This roasted chili-corn salsa is a copycat version of the corn salsa served at Chipotle Mexican Grill! Sweet corn, charred poblano peppers, cilantro, red onion, and a healthy squeeze of lime juice are key flavors in preparing this new family favorite. It’s the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and tangy and ready in 25 minutes!
I love all the salsas (have you tried my 5 Minute Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa (Chipotle Copycat)?) at Chipotle, but the corn salsa is my favorite!
I don’t often find corn salsa on the menu at other restaurants, but this salsa is great because it is not nearly as salty as the other options and it’s naturally vegan and gluten free.
Many store-bought and restaurant quality salsas are loaded with sodium – not this one. And a big perk of making it at home yourself is you could make it completely salt free.
Why This Recipe Works
- Using frozen corn cuts down on the prep time considerably! Just run the corn under room temperature water until thawed and it’s ready to use.
- You control the sodium level AND the spice. Make this salsa sodium free, if desired and if you’re not a fan of spicy foods, leave the jalapeno peppers out. I’ve made the salsa both ways and the poblano peppers alone provide enough mild pepper flavor.
- Skip the roasting and buy pre-roasted, jarred poblano peppers. I’ll show you in this post how to easily roast poblano peppers at home, but if you don’t have an oven or the time, jarred poblanos are just as flavorful and perfectly okay to use.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- frozen white sweet corn – Chipotle uses frozen white sweet corn in their salsa instead of yellow corn, however there is no real difference in taste between the two. I used white sweet corn to try and get the most accurate visual representation, however you can use yellow corn if that’s what you can find!
- poblano peppers – These Mexican chili peppers are mild (just a bit spicier than a bell pepper!), quite large and roasted, then peeled for optimum flavor. If desired, you can substitute the poblano peppers with charred green bell peppers or Anaheim peppers.
- jalapeño peppers – The official Chipotle website indicates that they use jalapeño in their corn salsa, however their version is not spicy at all. For this reason, I included a very small amount of jalapeño in the salsa. If you don’t like spice, omit altogether.
- cilantro – Add tons of fresh flavor to the salsa! I recommend chopping up both the leaves and the stems as all of the flavor is in the stems. If you don’t like cilantro, simply omit.
- red onion – Adds a slightly sharp bite to the salsa. So good – raw onion in salads is one of my absolute favorites! Check out my Summer Strawberry Salad if you agree!
- lime and lemon juice – The perfect finishing touch on the salsa that keeps the flavors bright, fresh and zesty. Highly recommend using freshly squeezed lime and lemon juice. Pre-bottled juices will not give your salsa that same fresh, restaurant-quality flavor!
Step by Step Instructions
As indicated before, I roasted my own poblano peppers in creating this recipe, however if you are short on time, don’t have an oven or gas range and want something quick and easy, use canned whole poblano peppers.
I often see these at my local Mexican grocer or you may find them in the International aisle of a larger grocery store chains.
How to Roast Poblano Peppers at Home
There are 3 main ways to do this at home:
- Directly on an open flame gas range.
- Under the broiler.
- On the grill.
The absolute fastest way to do this is directly on the stove over an open flame, but this is also the most dangerous and an easy way to burn yourself as peppers are known to pop and smoke as the skin starts to blister.
If you’re comfortable, feel free to do it this way. Here is a visual guide to roasting peppers on the stovetop to help you.
In this post, I am going to show you how to char the poblanos under the broiler. It can get just as nice of a char on the peppers.
- Place the peppers on a baking sheet directly under the broiler. You want to move the oven rack to the highest level so the peppers can be as close to the broiler as possible.
- Allow the peppers to roast and blister under the broiler for 3-7 minutes or until the skin has sufficiently charred and blistered.
- Carefully remove the peppers, flip them, and repeat process until the full pepper is charred. The amount of time it takes will vary greatly depending on the type of oven you own.
- Turn off the broiler and immediately transfer the peppers from the baking sheet to a large bowl and cover with either a tightly fitting lid or saran wrap. This will trap the heat in the bowl and steam the peppers, making it easier to separate the skins from the flesh.
- After 10-15 minutes, peel as much of the skin off the peppers as possible. If some is still stuck to the pepper, it’s okay – just remove as much as possible as this will improve the texture of the pepper in the salsa.
- Once the skin is removed, slice the peppers in half, remove the seeds and dice the peppers.
Preparing the Salsa
Once your peppers are roasted and diced, preparing the rest of the salsa is an absolute breeze.
- Thaw the corn. I’ve seen several different ways to do this, but I always just rinse the frozen corn directly under cool-room temperature water in the sink until the corn has reached room temperature itself. This is by far the easiest method and perfectly safe.
- Add the thawed and drained corn to a large bowl, along with the diced poblano peppers, jalapeño, cilantro, red onion, lemon and lime juice, and kosher salt and toss to combine.
Frequently Asked Questions
This salsa is meant to be served cold!
No, this is not their official recipe, it is simply inspired by it! I did see, however, after creating this recipe that Chipotle shared their official corn salsa recipe on their Tiktok account last year. In comparing the recipes, my version is quite close!
No, the chili corn salsa at Chipotle is one of their mildest salsas. You can make it even more mild at home by omitting the diced jalapeño.
Yes, if you are using regular table salt, I recommend decreasing the amount of salt by half. So start with ½-1 teaspoons of salt.
Tips for Making the Best At Home Salsa
- When preparing peppers at home, wear gloves! The capsaicin from the peppers, particularly the jalapeños can transfer to your skin when touching it and cause a burning sensation. To be safe, wear kitchen safe gloves!
- Be sure to use fresh lemon and lime juice. There is no comparable substitute!
- Finely dice the ingredients! Large chunks will throw off the balance of flavors.
What to Serve This Salsa With?
More Chipotle Inspired Recipes
- Copycat Chipotle Black Beans
- Fajita Veggies (Chipotle Copycat!)
- 5 Minute Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa (Chipotle Copycat)
- Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice in Rice Cooker (or Instant Pot!)
Other Main Dishes to Try
Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa (Chipotle Copycat!)
- 1 (16 ounce bag) white sweet corn - frozen
- 2 poblano peppers
- ½ jalapeño - finely diced
- ¾ cup cilantro - finely diced
- ½ red onion - finely diced
- 1-2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt
- 1 lime - juiced
- ½ lemon - juiced
Preparing the Poblano Peppers
- Put the poblano peppers on a baking sheet and stick directly under the broiler for 3-7 minutes, or until blistered and charred. Turn the peppers, and repeat process until underside has also blistered and charred.
- Remove the peppers from the broiler and immediately transfer to a glass bowl. Cover with either a tight fitting lid or saran wrap and allow peppers to steam for 10-15 minutes. This will allow the skin to separate more easily from the flesh of the peppers.
- Peel the skin off of the peppers. It is okay is some is left, but peel most of the skin off of peppers for optimal taste and texture.
- Slice peppers in half, remove the seeds, then finely dice peppers and set aside.
Preparing the Salsa
- Thaw the corn by rinsing it in a fine mesh sieve under cool, room temperature water.
- Transfer the rinsed and drained corn to a large bowl.
- Add in the cilantro, red onion, jalapeño, poblano peppers, lemon juice, lime juice, and kosher salt.
- Toss to combine and serve immediately or store in the fridge to chill until ready to serve.
- Disclaimer: This recipe is only inspired by Chipotle Mexican Grill’s salsa and is not the authentic restaurant version.
- Yellow corn works just as well as white corn, the only difference is the color.
- This salsa is very mild as is, but if you want an even milder salsa, omit the jalapeño.
- When handling peppers, use gloves!
- If you want to make this salsa even easier to prepare, buy pre-canned whole poblano peppers.
- You can char the peppers directly on an open flame on the stove or on the grill, too.
General note about salt
Please pay attention to the type of salt called for in the recipe (if applicable). Not all salts are made equal and cannot be substituted 1 for 1. If you are substituting table salt for kosher salt, you will need to cut the amount called for in the recipe by at least half.
Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.