5 from 1 vote
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Elote Corn Salad with Cotija Cheese

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This Elote Corn Salad is a summer staple. It comes together in less than 20 minutes with incredible creamy, spicy, and tangy flavors. You may even be tempted to impulse buy a plane ticket to Mexico… You’ve been warned!

Mexican Street Corn Salad garnished with red onion and cilantro.

What is Elote Corn Salad?

If you’re unfamiliar with elote street corn, you’ve been missing out! Typically it’s a whole cob of grilled corn that’s been topped with mayonnaise, hot sauce or chili powder, lime, and Cotija cheese, just like our Grilled Chili Lime Mexican Corn and sold by street vendors in Mexico.

However, we will not be buying this from a cute man behind a vending cart or grilling the corn for this particular recipe. Instead, for this elote corn salad, we will sauté the corn kernels in butter until they are tender and slightly charred.

It’s so easy to make this corn salad recipe! You’ll need fresh, juicy corn, fragrant spices like cumin and paprika, mayonnaise (or vegan mayo), crumbled Cotija cheese or feta cheese, lime juice, salt for seasoning – and the willpower not to eat it all yourself!

You might even find yourself closing your eyes and envisioning yourself in the heart of Mexico!

Why You’ll Love This Elote Corn Salad

Why should you make this recipe? It’s easy to prepare and super delightful to eat! Below are more reasons why you’ll love this Mexican street corn salad.

  • This recipe will only take 20 minutes of your time and will leave you and your guest talking about it for hours.
  • This corn salad with mayo can be served warm or cold, which makes it an excellent side dish for any summer picnic or barbecue.
  • You can use whatever corn is available. You can use a bag of frozen sweet corn or fresh sweet corn on the cob. If none of those are available, canned corn kernels are good alternatives as well.

If you love recipes with corn, be sure to check out my Sweet and Spicy Corn Salsa, Easy Spicy Sausage Corn Chowder, and Green Chile Corn Chowder.

Ingredients For Your Mexican Street Corn Salad

Ingredients of Mexican Street Corn Salad sitting on a white countertop.

The complete list of ingredients, quantities, and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.

How To Make Elote Corn Salad

A collage of a skillet of sauteed garlic added with corn and a bowl of corn mixed with onions and cilantro.
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the corn. Stir and cook for 5-8 minutes, until fragrant and slightly charred in spots. (Photos 1 & 2)
  3. Place the corn in a bowl. If you want to serve chilled, cool before proceeding with the rest of the recipe. (Photo 3)
  4. Stir in most of the red onion, jalapenos, and cilantro, reserving some for garnish. (Photo 4)
Collage of mixing the ingredients of Mexican Street Corn Salad in a glass bowl.
  1. Stir in the mayonnaise and sour cream, then season with cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. (Photos 5 & 6)
  2. Add cotija cheese and lime juice, then stir until just combined. (Photos 7 & 8)
  3. Serve garnished with remaining red onion, jalapenos, and cilantro.
Mexican Street Corn Salad on a black plate topped with red onions and cilantro.

What to serve with your Elote Corn Salad

I would serve this Elote Corn Salad with any Mexican-inspired meal! For main dishes, try Baked Rolled Tacos, Authentic Quesabirria Tacos, Cilantro Lime Sheet Pan Shrimp Tacos, or our Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole.

And don’t forget about the cocktails! Try it with a Fresh Mango Margarita or a Delicious Frozen Strawberry Margarita.

Overhead shot of Mexican Street Corn Salad on a plate.

Recipe FAQs

Is it okay to use frozen or canned corn in Elote Corn Salad?

Yes! If no fresh corn is available, frozen or canned corn is okay. However, I prefer frozen corn over canned. But either will suffice. If you’re using canned corn, make sure you rinse and drain them thoroughly. Either one may end up soggy and missing that crunch of fresh corn. But, in a pinch, frozen or canned will work!

Do I have to put cilantro in Elote Corn Salad?

If you have a guest who is sensitive to cilantro, scallions would be a great substitute in this recipe!

Can I substitute Feta cheese for Cotija cheese?

Cotija cheese is a Mexican cheese that is extremely dry and salty. In this salad, Cotija makes the most sense, but feta also works well. Adding salt and lime juice sparingly and tasting along the process will ensure that your flavors are balanced since feta is saltier and brinier than Cotija.

I have an egg allergy. What’s a good substitute for mayo in this Mexican corn salad?

The mayonnaise in this recipe can easily be substituted with full-fat yogurt or a yogurt-sour cream combo if desired. If you want to avoid using dairy or eggs, vegan mayo is a good option.

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Mexican street corn salad on a black plate.
5 from 1 vote

Elote Corn Salad with Cotija Cheese


Author: Kim Schob
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Elotes in a salad! This Mexican street corn salad will take your taste buds on a journey! It’s the perfect side to any Mexican-inspired meal!

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups (656 g) Corn Kernels
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 teaspoons Minced Garlic
  • ¼ cup (56 g) Mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup (57 ½ g) Sour Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon White Pepper
  • 1 Jalapeno minced (deseeded if desired)
  • ½ cup (8 g) Cilantro chopped
  • ½ Red Onion minced
  • cup (50 g) Cotija Cheese or more to taste
  • 2-3 Tablespoons (2 Tablespoons) Lime Juice to taste

Instructions

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.
    1 Tablespoon Butter
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the corn. Stir and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until fragrant and slightly charred in spots.
    2 teaspoons Minced Garlic,4 cups Corn Kernels
  • Place the corn in a bowl. If you want to serve chilled, cool before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
  • Stir in most of the red onion, jalapenos and cilantro, reserving some for garnish.
    ½ cup Cilantro,½ Red Onion,1 Jalapeno
  • Stir in the mayonnaise and sour cream, then season with cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.
    ¼ cup Mayonnaise,¼ cup Sour Cream,1 teaspoon Cumin,1 teaspoon Paprika,1 teaspoon salt,1 teaspoon White Pepper
  • Add cotija cheese and lime juice, then stir until just combined.
    ⅓ cup Cotija Cheese,2-3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • Serve garnished with remaining red onion, jalapenos, and cilantro.

Notes

If no fresh corn is available, sub thawed frozen corn in this recipe. 
Recipe will keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. 

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1Cup Calories: 307kcal (15%) Carbohydrates: 28g (9%) Protein: 7g (14%) Fat: 21g (32%) Saturated Fat: 7g (44%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g Monounsaturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0.1g Cholesterol: 33mg (11%) Sodium: 1179mg (51%) Potassium: 312mg (9%) Fiber: 4g (17%) Sugar: 9g (10%) Vitamin A: 534IU (11%) Vitamin C: 13mg (16%) Vitamin D: 0.1µg (1%) Calcium: 98mg (10%) Iron: 1mg (6%)

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24 Comments

  1. Oh, this is something that my sister would absolutely love! I am going to have to share this recipe with her!

  2. I never knew about this until now and it looks really interesting. I would love to make it because it looks yummy.

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