Black Bean and Corn Salad with Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette

Tested & Perfected Recipes Cookbook Recipe
Black Bean and Corn Salad

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 the salad dressing served at Chipotle. 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 fish tacos and these 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)
  • 1/2 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
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 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 1-1/2)


  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

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  • 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, 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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Reviews & Comments

  • Agree with everyone that this is the BEST salad, and it’s a happy day when it’s on our menu. I’ve made it many times, for a crowd or for the two of us, and the only change that I sometimes make is to cook a small amount of pasta (like elbows or shells) to add. The salad absolutely doesn’t need it, but the pasta seems to absorb some of the delicious dressing (especially if I make for the two of us and it will be eaten over a few days). Less dressing puddles at the bottom, and we enjoy every delicious burst of flavor. Plus, there’s more salad!
    And it should get ten stars!

    • — Judy on June 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Can I make the dressing a couple days in advance? I am planning a party and trying to do as much as possible in advance?

    Thanks and love your website.

    • — Barbara Miller on May 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • Yep definitely! 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 29, 2021
      • Reply
  • I loved this! The only thing I adjusted was using 1/2 chipotle pepper instead if 2 because my kids aren’t fans of the smokiness. Thank you for this great recipe! We served it with the tortilla soup!

    • — Ro on May 15, 2021
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  • Can you substitute frozen corn for fresh corn (if not available)? And if yes, how much frozen corn do you use?

    • — Jenine McGuire on March 23, 2021
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    • Sure – you’ll need about 1-1/2 cups kernels. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made this as a salad yesterday and it was a huge hit. I left it in the fridge for about 3 hours and it tasted amazing! As with all Jenn’s recipes and snippets of information that go along with the recipe, it came out as promised and everyone loved it!

    • — Vanessa K on February 21, 2021
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  • Absolutely delicious! I used canned corn and it was amazing, will use fresh corn when the season hits.

    • — Anna on February 16, 2021
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  • The first time I made it my daughter called it “cowboy caviar” so that’s what we refer to it now in our house. This is my go-to recipe for a summery side dish with tacos or enchiladas, or I’ll add it to spring mix and with cheese and tortilla chips makes a delish vegetarian southwest salad.
    Another option is adding it on top of grilled chick breasts. The possiblities are endless, really. It’s such a resourceful side dish/salad!

    • — susan jedynak on February 2, 2021
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  • This salad is amazing exactly as the recipe is written. It goes well with any kind of Mexican dish. Add a side of quesadillas and pico de gallo, and my family is always asking for more.

    • — Nicole on February 2, 2021
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  • My wife is a big black bean fan and raved about this recipe. I’m generally not as big of a fan of black beans but really enjoyed this recipe! It was a wonderful mix of flavors, textures and colors. Kudos Jenn.

    • — Michael Keith on February 1, 2021
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  • Made this with my vegetarian daughter yesterday. Went to four stores and couldn’t find chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, so we used chipotle seasoning instead. She also added pasta to make it more of a meal for her to take to work. She also skipped the cilantro and avocado. She loved it. Very delicious.

    • — Anna Maria on February 1, 2021
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  • Love love love this salad!! It’s always the first side to go when we have friends over and I usually serve it as a salsa to be eaten with tortilla chips. I normally half the dressing and if you’re sensitive to spice, I would recommend leaving out the adobo chiles, but other than that 10/10 for any occasion!

    • — Lily Toussaint on February 1, 2021
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  • I’ve made this many times and it’s always a crowd pleaser. I double all the ingredients but use just 1 recipe’s worth of the dressing and it tastes fine. I also use frozen corn. Sometimes we forget to add in the avocado, especially if we’re also making guacamole, and it still tastes great!

    • — Andrea on January 31, 2021
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  • I love making this salad. It’s simple and quick when you just want to relax and not have to spend hours making dinner. The flavours go well together.

    • — Natasha Murphy on January 30, 2021
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  • This salad is great-but what I love the most is the dressing! I always make a double batch to have some on hand for taco night!

    • — Mandy on January 30, 2021
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  • This salad is my most requested salad when we get together with friends. The best way to sell this cookbook to friends and family is by serving this salad! I have converted many friends to the idea that no recipe is too daunting and stocking your pantry with new and exciting ingredients like Chipotle in Adobo sauce raises your kitchen game ten fold! We have this salad with Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas.

    • — Deb Usprich on January 29, 2021
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  • This is one of our favorites!

    • — June on January 29, 2021
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    • Great recipe–the salad makes the quesadialla complete.

      • — Barbara Young on January 31, 2021
      • Reply
  • This is the first recipe that I ever made from this blog, and I have made it countless times, since! It is always a hit and very versatile. We love it with grilled foods – salmon, shrimp, steaks, chicken or burgers especially. I generally only use one chipotle pepper to keep it more family friendly, and you can make it ahead and add the avocado before serving.

    • — Beth McNiicholas on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Love this salad. We have even started adding using it as a taco night topping!! Just delicious.

    • — Dara on January 29, 2021
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  • So good! I made it to go with shrimp tacos.

    • — Joy P on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This salad is thr bomb! I use it all summer. I do not soak the onion and only use the avocado when I have it on hand. People love it! I use the dressing on a normal salad as well, my husband enjoys the fresh flavors.

    • — Angala on January 28, 2021
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  • Absolutely love this recipe, especially in the summer with fresh garden produce. We don’t change a thing and enjoy it as a side or with chips. So simple & delicious

    • — Beth on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hey… I have made several of your recipes and all have been amazing. I especially love this one. I enjoy searching through for new ideas. But, I especially love the little tips and tidbits of information found in the recipe! Invaluable, in my opinion. Thanks for all you do…

      • — Wendy on May 29, 2021
      • Reply
  • Always a crowd pleaser! Not only is it easy to make ahead, if you have left-overs, even the avocado stayed green for several days because of the lime juice. Tastes great, easy, make ahead and great left-overs! A+!

    • — BrendaRose on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I originally found this site because I LOVE Chipotle’s salad dressing, and Jenn’s copycat recipe is nearly perfect. This salad has a very similar dressing – which takes the “cowboy caviar” salad to a new level. Really adaptable recipe, and you really can’t go wrong as long as you include the corn, beans, and onions – and this AWESOME dressing!

    • — Jennifer Johanson on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This salad is delicious! Fresh, crunchy, full of flavor. Goes well with bbq’d steak or chicken… and a green salad. I’ve made it with left-over grilled corn on the cob, and the little bit of char adds even more flavor to the salad. Delish!

    • — Shelley on January 28, 2021
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  • I have made this salad twice to rave reviews. The first time I forgot to put the avocado in the salad but it was still delicious. It’s not the time of the year for fresh corn so I used frozen Green Giant Sweet Corn, steamed it and let it drain in a colander. The first time I served it with chili and the second time with beef tacos. What I particularly like about this recipe is that it can be prepared in advance.

    • — Victoria Clapp on January 28, 2021
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  • This salad is perfection. The dressing is spicy and flavorful, I was worried it might be to spicy for me but it is perfect. The combination of corn avacado and black beans is terriffic.

    • — Terrylee on January 28, 2021
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  • Oh, my. This is so addictive. The salad is so colourful, and the flavours are outstanding. I have to stop myself from overeating! Everybody who has it ask for the recipe! Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Paula on January 28, 2021
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  • One of our summertime staples! My family LOVES this salad. We serve it as a topping on a “bowl” of brown rice, sliced grilled chicken, and romaine lettuce, and tortilla chips. I do serve cubed avocado on the side, because the leftover salad keeps better that way. So yummy!!

    • — Jodi on January 28, 2021
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  • This salad is delicious!! My daughter had me make it every Sunday night and then she would take it to school for her lunch. I was getting requests from her friends mother’s for the recipe! I made it exactly as written. Perfect every time.

    • — Joan Simmons on January 28, 2021
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  • This was the very first recipe I made of Jen’s. So flavorful and delicious. Whoever I make it for, they never fail to ask for the recipe.

    • — Lara Cobia on January 28, 2021
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  • my all time favorite salad to make and take to backyard BBQs, church potlucks or any other event where food is the center of the fun. It is pretty to look at on the plate and tastes great. Also, its kid friendly and a good way to get them to eat some veggies!

    • — Debbie T. on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I think I could live on just this black bean corn salad and nothing else. The chipotle honey vinaigrette is amazing! It is so flavorful and hits all the right notes.

    • — rsk1818! on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This salad is a summer staple in our house, as both a main with some grilled shrimp on top and a side depending on what we are eating. Instead of boiling the corn I grill it (husk the corn, roll in a little olive oil and I like to add some Tony’s seasoning for a little kick) and love the addition of a little char. The only challenge of this recipe is that it is really best when corn is in season, which is a limited time here on the east coast. I would eat this all year round if I could.

    • — Haviva on January 28, 2021
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  • This is one of my most favorite recipes of all time. So much better than regular salsa. Fresh corn is awesome but frozen corn makes it a winter party staple.

    • — Marcia on January 28, 2021
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  • Such a tasty and filling recipe. Never would have made it if I hadn’t been at a friends house and made it with her. Canned chipotle I find overwhelming, but here with the honey to mellow the heat, it actually complements all the other flavors…no one flavor stands out in this ingredient list. They all blend together to make magic. We polish this salad in no time!

    • — Rose A on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This salad is so good! You can serve it as is, or with tortilla chips as a salsa.
    I only put it one chipotle pepper so it wasn’t as spicy. Delicious!

    • — Kathy on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Oh, my gosh, I love this salad. I loved it in the summer (fresh corn). I loved it in the winter (frozen corn). It is even good the next day. I’ve used it as a side dish and as a main course with grilled asparagus and parmesan beside it. I’ve used it as a bed for grilled salmon and have added shrimp when friends who need fish/meat come over. I’ve given the recipe away so many times, I added it to my online cookbook (with attribution). When it’s just for me I use less oil and more lime. And I’ve also created variations when I don’t have all of the ingredients. In other words, it’s an inspiration.

    • — Mary Taylor on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this last night using frozen corn since it’s winter. It was delicious. I followed the advice and made it a few hours before dinner. I liked adobo sauce so I actually preferred it prior to letting it sit and marinade. Crisp and delicious side. Paired great with the quesadillas I made to go with it.

    • — SEA Fischer on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is one of my favorite recipes! If corn isn’t in season, I use frozen corn (steam in bag). I also use chipotle seasoning instead of the canned adobo. I have done it both ways and I find the canned adobo to be a little spicy for my taste. I have tried using just the liquid in the adobo can and it was less spicy than the pepper. The least spicy is the chipotle seasoning (found in the spice section of the supermarket). It gives a good smokiness without too much burn!

    • — Sonia on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is the recipe I pull out time and time again when I want an interesting side dish or have to take a dish to a communal meal. Always a hit. I love that I can make it ahead and it keeps really well. Flavor is fresh and exciting.

    • — Maureen on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This dressing is honestly soo tasty! Has some heat and very flavourful – honestly good on anything! Tacos, any salad, I’ve even had it with eggs in the morning for breakfast.

    • — Lindsay on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I was looking Jenn’s site (my go to for all food wonderful) for something to serve my couples bridge group that would go with my Mexican Dinner. I came across the Black Bean and Corn Salad and knew I hit a gold mine.

    It was so popular with the group that the men all went for seconds on the buffet. This is something that does not happen with a salad. I will say it is a five star in both taste and presentation. I served it in a crystal bowl and it was beautiful

    I plan to now use it for my daytime ladies bridge group next month as a dip. Thanks for posting this. I know it is an oldie but a new one to me

    • — Judie Silvasy on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This salad is fabulous and I could the entire bowl by myself!! It’s such a fresh tasting salad, and the chipotles make the dressing perfect. Yum!!

    • — Sarah on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is by far everyone’s favorite salad I make! I’ve been making it for years and it is constantly requested by my family and friends. The chipotles in adobo give it such a unique flavor that everyone remembers it! If you can’t find fresh corn on the cob (which is highly recommended, makes such a difference), I find frozen corn works well (much better taste than can corn) no need to cook or defrost it, just add it to the salad and let it sit a few hours. This salad is great as a side or for make your own burrito bowls!

    • — Dani S on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is fantastic. Scales up well (have made for 250!) Fresh corn is amazing, but canned corn not a bad substitute. Leaving the avocado out makes it more affordable (albeit less yummy!) and can then prepare ahead of time.

    • — Jennifer K. on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Great recipe! I fix it all the time. It is great on top of chicken, fish or just by itself. The family uses it as a dip with tortilla chips. I’m too lazy to boil the corn, plus I love the crunch it gives, so I just wash the corn really well then remove the kernels for use. Also love the idea of soaking the red onion first.

    • — Windy Gardner on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this multiple times and absolutely love the flavor and different textures of this salad. It’s a perfect healthy accompaniment to any meal.

    • — Jean Taylor on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Loved it. I always add extra cilantro!

    • — Sammie on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this salad to bring to a cookout. Everybody loved it. There were no leftovers to bring home.

    • — Kris on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • LOVE this dish! I’m not usually a chipotle fan but when a neighbor brought it to a dinner party, I couldn’t resist. A couple of tips: if you don’t feel like shucking fresh corn (though it is the best), I found good canned corn works pretty well. Also, can’t eat bell peppers so even with omitting them, there’s plenty of crunch and flavor.

    • — Julie Green Rommel on January 28, 2021
    • Reply

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