Easy Corn Salad Recipe (Perfect Cookout Side Dish)

This Easy Corn Salad recipe with tomatoes, feta, and basil is the perfect make-ahead dish for a party. Using frozen, canned, or fresh summer corn makes this recipe versatile and ready to serve all year long. A delicious blend of flavors, textures, and colors makes this salad a must-add to your list of summer side dish recipes.

easy corn salad side dish for a bbq

This dish is highlighted by the process of caramelizing the corn. That gives a light crust to the kernels and brings out the natural sweetness. The addition of cool tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers makes this a symphony of flavor and texture.

Serve it for a backyard bbq in the summer, or for a family side dish or potluck cookout. It’s going to add so much freshness and flavor to the meal.

Why You’ll Love It

  • It’s full of fresh ingredients that you may have growing in your summer garden!
  • There’s no mayo. The dressing is light with an olive oil base so you don’t have to worry too much about serving it in the heat.
  • It’s quick and easy to make and goes with everything!
corn salad close up

PARTY TIP: You can easily double the recipe for a crowd. It’s a good make-ahead side dish for a cookout party because it keeps well in the fridge overnight.

corn on the cob close up


Although corn is the star ingredient of this salad, all the flavors combine so nicely together it really is a perfect balance of crunch, acidity, salty, fresh basil and a

  • Corn. The beauty of this recipe is that you can use fresh, frozen, or canned corn. I use yellow corn but you can substitute with white or shoepeg corn which is smaller and sweeter.
  • Cherry tomatoes. Cut them in halves or quarters for the perfect bite size ingredient.
  • Cucumber. Peel it first, and use seedless or cut it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Then slice it so you get half moon shapes.
  • Red onion. Use pickled onions in the salad to take the bite out of raw onion. Make them several days ahead if you want to save time when making the dish.
  • Fresh basil. This adds so much flavor to the salad.
  • Feta cheese. This gives a nice salty bite to the salad but you can swap it out with one of the options listed in the substitutions below.


The lovely citrus dressing has just a hint of heat!

  • Extra virgin olive oil. I always use a good quality olive oil for vinaigrettes, dipping, or drizzles. Use basil-infused olive oil to add even more fresh herb taste. It gives it a tremendous pop of flavor!
  • Lime juice. Use the fresh squeezed juice of 1 lime.
  • Tabasco sauce. Tabasco brand hot sauce has a sweetness to it which adds balance. Don’t worry, the dressing won’t be “spicy.” It just adds a bit of zing.

Substitutions & Variations

  • Crumbled goat cheese also works well here.
  • Small balls of bocconcini would be a nice compliment to the basil and tomatoes.
  • Try freshly shredded Parmesan to add a mild salty-nutty flavor.
  • Small cubes of sharp cheddar.
  • And if you are looking for a dairy-free version, just omit the cheese completely!
  • Add fresh herb taste with chopped cilantro instead of basil.
  • Toss in some diced avocados.

How to Make Corn Salad

  1. Prepare the dressing by combining oil with lime juice, salt, and hot sauce. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, add oil and heat. Add corn and cook until the corn begins to caramelize, stirring often. Transfer to a salad bowl and let cool.
  3. Add tomatoes, cucumber, and onion to the corn and drizzle dressing over salad ingredients and toss to combine.
  4. Cover and chill so flavors can combine.
  5. Top with feta and chopped basil when ready to serve.

Do I need to caramelize the corn first?

One thing I love about this salad is that caramelizing the corn brings out the sweetness. However, if you’re wondering what to bring to a cookout last minute, you can make this salad with canned corn without caramelizing it.

corn salad plated with hot dogs

What to Serve with Corn Salad

This versatile dish compliments almost any entree. Especially grilled meats.

side dish salad for a cookout

When To Serve It

This recipe is a delicious addition to an alfresco dinner party.

Add this recipe to your dinner party menu ideas, or a ladies luncheon.

It travels well for a tailgate party too! 

More Side Dishes for a Cookout or BBQ

Salad side dishes are one of the best options for food for a cookout party. Try any of these great tried and true recipes.

This easy corn salad recipe brings out the best in fresh ingredients, and I think it’s worth the purchase of basil olive oil because you can use it later for pasta, for other side salads, or to dip bread into. But you can also make basil oil on your own if you like.

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easy corn salad recipe

Easy Corn Salad recipe

Yield: about 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

This summer corn salad is bursting with flavor! The sweetness from the corn combines with salty feta cheese, fresh basil, and crunchy cucumbers. This is a side dish all your guests will love.


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


  • 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco)


  1. Prepare dressing by combining the olive oil with lime juice, salt, and hot sauce. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, add 1 teaspoon oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add corn and cook until the corn begins to caramelize, stirring often.
  3. Transfer to a salad bowl and let cool.
  4. Add tomatoes, cucumber, and onion to the corn.
  5. Drizzle dressing over salad ingredients and toss to coat.
  6. Cover and chill for about 2 hours so flavors can combine.
  7. Top with feta and chopped basil when ready to serve.


Try this recipe using basil infused olive oil for a fantastic burst of flavor.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. Savannah, I’ve updated and linked it in the post. It’s so good.

    If you want to make your own, you can do a Google search for directions. 🙂

  2. Yummy! Fabulous salad! What is this basil-infused olive oil? How is it made? Can i make it at home?

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