Take advantage of summer's bounty with this Mexican corn salad with queso fresco, avocado, bell peppers and jalapeño! This fresh corn salad with avocado is an ideal side for all your summer cookouts! A perfect choice to make ahead of time.
Sweet corn, crunchy peppers and creamy avocado, all tossed in honey-lime dressing make this Mexican Corn Salad with Queso Fresco an amazing summer salad!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- This fresh corn salad goes with almost anything--grilled meats or vegetarian mains.
- It's easy to double or even triple the recipe if you're serving a crowd.
- Unlike many Mexican street corn salads, this is a corn salad without mayo. No worries about it spoiling at room temperature.
- Make it a day in advance!
🛒 Ingredients and substitutions
You'll find a complete list of ingredients with amounts in the recipe card below. But before we get to the full recipe, here are a few notes about some of the key ingredients.
- corn: fresh ears of just-picked corn will give the best flavour, but that's not always possible! If you don't have fresh corn, frozen corn is the next best choice. Canned corn will be too soft for this recipe, and may end up turning mushy.
- avocado: look for one that is ripe but still firm so it will keep its shape in the salad.
- bell pepper: use red or yellow or both! These add a bright crunchy texture to this corn salad.
- red onion: for pungent flavour and a hint of spiciness!
- jalapeño: finely minced, it adds a little Southwestern heat to this salad.
- lime and fresh cilantro: more Tex-Mex flavour favourites.
- queso fresco: a Mexican cheese "fresh cheese" that is made from raw cow's milk or a combination of cow and goat milk. Most of what you'll find in North America is made from pasteurized cow's milk. It's available in the deli section of many grocery stores, or in supermarkets like Whole Foods.
- chopped lettuce or other crisp greens (optional)
- Honey-Lime Dressing: this corn salad is tossed with a delicious vinaigrette made with olive oil, lime juice, paprika, honey, onion powder and sea salt. You may have used a similar dressing in my Shrimp Fajita Salad.
🔪 Easy Step-by-Step Instructions
Here's an overview of what you'll do to make this recipe perfectly. You'll find complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Make the dressing. You can either simply whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl or add them to a small jar with a lid. Shake until well combined and set aside to allow the flavours to blend. I've used this dressing in several other recipes including this Shrimp Fajita Salad.
- Combine the salad ingredients. Add everything except the avocado and cheese to a large bowl.
- Serve. Just before serving, top with cubed avocado and crumbled queso fresco. Toss with honey-lime dressing and serve with lime wedges while it's fresh and crisp.
🔁 Possible Variations
You can easily substitute feta cheese or goat cheese for the fresh Mexican queso fresco.
If you like, you can serve this corn salad on a bed of chopped crisp romaine or other crisp greens.
👍🏼 Helpful Tip
If you'd like to make this ahead of time, combine, cover and refrigerate. Wait until serving time to add the avocado and cheese.
❓How to cook corn for corn salad
Lots of choices! Use your favourite way to cook corn.
1. Grilled corn on the cob. Shuck the corn and brush the cobs with a high-heat oil like avocado oil. Place the husked corn cobs on a gas or charcoal grill preheated to 425 - 450°F. Cover and grill for about 8 -10 minutes, turning every 2 - 3 minutes to char slightly on each side.
2. Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) corn on the cob. Place the trivet in the bottom of the pot and add 1 cup of water. Place the cobs in the pot (you can stack them 2 high.) Select 2 minutes, then turn the steam release knob to the Venting position to do a Quick Release of the pressure.
3. Boiled corn on the cob. Fill a large stock pot with water (enough to cover the cobs.) Bring to a boil, then add the corn cobs. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 7 - 8 minutes or until tender. Remove with tongs.
4. Microwaved corn on the cob. Place unhusked cobs on a microwave-safe dish and cook on High for 4 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before shucking and removing the silk.
You'll find everyone has their favourite way! All can be a little messy, but here are three ways to cut the kernels from a cob of corn.
First. Lay the cob flat on a large cutting board. With a sharp knife, slice from the stem end (or handle) along the length of the cob. Rotate the cob and repeat all the way around.
Second. Hold the cob upright and follow the same process. This method is a little messier and has more risk of slipping.
Third. Here's the least messy method, (although you will have a pan to wash.) Use a tube pan or bundt pan. Place the tip of the cob in the hole in the center of the tube. Slice downwards from stem to tip. The kernels will fall neatly into the pan!
🍽 Serving Suggestions
This Mexican corn salad goes with almost any summer meal! It's also a perfect side for Cinco de Mayo celebrations in May. Your main dish doesn't have to be Mexican, but I like to serve it with
⏰ Storage Instructions
To store: This salad with stay fresh in the fridge for 3 days when covered (without the avocado which will turn brown.) Store the dressing separately.
To freeze: Corn salad will not freeze well.
🗒 More summer salad recipes
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Mexican Corn Salad with Queso Fresco
- 4 cups corn kernels, from 4 fresh ears or frozen corn
- 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
- ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
- ½ medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
- 4 oz. queso fresco, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 cups chopped romaine, (optional)
- ¼ cup lime juice, freshly squeezed from 2 limes
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¾ teaspoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼t teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, extra-virgin
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a lid, give it a good shake and set aside to let the flavours blend.
- Cook the corn. I like to grill it to give it a slightly smoky taste and a bit of a char. You can also cook it in your pressure cooker, boil it in a pot on the stove, or steam it in its husk in a microwave. See below for cooking times for each.
- Chop the bell pepper, red onion and cilantro and mince the jalapeño pepper. Leave out the seeds if you don't want the salad to be overly spicy.
- Combine these ingredients with cooled corn kernels in a large bowl.
- Just before serving, top with chopped avocado and crumbled queso fresco and toss with honey-lime dressing.