Fresh Corn Salad with Scallions and Basil


Over Memorial Day weekend, we had 20 guests over for a casual BBQ. I wanted to serve fresh corn on the cob, but did not want to be the stereotypical frazzled hostess standing over a hot stove boiling 20 ears of corn while my guests kicked back outside sipping Sangria. My solution was to make a simple corn salad that I could do ahead of time: sweet corn scraped off the cob, mild scallions and fresh basil in a tart white wine vinaigrette. Not only was it easy and delicious, it was a refreshing change from the usual (and messy) corn on the cob slathered with butter.

Begin by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil.  I also usually throw a few tablespoons of sugar into the water to ensure that the corn is sweet (definitely sacrilege with fresh farm picked corn, but when you buy it at the grocery store you never know how fresh it is…and a little sugar never hurts). The key is to barely boil the corn to keep it super crisp — a few minutes is all it takes.

Refresh the corn under cold water to stop the cooking process, then use a serrated knife to cut the kernels of the cobs.

Try to keep the chunks of corn intact — it looks pretty and shows that you used fresh corn.

Toss the corn with white wine vinegar, vegetable oil, scallions, salt and pepper.

Right before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Fresh, crisp, delicious!

Fresh Corn Salad with Scallions and Basil

Print Recipe
Servings: 4


  • 5 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely sliced fresh basil leaves
  • Sugar, optional


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3-4 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain and immerse it in very cold water to stop the cooking process. When the corn is cool, use a serrated knife to cut the kernels off the cob.
  2. Combine the kernels in a large bowl with the oil, vinegar, scallions, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste and adjust seasoning. If the salad tastes too tart, add a bit more oil; if it tastes bland, add a bit more vinegar or salt and pepper. A pinch of sugar also goes a long way if the corn isn't as sweet as you'd like. Serve the salad cold or at room temperature.
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  • Donna Cowan

    Sounds like a delicious and easy way for fresh corn! How are you growing your basil? Is it growing in water?

    • Jenn

      Hi Donna, That’s the hydroponic basil (the small plant in a bag) they sometimes sell at the grocery store. When you bring it home, place it in a vase of water — as long as you replenish the water, it lasts forever.

    • Edgar

      I make something similar, except I also add a little chopped tomato, garlic and I use apple cider vinegar. I serve this with grilled Italian sausage! YUM!

      • Jenn

        That sounds really good, Edgar!

  • barbara Wood

    Sounds yummy! I never boil my corn. I bring a pot of water to a boil. When boiling add the corn. When it comes to a boil again, cover and take off the heat. Let sit 7-9 minutes. Voila…perfect corn!!!

  • Candi

    ? How many does this serve?
    Looks delish, would love to make for an upcoming party!

    • Jenn

      Oops, thanks Candi. Serves 4!

  • Karen

    I will definitely make this. I have to say, I really cheat and microwave my corn. The salad looks delicious and is easier to eat in front of people than by gnawing on that cob!

  • I love this alternative to just plain corn on the cob! Great idea to have a corn dish that can be made ahead of time…

  • p.s. when you are making just regular corn on the cob do you add sugar to the water, as well? I’m just wondering if that’ s a trick to make it taste sweet.

    • Jenn

      Yes, it works great!

  • Emma Burgess

    My Nana and I were looking at your recipe.It looks so pretty and delicious. we are going to try it at our next family gathering. Thanks for the great idea!

  • Sara

    I’m going to a party this coming Sunday and was trying to come up with something to take…this is perfect. Some of the people are vegetarians and some are vegans!!!

  • Liz

    Yes! I, too, would prefer to be sipping your amazing Sangria rather than standing over a hot stove! And with this delicious-looking corn recipe, I will be able to do just that. Thanks, Jenn! ;-))

  • what a perfectly easy and light side dish!!! Love this one

  • Liz

    I love summer corn, this would be nice for pot luck.

  • Elizabeth

    Recipe looks so good!
    I just learned something. I’ve been overcooking my corn! I sometimes cook it for hours. Really…all it needs is approx 7 min in boiling water? Why add the vinegar?

    • Jenn

      Yes, a few minutes is all it takes, especially for a salad where you want the corn to be super crisp. For corn on the cob, I usually cook it about 10 min. The vinegar brightens up the flavor.

  • Tessa

    I learned a really neat tip for cutting fresh corn on the cobb. Place your corn cobb into the hole of a bundt or angel food cake pan. Wiggle it in so it stays. Cut the corn down the cobb. The pan catches all of your delicious corny goodness.

    • JJ

      Love this idea!

  • Danita

    Made this yesterday for company as a side dish for baked lemon chicken. It was very good. I added a little sugar to the boiling water for the corn as suggested (2 T to 6 ears of corn). The final dish was delicious and did not require additional sugar. I will definitely make this again. Thanks for another simple healthy recipe. Love that I can make it ahead.

  • Lynn

    Made this over the weekend for Father’s Day cook out and it was a huge hit. Was told I should bottle and sell it!

  • Kelley c

    Haven’t made this yet, but planningon taking it to a picnic later this summer. Sounds so good and super easy!

    • This recipe sound yoummy think I will try it.

  • Andrew

    This is a delightful dish. I have made it twice now, once with crab cakes and once with salmon. Great summer dish.

  • Dorothy Ruffin

    Scrumptious; did not make any changes.

  • wendy black

    haven’t made this yet. sounds delish!

  • Cath

    This looks delicious! I want to add black beans to it for some reason:)

  • Robyn Coffey

    This recipe sound delish and so easy. I am trying it for sure. Thanks!

  • It was very good. I did it a little bit different. I sauteed the onion and kernels of corn in a pan and added two small zucchini, chopped. When onion was softened, I then added the rest of the ingredients and covered with a lid to finish cooking. I let it cool, added salt and pepper and it was the hit of the dinner. Felt like summer!

  • dwana bull

    That sounds sssooooo good, and refreshing—I think I will be serving this with crab cakes and italian antipasto—mmmm mmmmm }:>)

  • Kathie

    Made this last night with some grocery store corn on the cob….it was wonderful. Can’t wait to make with fresh local corn soon!!

  • kelly almasy

    my herbs from my garden will be great in this

  • Krista Custer

    Will put this on my MUST TRY list when the produce stand down the street opens with FRESH corn!!

  • Sue

    I added chopped red pepper and shredded chopped carrots for a colorful corn salad that was really tasty.

  • debbie

    I grow fresh basil and never thought of it w/corn…loved it….great recipie!

  • Bonnie

    A great way to have corn as your side dish at a barbecue without all the mess. I’ll definitely be trying this one.

  • Janet Porterfield

    The fresh corn salad is a hit. It is a light and versatile side dish–great for picnics and pot lucks. Travels well. I have added other ingredients with great success, too, such as diced red pepper and/or grape tomatoes. Just increase the oil and vinegar slightly to accomodate any additions.

  • Cheri Hartman

    This one was a crowd pleaser. Used Basil from my herb garden and locally grown sweet Zellwood corn. Delicious.

  • Linda

    Everyone needs to try this dish…especially when fresh corn on cob is available in the store or from your garden.

  • Terri

    I made this twice…the first time I had all the ingredients except for the fresh basil leaves so I used cilantro…and it was delicious like a Tex-Mex salad. Then I bought fresh basil leaves and followed the recipe exactly and it was just as delicious!!!

  • Jen

    Here is a trick a learned from a friend. When you are cooking the corn, add some sprigs of mint to the water. You won’t believe the taste it gives the corn… unbelievable….

    • Jenn

      will definitely try this, jen. thank you!

  • Nick

    20 people over for a barbeque might mean grill space is at too much of a premium, but one great and easy way to do corn is to just pull any loose bits of silk or husk off the end and throw the whole ear of corn on the grill husk and all! It steams itself inside the husk, and once it’s done you can just peel back the husk and silks and you have yourself a nice little handle to hold it with.

  • This corn salad sounds amazing!

  • Pat Rice

    What a wonderful dish….made it for a pot-luck pool party and it was a hit. Was even asked for the recipe….gave the requester your website! I was wondering if this could be made with frozen corn (when the fresh corn season is over)?

    • Jenn

      Hi Pat, So glad you enjoyed! You could definitely make this salad with frozen corn but it won’t have that same crisp texture. Hope that helps :)

  • rachel

    This is so easy and delicious. I tried it without boiling the corn first-used fresh corn.

  • I froze corn this summer, (cut off the ears) do you think i could thaw it and use it for this salad?

    • Jenn

      Hi Nancy, You could try it but I don’t think the corn would be crisp, which is the nice thing about this salad.

      • Thanks Jen, I might try it anyways, will let you know how it turns out if I do.

  • MichelleH

    I made this dish a lot this summer, and I prefer a little less dressing to salad ratio, as it was a bit too sweet for me at first. Definitely will be making this again once corn is back in season!

  • Elly

    I was looking for something different to do with veggies- this site had a bunch of ideas- so we started with this dish. not only was a delicious! the tip from one of the comments using the bundt pan was the best! worked great! why didnt someone share this idea with my mom years ago when we spent hours cutting during harvest time!

  • Deb

    New family favorite! Making today for the 2nd time!

  • Elizabeth

    Made this and served with Tequila Lime Chicken….delicious!

  • Melanie

    Candi made this and it was delicious! I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I am making for the 4th of July. I am sure that everyone will LOVE it!

  • Heather

    Hi Jenn, this is a delicious recipe & I get tons of compliments when I make it. I’ve referred many people to your website! I had some left over last month and wanted to try something different. So, I used this corn & basil salad in an omelette with diced red bell pepper & asiago cheese. It was YUMMY!!!!

    • Jenn

      That sounds delicious, Heather…and thank you so much for the referrals!

  • Melissa

    This salad is scrumptious. A friend made it for me last weekend. I bought corn at the farmer’s market this morning and made it for lunch. The corn was so fresh that I used it raw. It was amazing. The quintessential taste of summer.

  • M

    Love this recipe! Have made it twice for BBQ dinner parties and it was a hit both times. So convenient that it can be made ahead of time, and so simple to toss all the ingredients together!

  • Jennifer

    I love using fresh corn. I almost never use canned Veggies. Fresh basil sets this dish apart. I love this recipe!

  • Rena

    Love this salad. Easy way to use up leftover corn. Simple and delicious!

  • Janet lester

    An abundance of corn from the garden this summer allowed me to try lots of corn salad recipes. Also used fresh basil from the garden and substituted our garden grown sweet onions for the scallions! A hit that we served for one of our tomato sandwich, peach cobbler parties we host in the summer.

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