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Fresh Corn Salad

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Capture the essence of summer with this easy, make-ahead fresh corn salad——simply toss it together, and it’s ready to serve whenever you are!

Fork in a bowl of fresh corn salad.

You can never go wrong with simple boiled corn on the cob, but the need to cook it right before serving makes it less than ideal for entertaining—unless you relish the idea of sweating over a hot stove indoors while your guests kick back outside sipping summer cocktails. When it comes to corn for a crowd, I prefer to whip up a fresh corn salad. Not only is it best made in advance, but it’s also served at room temperature. Be sure to cook the corn briefly—just a few minutes is all it takes. And consider tossing a few tablespoons of sugar into the cooking water to ensure that the corn is sweet—a little insurance never hurts!

“I brought this salad to a potluck lunch. People kept telling me how wonderful it was and asking how I made it. It made me feel like a star!”


What You’ll Need To Make Fresh Corn Salad

ingredients for corn salad
  • Corn: The star of the salad, providing sweetness and crunch.
  • Scallions: Add a mild onion flavor and a pop of color, enhancing the overall freshness of the salad.
  • Vegetable Oil: Forms the base of the dressing, adding moisture and helping to marry the flavors together.
  • White Wine Vinegar: Provides acidity to balance the sweetness of the corn and add brightness to the salad.
  • Fresh Basil: Infuses the salad with a fragrant flavor and adds a pretty color contrast.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step instructions

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).

boiling the corn

The key is to barely boil the corn to keep it super crisp — a few minutes is ideal. 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 cobs

Try 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make corn salad ahead?

Yep, you can make it a day or two ahead of time. Another option is to do all the prep in advance and then put everything together right before serving (but wait to cut the basil to keep it from browning).

Can I use frozen corn in the corn salad?

This is definitely best with fresh corn. That said, frozen will work; just keep in mind that frozen corn won’t have the same crisp texture that fresh does. (You don’t need to cook it prior to adding it to the salad.) 

Are there any variations or substitutions I can try with corn salad?

Sure! You can get creative with it. Feel free to add a handful of diced bell peppers or cherry tomatoes for extra color and sweetness. If you’d prefer a salad that incorporates beans, this black bean salad with corn will hit the spot. Or if you want to skip the step of removing the kernels from the cob, you’ll love grilled Mexican street corn.

Fork in a bowl of fresh corn salad.

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Fresh Corn Salad

Capture the essence of summer with this easy, make-ahead fresh corn salad——simply toss it together, and it’s ready to serve whenever you are!

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


  • 5 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup finely sliced fresh basil leaves
  • Sugar, optional


  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 ¼ 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.

See more recipes:


  • How many days in advance can I make this salad?

    • — Dara on October 9, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Dara, You can make this a day or two ahead, but if you’d prefer, you can do all the prep in advance and put everything together right before serving (but wait to cut the basil, so it doesn’t brown.).

      • — Jenn on October 9, 2023
      • Reply
  • Great salad that was quick and very tasty. Lots of compliments. Thx

    • — Patricia on September 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Wonderful recipe. Rave reviews. I did change the 1/4 cup of oil to 1/8.

    • — Bonnie Graves on September 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made your corn salad for Labor Day, and it was enjoyed by everyone! I only used 2 tablespoons of White Wine Vinegar and thought that was plenty for my tastes. This leftover salad was enjoyed the next day as well. The fresh corn cut from the cob stayed nice and crisp. I will definitely make this salad again. Thank you!

    • — Jean Roecker on September 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • Fresh Corn Salad is delicious. Made a double batch for our pre-Labor Day gathering on Sunday and everyone loved it and had plenty left over for their take home packages. The only thing I added to the recipe was about half of a red bell pepper finely diced for added color. Excellent recipe. Thank you for all of your recipes.

    • — Mary Lou Taylor on September 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Can I just cut the kernels off uncooked corn?
    I’m excited to try your shrimp burgers/cakes as well!
    Thank you!

    • — Barbara on September 1, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Barbara, I’d recommend cooking the corn first. Hope you enjoy this and the shrimp burgers! 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 1, 2023
      • Reply
      • Thank you!

        • — Barbara on September 1, 2023
        • Reply
  • Love your recipes. I’m going to make your Moroccan chicken this weekend. Would this corn salad pair well with it?

    • — Suzette on August 31, 2023
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! This salad is great but would’t be my first choice with the chicken. If you choose to make something else, some other options are the warm couscous salad or the moroccan carrot and chickpea salad. BTW, if you choose to go with the corn, it will still be delish!

      • — Jenn on August 31, 2023
      • Reply
  • Delicious salad!

    • — Jane on August 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • This corn basil salad is the best. My husband loves fresh corn on the cob. He likes this even more. I picked fresh basil from the garden and it was amazing. So simple yet so full of flavor!

    • — Sally on August 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • I brought this salad to a potluck lunch. People kept telling me how wonderful it was and asking how I made it. It made me feel like a star!

    • — Trudy Black on July 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • Love this recipe, easy to make and such a great fresh taste.

    • — Louise Neveu on July 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Wondering how this salad with be with arugula instead of basil (it’s what I have on hand)? I made it last year with basil and absolutely loved it! Great recipe!

    • — Gina on June 14, 2023
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked it! I’d handle the arugula in the same way – use the same amount, sliced, and toss it in before serving.

      • — Jenn on June 15, 2023
      • Reply
      • Thanks for the reply. It worked out great with arugula- guests gave compliments, however, I do prefer it with the basil. Made it to compliment your recipe for Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Chimichurri – absolutely delicious!! I also made your Union Square Cafe Rosemary Nuts as an app and those got huge compliments as well. I have referred many friends to your recipes! Thank you for helping me with a successful dinner party!

        • — Gina on June 15, 2023
        • Reply
  • It’s a winner.

    • — Bella Zamborini on June 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • I love this recipe! Will be taking it to a bbq. How far in advance do you think I could make it? Two days? Save the basil for right before?

    • — P on June 2, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi P, 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 the BBQ. (Wait to cut the basil, though, as it will brown.). Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on June 5, 2023
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious!! Made it for Memorial Day BBQ today and everyone loved it! Thanks for another winner! Haven’t had a bad recipe yet!

    • — Sharon on May 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • Excellent! Made it as written other than use rice wine vinegar since that is all I had and added avocado. Really good recipe. Can’t wait to make it again for Memorial Day.

    • — Cindy on May 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • Since it is barely May, and not yet corn season, would I be better off using frozen corn or the corn on the cobs that are available at the grocery store. I generally never buy it on the cob off season. If using frozen, would I skip the cooking?

    • — Tess on April 30, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Tess, I’d question how good the fresh corn is right now so you may be better off with frozen. Just keep in mind that with frozen corn, it won’t have the same crisp texture that fresh does. (You don’t need to cook it.) Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on May 1, 2023
      • Reply
  • Delicious and bright. Except for the work of cutting the corn, it is an easy recipe and one I would highly recommend. Once again Jenn gave me a recipe I will use again and again!

    • — Linda G on September 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this 4 or 5 times now and it’s always a hit. I usually get asked to share the recipe. Easy to prepare and so tasty, a nice change from corn on the cob.

    • — Sharron on September 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jennifer,
    Two questions:
    1. Can I make this the day before?
    2. What’s best, served cold or room temp?

    • — Victoria on August 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure, Victoria, you can make it a day ahead and I happen to like it cold, but you can serve it either way. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 15, 2022
      • Reply
  • This is a bright and delicious summer corn salad. I added a bit more vinegar and oil as suggested before serving. It was a hit with my family!

    • — Ellen on August 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • Thank you for this recipe. This is a versatile dish and easy on the cook (and easy on the vegans in the crowd). It’s not so common to find simple recipes, yet they are important. I had it in the refrigerator today when an impromptu lunch developed. It’s very good, perhaps especially when made with elderflower white balsamic vinegar.

    • — Ellen Thompson on July 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is a great summer recipe, thanks Jenn! The garden fresh basil makes this dish pop! Does it matter if different types of basil are mixed for a recipe? I served it cold for our 4th of July bbq. I have a request for Jenn’s spin on baked beans please.

    • — Trina W on July 5, 2022
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! It’s fine to mix different varieties of basil. And I will add baked beans to my list of recipes to potentially develop. Thanks for the suggestion! 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 5, 2022
      • Reply
  • So simple, so good. I used more scallions and a bit less vinegar. It’s important to use fresh corn on the cob and, yes, it’s well worth the hassle.

    • — Chris on July 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • Love, love, LOVE this! This was so tasty and so easy I’ve had it 3 times in the last month or so. My only way of doctoring the recipe is that I use more scallions and a little less basil. Other than that, it’s absolutely fantastic! Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Kelly Browning on June 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this yesterday for a barbecue and received rave reviews! It was good as it was, but felt it needed a little extra to bring it over the top. I used twice as much green onion and basil, an extra tablespoon of vinegar and added a clove of crushed garlic. Delicious!

    • — Jennifer W on June 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • Such a yummy side dish-simple to make, yet so flavorful and light. It was a hit. Made this to go with smoked bbq ribs and it was perfect. Confession, I did add diced avocado which was a nice complement. Thanks for another no-fail, delicious recipe. Will definitely make it again.

    • — Allison W on May 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • Can this be made with sweet corn I shucked and froze?

    • Hi Marilyn, I think that should work. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • Hi! What oil do you recommend? Canola? Corn? EVOI? Thanks!

        • Hi Carolyn, I’d go with canola or vegetable oil. Hope you enjoy!

  • I made this yesterday exactly as written and it was just amazing! Loved it. Light, refreshing, a little tang, a HEALTHY choice. I brought it to a BBQ and got compliments on it, even though it looked so unassuming amongst all the mayo-filled salads on the table.

  • I had two ears of corn left over from the night before and made this salad for my husband and myself. My husband, who is a picky veg eater loved it. It was so refreshing on a very hot day. I will definitely make this recipe again and also for company. Might even put in some small shrimp next time.

  • Just made this salad to go with chicken/feta/spinach sausages- and it was absolutely delicious. The only change I made was adding sliced cherry tomatoes because we had so many on hand. Thanks so much for sharing your amazing recipes. I am a fan. 😊

    • — Maggie Medjuck
    • Reply
  • I love this easy make ahead salad. Thank you so much for posting. Every time I make this, my friends/family ask for the recipe. Even my hard to impress Mom!

  • Fabulous! I used Jersey Fresh Bi-Color Sweet Corn (nothing better in the USA) and followed the recipe exactly. It was so good!

  • Hi Jenn
    I am making this today for the Fourth! Could i possibly use grapeseed oil or olive oil?
    Thanks so much

    • — Melissa Pickard
    • Reply
    • Sure, Melissa – I’d go with grapeseed over olive oil for this.

  • This is a great, refreshing summer side dish! Basil fresh from my garden added the perfect summer taste to the corn. We loved it!

  • so yummy and fresh! definitely gets better and better as it marinates

    • — Kelly Guenther
    • Reply
  • So delicious! I grilled 2 ears of corn, julienned 3 basil leaves, added 2 tsps of EVOO and 1 1/2 tsps of white balsamic vinegar. Then I sprinkled some maldon on top with 2 turns of pepper from the grinder. I also used one scallion. Perfect corn salad for 1. The white balsamic vinegar was sweet enough that I did not need any sugar.

  • I love this salad. It’s so easy, and it’s dependable and looks good. The last time I made it, I added avocado just before serving and it was even more delicious. So good that guests wanted to know where I got the recipe from!

  • This is one of my absolute favorite summer time side dishes. I have made it many times and it never fails to get many requests for the recipe! It is so tasty and a great way to enjoy fresh corn on the cob without the cob – especially easy when feeding a crowd! Love the basil and I especially like the make ahead feature. Anything to keep me out of the kitchen when friends and family are over, I appreciate. This and the Vivian Howard’s Cilantro Lime Sweet Corn salad (which is served warm) I highly recommend. They do not disappoint.

  • Simple, healthy, yummy salad! I’ve made this salad with Edamame before too, and it turned out amazing and gave it more color.

  • This is the perfect summer salad to take to a potluck BBQ. I discovered it at a party where I knew almost no one. After tasting it, I went from table to table to find out who brought the fabulous corn salad. Since then, whenever I take it to an outing, someone inevitably seeks me out to ask for the recipe. It’s simple and delicious and a wonderful accompaniment to any grilled protein.

  • I have been making it all summer,everyone wants the recipe,I can’t keep in the fridge/

    • — Veronica Hubbard
    • Reply
  • Made this last weekend and making again this week. What a great recipe to use when you are a fresh corn lover and looking for an alternative to corn on the cob. Making tonight to go with chicken stuffed Jalapeno peppers. Hot and cool.

  • In case you want to do this out of corn season and use a good quality frozen corn, what do you think the volume of 5 ears of corn is? 3cups? More? 🙂

    • Hi Cherie, I think it would be a little closer to 3-1/2 cups. Hope that helps!

    • I was looking for a new recipe to use fresh corn and tried your Fresh Corn Salad with scallions and basil. My husband and I both loved it. I also had fresh basil from a pot on my deck. Hubby even said he liked it better than corn on the Cobb. Obviously it is a keeper. Thank you!

  • Perfect summer side dish – thanks!

    • Very refreshing and light. A nice way to dress up corn!
      It’s easy to take it add a cob as necessary without having to make another batch of dressing.

      *We bbq’d the corn straight on the grill. Loved the char flavor with this

  • Easy to make, pleasure to eat. Delicious!

  • Does the corn need to be cooked? I make a corn salad using raw corn and it is amazing. Looking forward to trying this recipe as I have lots of basil.

    • Hi Pam, I would recommend cooking it. Hope you enjoy!

  • How do you think this would work with Grilled corn?

    • I think it would work nicely!

    • Love this recipe but I made it just a little different this time. I grilled my corn in the husk.. must be very fresh, used minced red onion and dried basil. Sometimes I add it to my Hawaiian style mac salad if there’s any left. It’s ‘ono!

      • — kurt nickerson
      • Reply
  • Made this corn salad today, and it was a home run. My husband cut the corn off the cobs for me, and was a little sorry we weren’t having traditional corn on the cob. After he tasted this recipe, he totally fell in love with it. Tasty, light, and best of all easy! I’ll be making this for company in the future.

    • — Debra Cervelli
    • Reply
  • I have frozen corn in the freezer taken off the cob. Should I cook it a bit in a skillet before adding to the salad?
    Thanks and I love your recipes!

    • Hi Barb, If you cooked it before removing from the cobb and freezing, no need to cook it in a skillet. If you didn’t cook it first, then yes, I would do that, but be careful not to overdo it; you don’t want it too soft. Hope you enjoy!

    • I made this corn salad tonight to use up the ears I had from the store. I added some tomatoes to the salad simply because I had them. Everything else was added as written. Very nice taste and texture… my husband had 2 servings! I’ll definitely make it many more times.

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