Summer Corn Salad

A crunchy, sweet no-cook summer corn salad. The salad is a breeze, has a ton of toasted pepitas & sunflower seeds, tossed with a brown sugar lemonade vinaigrette.

Summer Corn Salad

Summer is corn salad season. And this is a good one. I lugged a big sack of corn home from the market the other day thinking I would throw together a picnic salad to take on a hike out to the coast. The plan was to use raw corn kernels along with a vinaigrette I've been on hooked lately. If you can imagine a lemonade vinaigrette made with a bit of brown sugar, you'd be in the ballpark. The tart-sweet lemon dressing goes great with corn. Beyond that, the salad gets tossed with a ton of toasted seeds for crunch, and a generous showering of Mexican oregano to bring things back to Earth.
Summer Corn Salad on a Platter

Summer Corn Salad: The Key Ingredients

  • Corn: The key here is buying great corn. The sweeter the better. This corn salad has just a handful of ingredients, and the corn is the all-star. You're not grilling it (although you could), and you're not cooking it, so there's really no where to hide if your corn is starchy. White corn or yellow corn is fine here. 
  • Oregano: I call for dried Mexican oregano, but whatever you have on hand (within reason) is fine. That said, if all you have is dusty, neglected oregano, consider using whatever other fresh herbs you might have.

Close-up of Yellow Corn on the Cob


Yes! You can absolutely do a grilled version of this salad if you like. It's equally good, although I do make a couple little tweaks. After grilling your corn allow it to cool enough to handle, then shave the kernels from each ear. I like to add some minced serrano peppers to the grilled version on this salad for a little kick. Like the tiniest flecks. Really chop the chile(s) small and then season the salad to taste with those.

Seed Mixture for Summer Corn Salad

One More Corn Salad - Cooked + Coconut

If one corn salad isn't enough this summer, or if you're looking to switch it up a bit. This is another of my all-time favorite corn salad recipes. It uses a skillet approach and five ears of corn shaved in quick fashion, then sautéed in a bit of butter or olive oil. I trick it out with thyme, red onions, toasted almonds and coconut. Simple. Delicious. or if you're on the the quest for salad inspiration in general, here's where you can browse all the salad recipes

Summer Corn Salad on a Platter with a Serving Spoon

I hope you enjoy the corn salad if you try it. It's a breeze to throw together, and it travels well in an over-sized jar. You can toss the corn and shallots ahead of time, just leave enough room to throw the seeds and oregano in just before serving/eating. Enjoy & happy summer! -h

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Summer Corn Salad

5 from 4 votes

Save the corn cobs if you like - you can simmer them for a while to make a quick corn stock. I did this for corn soup and it really turns out great. Also, if Mexican oregano is hard for you to come by, you can substitute fresh oregano, or chives, or whatever herbs you like, really. Mexican oregano is unique, potently fragrant, and zesty and earthy all at once - I have a fondness for it with corn and with mushrooms as well!

  • 6 ears of corn
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 3/4 cup / 4 oz / 115g toasted pepitas
  • 3/4 cup / 4 oz / 115g toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  1. Shuck the corn and use a knife to cut the kernels from the cobs. Place the kernels in a medium bowl with the shallot while you make the dressing.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, salt, and sugar in a small bowl or jar. Gradually add the oil, whisking vigorously until the dressing comes together. Taste, and adjust with more lemon juice, salt or sugar, if needed. This dressing should be on the sweet side, not overly tangy.
  3. Just before serving, add the seeds to the bowl of corn along with 2/3 of the dressing. Toss well, really get everything well coated. If you want more dressing, add more to taste. Crush the oregano between your palms and let it shower down on to the salad. Toss one more time and serve.

Serves 6.

Prep Time
10 d
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Recipe Rating


I Love Corn Salad, Thank you Heidi Swanson for posting this Salad! Healthy and tasty!5 stars

Rylee Gregoire

Delicioso. Outstanding recipe. Thanks for sharing this Corn Salad, this one is so amazing.5 stars

Camila Gregoire

I made this tonight and it’s wonderful!
(although no sunflower seeds, so I left them out, and no shallots so I minced the teeniest clove of garlic and whisked it into the dressing)
a great no-heat way to use corn – thanks!


Made this last night – what a delightful combination. Perfect accompaniment to our veggie burgers. Told my college age daughter about it too – she loves these recipes that are easy to tackle but taste so good. Thanks for yet another winner.

Nancy (guinnah)

Love, love, love this salad! I have made it several times since discovering it; every time to rave reviews and recipe requests!
Thank you for opening my eyes to MEXICAN OREGANO; this truly is the “tie that binds” this salad together.
I believe my wife, with whom I was fighting for the last of the salad yesterday, said it best (graphic content warning!): “Nothing says, ‘Clean GI tract!’, like raw corn!”
Thanks for the recipe; this is just the most recent I have used and loved. Thanks for the website.
God bless.

Grant C.

Lunch today with twice-cooked Jacob’s Cattle beans and paprika onions. Thanks!


I too just lugged home a bunch of fresh corn from the farmer’s market. And a salad sounds great!

Dr. Sarah Cimperman

Once again, an amazing recipe. In fact, I have never disliked ANY of your recipes! I made this last night, substituting meyer lemon, grape seed oil, and brown turbanado sugar and it was still delicious. I imagine this would even be good with Trader Joe’s canned corn in the winter. BTW I served this with a quinoa casserole that I topped with whole grape tomatoes. It was great how they kind of explode in your mouth after cooking! Thanks again Heidi!


This looks great! I love the focus on fresh ingredients. Growing up on a ranch, my diet was the same. Tasty, yummy, fresh produce never goes out of style. I grew up in a Volga German family, so the focus was always on tradition and farm fresh foods. But we have a lot of summer salads for our family picnics. My favorite is a cucumber salad with a buttermilk dressing.

Author Rebecca Nab Young

Any excuse to eat sweet summer corn is a good one in my opinion! And raw, hm? Haven’t tried it, but I’ll do it!


I love this combination of textures! Corn is so cheap right now, and this showcases its natural flavor so wonderfully.
If you’re looking for other ways to use up your corn, we recently made a corn filling for ravioli which worked beautifully. A little cheese and spice – potentially simple if you use pre-made wrappers.

M. @ V. Gourmet

I adore uncooked corn on the cob, and this salad sounds fresh and delish!
I grew up on a dairy farm, and my dad always planted the outside rows of the cornfield with sweet corn. When we were playing we’d run out to the field, rip a cob off of a stalk, husk it an eat it out in the sunshine. Now that’s summer!

Annie~Savor This Moment

What a simple, yet beautiful (and delicious!) sounding recipe for summer! I have never tried a corn salad, and I think it’s about time for me to! Thanks for sharing this.

Erin @ The Speckled Palate

I just love your recipes! Everything I’ve tried was delicious, and this corn salad sounds great for a summer party. Thank you!


My first time visit here, you have an incredible blog. The corn salad is gorgeous and inviting. It is an absolutely interesting read and captured my attention.


Yummy! Great photos.


MMmm, already savoring the sweet crunch.

Alejandra @ Mouthfuls and Morsels

I throw raw corn on everything all summer long! So I was excited to see a raw corn salad since I make so many of my own versions. I made this last night and this was a hit. I never would have thought to add those nuts and SO MANY of them. It was spectacular. I am so happy to have a new summer corn recipe! Thanks again Heidi!


This was SUPER tasty. I tried it the other day and so tasty with the fresh, local corn we had gotten this week. I posted a picture in my blog as well, and linked it back this way. Thanks for the recipe!

Sara B.

Tried this yesterday and liked it a lot. Would change two things:
1) Use all the dressing. It was underdressed with just 2/3.
2) Use a few tbsp instead of one tsp oregano. The few bits that had oregano were great, but there were too few of them.

bottom up food

I am not such a corn fan but your salad looks fab.

tobias kocht!

The Williams clan gathered last night on the porch for a lovely (if slightly cooler than usual) Napa Valley Sunday Supper and your corn salad was the belle of the ball. Thanks for this great recipe. We used a little honey in the dressing in place of some of the brown sugar. Perfect compliment to that sweet Brentwood corn.
HS: Happy to hear it Tori! I think I’d be happy eating on that porch rain or shine :).

Tori WIliams

I made your corn salad over the weekend for a picnic, it was a huge hit– EVERYONE enjoyed it!!! Loving the way the lemon & mexican oregano play up the corn a bit. Your dahlia photos are beautiful! Thanks-so-much for sharing your delicious recipes!!


Really glad to learn about Mexican oregano! What a great idea to combine it with pepitas…a totally different direction than the basil/tomato corn salads I usually have. Bet it would be good some julienned roasted bell peppers, too…


I love seeing all these corn recipes everywhere. I only just tried corn raw for the first time and it’s become my new favorite way to make it – great for a quick salad at lunch. I wouldn’t have thought of adding seeds and I’ve never heard of mexican oregano – will definitely have to try that out. Thanks!


I’ve been eating a lot of corn lately. I buy it from a local farm, they grow it there. They have both white corn and bi-color corn. I love them both. No real preference.
I’ve been boiling it (or microwaving it), rolling it in a flavored mayo and then sprinkling on parmesan or cotija cheese. Love it – the lime and chile in the mayo is TDF. The salad sounds amazing too. Got to try it. Thanks Heidi.


for a spicier, earthier version, add cumin to taste. Add some cayenne pepper & smoked paprika. For a little more color & crunch a fine dice of sweet pepper (your choice of colors) does the trick.


This is absolutely scrumptious! I made it this evening and we made very short work of eating our little bowls of it as a starter. By the way, making it with 3 ears of corn and halving everything, I figure a half a lemon will just about do it for the amount of 1/2 of 1/3 of a cup.
Love all your recipes, Heidi!!!

Judy Lenzin

I just made this for dinner and served it with a simple bowl of penne and your bright tomato sauce (which is pure genius). It was a beautiful summer dinner, and my three-year-old gobbled it up. Thank you!


    Sounds delicious Axon!

    Heidi Swanson

The combination of sweet corn, pepitas and lemonade vinaigrette sounds divine. And I have all the ingredients. Will definitely serve your salad this week. Thanks.


Oh, lovely.
I think the idea of corn + seeds is a fine one, and we regularly use a slightly sweet, lime vinaigrette very much like this on a salad of corn, black beans, and red peppers. Delicious.


Don’t know if it made it into the comments but fyi, raw corn doesn’t taste so good unless it’s quite fresh (then it’s wonderful). I’ve found that some “fresh” corn in the supermarkets isn’t fresh enough for a recipe calling for raw corn.


This looks insanely good. I’ve decided it will be my first corn recipe of the season.


I’ve never thought of just using corn fresh, but what a great idea. Such an easy, nutritious salad and I’m sure it would be a hit at any bbq.
Of course, it is still wet and cold here, but I’ll save that thought for a few months.


I made this corn salad tonight to serve as a side for some salmon that I smoked on the Traeger. As my husband so succinctly commented , “This is a keeper”. Thanks!


One of the first crops my husband, Richard and I planted in our first home was corn. Every spring I remember the excitment of running outside and seeing how high the corn stalks had gotten overnight. Love this receipe
Wish you could come to Sacramento Authors on the Move left you an invite FOUR months ago.
HS: My apologies Pat! I must have missed it, or had it get caught up in one of my filters, my in-box is a bit of a mess – hope you have a great event.

Pat Canterbury

I spent 3 years (age 3-6) growing up on a century old farm with corn growing in the back acreage. I have to say, if those childhood memories could have a flavor associated with them, your recipe nailed it, Heidi!
Thank you for posting this recipe!

Amber @ FORK IT, Darling

YUM! ive never had raw corn but i will be making this ASAP.
I assume you’re using dried mexican oregano, since you said to crush it between your palms? im gonna sub regular, fresh oregano.
Also, I saw you mention the e-book and I wanted to note that Super Natural Everyday is now available (for maybe 2 wks now) at Anthropologie!! yayyy! which is where I work and where I bought your first cookbook (that is falling apart because it is my cooking bible).


Summer perfection in a bowl! Thanks for this!! Now just waiting to get my hands on some organic corn!


I can’t say I’ve ever made a dish with raw corn, but this one definitely lookd like it’s worth making. The lemonade vinaigrette sounds so summery and refreshing! Beautiful pictures once again as well! Thanks for sharing.

rye @ theamateurepicurean

I love the use of raw corn in this recipe, people often don’t realize how delicious it is in its raw form. I want to make this ASAP!

Pippa@Sunday Suppers with Pippa

HOLY MOLY! So, so good. Thanks, Heidi, for another hit. Can’t wait to make it again–for a family camping trip next week. I’ll try to remember to give you credit. BTW, my 10-month-old son loved sucking and gumming the corn cob after I removed the kernels. Teething baby = another good use for the cobs.


hi heidi, i absolutely love raw corn. so crunchy and juicy. this recipe will be perfect for my post-cleanse eating. pepitas and sunflower seeds aren’t usually part of my normal pantry. which makes this recipe even better for me! i love a change-up.


yum, i love pepitas and sunflower seeds. this recipe looks great…and so easy!

barb @ wishful chef

I have never eaten raw corn but I’ll try this. What can I use in place of pepitas? I’m in Lagos, and that might be a little diifficult to come by.
Btw, I love the pictures!

HS: Brenda – you can use whatever seeds/nuts you think might be good. All sunflower seeds if they’re easier to come by is fine! Love knowing you’re cooking in Lagos inspired by this site! Thanks for the note.


this is such a lovely way to use corn. i love the idea of a lemon brown sugar vinaigrette I’ve been making a ton of big mixed salads here and they are all heavily influenced by your books: lots of zest, yogurt, and simple wholesome ingredients. I appreciate all the inspiration i’ve gotten from you. aloha, andrea

andrea devon

wow…I mean really…this looks phenomenal! I truly love fresh off-the-cob corn. Hopefully I can still find some at the farmer’s market tomorrow morning.

Zestful Lou

We are wild about corn salads here and your version is a must try. It is so different from anything that we’ve ever made before. I love the lemony vinaigrette and the sunflower seeds. Simply delicious.


Hi Heidi,
I was so excited to see SNED in the Anthropologie across from where I work (Rockefeller Center location)! And even though I own all 3 of your books and am a total softie for all things analog (though, not a luddite – I am a true apple girl) I plan to get the electronic version of SNE. Congratulations, once again, on all of this good stuff!
HS: Thanks Linda! Love hearing about book sightings 🙂 And thanks for your support.

Linda NYC

Thanks for the recipe, Heidi. Looks delicious, and the pairing of the corn, lemon-y vinaigrette and mexican oregano sounds so good.
I was in San Fransisco last week for a couple of days, and I loved it so much. One of my favorite cities I think I’ve ever been to. Just wanted to flatter your city.


Fantastic! I just got 9 ears of corn from our CSA and I was overwhelmed by them! Not anymore – I’ll be making this soon. Thanks!

Lisa @ Just here. Just now.

It’s perfect for a lazy day… I love it. I actually have some pepitas at home that I bake in the oven with smoked paprika, cayenne, cumin and sea salt and I think it would be go perfect with your creation. Thanks and have a happy Friday!


I made the corn salad for supper tonight- I was missing a few ingredients, but substituted green onion for the shallot and toasted almonds/pistachios for the sunflower seeds/pepitas. It tasted great.


Lovely, Heidi.

The Healthy Apple

I’ve enjoyed fresh, raw corn for many years and I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. I think I will throw a few pistachios in just because I love them. The lemon vinaigrette sounds terrific and I’m looking forward to trying this, as both corn and lemon are favorites. Thanks Heidi, for always being so down-to-earth in the way you share, and for offering such simple, yet healthy recipes.


We have this awesome corn coming in from the town next door – Hadley Sweet Corn – and I love corn salad.
I use tomatoes, cilantro, salt, and lime to season.

Snack Girl

Looks lovely!
One of my good friends has been making something similar this season with a little parmesan and bringing me some now and again. It’s perfect late night snacking food in my opinion!!!

Rocky Mountain Woman

What a simple and refreshing salad! I love raw sweet corn in the summer but I’ve never tried it with sunflower seeds & pepitas – looking forward to making this soon!

Anjali Shah

Can’t wait for our summer – and fresh corn – to try this one! Last summer I tasted heritage corn from old seed stock that tastes like corn, rather than candy – it was quite different – but right somehow too. Have you ever come across this? Still love the “sweet”corn tho – tastes like childhood and summer and simpler times! Yum!

Ruth Stephens

When we were living in Vancouver I took full advantage of the great corn you have out there. Now back in the UK it’s another story. For some reason, they just don’t grow and appreciate good corn here. I was never excited about corn when Theresa (a native Canadian) used to talk about it growing up in Cambridge as I did. Then I tasted it when we moved to Canada and it was a different story. Only recently you can actually come across corn that doesn’t come in a tin, bu it’s just not fresh generally. You’ll have to post me some of that sack of yours ; )

adam and theresa

This looks really intriguing–I’m especially interested in the “lemonade” vinaigrette!

Gretchen @

Looks like this would be best with super fresh corn. Love the flavors and the touch of sweetness to this salad.

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

I love the summer when the produce is so fresh and flavorful that it is better to eat everything raw.


Heidi, this sounds so simply delicious, and I love the combination of sour, sweet and crunchy. I’m definitely going to have to pick up some corn this weekend and try it out! Thanks!

Kathryn (Dramatic Pancake)

Oh good grief! I just fainted and fell out of my chair.
This looks ah-may-zing.
Making this as soon as I get my vision back.

Bev Weidner

I can’t wait to share this with my customers! We’ve been harvesting corn for two weeks and just picked some fresh shallots. This couldn’t be any more timely!
Thanks so much for sharing this.

Kasha The FarmGirl

I make a similar dressing but use lemon juice, honey, mustard (I like Jack Daniels Old No. 7), and olive oil. It is wonderful and very addictive. I eat it nearly every day!


I have been experimenting with corn too and I was thinking about making similar salad but with toasted almonds. I agree that corn has a great culinary potential. For example, recently, I made corn pancakes (savory or even spicy), which turned out unexpectedly delicious.

Bogna @ Pots and Frills

i’ve never had raw corn, but it looks delicious in this salad, especially with the pine nuts and sunflower seeds!


Love this idea, but I’m still reeling from your shaved fennel salad!!!! So fresh. I added a handful of freshly picked blueberries at the end!


Heidi, I love the new cookbook! I’ve made a couple recipes so far and they have been fantastic. All I have to say to my husband is “it’s a Heidi recipe” and he gives me the knowing grin. You are my go-to favorite.


I love the addition of the brown sugar! It really plays up the sweet of the sweet corn. I know what I’m picking up at the farmer’s market this weekend!

JL goes Vegan

Never thought you could eat corn raw–but this looks amazing and healthy! Will have to try it out. The hubby just brought home a large bag of fresh corn the other night too! Thanks =)


Every recipe I have tried from you has been a winner – am so looking forward to trying this corn one with the extra corn I have for tonight’s bbq. A big thank-you Heidi!!


This salad looks delicious, and I am so glad you “went overboard” with the dahlia pictures! They’re one of my favorite flowers. The photo above of the lavender dahlia is unbelievably lovely. Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth @ Coppertop Kitchen

This looks fantastic! As I type this I have two loaves of your zucchini bread recipe in my oven. Yum.


Love the pics Heidi. I’m exactly the same when carrying a camera. I have never eaten raw corn, and I’m from Iowa. Ok. heading to the farmers market in the morning!

Cheryl Parsons

Lemonade dressing – you had me at hello. Please excuse me while I head off to buy some corn….
Fab recipe, Heidi!


What would be the best substitute for the Sunflower Oil? EVOO, Grapeseed or Canola?

Kathy Ziegenmier

    EVOO is fine – maybe one that isn’t too strong.

    Heidi Swanson

Simple but soooooo amazing. Thank you.


this recipe is wonderful i love seeds and the fresh corn is one of my children’s favorites ingredients!!!!

kosenrufu mama

I have a corn salad that I love during the summer as well. I served it with dinner tonight, pushed dinner aside, and mostly ate salad. Your photos are gorgeous, as always.

Paula at Dishing The Divine

With corn just about to come into season around here, this sounds so simple and delicious. Definitely saving this recipe to make later.


I’ve never had raw corn! The lemon vinaigrette sounds so delicious, though. I may have to try this or a variation of it.

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

discovering i could eat corn raw was such a life-changing moment for me!!!

lynn @ the actor's diet

I have a huge lotus flower tattoo incorporated in my half sleeve and if i ever add onto the piece, a dahlia flower is going to be strongly considered…love them!
And yes, what a happy place that sounds like in San Fran.
The corn salad…the dressing…good enough to just drink I think 🙂

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

Love the fresh corn recipe…just visiting family in slovakia and its heaps of fresh corn at the markets…next week recipe it is:) Thanks again Heidi…Already made quite a few recipes for my family and friends while im overhere, having troubles to find some ingredients but always figure it out somehow and they love it…all of them know abput your books and blog now:) yay!


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