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Mexican-Inspired Grilled Corn Salad with Cotija

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Mexican-inspired Grilled Corn Salad made with grilled summer corn, Tajin (chili-lime seasoning) and cotija cheese, only made lighter with no mayo.

Grilled Corn Salad with Cojita
Grilled Corn Salad with Cotija

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

grilled corn

Ingredients to make grilled corn salad:

This healthy Mexican corn salad uses all the ingredients of elote but without the mayo.

  • Corn on the cob – grill peeled corn directly on the grill for a charred, smokey flavor that elevates this salad. If you want to use frozen, that will be fine.
  • Scallions – any onion works here but I love scallions in this salad. You can also use red onion, or chives.
  • Cotija cheese – cotija is typically used on elote, you can also use crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese if you prefer.
  • Cilantro – for freshness, although if you detest the flavor you can use chives on their place.
  • Chili-lime seasoning – like Tajin or Trader Joe’s Everything But The Elote Seasoning
  • Lime wedges, for serving which get squeezed over the salad for tang and acid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you grill corn in advance for corn salad?

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

How do you remove the corn from the cobb?

I suggest placing the corn cobb on a clean dish towel holding it upright. Then use a knife to cut the kernels off. The towel will catch all the kernels, then pour them all into a bowl.

How to Grill Corn for Salad

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

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

How to Make Corn Salad

  1. After the corn has been grilled and has cooled, remove the kernels from the cob. The easiest way is to stand the cob up in a large bowl and use a sharp knife to slice the kernels off.
  2. Add the scallions and cotija to the bowl with the corn and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Stir in the Tajin, cilantro, salt and pepper.
  4. Serve topped with with more Tajin sprinkled on top and lime wedges, if desired. Leftovers will last in the fridge for up to four days.

Variations:

  • Cheese – Sub queso fresco or feta for cotija.
  • No grill, no problem! You can use a grill pan if you don’t have a grill. If you’re making this salad when corn isn’t in season, you can use frozen corn.
  • Onions – Swap scallions or chives for red onion.
  • Add ons: Add diced avocado, tomato, canned black beans or chopped jalapeno, for spice.

How To Make Grilled Corn Salad

Mexican Grilled Corn Salad with Cojita

More Summer Corn Salad Recipes You’ll Love:

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Grilled Corn Salad with Cotija

5 from 47 votes
2
Cals:117
Protein:4
Carbs:13
Fat:6.5
Grilled Corn Salad is inspired by Mexican street corn (elote) and made with chili- lime seasoning, scallions, and cotija cheese with no mayo.
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Grilled Corn Salad with Cojita
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
Serving Size: 3 /4 cup

Ingredients

  • 6 large ears of corn, or 7 medium, 6 cups
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup queso Cotija, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon Tajin, Chili Lime Seasoning or Trader Joes Everything But the Elote seasoning, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • lime wedges, optional for serving

Instructions

  • Set the grill to medium-high. Husk the corn.
  • Grill 10 to 12 minutes, turning often, until charred in spots. Transfer to a cutting board and set aside to cool.
    grilling corn on the grill
  • Cut the kernels off the cobb. Put the corn, scallions and cotija cheese in a medium salad bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss.
  • Add the tajin (chili lime seasoning), cilantro and toss again. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed.
  • Serve topped with more chili lime seasoning and fresh lime wedges if desired.

Last Step:

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Nutrition

Serving: 3 /4 cup, Calories: 117 kcal, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Protein: 4 g, Fat: 6.5 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Cholesterol: 7.5 mg, Sodium: 211 mg, Fiber: 1.5 g, Sugar: 4 g

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70 comments on “Mexican-Inspired Grilled Corn Salad with Cotija”

  1. This is a slam dunk dish!! I use frozen corn that I thaw and roast in my air fryer. We like to add cooked shrimp seasoned with extra Tajin for a great Luncheon or light dinner dish! One of many recipes with love from your collection!

  2. I make this ALL THE TIME. It is SO good. I just had leftovers for lunch and ate it with a spoon straight from the bowl I stored it in!

  3. Love! I’ve made it with chopped tomatoes, orange bell pepper, avocado and cucumber. I’ve also subbed red onion for scallions and mini mozzarella balls for the cotijo. Not authentic but cheesier and delicious.

  4. I used the queso fresco because cotijo is so salty. I substituted fresh parsley instead of cilantro (not a fan). This is a fantastic recipe!!! Love, love, love it!

  5. Cut it off the cob and cooked it on skillet to blacken parts of the corn. It was very good great recipe

  6. This was so good! I made this and used it all week. I used it on shrimp tacos, put it on chicken enchiladas, topped a chipotle chicken, rice bowl with it…and ate it alone. A great quick, easy, versatile recipe!

  7. Avatar photo
    Joanne Johnson

    I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for some time now…tonight was the night! OMG! Why did I wait so long?!?! Soooo good. I added the juice of a lime like someone had suggested and it was to die for. My husband’s best compliment “You could feed this to the Pope” was given! Will make again and again! Thank you!

  8. Fabulous! Big hit at summer bbq’s. Sooooo fresh without the heavy mayo base found in so many corn salad recipes. This recipe has been on rotation in our home all summer and we always get requests for the recipe.

  9. Yummy. Made as written with the exception of taking other reviewers’ advice and adding juicy of one line and one roasted (grilled) jalapeño, skinned, ribs and seeds removed and finely chopped. I used a combo of Trader Joe’s Chili Lime seasoning and Everything But the Elote because I had both. Delicious! Even a friend who’s not much of a corn fan loved it! A keeper of a recipe.

  10. I can’t stop making this salad! It’s SO good and easy. Followed recipe to a T and is perfect. Only note is I sometimes need to grill an extra cob or two to get enough corn.

  11. This corn salad is simple and delicious without the lime… but a squeeze of lime takes it over the top! I will be making this all summer. Fantastic!

  12. Love this. Have made it several times for cookouts. Guests always request the recipe which I am happy to share.

  13. Easy and fun summer side. I made it as directed with fresh corn on the cob and it is wonderful. Everybody enjoyed it. Next time I might add some black beans for flavor and color. We will have this often. Also, thanks for opening my eyes up to cotija cheese.

  14. Just made this, my husband said “you can make this again” which is his highest compliment. Great flavor grilling the corn, I was skeptical about grilling it dry (no oil on corn) but turned out great. The cotija cheese is so flavorful, & the cilantro really blends well with the other flavors, but I think basil would work for the folks that think cilantro tastes like soap 🙂

  15. This corn salad is now a staple in my house. I pick three sides that will keep well for 3-5 days each week. I meal prep them and use them throughout the workweek as a side to lunch or dinner. This corn salad is A M A Z I N G! It’s so fresh, and kept great through the week. It was easy to put together and I made it exactly as written. The fam loves it as much as I do.

  16. Absolutely delicious! The seasoning was spot on. Everyone complimented this dish at the cookout. Flavorful yet light, it was the perfect summer side. I made as is and just before serving added a squeeze of lime juice.

  17. This was a delicious, easy side for a fun summer meal. We love Mexican street corn and this was a great spin off! My husband grilled the corn while I prepped the rest and then when the corn was done he grilled some chicken. We loved it! Definitely one to make for guest this summer.

  18. Avatar photo
    Dawn Bradley

    I didn’t have any ears of corn so I tried canned. It was so good! I can’t wait to try it with fresh!!

  19. Thank you Gina, for this amazing recipe. I have a full fat version of Elote Corn salad using sour cream, but I like your version so much more. I just started Weight Watchers, and your recipes with a WW points link are amazing. Thank you for being so thoughtful to provide the WW link. This recipe is a great side for all barbecues. Thank you !

  20. How long will left overs keep in the fridge? This looks amazing to me but not sure everyone in my family will enjoy it as much as me.

  21. Made this over the weekend and used as part of latin inspired chicken bowl. Delicious and a family favorite.

  22. Yummy recipe! Definitely add on jalapeño, maybe black beans next time, and extra Tajin! Perfect summer salad!!

  23. Hi, Gina! Your new little blue WW points circle (maybe that’s not what that is?) says 5, but when I click on the WW Points button in the recipe, it’s only 2 points. I’ll definitely be saving this one to try this summer! Thanks for so many great recipes!

  24. My whole family loved this. I probably ended up doubling the Tajin and cilantro by the time I was done. The flavors were so good, I couldn’t help myself. Thanks, Gina, for another absolute hit!

  25. Hi Dear I think its tasty Thanks for it but How can We sever grilld corn seeds by hand?
    seafood.2000@yahoo.com

  26. Delicious salad! We have also put this on tortilla chips with some tofu sofritas for street corn nachos. 

    Substitutions: feta for cojita, and lime crema (yogurt and lime juice) drizzle. We don’t have Tajin here, so I used ground chili flakes, ground cumin, and some paprika and it was awsome. Also added finely diced red onion for some. Overal, a very versatile recipe! 

  27. I LOVE this dish and took it to a group dinner; it was a hit!!!

    For your WW Points, please add to the recipes the size of the serving, i.e., 3/4 c or other.

  28. Absolutely love this salad! I used to get a mexican corn salad from a restaurant and the minute you showed a recipe I was so excited and decided to try making it myself. It came out so good! This salad and. your tomato, avocado, corn salad are two staples in my household. Thank. you Gina for being a part of my life and helping me eat healthier. I love that you have so. much flavor in your recipes!

  29. This was so good! It has the perfect balance of sweet corn, crunch, and salt and it tasted just like summer should.

  30. Absolutely love this recipe as written, but I have to use 8 ears of corn for HALF the recipe! Still is delicious! This is my 3rd batch in 2 weeks!!!

  31. I’ve made this recipe twice over the last two weeks, so good! I didn’t have cotija so I subbed crumbled feta, delicious

  32. I made tons of side dishes for a fajita bar, and this was by far the crowd favorite! I used drained canned corn charred in a cast iron skillet, Trader Joe’s chile lime seasoning, and feta cheese. Thank you so much for the amazing recipe!

  33. This paired so well with the Peruvian chicken skewers with avocado aji sauce. I added a TBSP of light mayo for creaminess and lime juice + chili powder instead of chili lime seasoning. Phenomenal.

  34. Made this for a family dinner and everyone lived it!  I used frozen corn that I “grilled” in a cast iron frying pan w a little avocado oil and a sprinkle of tajin. 

  35. Avatar photo
    Nancy Merritt

    I have to say this corn salad recipe (Mexican Inspired) is absolutely fabulous!
    The only comment I have is that the 7 ears of corn only made about 3 cups so I had to use 5/6 more ears to equal the recipe… But believe me it was so delicious!

  36. This recipe was so simple and so delicious!! I used the Trader Joe’s Everything but the Elote seasoning, it was perfect. This will be a super easy summer go-to any time I am entertaining or need to bring a side dish. Thank you, Gina!!

    1. Avatar photo
      Nancy Merritt

      You know Trader Joes has frozen grilled corn.  Might be pricey to make 6 cups but thought you should know!