Back in my early twenties, I grew corn on a farm I worked at in Washington. Fresh corn was so sweet that you could eat it right off the stalk - without even cooking it! In this recipe, I've tried to capture the natural sweet flavor of corn. This roasted chili corn salsa is also crunchy, creamy, and has a kick from the smoky chili and tangy lime juice. And you can serve this simple salsa year-round when you make it with frozen corn!
This roasted chili corn salsa tastes great as a dip with tortilla chips or as a topping for tacos and fajitas. And if you're looking for more delicious salsa recipes, try my sweet and savory corn mango salsa!
Roasting corn enhances its natural sweetness and adds a smoky flavor. If you don't have fresh corn available, don't worry, because this roasted corn salsa can easily be made with frozen corn or canned corn.
Ever since I started testing and developing foolproof recipes for beginner cooks in 2020, I've been searching for ways to maximize flavor with minimal ingredients. This roasted corn salsa packs a punch of vibrant flavor with just 10 simple ingredients. Best of all, it's super versatile!
Why You'll Love this Recipe
- It's made with just 10 simple ingredients.
- This recipe comes together in only 30 minutes.
- It's easy to make ahead of time for a party or meal prep.
- This is the perfect recipe to enjoy in the summer, when corn is in season in the Northern Hemisphere.
- This salsa recipe is also great year-round, because it tastes just as delicious with frozen or canned corn.
- This recipe is vegan, gluten free and dairy free!
- Corn - You can use a 16 ounce package of frozen corn kernels, one can of sweet corn, or about 3 ears of fresh corn, depending on what you have available. I usually use yellow corn, but Chipotle uses sweet white corn due to its higher sugar content.
- Olive oil - Coats the corn as it roasts in the oven; you can substitute any cooking oil or even melted butter, but I like the flavor and health benefits from olive oil.
- Red onion - Adds a pungent, fresh flavor and a pop of purple color to the salsa. You could also use a red or white onion, but red onions have a sharper flavor to best balance the rest of the ingredients.
- Poblano peppers - Adds a crunchy texture and pop of dark green color; poblano peppers aren't really spicy, and they're common in Mexican cuisine. You could substitute green bell peppers for a milder flavor. Or use jalapenos to amp up the heat.
- Avocado - Makes the salsa creamy so it holds together better on a chip. No one wants their salsa falling off before it reaches their mouth!
- Cilantro - Adds a wonderful fresh flavor to balance the other ingredients. You can substitute fresh parsley for a similar flavor.
- Lime juice - Fresh lime juice adds a bright, tangy flavor to balance all the sweet and smoky flavors. The acidity also helps slow down the oxidation process of avocado, so it won't turn brown as quickly.
- Chili powder and Paprika - Enhances the smoky flavor of the roasted corn. You could also add ancho pepper powder or cayenne pepper for more heat.
- Salt - Brings out the flavors of all the other ingredients. I recommend using non-iodized table salt since it's small, uniform shape will allow the salt to disperse evenly throughout the salsa.
How to Make this Roasted Corn Salsa Recipe
Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Mix the corn and oil: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the frozen corn kernels (no need to thaw) with the olive oil.
Roast the corn: Spread out the corn on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Mix the vegetables: In a large bowl, combine the roasted corn with the red onion, poblano pepper, avocado, and cilantro.
Add the seasonings: Add the lime juice, chili powder, paprika, and salt. Mix to combine. Enjoy!!
- You can use grilled corn for an intense smoky flavor. Roasted frozen corn or canned corn have a similar flavor, just slightly less intense.
- If you do use fresh ears of corn, try to make roasted corn salsa the same day, since fresh corn loses its sweetness over time.
- For more spicy flavor, mix in sliced or diced jalapenos or serrano peppers.
- To make this a whole meal, serve over rice with black beans or shredded chicken.
- You can roast poblano peppers too add more smoky flavor. Or look for roasted poblano peppers in a can or jar.
- Finely dice your onion, and try to chop the avocado and peppers to a uniform size. A mixture of big chunks and tiny chunks will throw off the flavor and texture of your salsa.
- If you don't like raw onions, you can leave them out of the salsa.
- If you don't have poblano peppers, substitute one medium green bell pepper.
- You can replace the olive oil with any type of oil like vegetable oil, avocado oil, or even melted butter.
- If you don't like cilantro, you can substitute parsley.
- If you don't have fresh herbs available, you can substitute the cilantro with about half the amount of dried cilantro.
- You could substitute lemon juice for the lime juice in a pinch. Or use a mix of lime and lemon juice, like Chipotle does.
Roasting Fresh Corn
How to Roast Corn Cobs in the Oven
- Remove the husk and silk from two ears of corn.
- Brush the ears of corn with olive oil and wrap individually in aluminum foil.
- Place the wrapped corn cobs directly on the oven grate and cook in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning over halfway through. The corn is done roasting once the kernels are easily pierced with a fork.
How to Roast Corn on the Stove
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat.
- Cut the corn kernels off two fresh corn cobs.
- Add the corn and red onion along with the chili powder and paprika. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is golden brown, after about 15 minutes.
How to Grill Corn on the Cob
- Preheat the grill to medium high.
- Husk the corn and remove any silks.
- Rub olive oil or butter lightly all over the corn.
- Grill the husked corn cobs directly on the grill grates for 12 to 15 minutes, turning every 4 to 5 minutes, until they are charred on all sides and the kernels are tender.
Refrigerator: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezer: Store in an airtight container or freezer safe bag for up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Leftovers: Add some fresh cilantro and lime juice to leftover salsa to make it taste vibrant and fresh again!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you're using fresh poblano peppers, you don't need to peel them. However, roasted poblano peppers should be peeled, since the skins can become papery.
Corn salsa usually features corn along with peppers, onions, lime juice, cilantro, and salt. My roasted corn salsa recipe adds avocado to make a more creamy, robust salsa.
This recipe along with Chipotle's official corn salsa recipe aren't spicy. But you can amp up the spice level by adding jalapenos, serrano peppers, or chipotle powder.
This salsa is meant to be served as a cold dip or topping, and stored in the fridge to preserve its freshness.
What to Serve with Roasted Chili Corn Salsa
- Spicy Shredded Chicken Tacos
- Zucchini Fritter Tacos
- Thai-Style Quesadillas and Tacos
- Easy Chicken Fajita Tray Bake
- Tuna and Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
- Roasted Salmon and Vegetables
- Cilantro Lime Rice (in a Rice Cooker)
Roasted Corn Salsa
- 2 cups corn kernels (from one 16 ounce package of frozen corn kernels)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- 1½ cups diced poblano peppers, with the seeds removed (from about 2 medium poblano peppers)
- 1 cup diced avocado (from about 1 medium avocado)
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoon lime juice (from about 1 whole lime)
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the frozen corn kernels (no need to thaw) with the olive oil. Spread out on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the roasted corn with the red onion, poblano pepper, avocado, and cilantro.
- Add the lime juice, chili powder, paprika, and salt. Mix to combine. Serve fresh, or store leftovers in the fridge. Enjoy!!
- You can use grilled or roasted fresh corn or roasted canned corn instead of roasted frozen corn.
- For more spicy flavor, mix in sliced or diced jalapenos or serrano peppers.
- You can also roast the poblano peppers for more smoky flavor.
- To make this a whole meal, serve over rice with black beans or grilled chicken.
- Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.