Mexican Roasted Corn Salad

Inspired by elote (street corn), this Mexican Roasted Corn Salad has a bright and creamy flavor that is always a crowd pleaser. Can be served chilled or at room temperature. 

Elote salad topped with cotija cheese in white bowl, with cilantro sprig and lime wedges for garnish.

I love drawing inspiration for new recipes from places I travel. And even places I haven’t personally traveled. My husband has been going to Mexico quite a bit for work lately.

Aside from all of the excellent food souvenirs he brings back (tequila, Mexican vanilla extract, tequila, tamarind candy, tequila, agave nectar, tequila), he also brings back stories from all of the awesome meals he eats there.

Overhead shot of Mexican roasted corn salad, with corn cob and limes on table next to bowl.

This Mexican Roasted Corn Salad is inspired by the corn on the cob (called elote) that is sold by street vendors in Mexico. Jaw problems prevent me from enjoying two of life’s great joys – chewing gum (oh, how I miss it!) and eating corn on the cob.

Missing out on both of those things makes me pretty sad, but cutting all my corn off the cob is OK when I roast the kernels in the oven and then jazz them up with a bunch of tasty ingredients.

What is elote?:

Traditional elote is fresh corn on the cob, generally grilled or boiled, that is coated with mayonnaise and toppings like chili powder, cheese, lime juice and hot sauce.

A version of elote where the kernels are cut from the cob and mixed with the toppings is called equites.

This version is eaten with a spoon. So, the recipe below is actually most similar to esquites, although elote seems to be the term that Americans recognize more often.

Mexican corn salad in white bowl on top of green napkin on wood table.

How to make Mexican Roasted Corn Salad:

After cutting kernels off of fresh ears of corn, I roasted the kernels in the oven to bring out their sweetness. Roasting makes almost any vegetable more delicious, including roasted radicchio and this corn.

Then, this salad gets a double dose of spiciness from both diced green chiles and cayenne, but the spiciness is tempered by just a smidge of mayonnaise and sour cream.

Cotija or feta cheese work well here to add a bit of saltiness, and make sure you add plenty of lime juice for brightness.

What are the ingredients in roasted street corn?

  • sweet corn
  • diced green chiles
  • garlic
  • red onion
  • cotija or feta cheese
  • cilantro
  • lime juice
  • mayonnaise
  • sour cream
  • chili powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • salt

Mexican roasted corn salad in white bowl, garnished with lime wedges, cotija cheese and lime wedges.

What kind of cheese is in Mexican Roasted Corn Salad?

I generally like to use either cotija or feta cheese. Cotija cheese is a dry, firm Mexican cheese that is quite salty. While it’s not something I would eat on it’s own, it’s saltiness makes it perfect to balance the sweetness of the corn.

If I’m shopping at a store where cotija is not available, I’ll grab a tub or a chunk of feta cheese to use in this salad instead. It has a similar salty flavor profile and crumbly texture.

Elote corn salad in white bowl on top of green napkin.

Do I have to use fresh corn? Can I use frozen corn?

Yes, you can definitely use frozen corn! In fact, I’ve made this using frozen corn myself several times when fresh corn wasn’t quite in season in my area. If using frozen corn, try to thaw and pat the kernels dry before roasting.

Also, be aware that they may take a little bit longer to roast than fresh corn kernels, because even after you dry them, they’ll still likely be a little more “wet” than fresh kernels. Keep an eye on them while they’re roasting, and just cook until they become golden brown.

I don’t like mayonnaise. What can I substitute for it?

Hey, if you’re a mayonnaise hater, you can still enjoy this salad. Just use extra sour cream, or Greek yogurt. I’ve tried it all three ways, and it’s delicious every time.

Yield: 4 servings

Mexican Roasted Corn Salad

Elote salad topped with cotija cheese in white bowl, with cilantro sprig and lime wedges for garnish.

Inspired by elote (street corn), this Mexican Roasted Corn Salad has a bright and creamy flavor that is always a crowd pleaser. Can be served chilled or at room temperature. 

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 6 ears of sweet corn, silks and husks removed
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled cotija or feta cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons canned diced green chiles
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or 1/4 teaspoon if you’d like it more spicy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Spray rimmed baking pan with nonstick spray. Spread corn in single layer on prepared pan. Roast 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown, stirring twice.
  2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, stir together garlic, onion, 1/2 cup cheese, cilantro, lime juice, green chiles, mayonnaise, sour cream, chili powder, cayenne and salt.
  3. Let corn cool slightly, then toss with mayonnaise mixture until well combined. Serve sprinkled with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Can be served cold or at room temperature.

Recommended Products

Foxes Love Lemons, LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and links to There is no additional cost to you.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 288Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 570mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 10g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

More tasty corn recipes:

Collage of images of elote salad with overlay: MEXICAN ROASTED CORN SALAD inspired by elote. serve warm or cold.