. Make the dressing by whisking together all of the dressing ingredients.
  3. Once the corn is cool, remove the husks and silks. Then slice the kernels off of the cob.
  4. Put it all together! In a large bowl, combine the corn, black beans, tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro. Then pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
  5. Last, add the crumbled Cotija cheese and avocado. If you plan to serve the salad within 2 hours, add the avocado now. Otherwise, wait and add the avocado right before serving.

Make Ahead Tips

This corn salad tastes best if it is chilled in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. This time allows the flavors of the salad to blend together.

The salad will stay fresh for up to two days in the refrigerator. It’s best to add the avocado right before serving, to prevent the avocado from browning.

Corn salad in a serving bowl with a lime wedge.

More Summer Salad Recipes

Corn salad in a serving bowl with a lime wedge.
5 from 12 ratings

Corn Salad

Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
This corn salad is made with fresh sweet corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes and a zesty chili-lime dressing. Grilling the corn brings a lovely smoky flavor to the salad, but if you don't have a grill you can boil the corn. I love serving this salad at summer BBQ's! Serve it as a side dish, a main dish (add steak, shrimp or chicken for protein), or appetizer with tortilla chips for scooping.

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 4 ears corn on the cob
  • 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled*
  • 1 large avocado, chopped

For the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, about 3 limes
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Trim off any silks hanging out of the top of the corn husks. If the husks have loose outer leaves, remove them. If there are many layers of husk, you can pull off the outermost layer. Place corn on the hot grill and grill for 10-15 minutes with the lid closed, turning the corn every 2-3 minutes, until corn is tender. You may hear a few popping sounds from the corn as it cooks, but if it is popping a lot turn down the heat. Let the corn rest until cool enough to handle.
  • While the corn cools, make the dressing. Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Once corn is cool, remove the husks and silks. Use a sharp knife to slice the kernels off the cob. Place corn kernels in a large bowl.
  • To the bowl with the corn, add the black beans, tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Stir in the Cotija cheese. If serving the salad within 2 hours, you can stir in the avocado now. Otherwise, wait and add the avocado right before serving. Salad is best if chilled for at least 2 hours before serving.

Notes

  • We like this salad best with grilled corn, as directed in the recipe. You can also cook the corn in your Instant Pot or air fryer, or boil the corn on the cob for 6 to 8 minutes, until the kernels are tender.
  • I used to grill the corn wrapped in foil, after removing the husks and silks. Now I prefer to skip the foil and grill the corn right in the husks. 
  • If you can’t find Cotija cheese, feta is a good substitute.
  • Salad will stay fresh for 1-2 days in the refrigerator. If you plan to make the salad ahead, it is best to add the avocado right before serving.
Serving: 1/6 recipe, Calories: 286kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 646mg, Potassium: 669mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 570IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 106mg, Iron: 2mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
Cuisine: American
Course: Side Dish
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