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It’s simple to make this corn salsa recipe! Fresh and zesty, it’s perfect with tortilla chips, tacos, and more.

Corn salsa
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Sure, tomatoes are the most popular ingredient for making a salsa. But what we love almost even better? A good corn salsa recipe! Salsa made with corn is zingy and bright, with sweet pops from the kernels and a zingy flavoring of lime, cilantro and cumin. Use it for dipping tortilla chips, or spoon it onto tacos, into burritos and more! You can make it when sweet corn is in season, or use canned out of season. Here’s how to make it!

Ingredients in corn salsa

Corn salsa is simple to whip up using either fresh or canned corn. Salsa simply means “sauce” in Spanish, and refers to a wide variety of sauces in Mexican cuisine that can be made with or without tomatoes. The most popular salsa is with red tomatoes, but corn salsa is a very popular variation. All recipes vary, but the majority feature tomato, onion, jalapeno and lime. Here are the ingredients in this corn salsa recipe:

  • Fresh or canned corn
  • Tomato
  • Red onion
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapeño pepper
  • Lime juice
  • Olive oil
  • Cumin
  • Sugar and salt
Corn Salsa

Fresh corn vs canned

Fresh, in season corn on the cob has the best flavor in a corn salsa. While it is only available certain months of the year, the difference is notable. The sweet, juicy flavor is unbeatable!

But for a substitute, canned corn works well, too. It has added sugar and salt and a more mellow flavor. It’s partially cooked, so the texture is a little softer. While you could use cooked frozen corn as well, we find it doesn’t have quite the same flavor. We prefer fresh or canned!

Whether to boil the corn

This corn salsa is delicious with fresh, in season corn cut right from the cob! The local corn from our farmers market is a bright burst of sweetness! But when it’s out of season, grocery store corn can be less flavorful.

If you’re using out of season corn, we suggest boiling it before making this salsa recipe! This makes the texture a little more pleasant. (You’ll also likely need to add a bit more sugar to the recipe.) You can also boil the corn if you prefer not eating fresh corn. However, it’s perfectly safe to eat fresh corn cut off the cob without cooking it!

How to cut corn off of cob

Tips for making corn salsa

This corn salsa recipe is quick and simple: it’s mostly a matter of chopping and mixing! Here are a few things to keep mind:

  • The chopping takes a bit of time, especially if you’re using fresh corn. Here’s a trick for how to cut corn off the cob.
  • Take care when chopping the jalapeño: avoid touching your eyes and make sure to wash your hands right away! If you like spicy foods, you can include the jalapeño seeds in the salsa (but we prefer it without here).
  • Season with sugar to taste. Depending on the ripeness of your corn, you may need to add more sugar to taste.

Storage info

Homemade corn salsa lasts up to 4 days refrigerated in a sealed container. It may release more liquid over time, so serve it with a slotted spoon if using in tacos. You also may need to refresh the flavors with a pinch or two of salt.

Corn salsa recipe

How to serve it

Once you’ve got your corn salsa made, there are so many ways to use it! Here are a few ways to serve this tasty dip or sauce:

More corn recipes

Want more with fresh or canned corn? Here are some great corn recipes to use this ingredient:

This corn salsa recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Corn salsa

Corn Salsa

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


It’s simple and fun to make this corn salsa recipe! It’s fresh and zesty, perfect with tortilla chips, tacos, and more.


  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 large or 4 medium cobs) or 15-ounce can corn
  • ½ cup diced tomato (1 medium tomato)
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Tortilla chips, for serving


  1. Shuck the corn, removing the silk. 
  2. If desired*, boil it first: Place the salt in a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. When the water is boiling, place the corn cobs in the pot. Boil covered for 5 minutes, until bright yellow and cooked through.
  3. Cut the corn off the cob
  4. Mix all ingredients together. Taste and add a few pinches sugar if desired to bring out the flavor (depending on the ripeness of the corn). For a spicier salsa, you can add the jalapeño seeds if desired. Serve immediately with chips, or wait 5 minutes to let the flavors meld. Also serve with tacos, bowl meals, grilled fish, shrimp, or chicken. Store for up to 4 days refrigerated.


*Boil the corn if it’s not the freshest, in season sweet corn, or if you prefer to eat cooked corn versus fresh. It’s perfectly safe to eat fresh corn without cooking it!

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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