Charred Corn Salsa

Looking to make an easy, scrumptious side dish for the summer months? Charred Corn Salsa is one of our favorites! This homemade corn salsa recipe requires just 7 ingredients and works as an appetizer, side dish or even topping for various meals.

Close up of Grilled Corn Salsa in a bowl with tomatoes, limes and parsley

Growing up, we would always purchase corn from farmers when visiting our family in Western Pennsylvania during the summer months.

While we aren’t purchasing corn straight from farmers these days, we are finding a lot of good corn in the grocery store… and we’re making the most of this season!

So if you’re someone who loves sweet corn in the summer, this recipe is for you.

Why I love this recipe:

It’s hard not to love this Fresh Corn Salsa recipe.

It’s bright and colorful! The flavors are lightly sweet, and it’s really refreshing. And it’s perfect for any summertime gathering.

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    As my husband put it, this is the kind of recipe to have on hand for the people who don’t love veggies… because they will (probably) also love it.

    This is an excellent recipe to make if you’re firing up the grill and want an easy side dish to pair with it that’s not just corn on the cob. (Which, let’s be clear, is utterly delicious on its own.)

    This is the type of recipe that you can serve by itself with tortilla chips as an appetizer. You can also serve it as a side dish or a topping, depending on what you like! (We have loved it on Skirt Steak Tacos.)

    Other grilling recipes to try: Grilled Skirt Steak | How to Grill Pizza | Grilled Shrimp Skewers | Ricotta Crostini with Grilled Peaches | Grilled BBQ Chicken Flatbread

    Hosting friends this summer? Head on over to my Outdoor Entertaining Recipe Index for some ideas!

    Collage showing corn before roasting and ingredients in bowls on a blue countertop

    What you’ll need to make this recipe:

    The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    You need just seven ingredients to make this Roasted Corn Salsa recipe. Here’s what you need:

    • Corn — fresh summer corn is the best here! While I’ve made this recipe with frozen corn in a skillet, it just doesn’t have the same brightness.
    • Red onion — also known as purple onion, this adds some punch and flavor to our salsa. Red onions are more mild than yellow and white onions, which is why I recommend using it here.
    • Cherry tomatoes — or any other bite-sized tomatoes, like grape tomatoes. These add color and a little acidity to the dish.
    • Lime juice — squeeze your own from fresh limes instead of purchasing the shelf stable bottled stuff. It’s not the same and will yield a less fresh-tasting dressing.
    • Extra virgin olive oil — this is the fat in our dressing. You may replace it with another neutral oil, though I prefer EVOO.
    • Honey — it adds just a touch of sweetness to the dressing.
    • Cotija cheese — this crumbly cheese adds some saltiness and a little creaminess to the salsa.
    • Salt and pepper — I like to use a medium grain kosher salt. You could use the same amount of sea salt here, too. Add freshly ground black pepper, too, if you’re into that.
    Collage showing steps of how to make and mix dressing and a corn salsa recipe

    How do you make Grilled Corn Salsa

    Remove the husks and silk from the ears of corn.

    Preheat the grill, too.

    Grill the corn over high heat, moving every 1-2 minutes to char most of the kernels. The kernels will make popping sounds as they cook, and that’s OK. Keep an eye on them because you don’t want to scorch any—you just want to get good color on them.

    Once charred, remove the corn from the grill. Give it a few minutes to let cool.

    Remove the kernels from the cobs using a very sharp knife. There are a few methods to do this, but I personally like the method used in Smack of Flavor’s Miso Butter Corn (https://smackofflavor.com/sauteed-miso-butter-corn/).

    Toss the corn kernels with the red onion, cherry tomatoes and cotija cheese in a large bowl.

    In a mason jar, combine the lime juice, olive oil and honey. Shake vigorously to combine, and taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Pour the dressing over the corn salsa, and toss gently to coat with a spoon or tongs.

    Serve immediately, and enjoy!

    Charred corn in a bowl surrounded by other ingredients

    Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

    This corn salsa would be an excellent recipe for sharing! It’s colorful, it’s delicious and it’s easy to make ahead of time.

    Here are some things I would do if serving this corn salsa recipe at an outdoor gathering or a backyard barbecue:

    • Char the corn in advance. You can remove the kernels once it cools off and store them in the fridge for a day or two before mixing them with the rest of the ingredients.
    • Double the recipe. If you think your people will love this, go ahead and make extra so you’ve got it on hand! Since it keeps well in the fridge, you shouldn’t worry about the leftovers.
    • Let guests help. If you want to make this while guests are at your house, let them into the kitchen with you. They can help char the corn, slice the tomatoes, dice the onion. They can mix the dressing, too, or toss it all together.
    A bowl of corn salsa with tomatoes and limes on a blue countertop

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is corn salsa made of?

    This corn salsa recipe is made of mostly corn with red onion, tomatoes and cotija cheese. It’s tossed in a mixture of lime juice, oil and honey.

    Is corn raw in salsa?

    We char the outside of the corn, so it is not raw.

    How long does homemade salsa last?

    This corn salsa will last 3-4 days in the fridge.

    Do you need to peel tomatoes for salsa?

    You do not need to peel the tomatoes for this corn salsa recipe. You might need to for something like this Roasted Tomato Salsa.

    Close up of Charred Corn Salsa with tomatoes, limes and more in a white bowl

    Quick tips and tricks for the best Charred Corn Salsa:

    • Get a good char on the corn! Not only does this give color, but it adds some deeper flavors to the corn salad.
    • Don’t have a grill? Use a grill pan or char the corn directly over your gas stovetop.
    • How to store: Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge.
    • How to make in advance: Grill the corn, and let it cool before removing the kernels from the cobs. Store the kernels in the fridge in an airtight food storage container. Mix the dressing and store that in a mason jar. Combine these with the red onion, tomatoes and cotija when ready to serve.

    Pair this recipe with…

    A bowl of corn salsa with tomatoes and limes on a blue countertop
    Yield: 4 servings

    Charred Corn Salsa

    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 5 minutes
    Total Time: 10 minutes

    Looking to make an easy, scrumptious side dish for the summer months? Charred Corn Salsa is one of our favorites! This homemade corn salsa recipe requires just 7 ingredients and works as an appetizer, side dish or even topping for various meals.

    Ingredients

    • 5 corn cobs (~2 lbs., yielding 2 ½ cups or 385g kernels)
    • ¼ cup finely diced red onion (40g)
    • ½ cup quartered cherry tomatoes (82g)
    • 2 tablespoons cotija cheese

    Dressing

    • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Instructions

    1. Shuck the corn, removing the silk and husks.
    2. Grill the corn over high heat, moving every 1-2 minutes to char most of the kernels.
    3. Remove the corn from the grill, and let cool.
    4. Using a sharp knife, remove the kernels from the cobs. There should be about 2 ½ cups (385g) of kernels.
    5. Toss the corn kernels with the red onion, cherry tomatoes and cotija cheese.
    6. In a mason jar, combine the lime juice, olive oil and honey. Shake vigorously to combine, and taste. Add salt and pepper, if necessary.
    7. Pour the dressing over the corn salsa mixture, and toss to coat.
    8. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

    Notes

    You can double or triple this recipe to have more salsa.

    How to store: Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge.

    How to make in advance: Grill the corn, and let it cool before removing the kernels from the cobs. Store the kernels in the fridge in an airtight food storage container. Mix the dressing and store that in a mason jar. Combine these with the red onion, tomatoes and cotija when ready to serve.

    Recommended Products

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    4

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 209Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 129mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 5g

    Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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