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Dairy Free Mexican Street Corn Salad (Elote Salad)

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Bring this dairy free street corn salad to your next BBQ! This salad is our take on the popular Mexican street corn salad (elote salad), and our version is dairy free, vegan, and naturally gluten free.

close up photo of dairy free elote salad in a white bowl garnished with cilantro.

One of my favorite things about summer time and warmer weather is the salads. It gets pretty cold here in the winter, so we don’t eat a lot of salads during the cold months, so it’s a welcome change of pace to eating more salads during the spring and summer months.

I decided to create an allergy friendly version of the popular elote salad, or Mexican street corn salad. This is a recipe I’ve been wanting to make dairy free for a while but finally got around to making it this year once I figured out a good dairy free substitute for cotija cheese.

We added some smokey elements to this recipe as well, like smoked salt, smoked pepper, and chipotle chili powder, so this has a hint of smoke flavors that are so good with the other ingredients.

Why you’ll love this recipe

While this grilled corn salad isn’t a fast recipe, it’s delicious and worth the effort to grill the corn. It’s pretty easy to make bigger batches of this dish for larger gatherings, too.

This salad is perfect for bringing to your next BBQ: you can customize it to fit different tastes (like leaving out the cilantro) and even people who don’t have dairy allergies will enjoy this recipe!

How to make dairy free street corn salad (aka elote salad)

Here are the steps to make our version of Mexican street corn salad, this is just an overview of the steps, the full recipe card is at the end of the post.

  • First we’re going to prepare the corn by grilling it. Remove the husk and silk, wash the corn cob.
  • Spread about 1 teaspoon of dairy free butter on the corn cob, sprinkle on some smoked salt, and smoked black pepper, and wrap in foil.
  • Grill for about 25 minutes at about 500 degrees F, rotating the corn every 5 minutes for even cooking.
  • Once the corn is cooked, you can place the corn briefly on the grill directly to add grill marks if you like (we didn’t do this step and still got some nice browned parts on our corn).
  • Unwrap the corn and allow it to cool.
  • Cut the corn kernels off the cob and place in a large bowl for mixing the salad.
  • Add the other ingredients to the bowl and mix together.
  • You can serve this warm/room temperature, or chill in the fridge to develop the flavors.
  • Top with chopped cilantro (optional), additional dairy free feta crumbles, green onions, and a sprinkle of chipotle chili powder.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. This salad has the best taste and texture when it’s served within 24 hours of making.
overhead photo of a white bowl filled with dairy free street corn salad garnished with cilantro.

I love using smokey flavors in this recipe with the smoked salt, smoked pepper, and chipotle chili powder, but you can use regular salt and pepper if you don’t have the smoked versions, and regular chili powder instead of chipotle powder if you prefer.

Can I use canned corn in this recipe?

If you’d like to use canned corn in this recipe instead of grilling your own corn on the cob, you can use any canned corn that you like and toast it in a skillet yourself, or you can buy cans of fire-roasted canned corn such as Del Monte.

If you don’t have a grill but you do have corn on the cob, you can use the same method for cooking the corn on the cob in the oven instead of a grill. Make sure to wrap and bake with a cookie sheet under the corn cobs to prevent any leaks in your oven.

If you’re doing the oven method, it will take longer if roasting at about 400 to 450 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes, making sure to rotate every 5-10 minutes for even cooking.

Dairy free feta options

Dairy free feta cheese makes a pretty good substitute for the traditional cotija cheese that is normally used on grilled street corn since there aren’t any dairy free cotija cheese options on the market (yet).

My favorite feta cheese for non-cooked recipes is the Violife feta cheese, it has amazing flavor and is creamy, salty, and crumbles well and would work so well in this recipe!

I couldn’t find any of the Violife feta when I looked so I had to use the Trader Joe’s feta, which isn’t too bad, but it’s just not the same taste as the Violife feta cheese.

white bowl filled with vegan elote street corn salad.

Here are good dairy free feta cheese options for this recipe, including the ones I already listed above:

Variations and additions for this elote salad recipe

Here are a few great ways to change up our street corn salad a little bit!

  • For even more flavor, you can sprinkle some dairy free parmesan on top of this salad before serving. My favorite is the Violife parmesan block that’s grated by hand.
  • The chopped cilantro can be skipped if you’re not a fan, this salad tastes great with and without cilantro! If you’re serving this to a larger group of people, you can serve the chopped cilantro in a dish separately so people can add it if they want it.
  • If you can’t tolerate spice or chilies, you can use smoked paprika powder instead of the chipotle chili powder.
  • For a little more tartness to the salad, you can swap the allergy-friendly mayo for your favorite dairy free sour cream (such as Violife or Elmhurst) or plain dairy free yogurt.

Dairy Free Mexican Street Corn Salad

Make this dairy free street corn salad for your next BBQ! This salad is our take on the popular Mexican street corn salad (elote salad), and our version is dairy free, vegan, and naturally gluten free.
Dairy free, vegan, gluten free
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: dairy free elote salad, dairy free street corn salad
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cooling/chilling time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 174kcal



  • 4 pieces aluminum foil


  • Preheat your grill to 500 degrees.
  • While the grill is heating up, prepare the corn by removing the husk and silk, and washing.
  • Spread a little bit of dairy free butter on the corn (or olive oil), sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and wrap in te aluminum foil.
  • Grill the corn for about 25 minutes, rotating the corn cobs every 5 minutes to cook on every side.
  • If you want char marks, you can unwrap the corn and place the corn directly on the grill briefly to add some char marks if desired (this is optional).
  • Remove the corn from the grill and allow to cool 5-10 minutes then unwrap (the steam from the corn will be quite hot so be careful unwrapping).
  • Allow the corn to cool about 20-30 minutes, then cut the corn kernels off the cob using a knife down the sides of the corn cobs. You'll have about 3 cups of grilled corn kernels.
  • Add the cooled corn kernels to a bowl and add the mayo, dairy free feta, green onions, lime zest, lime juice, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper and combine.
  • Serve at room temperature or chill completely (chilled for 2 hours or more) and serve topped with a sprinkle of chipotle chili powder and additional dairy free feta cheese, green onion, and optional chopped cilantro.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


*We use Just Mayo or Hellman’s vegan mayo.
**Or regular salt. Adjust depending on your taste preference and the saltiness of your dairy free feta cheese. We used 1 teaspoon smoked salt in our salad.


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 489mg | Potassium: 235mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 179IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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photo collage showing 2 different images of vegan street corn salad in a white bowl.

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