Mexican Street Corn Salad is a fiesta in a bowl!

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Mexican Street Corn Salad is a must-try before the summer’s out.  It’s patterned after the popular Mexican street food ‘elote’, which is basically seasoned corn on the cob.  The corn is boiled or grilled, then slathered in a creamy sauce, and showered with cheese, chili powder, fresh lime juice, and cilantro — the flavors are are striking and unusual.  This salad version takes it inside to the table, but doesn’t lose any of the panache of the original.   I love the contrast of the warm roasted corn with the cool arugula, so I like to serve it immediately after stripping the roasted kernels from the cobs.

Striking Mexican Street Corn Salad

To get a truly authentic flavor you’ll need a couple of Mexican products for this recipe.  One is crema, which is a very lightly cultured, pourable cream.  If you can’t fine it, you can thin down regular sour cream or creme fraiche with water.  Many large supermarkets carry it, so be sure to ask.  The other thing you’ll need is cotija cheese…it comes in a block, and it’s salty, dry and easily crumbled.  If your store has an Hispanic section, you will find it there, otherwise, you can, in a pinch, substitute feta.

Roasting corn for Mexican Street Corn Salad

The cilantro and lime are a potent flavor combination, and they really make this dish, if you ask me.  The roasted corn and the peppery arugula back them up beautifully.  It’s definitely a fiesta in a salad bowl!

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Yield: serves 4

Mexican Street Corn Salad


  • 4 handfuls fresh baby arugula (one per serving)
  • 4 ears corn on the cobs
  • 1/2 cup Mexican Crema (substitute thinned down sour cream or creme fraiche)
  • several fresh limes
  • 4 oz cotija cheese
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • chile powder or smoked paprika for garnish


  1. Roast the ears of corn over a hot grill, or on the stove top. You can remove the husks, or keep them on, it doesn't matter. Roast them over high heat for about 15 minutes or so, turning every once in a while, until they start to steam and char. Put them aside to cool, just enough to handle.
  2. Mix the Mexican cream with the juice of 2 limes. Stir well and taste. If you like, you can add more lime juice for more of a citrus kick. If the mixture is too thick to drizzle, add a touch of water.
  3. When the corn is cool enough to handle, remove the husks, if necessary, and slice the kernels off with a sharp knife.
  4. Arrange the arugula in a wide shallow salad bowl. Scatter the warm corn over the top of greens, then crumble the cheese over the corn. Scatter the cilantro over all, and then drizzle with the crema dressing. Garnish with a sprinkle of chile powder, and serve with wedges of lime.
  5. Enjoy immediately because the warm corn will eventually wilt the arugula. If you want to make this slightly more ahead of time, chill the corn before adding it to the salad.

Mexican Street Corn Salad with arugula

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16 Responses to Mexican Street Corn Salad

  1. Jane Campbell says:

    Hi Sue! What could I substitute for the Cotija cheese? Feta?

  2. Love how simple this recipe is. Just picked up fresh corn on the cob from the farmers’ market and I’m excited to make this tonight!

  3. Your Mexican corn salad sounds wonderful! Easy too! And your photos are always stunning!

  4. Completely agree about the warm/cool contrast. It’s perfect for late summer. I have some farm arugula that is dying for the elote treatment!

  5. Great salad Sue and so pretty to look at, too :) Must try this as corn is at it’s best here right now.

  6. I love Elote and making it into a salad is brilliant Sue! Adding arugula would be the best, very clever. Since I have grilled the elote I’ve made I love having a mid winter option of roasting! Thank you for that.

  7. Alison Phill says:

    Oh boy does that look yummy :)

  8. You really did it now Sue – this looks fantastic! The crema dressing is the icing on this cake salad! Beautiful photos too – sharing and pinning :)

  9. The salad sounds and looks fabulous! I need to get some more fresh corns before the season is over.

  10. I am over the moon in love with this salad! This is the perfect way to savor summer – I’m not ready for apples and pumpkins yet (although I keep seeing them everywhere!).

  11. This is really creative! I often eat grilled corn with cotija, but never thought to deconstruct the dish, then reconstruct into a salad. Really like this — thanks.

  12. Yummmmmm…..! I love this version Sue, it sounds fantastic and would be a total meal for me -although it would go so nicely with anything off the grill too!

    • Sue says:

      Thanks Chris, we really enjoyed it, and it introduced me to a new way of cooking corn on the cob — no more boiling vats of water for me :)

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