Summer Corn Salad

Such a simple, simple salad and yet, I honestly could not stop eating this little gem of a side dish. A little taste here, a little taste there. I was lucky any made it to serve guests later that evening. I never thought I could have a sweet corn addiction but after sampling it dressed in a light vinaigrette and tossed with fresh basil and cherry tomatoes, I’m pretty sure I need to buy stock in a cornfield somewhere.

I sent out a plea to my friend Kim (who has impeccable taste in food) to help me brainstorm some delicious yet unique summer side dishes. She immediately sent this recipe to me saying she has been making it to rave reviews for a long time. It is extremely adaptable (see the notes below) and did I mention it is straight-up addictive?

This is definitely my new favorite summer salad. I’ll be buying ears of corn right and left just to make this. Thanks, Kim!

It’s been fun sharing some of my new favorite cookout eats (grilled or not!) with you the last week. Stay tuned tomorrow for an updated BBQ Make-a-Menu. It will make your menu planning for any grilling occasion easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy (as my 5-year old loves to say).

Summer Corn Salad

Summer Corn Salad

Yield: Serves 6

Summer Corn Salad

Note: To julienne the fresh basil, stack 4-5 basil leaves on top of each other and roll them up to make a long tube of basil. Slice every 1/8-inch down the length of the basil roll and as the basil unfurls, it will be sliced into thin long strips. The corn could also be grilled to turn this simple salad into a grilled version. This salad is very adaptable – you can increase the corn, add a few cloves of finely minced garlic, flat leaf parsley, and/or julienned baby spinach (in place of the basil). Go crazy!


  • 6 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 3 tablespoons cider or red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned/chiffonaded fresh basil leaves


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add one tablespoon sugar and one tablespoon vinegar. Add the cobs of corn to the pot of water and bring to a rolling boil. Cover the pot, remove from the heat and let the corn sit for 10 minutes. Remove the corn from the pot. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.
  2. Toss the kernels in a medium bowl with the red onions, tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook via my friend Kim

48 Responses to Summer Corn Salad

  1. Emma says:

    This was awesome. I love that it came fresh from the garden!

  2. Nellie Dee says:

    We love this salad so much that I had to blog about it. Thank you.

  3. Marcy says:

    I have 4 ears of corn that came from the garden of a friend of a friend. I think I’m going to make this to take to a BBQ tonight! They are pretty big ears of corn, so I think I can leave everything else in the recipe the same? I also have some jalapenos growing in my garden, so I thought I might dice one really small and put it in for a bit of a kick? What do you think?

  4. Andrea L. says:

    Tried this salad with Sunday dinner last night, really on a whim because we had leftover corn on the cob from lunch, along with a few adaptations for what I had on hand – it was AMAZING! Used sweet Vadalia onion, dried basil and added chiffonaded spinach). We couldn’t keep our hands off of it! It was completely gone.

  5. Jenny says:

    I have a friend who makes something similar to this and she uses a little less corn but adds orzo and fresh mozzarella cheese! It’s delicious.

  6. Meridith says:

    This was fantastic for our family barbecue back in July. Diced shallots instead of red onion were wonderful, too.

  7. Jane says:

    This was excellent! I used a good quality white balsamic vinegar, cranberry/pear, sold by my local Olive Oils & More store. The salad was just as good the next day.

  8. Chris says:

    Question. If I wanted to make this salad for a BBQ starting tomorrow in afternoon (2ish), when do you suggest I make the salad? I really only have time tonight or early tomorrow morning, would it taste okay prepared ahead of time?

  9. Ann says:

    This sounds delishish and I will try it. I love the parm cheese addition also. But I think you mean that the cortn should be husked and not shucked before it is boiled..on the cob.

  10. Claire says:

    Summer corn salad: I made this for 9 family members birthday lunch and it was gone! Everyone ate it up then asked me for the recipie. I didn’t have any kosher salt but substituted with sea salt and couldn’t tell the difference. Will be making this again this summer perfect for BBQ and entertaining.

  11. Ann says:

    Just wondering how long I could store this salad in the fridge??

  12. […] had been crav­ing a good corn salad and luck­ily found this recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe that I […]

  13. Candice says:

    I made this tonight. Was excellent! I added huge chunks of
    avocados too.

  14. […] Credit: via Danielle on Pinterest Health News and Views […]

  15. Barbara A. says:

    Absolutely the best corn dish I’ve ever made! The cooking method was perfect; no guessing. The kernels were just the way we love them: popping fresh in the mouth without a trace of sogginess.

    I did one more step: added the corn to iced water after cooking to stop the cooking. Have to confess I ate half an ear immediately it was so good …. and I’m not a corn lover. I used just 1/4 cup olive oil per some revews. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this fab recipe.

  16. […] are a few side dish recipes you may want to try at your next cookout. Corn salad, caprese salad (tomatoes, basil and mozzerella) and fresh salsa from Mel’s Kitchen […]

  17. Mel says:

    Katrina – because this doesn’t have mayo or anything else prone to spoilage in it, it will do ok at an outdoor party but like any food, I wouldn’t let it stay at warm room temperature for too long without refrigerating.

  18. Katrina M says:

    This looks awesome. Does it have to be refrigerated? Would it hold up at a outdoor party or will it go bad in the sun??

  19. Emily M says:

    The recipe states 3 tbsp of vinegar – is the 1 tbsp of vinegar for cooking the corn included with this or in addition to the 3 tbsp? Thanks, can’t wait to try it!

  20. Laurie says:

    This is sitting on the counter waiting for the chicken to be done! I can’t wait! Thanks for the recipe!

  21. Rolanda Givens says:

    Tried this today and it is delicious. Will definitely put this in rotation.

  22. laura bawcum says:

    this is the corn recipe. I substituted dry basil instead of fresh, i added red bell pepper, used white onion instead of red and added about a tbsp or more of ranch seasoning mix, used 2 cans of corn instead of fresh

  23. Keri says:

    So I tried this with frozen corn and it was great! It’s obviously the best with fresh corn but I used Birds Eye Frozen Petite White corn and I still loved it and received great compliments (I didn’t cook the corn completely before making the salad). Quite honestly, it wasn’t that much different than when I’ve used fresh corn and I didn’t have to bother husking, boiling, and cutting the corn. In the future I will probably use the frozen corn even when fresh is available.

  24. cee says:

    I tried this- and it was AMAZING! New favorite summer salad!

  25. grace says:

    this is marvelous, mel, don’t get me wrong. but what’d make it a million times better in my book is roasting the corn. it changes the flavor, yes, but to me, it improves it 100%!

  26. Erika says:

    YUM!! Had this for dinner tonight & it was soooo good. Seriously we ate almost the whole bowl between my husband & 2 little ones. (Ok so yes my husband & I ate about 90% of it LOL). I wasn’t sure if it was going to be worth the extra effort vs just eating corn on the cob as that is so awesome as is, but since I had all the ingredients & the time I decided to go for it. Thank you Mel!

  27. Navkar says:

    Lovely pictures and mouth water food! Can’t wait to try the recipes.

  28. Elisabeth says:

    Do you prefer boiling to steaming the corn (with a steamer basket)? If so, why?

  29. Looks very good. A great addition for any cook out.

  30. Shelly in Austin says:

    I love this! Throw some feta in there! Double yum!

  31. Karen says:

    This is one of my favorite salads when fresh corn is in season. So yummy! It’s also good if you add grilled shrimp to it.

  32. I LOVE corn salads too and have a few amazing ones but will have to add this one to my repertoire! Thanks, sounds unique and……….. just plain delish!

  33. Wendy says:

    Could you use frozen corn? Or would that totally not be good?

  34. This looks so fresh and summery!! A great way to change up all the summer corn I have been buying.

  35. This salad looks fabulous! Now I can hardly wait to harvest my corn and make this salad for myself.

  36. Jenn says:

    Oh I love this salad, so light and refreshing. Roasting the corn a little bit is delicious too!

  37. This looks like the perfect summer BBQ side dish.

  38. Julia says:

    This looks yummy. My 5 year old also says “easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy” all the time. How cute!

  39. Celeste B. says:

    Yum. I make a similar recipe that also has diced cucumber in it. I use balsamic instead of cider or red wine vinegar. Really good.

  40. Kristen says:

    This looks delicious! Honestly, every recipe from you that I have made has come out fantastic! This will be no different I am sure. I need some new recipes for this weekend! Keep em comin! 🙂

  41. StephenC says:

    I have one ear of cooked corn on the cob in the fridge. I am going to cut it off and mix it with some fresh farm-grown tomato and parmesan cheese. It will make a nice little side dish for Peter and me. Thanks for the idea.

  42. Kim in MD says:

    Wow…your photo is stunning, Mel! I’m so glad you loved the corn salad! This salad is such an unexpected way to serve fresh corn, and it is always a huge hit with any crowd I serve it to. The leftovers (if there are any) are great the next day.

    Thanks for all that you do to test recipes so that you can share them through your beautiful blog. I feel so flattered that you mentioned me in your post. Now I know how your father-in-law feels…I’m famous! 😉

  43. Looks like a great side dish!

  44. Thanks for the recipe, this looks delish! Always looking for fun side dishes with lots of veggies. The sweet corn is ready here in NC so I am trying to find some different things to do with it.

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