Grilled Corn Salad (No Mayonnaise)

grilled corn salad bbq side dish no mayonnaise

Seeing as it is summer, I’ve been starting to post more outdoor grilling / BBQ recipes. And when you’re having a BBQ it isn’t just about the meat – you’ve got to think of the sides. This grilled corn salad is one of my favorite sides to make, and it doesn’t even use mayonnaise! Now, I’m not a mayo hater by any means, and I even make fresh mayonnaise often, but for this grilled corn salad I think my recipe is even better than ones that use mayo!

Another great thing about making grilled corn salad is that you can get creative with it. I find the perfect time to make this recipe is when you have a bunch of crisp veggies you want to use up before they spoil. For example this recipe calls for red onion, sweet peppers, cucumber, and tomato. But you can easily change it up and use carrots or sprouts, or radish, or anything else you think will taste good!

Making A Delicious Grilled Corn Salad

grilled corn salad ingredients

Like I mentioned, you can easily swap or leave out ingredients, so use my recipe as a baseline. There are no hard and fast rules when making a tasty grilled corn salad so just have fun and be creative.

All that said, here is what I like to put in my grilled corn salad (without mayonnaise of course):

  • Corn – of course! I use four regular cobs of sweet corn which I cook on my outdoor grill for delicious smoky-char flavor.
  • Dijon Mustard – I find Dijon is a better mustard to use for this salad compared to regular yellow, but if you like things a bit stronger you can go with a hot brown as well.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – cut into quarters
  • Sweet Peppers – these are about the size and shape of a jalapeno, but without the spice. Of course if you like things hot, you can add some jalapeno instead.
  • Red Onion – I just use half a diced red onion in this recipe.
  • Green Onion – for the green onion just take a few sprigs and chop them up. It ends up being about 3 tbsp of chopped green onions, but add more or less to your preference.
  • Cucumber – I use 1 large cucumber quartered and chopped into small pieces.

Grilled Corn Salad ‘Sauce’

  • Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded Cheese Blend – I used a ‘Mexican’ blend which is just Cheddar and Jack. Mexican in quotations for obvious reasons.
  • Salt, Pepper, and Other Spices can be added to taste. I like a little salt, white and black pepper, and garlic powder but you can use whatever you like – just add a little at a time and taste after mixing so you don’t over season.

Grilling Corn

I always grill corn without the husk. I know, some people say you have to leave the husk on to steam the kernels. But as these kernels are getting sliced off and going into salad where they will be covered with sauce and mixed, it’s best to grill them sans husk for that delicious smoky-charred flavor.

If you don’t know how to grill corn, no worries! It’s super easy. I’ve written a guide to making your basic grilled corn but if you don’t want to read it here’s the simple version. Just strip the corn, rub some high smoke-point oil all over it, and throw it directly on the grate with med-high heat. Turn every 3-5 minutes, or when the kernels start to blacken. Then remove. The entire thing should take just around 15 minutes!

adding dairy and spices to the grilled corn salad

When the corn is grilling you can add the cheeses and sour cream. I add them right before I put the corn in so the hot corn helps melt everything and makes a delicious creamy sauce to toss everything in. At this stage I also squeeze in about half a lemon for some brightness and to add a little more liquid.

Take the corn off the grill and slice off the kernels. Add them all to the bowl with everything else and give plenty of good stirs to incorporate the corn. Serve directly in the mixing bowl, or move to a prettier bowl for presentation.

grilled corn salad bbq side dish

There you have it, a delicious grilled corn salad. Looking for more summer salad recipes? Why not try my watermelon mint salad for a fresh and tasty no cook dish.

grilled corn salad bbq side dish

Grilled Corn Salad

This delicious grilled corn salad is the perfect BBQ side dish. It also doesn't contain mayonnaise – which is a unusual, but welcome factor for those who aren't a fan of mayo.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Post-cooking time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people
Calories 72 kcal


  • Grill
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Knife


  • 4 cobs Sweet Corn
  • 1 tbsp Oil high smoke-point, just for grilling the corn
  • 200 grams Cherry Tomatoes about 1.5 cups, quartered
  • 1 large Cucumber diced
  • 6 Sweet Peppers chopped or sliced (these are about the same size as a jalapeno, without the spice)
  • 1/2 Red Onion diced
  • 3 sprigs Green Onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tbsp Sour Cream
  • 1 tbsp Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 45 grams Mexican Shredded Cheese about 1/4 cup of pre-shredded cheese. Can sub with freshly shredded cheddar and/or jack cheese.
  • 1/2 Lemon freshly squeezed, optional
  • 1 tsp Salt or to taste
  • Black Pepper freshly cracked, to taste
  • Red Chili Flakes optional, to taste


  • In a bowl add all the ingredients except the dairy, spices, corn, and oil. Place in fridge while you cook the corn.
  • Husk the corn and remove any threads in between the kernels. Rub oil onto the corn surface, then place directly onto a hot grill at med-high heat. Turn corn every 3-5 minutes, or when kernels begin to blacken.
  • Take bowl from fridge and add the lemon juice, cheeses and sour cream. Slice off the corn kernels and add directly into the bowl, and mix everything up.
  • Add the seasonings, and taste after salt so you know if you should add more. Remember, you can always add more salt, you can't take added salt away.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Keyword BBQ sides, Cheese, Corn, Dairy, Potluck Recipes, Sweet Corn
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