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, but it’s also 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

  • Fresh and tasty! A wonderful side dish …everyone enjoyed it and next time I will need to make more of it!

    • — JooJoo on May 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was a super delicious side dish – my husband is still talking about it! I served it cold and had enough to serve again the next day. I’m a fan of microwaving corn – it’s SO easy and quick. I put 5 ears on a microwave safe plate and cooked on the regular setting for 4-5 minutes. It is very flavorful and a perfect dish for spring/summer and even into those warmer fall days. I served it with the same chef’s “Maryland Crabcakes” and “Cornbread Muffins”. It was the perfect meal for a dinner party of 4 at the river!

    • — SuziH on October 14, 2019
    • Reply
  • Made this recipe 3 or 4 times over the summer for our weekly Saturday night pot lucks at the lake. Every time I made it there was nothing left and everyone commented how good it was. I like the fact I can boil the corn in the morning and prep everything in a bowl, cover and go out on the lake for the day and just come back chop basil and I’ve got a nice salad.

    • — Bill on September 23, 2019
    • Reply
  • 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
    • 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

  • 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!

  • What a delicious way to use the flavorful summer corn. Simple, fresh, delicious. I use it over and over.

    • — Ann L Shoemaker
    • Reply
  • Lovely, simple, refreshing corn dish.

  • 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!

    • Can other types of vinegar be used

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

  • Can I use frozen corn or canned corn in this dish?

    • 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!

  • This is easy and delicious!

  • 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
    • 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.

  • 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!

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

  • 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 🙂

  • 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!

  • Delicious! Great flavors and a good alternative to corn on the cob.

  • 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.

  • 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!

    • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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..

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