Fresh Corn Salad with Scallions and Basil

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Summery and make-ahead, this fresh corn salad is tailor-made for a cookout.

I love boiled corn on the cob but, since it needs to be made right before serving, it’s not ideal for a party (unless you like the idea of sweating over a hot stove indoors while your guests kick back outside sipping sangria). For a crowd, I love a fresh corn salad that I can make entirely ahead of time.

With crisp sweet corn, scallions, and basil in a tart white wine vinaigrette, this corn salad is not only make-ahead, it’s a delicious and refreshing change from the usual (and messy) corn on the cob slathered with butter.

What You’ll Need To Make Fresh Corn Salad with Scallions & Basil

ingredients for corn salad

How To Make Fresh Corn Salad with Scallions & Basil

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 insurance never hurts).

boiling the corn

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.

refreshing the corn under cold water

Place the corn on a clean dish towel set over a cutting board, then use a serrated knife to cut the kernels of the cobs. (The dish towel both dries the corn and prevents it from bouncing all over the place.)

cutting corn kernels off of the cobsTry to keep the chunks of corn intact — it looks pretty and shows that you used fresh corn. Use the dish towel to transfer the kernels to a large bowl.

transferring corn to a bowl

Add the white wine vinegar, vegetable oil, scallions, salt and pepper.

adding the dressing to the corn salad

Toss well.

tossed corn salad

Right before serving, toss in the fresh basil.

adding basil to corn salad

Toss well, then transfer to a serving bowl.

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Fresh Corn Salad with Scallions and Basil

Summery and make-ahead, this fresh corn salad is tailor-made for a cookout.

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup 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

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (see note). Boil the corn until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain the corn and immerse it in very cold water to stop the cooking process. Place the corn on a clean dish towel set over a cutting board, then use a serrated knife to cut the kernels of the cobs. (The dish towel both dries the corn and prevents it from bouncing all over the place.)
  2. In a large bowl, combine the kernels 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 necessary. If the salad tastes too tart, add a bit more oil; if it tastes bland, add a bit more vinegar or salt and pepper. Try adding a 1/4 teaspoon of sugar if the corn isn't as sweet as you'd like. Serve the salad cold or at room temperature.
  3. Note: When boiling corn on the cob, be sure to add enough salt that the water tastes like the sea. Try adding a few tablespoons of sugar to the water as well -- it will enhance the corn's sweetness.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Calories: 267
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 38 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Sodium: 245 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.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Best corn salad ever! Very refreshing. Made it many, many times this summer. Always a hit with friends and family. Grew fresh basil, just cut, chopped and added at the end. So easy to make!

    • — Barbara Sulcov on August 30, 2019
    • Reply
  • Another fabulous recipe. I wrapped each ear of corn in wax paper, 3 + or – minutes in microwave on high, depends on size. A lot easier than boiling with same results.
    Thanks for all the great food!!
    5 Stars

    • — Gayle on August 29, 2019
    • Reply
  • I didn’t have white wine vinegar but I had white balsamic vinegar on hand and it was delicious. Maybe the balsamic adds a bit more sweetness? This is the perfect summer salad to bring to a potluck or for a quick salad on a weeknight. With fresh corn abundant right now, I’ve been making this salad frequently and it tastes so fresh. I love that it takes only a few ingredients to make this dish; it’s definitely one of my go to salads!

    • — Esther Kim on August 27, 2019
    • Reply
  • What a delicious way to use the flavorful summer corn. Simple, fresh, delicious. I use it over and over.

    • — Ann L Shoemaker on August 1, 2019
    • Reply
  • Lovely, simple, refreshing corn dish.

    • — Francis on July 28, 2019
    • Reply
  • Had friends for dinner last night and it was a huge success. I made the Fresh corn salad with scallions and basil and the Key lime pie from your recipes and everyone loved them, wanted the recipes. I use your recipes a lot…thank you!

    • — Denise Finger on July 6, 2019
    • Reply
    • Can other types of vinegar be used

      • — Gloria Bolger on August 27, 2019
      • Reply
      • Sure, Gloria. Cider vinegar would work well. If you don’t have that on hand, fresh lemon juice would also be a good substitute.

        • — Jenn on August 27, 2019
        • Reply
  • Can I use frozen corn or canned corn in this dish?

    • — Catherine on July 3, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Catherine, I’d stay away from canned — you could definitely make this salad with frozen corn but it won’t have the same crisp texture that fresh does. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on July 5, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is easy and delicious!

    • — Darlene on July 2, 2019
    • Reply
  • My family has stopped requesting corn on the cob since I served this. This Corn salad with scallions and basil is the choice. The colors and taste really make a delightful addition to the BBQ table. Actually I always hope for leftovers – I like the day old salad after it has melded all the flavors. Fresh corn is the way to go – but I must admit I have used frozen/canned in a pinch. Didn’t want to disappoint the family!

    • — Denise Alexander on December 20, 2018
    • Reply
  • This is an easy peasy fresh ( or frozen or both) corn recipe that I love!! Made it when company was visiting and it was a hit! I added a can of mixed beans to stretch it and that worked perfectly.

    • — Nora on October 11, 2018
    • Reply
  • Could you add the nutritional values, please? Would also be helpful if for these if you could include the weight of a serving if values are provided on that basis. Thanks!

    • — Ann on September 11, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Ann, I just added the nutritional information and I suspect each serving should be just shy of 1 cup. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 11, 2018
      • Reply
  • Had in laws visiting for my daughter wedding shower, we made this one night after having corn on the cob. It was delish! Added a can of mixed beans to make it go farther. Loved the fresh basil, great use of the delicious herb!! Thanks 🙂

    • — Nora on September 7, 2018
    • Reply
  • Love this side dish. I made it for two potlucks and I’m making it again this weekend for dinner guests. So easy, so delicious. So glad I discovered your blog!

    • — Sandy on August 2, 2018
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Great flavors and a good alternative to corn on the cob.

    • — RB on July 29, 2018
    • Reply
  • I had store bought corn on the cob and did not add any sugar but prefer things less sweet and thought the corn was just sweet enough. The corn came out perfectly cooked. Really fresh tasting. Great way to use summer produce.

    • — Carrie on July 2, 2018
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    Im having a party on a sunday afternoon and I always prep days in advance. The last thing i want to do is shuck corn before the guests arrive when i have 100 other things to do that day. what would you do? would you shuck the corn a day before, do all the prep work in advance and combine everything a few hours before the guests arrive? I dont wnat this to be too pickled mixing it all the day before and i dont want the shucked corn to get dried out! please need some help!

    side note, making a bunch of your other recipes too for the party!

    • — claire on May 15, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Claire, I think it’s fine to shuck the corn a day in advance and wrap it in plastic wrap or put it in a ziplock bag so it doesn’t dry out. It’s fine to make the salad a day or two ahead, but if you’d prefer, you can do all the prep in advance and throw everything together shortly before everyone arrives. (Wait to cut the basil, though, as it will brown.). Hope the party is great!

      • — Jenn on May 16, 2018
      • Reply
  • I made this recipe last night to go along with the Mexican lasagna recipe and it was delicious. I used Trader Joe’s frozen organic corn since fresh is not in season and it was still amazing. This morning, I added the leftovers to a green salad that my daughter brought to school for lunch. All your recipes make preparing dinner easier and my family is impressed with what is for dinner. Thank you!

    • — Megan on March 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • Holey smokes! End of summer sale on Labor Day weekend for sweet corn (10 ears for $2); assigned myself Jenn’s recipe for this corn and the cilantro lime (each take 5 ears). Hold the presses, this corn is outstanding! Crisp, sweet yet tangy, perfect acidity, perfect onion flavor. A new summer favorite salad.

    • — Patricia Raymond
    • Reply
  • Made this corn salad (by accident) last night — meant to make the corn salad recipe w/ cilantro/lime – lol. This salad was amazing. Did not need sugar as the fresh corn was super sweet. I did sub olive oil in place of veggie oil – it was outstanding. Definitely a keeper!

  • This is another fabulous recipe and sure to become a favorite dish for my summer dinners. It was sweet and tangy (no idea where that came from – tomatoes?) and crisp at the same time. It also tasted great the next day. I paired it with the steakhouse burger and made the whole family super happy. Thanks for another great meal!

  • can this be made with frozen corn and, if so, how much is needed

    • Hi Jen, You could definitely make this salad with frozen corn but it won’t have the same crisp texture that fresh does. YOu’d need 3 1/2 – 4 cups of corn kernels. Enjoy!

  • This might be one of the best salads I’ve ever eaten. It was so easy to make and was the star of the summer BBQ lineup. With just the right amount of acidity from the vinegar, the onion and basil just round out the flavor so nicely. This will be one of those recipes I’ll memorize, just to whip it up on the fly any time. Absolutely delicious.

  • This was my favourite new summer salad recipe of 2016. I made it once a week while corn was in season. I doubled the recipe and it kept very well for several days. Very quick and easy and everyone loved it! Much easier way to serve fresh corn at a summer BBQ than on the cob! (;

  • how long ahead of time can you make this?

    • A day or two would be fine. Enjoy!

  • Just made this with leftover corn from last nights dinner and everyone loved it! Another hit Jenn! Your recipes are my #1 go-to!
    Cheers!

  • Great recipe! I shared it with my local farmer, where I buy my corn every season. It was a big hit! We thank you 🙂

  • I just made this for a “Spring Fling” event our homeowners association had on May 14th. We have 35 people in attendance. People went back for seconds which is always a good thing.

    P.S. I have made this in the past with similar results – always a great salad that can be made for a large group to enjoy!

  • I make this salad every summer. Every time I make it I get request for this recipe. The only thing I do different is I roast my corn on the grill instead of boiling.

  • Rave reviews from the guests at my cookout yesterday — several people asked me to text them the link to the recipe. Being able to prepare the night before saved me time the day of the party, and I think the salad benefitted from a night in the fridge. Next time I might use a little less of the vinaigrette.

  • Excellent recipe! I’ve made it several times, halving the recipe. I microwave the corn (without removing silk or husks) for about 2 minutes 30 seconds per cob. After cooling the silk is easy to remove. This is a great recipe for making ahead and I’ve used leftovers to toss in green salads or add to wraps.

  • Would Extra Virgin Olive Oil work with this recipe?

    Thanks,
    David

    • Hi David, I find the flavor of olive oil overpowering in this salad, but you might like it — or you could always use half and half.

  • I just made this recipe to bring to a potluck because I had all fresh ingredients (local corn, scallions, basil from my garden). I followed the directions exactly. It was just OK but not memorable.

  • This dish was the shining star of the potluck last night. Several people asked me for the recipe. More than mere food – it was summertime in a bowl. And so easy to make. Fresh corn is key (I prefer Silver Queen). I garnished with half a diced Cherokee Purple tomato for color.

  • I made this last week for a dinner party, it was wonderful and even tasted great the next day, & still crunchy!

  • SUPER easy and very tasty! I love recipes that can be done before guests arrive!! I followed the recipe just as written, but went a bit light on the basil due to personal preference. I assembled everything Saturday, and put it in the fridge. A few minutes before dinner, I just chopped up some basil, mixed it in, and set the bowl on the table.

  • I made the Fresh Corn Salad with Scallions and Basil yesterday for the 4th of July. It was very good but I must say that it was even better the next day. I would make this up a day in advance next time. The flavors are more intense. Thank you for this yummy corn recipe. The family all enjoyed it.

  • Je am having guests for the 4th and serving a hoisin salmon with garlicy snow peas…would this go with it

    • Hi Carol, It’s not Asian like your other dishes but I think it would work. Maybe use cilantro and mint instead of basil.

  • This sounds like a great salad. I do something similar, but I also add black beans, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese. People love it. I read the review of someone who said she has been cooking her corn for hours. I grew up in the Midwest and fresh corn literally only needs 3 or 4 minutes in a pot of boiling water. If it’s really, really fresh you don’t even need to cook it. Yummy!
    thanks for all of the good recipes, Jen and have a happy Labor Day.

  • This salad explodes with freshness! I had to add some sugar, but I think it was because of the quality of my wine vinegar. I also tossed in some grape tomatoes – so good.

  • Made this side to go with B-B-Q ribs. It may have been the corn itself but it fell a little short of expectation. I will try this again but may use the mix white shoe peg & yellow canned corn to see if that perks up the corn flavor.

    • It’s important to use fresh corn for this recipe; you will get much better results! Hope that helps!

  • I made this on Monday, but boiled the corn the day before. This was simple, easy and delicious. I used fresh chives from my garden because I did not green onions and it was superb! I will bring this to my next summer potluck.

  • Wonderful, refreshing addition to a summer weekend meal of grilled spice-rubbed pork tenderloin and steamed asparagus. We added some chopped, seeded garden tomatoes for a punch of color on the plate. The dressing is subtle and so nicely brings out the flavors of the corn and fresh basil.

  • This is a great way to have corn for a summer get-together without the mess of eating off the cob. I just made it this past weekend and it was a hit! I try to slice the scallions as thinly as possible since they can be a little over-powering. Delicious recipe!

  • This salad is so fresh & light for summer! It was the perfect salad to serve with grilled salmon & home grown tomatoes.

  • LOVE this salad. It is my go to summer potluck dish, and is always a favorite. Everyone always love the fresh, summery flavors. Have to be careful to not overdo the dressing, and let the corn and basil do the work.

  • This is such a wonderful way to serve corn at a gathering! I like the fact that I can prepare it ahead of time. I’ve brought it to many a potluck picnic and the bowl always empties out! This is also great the next day.

  • hi. i am living here in Saudi Arabia and unluckily, the white wine is not available in here. what could be the possible replacement or alternative? i love this salad a lot..thank you very much in advance..thank u a bunch for sharing all your wonderful recipes…

    • Hi Lorrene, Do you have access to cider vinegar? That would work well. If not, fresh lemon juice would also be a good substitute.

      • thank u for the prompt reply. yes! a lot of nice branded cider vinegar and cheap lemon in here. thank u so much..till next mail..

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!!!!

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

  • 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!

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

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

  • 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!

  • 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!

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

    • 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.

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

  • 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)?

    • 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 🙂

  • This corn salad sounds amazing!

  • 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.

  • 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….

    • will definitely try this, jen. thank you!

  • 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!!!

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

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

  • 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.

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

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

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

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

  • my herbs from my garden will be great in this

  • 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!!

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

  • 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!

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

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

  • haven’t made this yet. sounds delish!

  • Scrumptious; did not make any changes.

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Love this idea!

  • 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?

    • 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.

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

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

  • 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! ;-))

  • 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!!!

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • Yes, it works great!

  • 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…

  • 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!

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

    • Oops, thanks Candi. Serves 4!

  • 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!!!

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

    • 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.

    • 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!

      • That sounds really good, Edgar!

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