This easy corn salad is fresh and full of tangy flavor, with bursts of bright tomato and basil! The classic summer salad for BBQs and picnics.
It’s not summer until you’ve made corn salad! This one is all about fresh flavor: sweet bursts of corn, juicy tomatoes, and herbaceous basil pair with a tangy, light vinaigrette. If you’re like us…you won’t be able to stop eating it! Top with feta cheese crumbles if you like, or keep it as a plant based salad: it’s just as good either way. Alex and I made this for a BBQ and while the grilled main dish was good, everyone kept talking about the corn salad. Here’s all about how to make it…including a tip on how to cut corn off the cob: without the mess!
Make it grilled! Try our Grilled Corn Salad.
Ingredients in corn salad
This healthy corn salad hits just the right sweet spot: a minimal number of simple ingredients that combine into big flavor. Here’s what you need to make this summer salad:
- Corn on the cob: Make sure it’s ripe and in season!
- Cherry tomatoes
- Red onion
- Fresh basil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Olive oil
- Garlic powder and chili powder
- Salt and pepper
If you love the salty savoriness of feta cheese crumbles, absolutely add them here! But it’s not lacking in flavor, so we like making it without it. It’s a vegan salad that’s bursting with summer flavor.
Variation: make it grilled!
Here’s a way to step up this corn salad: make it grilled! The grilled corn kernels add a smoky flavor to the salad that makes it even more irresistible. I could not help shouting out my love for the grilled version of this salad! You can make the grilled version two ways:
- Make the recipe below with grilled corn (or smoked corn). Go to our Grilled Corn or Smoked Corn recipes to find out how to do it!
- Go to our Grilled Corn Salad. This variation uses a creamy dressing with Mexican flavors inspired by elote. It’s incredibly tasty!
How to cut corn off the cob…without the mess!
Here’s our best trick on how to cut corn off the cob! If you’ve cut corn off the corn on a cutting board, you’ll appreciate the memory of yellow kernels sprayed all over your kitchen. (Right?) Here’s a way to cut corn off the cob and reduce the mess:
- Use a bundt pan or tube pan. The sides of the pan will keep the corn kernels contained inside! Don’t have one? Use a rimmed baking sheet or dish.
- Place the tip of the corn cob into the hole in the middle of the pan. Hold the bottom of the corn cob securely with your non-cutting hand. (If using a baking sheet or dish, place a folded towel underneath to reduce slipping. Hold the corn vertically and rest the bottom right on the sheet.)
- Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice downward. The kernels end up right in the pan. Use your fingers to break apart corn that sticks together.
Best classic summer salads
This corn salad is part of our arsenal of classic summer vegetarian recipes and salads! We have to make each of these at least once to feel like it’s truly the season. These are perfect side dishes for a grilled dinner, or to take to BBQs or picnics. Make them all:
- Creamy Cucumber Salad The perfect cool and crunchy side dish for summer! For a vegan or plant based version, make Cucumber Salad with Vinegar.
- Easy Bean Salad Every summer needs a bean salad! This one is simple to make with a short ingredient list.
- Watermelon Salad This refreshing salad pairs watermelon with cucumber, mint and feta cheese.
- Tomato Basil Salad Ultra simple: ripe, juicy tomatoes marinaded with balsamic and basil.
- Creamy Potato Salad Of course, you can’t go wrong with potato salad. This one’s our favorite classic creamy version. For plant based or vegan versions, try French Potato Salad or Dill Potato Salad.
- Antipasto Salad Full of big flavors of Italian antipasti: olives, artichokes, and fresh mozzarella! For a vegan version, try Italian Vegan Pasta Salad.
- Greek Orzo Salad A crowd favorite and full of Greek flavors, bursting with fresh dill and mint, feta cheese, and tangy lemon.
This corn salad recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, gluten-free, and dairy free.Print
This easy corn salad is fresh and full of tangy flavor, with bursts of bright tomato and basil! The classic summer salad for BBQs and picnics. You can also make it grilled! Go to Grilled Corn Salad.
- 6 cobs corn (about 5 cups kernels)
- 1/2 pint (1 cup) cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Feta cheese crumbles, for garnish (optional)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. (This takes about 15 to 20 minutes, so plan accordingly.) Shuck the corn, removing the silk.
- When the water is boiling, place the corn cobs in the pot. Boil covered for 4 minutes, until bright yellow. Run under cool water until cool enough to touch. (Alternate method: Roast the corn in the oven.)
- Find a bundt pan, or large rimmed baking sheet or pan. Place the corn into the hole in the bundt pan or hold the corn vertically inside the baking sheet, then use a chef’s knife to slice down and remove the corn from the cob (the sides of the pan catch the kernels that fly when cutting; more details here.)
- Meanwhile, dice the cherry tomatoes. Finely chop the red onion. Chop the basil.
- In a large bowl, mix together the vegetables with the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, and fresh ground black pepper to taste. If desired, top with feta cheese crumbles (optional; they’re not necessary for flavor!). Stores refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Corn salad, Easy corn salad, Fresh corn salad, Best corn salad
More corn recipes
There are so many tasty ways to enjoy summer’s bounty of corn! Here are all our favorite corn recipes:
- Creamy Corn Chowder The best recipe for highlighting fresh sweet corn: it’s savory, salty, a little sweet—and seriously creamy. For a vegan variation, try Vegan Corn Chowder.
- Roasted Corn on the Cob The easy way to cook corn! You don’t even have to remove the husk; just throw it right onto the oven grates.
- Classic Shrimp Boil Super classic! This easy meal of corn, potatoes and shrimp is perfect for a crowd. No plates required!
- Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil Want a shrimp boil recipe that’s easy enough for a weeknight? Bake it! This sheet pan shrimp boil in oven is simple to make and has serious flavor.
- Fresh Corn Soup The sunny flavor is sweet and nuanced, and it’s full of healthy vegetables.
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.