Chili Lime Sweet Corn Salad

Chili Lime Sweet Corn Salad - sweet corn tossed with butter, fresh lime, chili powder, cilantro, and queso fresco. Amazing!

Even though I live in a big city (38th largest in the U.S.), it can have kind of small town feel. Now I’ve never actually lived in a small town, so maybe it’s just what I imagine a small town to be like. For example, if I go to Starbucks, Target, Home Depot or Costco, I am almost 100 percent guaranteed to run into someone I know. Especially if I’m looking extra grungy/greasy, and double especially if my boys dressed themselves, have Greek yogurt crust around their mouths, and look like they slept in a headstand position. Maybe I always run into people I know because I have lived here since I was four, but for whatever reason, I get that small town vibe.

Chili Lime Sweet Corn Salad - sweet corn tossed with butter, fresh lime, chili powder, cilantro, and queso fresco. Amazing!

One time I sat down to get a pedicure, heard the lady next to me talking, and realized it was my 5th grade teacher. And she totally remembered me!

Chili Lime Sweet Corn Salad - sweet corn tossed with butter, fresh lime, chili powder, cilantro, and queso fresco. Amazing!

I also get that small town vibe when I can drive 5 minutes north to the edge of the city and buy a bag of freshly picked sweet corn at a little road side stand from the friendly faced, teenage son of the farmer. Their corn has been especially good this season, and the word is getting around, so their little stand is hopping. I say good for them, you know?

Chili Lime Sweet Corn Salad - sweet corn tossed with butter, fresh lime, chili powder, cilantro, and queso fresco. Amazing!

If you are able to get your hands on some especially good corn on the cob, I hope you spare a few ears to make this Chili Lime Sweet Corn Salad. The flavor combo will knock your socks off! Sweet, spicy, tangy, crunchy, creamy- YES PLEASE! You should’ve seen how fast I devoured this bowl after I finished my photo shoot. Cory loved it too, but the boys like theirs straight off the cob with butter and salt.

Chili Lime Sweet Corn Salad - sweet corn tossed with butter, fresh lime, chili powder, cilantro, and queso fresco. Amazing!

When you are buying corn on the cob, try to buy it and cook it the same day. The sugars that are in the kernels will quickly turn to starch after it’s picked, and this makes the corn taste tough, chewy, or gummy. And here’s a little tip for cutting your corn off the cob without having kernels fly all over your kitchen. If you own a tube or Bundt pan, stand the ear of corn straight up in the center of the pan, and cut the kernels off so they fall right into the pan. I thought about taking a picture to demonstrate this for you, but it absolutely requires two hands and I’ve not yet made friends with a tripod so you’ll have to just take my word for it. It was one of those rare moments I was alone in the kitchen.

So whether you live in a small town or a big one, or just a big one that can sometimes feel small, go buy some really good corn on the cob and enjoy!

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Chili Lime Sweet Corn Salad
Serves: 4-6
  • 6 ears of corn, husk and silk removed
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Boil the corn for 3 minutes, then remove and allow to cool slightly so that they can be handled.
  2. Cut kernels off the cob into a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together butter, lime juice, chili powder, and chopped cilantro.
  4. Pour the chili lime mixture over the corn and mix to coat.
  5. Add the crumbled queso freso and stir. Season with salt to taste.
  6. Serve at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers.
*Queso fresco is a soft, mild, creamy Mexican cheese that can be crumbled easily. I found it at my local grocery store the cheese section, but if you cannot find it feta would be a good substitution.


  1. Consuelo - Honey & Figs says

    I live in quite a small town and I always ALWAYS bump into people when I’m wearing baggy yoga pants and haven’t brushed my hair :’( Sooo I feel your pain!
    This salad looks amazing. Corn on the cob must make it taste terrific and the flavor combo sounds delicious! xx

  2. Colleen says

    Just discovered an easier way to cook corn on the cob. Wrap 1 corn, still in the husk (right from the farm), in a damp paper towel and microwave 3 minutes – or 2 for 6 minutes. Once they’re cool enough to peel, you’ll find the corn silk slides off with the husks! Do it before you start your cooking and they will be ready to eat or de-kernel at dinner. And so tasty! Now we can have corn on the cob every day! Colleen

  3. Amy says

    Great recipe. I just made it for a friends BBQ tomorrow. I doubled it, cooked half the corn on the stove in a large pot, and the rest in the microwave (in a wet paper towel) while it boiled to save time. I also added a little bit of garlic powder. It is SO good. I tried it and had to quickly put it in the fridge before there was none left for the party :)

    • Julie says

      Hi Mary, thanks for the question. We ate ours at room temperature the first day, and then the little bit that was leftover we ate cold the next day. So either way is delicious, just a matter of personal preference. One tip would be to crumble the cheese over the top just before you serve it. The dressing can sort of cause it to break down a little after a while.

  4. Nikki says

    This recipe sounds sooo good!!!
    I live in Alaska so corn on the cob is not really available to me this time of year, and when it is it’s not sweet. – would using canned sweet corn (sacrilege, I know) be an okay substitute or should I put this on the back burner until it comes into season?

    • Julie says

      I think if I were you I would still try it, even with canned corn. Might not be exactly the same flavor, but still good! Thanks for saying hi all the way from Alaska!

  5. Gymgirl says

    I stopped boiling fresh corn a few years ago. Nuke it on high for 3 minutes per large ear, in the husk. Let rest for 1 minute, then use a paper towel in each hand (careful — it will be hot!) to wipe down the husks and silks in one motion. Voila!

    For the six ears in your recipe, I’d stack them in a pyramid and nuke on high approximately 12-15 minutes for the entire batch. Let rest, and proceed.

    The corn is so unbelievably sweet and juicy steamed in the husks, that I rarely add salt, pepper, or even butter!



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