Pan-Grilled Corn Salsa | Fast & Easy!

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Skip the grill and oven and make this Pan-Grilled Salsa instead! It’s packed with sweet corn and summer flavor, but only takes 15 minutes to make.

Summer corn season is the best season! I feel like I say this about every seasonal vegetable….but I mean it this time, okay? It also helps that this season overlaps with peach & cherry season….so, yeah, it’s the best.

This Pan-Grilled Corn Salsa is the perfect summer side. It tastes just as good (or better) than grilled or oven-roasted corn salsas, and you can avoid sweating over a grill or blasting your house with heat from the oven.

hand dunking tortilla chip into bowl of pan grilled corn salsa

INGREDIENTS FOR PAN-GRILLED CORN SALSA

raw ingredients for pan grilled corn salsa on tile background

You’ll also only need 7 simple ingredients to make this delightfully addicting recipe! Here’s the rundown:

  • Fresh Corn: a.k.a. the crunchy, sweet, and juicy gold nuggets of summer. I recommend using fresh corn over frozen here for two main reasons. First, it’s usually sweeter. Second, it still retains some of it’s crunch after we quickly cook it – frozen corn will be a little mushy here…
  • Jalapeño: adds a nice smoky kick to our salsa, plus some extra crunch! If you’re not a fan of spicy food, simply remove the seeds from your peppers before dicing. I removed half of my pepper seeds to make a medium salsa.
  • Red Bell Pepper: adds some sweetness and depth of flavor. I suppose you could also swap it out with diced tomatoes, but I personally prefer the flavor and texture of bell pepper here 🙂
  • Red Onion: red onions are the sweetest and mildest onions, which makes them perfect for this salsa! Just make sure to finely dice them, because a huge chunk of onion will always be an undesirable huge chunk of onion.
  • Cilantro: for some color and fresh flavor!
  • Lime Juice: for some brightness and acidity
  • Cumin: adds a nice earthiness to this recipe and helps to boost the savory aspect of the salsa. If you’re not a fan, though, you can leave it out.

HOW TO MAKE PAN-GRILLED SALSA

Remember how I said this salsa only takes 15 minutes to make? Yeah. It’s super simple:

ingredients for pan grilled salsa in large mixing bowl before mixing

  1. Add the corn and red bell pepper to a nonstick pan over medium-high heat with no oil.
  2. Stir occasionally until all of the liquid cooks off – a brown “film” will form at the bottom of the pan.
  3. Deglaze the pan with a splash of water and scrape all that goodness off!
  4. Repeat the cook-down and deglaze method one more time, then remove from the pan.
  5. Toss with the remaining salsa ingredients, then serve!

Okay, technically we are making pan-seared salsa here. I still chose to name this recipe pan “grilled” salsa because this method of cooking the corn tastes almost exactly the same as the grill! The key to a deeper, smoky flavor is to really let those brown bits on the bottom of the pan to build up before deglazing. As long as your pan is nonstick, you won’t have a problem scraping them up. I use the same technique in my Summer Corn Chowder and let me tell ya – that’s out of this world good too!

close up photo of mixed corn salsa to show seared corn kernels, bell pepper, onion, and cilantro

WAYS TO ENJOY CORN SALSA:

This salsa has quickly become one of my go-to summer condiments, because (1) it tastes great, and (2) it’s incredibly versatile! You can:

  • Serve it straight-up with some tortilla chips
  • Spoon it over burrito bowls,
  • Sprinkle it on tacos,
  • Use it as an unconventional burger or hot dog condiment,
  • Toss it with some greens for a quick and easy salad, or
  • Eat it plain with a spoon 🙂

close up photo of bowl of pan grilled corn salsa with spoon in bowl

You can also serve this salsa slightly warm or chilled. The corn will be warm right after you mix everything together, but will obviously cool off with time – especially if you are storing it in the fridge before serving. I honestly enjoy it both ways! And if you have leftovers, don’t worry. This Pan-Grilled Corn Salsa will keep beautifully in the fridge for up to 5 days.

If you’re looking for more easy & summery salsa recipes, you’ll also love this Avocado Salsa and this Fresh Mango Salsa!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂

bowl of pan grilled corn salsa on tile background with limes on the side

Print

Pan-Grilled Corn Salsa

Skip the grill and oven and make this Pan-Grilled Salsa instead! It’s packed with sweet corn and summer flavor, but only takes 15 minutes to make.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: ~3 cups
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 medium-to-large ears of sweet corn, kernels removed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 jalapeños, finely diced (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 1/4 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Instructions

  1. Sear the Corn: Bring a large, nonstick sauté pan to medium-high heat. Once warm, add the corn kernels and bell pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally; a brown/black film will start to form on the bottom of the pan. Deglaze the pan with 3 tablespoons of water, then use a firm spatula to scrape off the brown on the bottom of the pan – it will stick to the corn. Cook off the additional water, then deglaze the pan with an additional 3-4 tablespoons of water & scrape. Turn off the heat once all of the excess water has evaporated, then stir in the ground cumin.
  2. Mix: add the corn and bell pepper mixture to a mixing bowl with the jalapeño, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
  3. Serve warm, or place in the fridge and allow the corn to chill completely before serving. Serve as desired; leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • I do not recommend using frozen corn in this recipe
  • If you want your salsa to be even crunchier, leave the bell pepper raw and add it in with the remaining raw ingredients

Keywords: corn salsa, grilled corn salsa, stovetop corn salsa, seared corn salsa, vegan corn salsa

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. Just made this fast and easy salsa, and it is heavenly.
    Used Serrano peppers instead of Jalapeño (since is what I had at hand).
    Lovely colors and quite refreshing.

  2. Um, yes pleeeeeease! This is something I’ve honestly never tried but just reading about it, I’m sold!