Jalapeño Popper Corn Salad is a delightful twist on traditional corn salad that offers a perfect balance of creaminess, crunchiness, and spiciness.
This vibrant dish is packed with flavors from fresh corn, jalapeños, cheese, and bacon. Inspired by the beloved jalapeño popper appetizer, this corn salad brings a touch of heat that’s beautifully offset by its rich, creamy dressing. It’s an ideal side for summer BBQs or any gathering, sure to impress with its bold, enticing flavors.
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Spicy Creamy Corn Salad
Creamy Jalapeño Popper Corn Salad is a stunning medley of textures and flavors, providing a unique and delightful side dish that’s sure to impress at any gathering. Combining the freshness of corn with the spicy kick of jalapeños, this salad borrows inspiration from the beloved jalapeño popper appetizer to create a dish that’s both flavorful and visually appealing.
The heart of this salad is, of course, the corn. Fresh, sweet corn kernels serve as the perfect canvas for the other flavors to shine. Each bite brings a burst of sweetness that’s nicely offset by the spiciness of the jalapeños. If fresh corn isn’t available, canned or frozen can work too, making this dish versatile for all seasons.
But what truly sets this salad apart is its incorporation of jalapeño popper elements. Fresh jalapeños add a heat that’s beautifully balanced by a rich, creamy dressing reminiscent of the cream cheese filling found in jalapeño poppers. The dressing, often a mix of mayonnaise, cream cheese, and sour cream, gives this salad a luxurious mouthfeel that elevates it beyond your standard corn salad.
To round out the flavors, cheese and bacon are often included. Shredded cheddar or a mix of your favorite cheeses adds a wonderful gooeyness, while crumbled bacon lends a smoky crunch, enhancing the overall complexity of this delightful dish.
Lastly, a touch of fresh herbs like cilantro or chives brings a pop of color and a burst of freshness that ties all the flavors together. You can garnish with additional jalapeños or even some crispy fried onions for extra crunch and spice.
Whether served at a summer BBQ, a potluck, or as a unique weeknight side, Creamy Jalapeño Popper Corn Salad is sure to captivate with its bold, enticing flavors. It’s a testament to the magic that can happen when you blend familiar flavors in innovative ways.
How to Make Jalapeño Popper Corn Salad
To make this creamy spicy corn salad, you will need the following ingredients:
For the Dressing:
- 8 oz cream cheese: Cream cheese brings a creamy texture and a slight tang to the dressing. It’s a key ingredient in creating the rich, full-bodied base for the salad.
- ½ cup milk: Milk is used to thin the cream cheese, making it easier to mix with the salad ingredients. It also adds a bit of creaminess.
- 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp smoked paprika: These spices provide a depth of flavor to the dressing. They lend warm, smoky, and slightly spicy notes that pair well with the ingredients in the salad.
- ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper: Salt enhances the flavors in the dressing and balances the creaminess of the cheese and milk. Black pepper adds a subtle heat.
For the Salad:
- 2 jalapenos, chopped: Jalapenos add a fresh and spicy kick to the salad, echoing the flavors of a traditional jalapeno popper.
- 6 ears of corn: Fresh corn kernels add sweetness and a juicy, crunchy texture to the salad. They are the primary ingredient and provide a contrast to the creamy dressing.
- 1 red onion, chopped: Red onion provides a crunch, as well as a slightly sharp flavor that balances out the sweetness of the corn and the creaminess of the dressing.
- 2 tbsp olive oil, pinch salt and pepper: Olive oil helps to roast the corn, enhancing its natural sweetness. The salt and pepper season the corn and bring out its flavor.
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese: Sharp cheddar brings a robust, tangy flavor and a gooey texture that complements the creamy dressing.
- ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled: Feta adds a salty tang and crumbly texture that contrasts nicely with the other ingredients.
- ¼ cup green onions: Green onions add a fresh, slightly sharp flavor and a burst of color.
- 1 lime, juice and zest: Lime juice adds a touch of acidity to balance the creaminess of the dressing and the sweetness of the corn. The zest provides an extra pop of fresh, citrus flavor.
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following process:
- Make dressing. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. Set aside.
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Roast peppers and vegetables. Place the jalapenos, ears of corn, onion on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast 15 – 20 minutes.
- Mix. When the corn is cooked, cut it off the cob and combine with the other roast vegetables in a large bowl. Add the cheeses, green onions, and juice and zest of one lime. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
- Enjoy! Enjoy warm or chilled.
Tips and Tricks for Perfect Jalapeño Corn Salad
Fresh Corn: If possible, use fresh corn as it lends a sweetness and juiciness that frozen or canned corn can’t match. However, if fresh corn isn’t available, frozen or canned can still make a tasty salad.
Roasting: Roasting the corn, either on the grill or in a pan, can enhance its natural sweetness and add a slightly smoky flavor. This can complement the smoky flavor of the smoked paprika in the dressing.
Spice Level: Adjust the amount of jalapeño according to your taste. You can also control the spiciness by removing the seeds and membranes, which is where most of the heat lies.
Cheeses: Feel free to experiment with the types of cheese you use. Each cheese brings its own flavor and texture. Just be sure to include at least one type that melts well (like the cheddar in this recipe).
Dressing: Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature before you start making the dressing. This will make it easier to mix with the other ingredients.
Mixing: When you mix the salad, do it gently to avoid crushing the corn kernels. Also, consider reserving some of the dressing to add just before serving in case the salad dries out in the fridge.
Chill: Allowing the salad to chill for a few hours before serving can help the flavors meld together. But keep in mind that the longer it sits, the more the corn will release its juices and the salad can become watery.
Fresh Lime: Fresh lime juice can brighten up the whole salad. Consider adding a squeeze just before serving.
Presentation: Consider garnishing with additional sliced jalapeños, a sprinkle of paprika, or even some fresh herbs for a pop of color.
Leftovers: If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. The salad should be eaten within a couple of days as it can become soggy over time.
Yes, you can use canned or frozen corn if fresh is not available. However, fresh corn typically has the best flavor and texture. If using frozen, let it thaw first. If using canned, make sure to drain it well.
The spiciness of the salad largely depends on the amount of jalapeño used. For a milder salad, remove the seeds and veins from the jalapeños. If you love spicy food, leave them in.
Yes, the salad can be made in advance and it benefits from some time in the fridge for the flavors to meld together. However, it’s best served the same day as it’s made since the corn can get soggy over time.
This salad pairs well with a variety of dishes, especially grilled or barbecued meats. It can also be a colorful and flavorful side dish at a picnic or potluck.
Yes, feel free to substitute the cheeses based on your preference or what you have on hand. Just try to include at least one cheese that has a strong, sharp flavor to balance the sweetness of the corn and the heat of the jalapeños.
The dressing can be customized based on your tastes. If you’re not a fan of cumin, you could try substituting it with another spice like coriander or simply omit it.
The salad should last 2-3 days in the fridge stored in an airtight container. It’s best to enjoy it within this time frame for the best taste and texture.
It’s generally not recommended to freeze this salad, as the texture of the corn and the creaminess of the dressing can be negatively affected by freezing and thawing.
What to Serve With Jalapeño Corn Salad
Perfect Grilled Chicken: A simple and versatile grilled chicken recipe. It pairs beautifully with the spiciness of the Jalapeño Corn Salad. The chicken’s charred and smoky flavor is a great contrast to the creaminess and heat of the salad.
Lemon Garlic Parmesan Baked Chicken Wings: These wings, packed with flavor from the lemon, garlic, and parmesan, would make a delicious companion to the Jalapeño Corn Salad. The tanginess of the wings would balance nicely with the sweetness of the corn and the spice of the jalapeños.
Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs: Slow-cooked to perfection, these ribs are tender and flavorful with a delicious BBQ sauce. They would provide a hearty, meaty complement to the lighter, spicier Jalapeño Corn Salad.
One Pot Hamburger Cabbage Soup: This rich and hearty soup, packed with veggies and protein, would work well with the Jalapeño Corn Salad as a side dish, providing a comforting meal with a balance of flavors and textures.
Easy Baked Pork Chops Recipe: These easy and delicious pork chops would complement the spicy, creamy corn salad nicely. The savory pork chops would balance the heat and creaminess of the salad.
If you’re going for more of a Tex-mex style dinner, you can check out more of our Tacos, Burritos, and salsa recipes below:
Jalapeno Popper Corn Salad Recipe
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Creamy spicy corn salad with all the cheesy jalapeño popper flavor you love!
- For the Dressing:
- 8 oz cream cheese
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- For the Salad:
- 2 jalapenos, chopped
- 6 ears of corn
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Pinch salt and pepper
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup green onions
- 1 lime, juice and zest
- Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the jalapenos, ears of corn, onion on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Roast 15 - 20 minutes.
- When the corn is cooked, cut it off the cob and combine with the other roast vegetables in a large bowl.
- Add the cheeses, green onions, and juice and zest of one lime. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
- Enjoy warm or chilled.
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Amount Per Serving Calories 448Total Fat 34gSaturated Fat 17gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 83mgSodium 652mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 3gSugar 8gProtein 16g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.