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Black Bean and Corn Salad with Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette

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Black Bean and Corn Salad

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This make-ahead black bean and corn salad is a real crowd-pleaser. Bonus: it doubles as a dip!

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

Perhaps the best compliment this salad ever received was from one of my readers, who confessed to me, “I’m having an affair with this salad…please don’t tell anyone.” Another reader told me that she made this salad for a party, and later found one of her guests in her study, printing out copies of the recipe to hand out. It’s just one of those crowd-pleasing, make-ahead recipes that everyone loves. Whether I serve it with grilled chicken or as a dip with tortilla chips (highly recommend!), the bowl is always empty and the plates are always full.

This recipe is similar to my popular Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad with Lime Vinaigrette. The difference is that this version is dressed in a smoky and sweet chipotle-honey vinaigrette, similar to Chipotle’s honey vinaigrette. I think you will love both variations!

What You’ll Need To Make Black Bean and Corn Salad

ingredients for black bean and corn salad

In addition to the basics, the recipe calls for canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. These are small peppers (usually red jalapeños) that have been dried and smoked that come in a spicy, smoky tomato sauce. I love their flavor and am always looking for ways to incorporate them into recipes (see these baja fish tacos and these chipotle chicken quesadillas).

You can find them in the Latin section of most supermarkets. Once you open a can, you can transfer any remaining peppers to a plastic container and store in the refrigerator for at least a month. You can also freeze them.

Step-by-step Instructions

boiling corn and cutting kernels off the cob

Begin by cooking the corn. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn and simmer, covered, for about ten minutes, then cut the kernels off the cob. Next, chop the red onions, soak them in cold water for about ten minutes, then drain; this takes the sharp raw onion taste away. (If you’re a raw onion lover, feel free to skip this step.)

soaking and draining the red onions

Rinse and drain the black beans.

rinsing and draining the black beans

Then make the dressing. Simply combine all of the ingredients in a mini food processor or blender and process until smooth.

making the chipotle dressing in mini food processor

Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl and pour the dressing over top.

adding dressing to all of the ingredients

Toss and refrigerate for at least one hour or, preferably, overnight. The salad tastes infinitely better cold, especially once the flavors have a chance to marry and the vegetables soak up some of the dressing.

scooping diced avocado into the bowl

Right before serving, add the avocado and gently toss. Enjoy!

Black Bean and Corn Salad

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Black Bean & Corn Salad with Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette

This make-ahead black bean and corn salad is a real crowd-pleaser. Bonus: it doubles as a dip!

Servings: 6 (as a side dish)
Total Time: 30 Minutes, plus at least one hour to chill


For the Salad

  • 2 ears fresh corn
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh chopped cilantro (plus a bit more for garnish, if desired)
  • 1 avocado

For the Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from 1-2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (2 peppers, not 2 cans; use smaller peppers and if they are all large, use only 1½)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn, cover, and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the corn from the water and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, place the chopped red onions in a small bowl and cover with water. Let sit about ten minutes, then drain completely in a sieve and set aside.
  3. Place the beans in a sieve; run under cold water to rinse well. Let drain completely and set aside.
  4. Holding the cooled corn upright in a large bowl, cut the kernels off the cob in strips. Add the beans, red onion, red bell pepper and cilantro.
  5. Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a blender or mini food processor; process until smooth.
  6. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or, preferably, overnight.
  7. Right before serving, slice the avocado in half. Remove the pit; using a butter knife, cut a grid in each half. Holding the avocado halves over the salad, use a spoon to scoop out the diced flesh. Toss the salad gently, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (I usually add a squeeze of fresh lime to freshen it up). Garnish with a bit of fresh chopped cilantro if desired. Serve cold.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Serving size: approximately 1 cup
  • Calories: 357
  • Fat: 20 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 40 g
  • Sugar: 12 g
  • Fiber: 11 g
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Sodium: 306 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • My goodness, this recipe is just perfection. *chef’s kiss* Such a simple yet flavorful salad! All in the dressing! Thank you for creating this master piece. 🙂 I need not to look further for any other black bean salad. This is the one for me.

    Just a note for others that I follow the recipe to a T. In my opinion, it doesn’t need any adjusting. I also like a bit of heat so the 2 chipotle peppers are perfect for me. When you try the dressing on its own it’s definitely more potent than when it’s mixed in with the rest of the salad ingredients so keep that in mind as well. Definitely not spicy for me, but adjust if you’re super sensitive to any heat!

    • — Annabelle on April 12, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, hello again from the Deep South.. This salad was a total hit at the extended family Easter Brunch this past weekend! I almost didn’t have enough as everyone ate every last morsel of the salad! They also asked what the source of the “heat” was.. 🙂 Thank you so much for freely sharing your precious recipes with all of us. I did buy your cookbooks a while back and plan to buy whatever else you put out there – it’s the least we can do for making us shine in ze kitchen!

    I have a dumb question – can I freeze this dressing? I wanted to use up the rest of the canned chipotle chiles, so I made another batch of dressing!

    • — Kate on April 1, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Kate, Thank you for such kind words about the recipes and your support of the cookbooks! Also happy to hear the salad was a hit. 😊 Not a dumb question — I’ve never frozen the dressing so I can’t say for sure. That said, I think it’s worth a try. The texture may be slightly different when you thaw it, but I suspect it will still taste great. Also, for future reference, the chipotle peppers in adobo can be frozen on their own. I’d take a peek online to get some tips for doing that – it’s easy!

      • — Jenn on April 1, 2024
      • Reply
  • This has just the blend of flavors I enjoy, however I am on a low sodium diet. Is there a change I can make to lower the sodium?

    • — Judy on February 24, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Judy, the two ways I see the sodium could be reduced is by reducing or omitting the salt in the dressing and adding it to taste when serving, and using low sodium black beans. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on February 26, 2024
      • Reply
  • My family loves this salad. I substitute parsley for the cilantro, and hubby isn’t a fan of avocado, so I usually just sprinkle some on my bowl. I bring this to potlucks, make it for a healthy lunch for the two of us, and it excels as a side with enchiladas, hamburgers and roast chicken. Simply scrumptious!

    • — Nancee on February 24, 2024
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  • Made this for a potluck. It was gone quickly and I received many positive comments. I didn’t change a thing.

    • — Liza on November 3, 2023
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  • The problem is that I wanted to eat the whole thing myself. Delicious.

    I did cook my onions a bit because I am not a huge fan of raw ones. But this one is for sure getting printed and archived for future use!

    • — Patti on August 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • A very nice combination of the ingredients results in a fabulous taste! Husband loves it and would eat everyday. Tonight we are having with baked chicken . Another amazing recipe, thank you for your talent Jenn Segal!

    • — Kimberly Maxey on July 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • Wonderful addition to any summer bbq. You can make it in advance, of which I’m a big fan – particularly when entertaining. It has a bit of a spicy kick, but not not too much for those who don’t like spicy. If you like spice (and we do), it’s easy to bump up the amount of chipotle to taste. We’ve also grilled the corn in lieu of boiling and it adds a nice, smoky note.

    • — Gail on July 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is REALLY good. What great flavor! I don’t like spicy-hot, so I took your advice from a question/comment and started with just 1/2 pepper, no sauce. I seeded it, so it actually wasn’t hot at all and needed more flavor. I’m now up to 2, seeded. That’s one place the ‘hot’ is, so I squoosh out the seeds and get the flavor! Maybe next time I’ll even add some sauce (; GREAT recipe, served it with grill chicken thighs.

    • — Laurie on July 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • Make this every summer, multiple times! I add an extra ear of corn and a handful of cherry tomatoes halved. Also find that half of the dressing is perfect, but we prefer lightly dressed salads. Such a wonderful recipe and goes great with any BBQ.

    • — Susan on July 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • Soooo good!!!

    • — Debbie on July 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • We have cilantro allergies in the family. Parsley? Or just omit?

    • — Cindy Ours on June 30, 2023
    • Reply
    • Flat-leaf parsley is a nice replacement. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 1, 2023
      • Reply
  • How far in advance an the dressing be made?

    • — A on June 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi A, The dressing should last nicely in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

      • — Jenn on June 26, 2023
      • Reply
  • We make this dish lot! Everyone asks me for this recipe every time we serve it! We don’t always add the avocado to the whole dish because it makes a lot and we love the leftovers. This is a wonderful accompaniment to your chicken fajita recipe!

    • — Mara on June 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is a keeper! We loved this recipe. My husband kept saying “This is so GOOD!” over and over. Thanks for sharing.

    • — Alison on June 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • Love this salad! Having it tonight with your sweet and tangy bbq chicken and cornbread! Wondering – do you use all of the dressing? I have and found it to be too much. Thanks!

      • — Michelle E. on July 29, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Michelle, So glad you like the salad! I do use all the dressing, but you certainly don’t have to (and then you can enjoy leftovers for a few more days on other salads). 🙂

        • — Jenn on August 1, 2023
        • Reply
  • We love this salad – it’s absolutely perfect for warmer months. We pair it with your Tequila Lime Chicken and Cilantro Lime Rice for a knockout meal. Our kids (teenagers) and their friends also love it.

    • — Allison M. on June 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • So refreshing! I could make a meal out of just this!

    • — Barb on May 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • Also, if how many cups of frozen corn should I use?

    • — Alexandria on May 3, 2023
    • Reply
    • You’ll need about 1.5 cups of corn.

      • — Jenn on May 3, 2023
      • Reply
  • This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it.

    If I use frozen corn, do I still need to cook it?

    • — Alexandria on May 3, 2023
    • Reply
    • Make sure you thaw the corn, but no need to cook it. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 3, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I absolutely love this recipe. It is so delicious, I use the dressing on others salads as well because it’s so good. Which leads to my question, how long can I keep the extra chipotole peppers in adobo in my refrigerator (I transfer them to a glass storage container with a plastic lid)?

    • — Jan on April 29, 2023
    • Reply
    • So glad you like it, Jan! You can store the chipotles in adobo in the fridge for about a week. They also freeze well for longer storage.

      • — Jenn on May 1, 2023
      • Reply
  • This is one of the best black bean recipes I have tried. This is definitely a keeper. Thank you for all your recipes. I have tried many of them and they turn out incredibly well.

    • — Donna on January 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • My favorite by far! Easy to toss together. Fresh corn on the cob wasn’t in season so used a good quality canned corn. I suppose I could have used frozen corn, but didn’t think about it until I left the grocery store. I made the lime cilantro and that was delish, too! Both of the recipes were wonderful. I made them for the sole purpose of using them as salsa chip dips. I left out the avocados in this, my favorite recipe, because I didn’t feel I needed it with the chips. Either way, with or without avocados, winners in my book.

    • — Julie T on November 17, 2022
    • Reply

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