bowl of southwest sweet corn salad with fresh jalapenos

Raise your hand if you’re in denial that summer is more than halfway over [SOB]!

I’m so excited for my kids to be able to experience school inside an ACTUAL school this year, and I can’t say the back-to-school supplies being unloaded at Target the other day didn’t make my heart flutter (got Gwen the cutest unicorn pencil holder for her…pencils? Ok she’s only 3, but it was too cute to resist) but the fact that August is just around the corner is sending me into a slight panic.

MORE pool. MORE fireflies. MORE popsicles. MORE SWEET CORN!

That is to say, Iowa sweet corn made its debut a few weeks ago and we have been eating it like it’s going out of style -er, season, which doesn’t last long. I served boiled sweet corn cobs at a BBQ we recently had with my parents and my Mom stopped mid chomp to ensure we were eating Iowa sweet corn. Not Nebraska, not Florida — gen-U-ine, Iowa sweet corn. These are the important things in life! ;)

Anyway, I decided to char then slice the kernels from our latest sweet corn haul to star in this fresh and healthy Southwest Grilled Corn Salad. This cool and crunchy corn salad is a must try before the sun sets on summer!

overhead photo of grilled corn salad

Southwest Corn Salad with a Grilled Twist

Fresh sweet corn cobs are charred over an open flame on the grill, or in a grill pan on the stove, then the crisp kernels join red bell pepper, purple onion, minced jalapeno, and a near ton of chopped cilantro before being drizzled with a just-tangy-enough Chili Lime Dressing. SO GOOD.

The charred sweet corn kernels are absolutely divine with the hints of smoke and spice from the chili powder in the dressing, and minced jalapeno in the salad. There is no shortage of flavors and textures in this healthy little side dish.

Serving Suggestions

Southwest Grilled Corn Salad is perfect to serve as a side dish for a backyard cookout, but it’s versatile! Try it in…

  1. Salads. Add a big scoop of corn salad to a lettuce salad with cherry tomatoes, southwestern tortilla strips, and diced avocado for a nearly instant Southwestern Salad. Such an easy way to add tons of flavor to plain lettuce.
  2. Tacos. Spoon this healthy corn salad onto shredded pork or chicken tacos for a burst of flavor.
  3. Burrito Bowls. Chipotle’s got nothing on this corn salad turned salsa!
  4. Chip Dip. This corn salad is absolutely begging to be dunked into with salty tortilla chips. Can 100% confirm it’s a match made in heaven.

serving bowl of grilled sweet corn salad with spoons

How to Make This Dish

Start by grilling sweet corn on a gas or charcoal grill over high heat, or a grill pan that’s been heated over high heat. No oil nor spray needed! Add the ears then rotate until they’re slightly charred all over — not too long or the kernels can get chewy. You won’t hear constant sizzling like you would if you were cooking bacon, for example — rather, just a few pops and hisses every so often.

fresh sweet corn cooking in a grill pan

Watch How to Slice Kernels from the Cob

Set the corn aside to cool slightly, then slice the kernels off the cob. Here’s my go-to method for cleanly slicing kernels off the cob.

Next add the charred kernels to a large mixing bowl with chopped red bell pepper, red onion, fresh cilantro, and jalapenos.

ingredients for southwest grilled corn salad in a mixing bowl

Next drizzle over a spoon-drink-worthy Chili Lime Salad Dressing – SWOON! – then stir to combine. That’s just fresh lime juice mixed with extra virgin olive oil, honey, chili powder, salt, and pepper.

a jar of chili lime dressing being poured over southwest corn salad

That’s all she wrote! You can serve this Southwest Corn Salad immediately, though I do love to give it some time in the fridge so all the flavors have a chance to meld together.

Whether you serve a scoop next to dinner, as a taco topper, or dug into with tortilla chips, I hope you love this fresh and healthy corn salad recipe – enjoy!

Big bowl of southwest corn salad with jalapenos and cilantro

Similar Recipes

Southwest Grilled Corn Salad

5/5 (1 REVIEW)


Southwest Grilled Corn Salad is a fresh and healthy dish that's packed with zesty flavors and crunchy textures. Serve as a side dish, or topping for salads and tacos!


serves 6 as a side dish

  • 4 large or 5 small ears sweet corn, shucked
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded then chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed then minced
  • large handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • For the Chili Lime Dressing:
    • 6 Tablespoons lime juice (~2 limes)
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1-1/2 Tablespoons honey
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • salt and pepper


  1. For the Chili Lime Dressing: Add all ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid then shake to combine. Set aside.
  2. Heat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat or place a grill pan on the stove over high heat. Once very hot, add corn cobs - dry, no oil needed - then rotate until slightly charred all over. Don't overcook as the kernels can become chewy. Cool slightly then slice kernels off the cob using the method described in this post.
  3. Add corn to a large mixing bowl with red pepper, red onion, jalapenos, and cilantro. Drizzle enough dressing over to coat (I generally use ~3/4 of the prepared dressing) then taste and add more salt if needed. Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate until later. Add remaining dressing if needed when serving.


  • Serve this dish as a side dish, add to lettuce salads, or scoop onto tacos or burrito bowls.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

photo collage of southwest corn salad