Grilled Corn Salad with Hazelnuts

5 from 4 votes

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My recipe for grilled corn salad is a dynamically delicious blend of charred corn, toasted hazelnuts, and a sensational citrus dressing. It only requires a handful of simple ingredients and can be ready to enjoy in just 20 minutes.

grilled corn salad with hazelnuts with fresh herbs in a white bowl with a large spoon

I’m dropping a flavor bomb on you today with this corn salad recipe. Corn is in season from May to September in the United States, making it an incredibly bountiful crop. Whether you are harvesting your own bounty or simply cooking with the seasons, you might be wondering how to jazz up your corn game. I’ve got you!

close up: grilled corn salad with hazelnuts with fresh herbs in a white bowl

Grilled corn salad is a fun, fresh way to enjoy your corn. It offers a unique combination of textures and flavors that scream with the spirit of summer. It’s perfect for barbecues, potlucks, or any day of the week. 

For more creative corn recipes, check out my Roasted Sweet Potato and Corn Salad, Tex Mex Hot Corn Dip, or this Mexican Corn Chowder.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Hazelnuts Add a rich, earthy, slightly sweet flavor and a satisfying crunch, especially once toasted. Pecans or walnuts are great substitutes.  
  • Corn – Grilling enhances the naturally sweet, buttery flavor of corn while adding a smoky element. I prefer sweet white corn but any sweet corn on the cob will work. 
  • Garlic – Infuses the dressing with a pungent, zingy flavor. 
  • Orange Juice Makes the whole dish pop with a bright citrus flavor. For an even bolder citrus burst, you can use ¼ cup of orange juice concentrate instead. 
  • Vinegar – I like rice vinegar for its mild, sweet flavor. Acceptable substitutes include apple cider, champagne, or white wine vinegar. 
  • Lemon Zest – Brightens the corn salad with an intense dash of lively lemon flavor. 
  • Mint – Brings cooling, sweet notes that play beautifully with the citrus. 
  • Tarragon – This delicately spicy herb adds just a whisper of licorice flavor. If needed, use finely chopped basil in its place. 
  • Red Pepper Regular flakes are fine or you can sub in Aleppo peppers. I like to grind it finely in a spice grinder and sprinkle it on afterward. 
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese This hard Italian cheese is tangy, salty, and sharp. You can also opt for parmesan, feta, or any cheese of your choice.
overhead: grilled corn in a bowl

Tip From Kevin

Don’t Skip the Toasting Step!

Toasting the hazelnuts works wonders to bring out their rich, nutty flavor. Use a sauté pan, and rub the skins off the best that you can. The toasted nuts add so much to this dish, so try not to skip it.

a plate of grilled corn salad with hazelnuts and fresh herbs

How to Make Grilled Corn Salad with Hazelnuts

  1. Toast the Hazelnuts. Place a small saute pan over medium heat. Toast the hazelnuts for about 8 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to make sure they don’t burn. Allow the nuts to cool, then transfer to a paper towel. Gently roll to remove any skins. 
  2. Char the Corn. Brush the corn with a tablespoon of oil and cook for about 12 minutes on the grill, rotating to char all sides. Set aside to cool. Alternatively, you can remove the kernels and cook them for about 4 minutes in a skillet over medium heat. 
  3. Make the Vinaigrette. Combine the garlic, orange juice, vinegar, lemon zest, and one tablespoon of oil in a small bowl. Whisk to combine, season with salt, and set aside. 
  4. Combine & Toss. Remove the kernels from the ears of corn and toss together with the vinaigrette. Add in the hazelnuts, mint, tarragon, and pepper. Toss again to combine and top with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
grilled corn salad with hazelnuts in a white bowl

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you throw corn straight on the grill?

For this corn salad recipe, we put an ear of corn, with the husk removed, directly on the grill. This is the most surefire way to get the smoky, charred results we are aiming for. There is no steaming, boiling, or soaking required. 

In general, the choice to steam, boil, or soak your shucked corn before putting it on the grill is up to you. It can make your grilled corn come out a bit plumper and juicier while cutting back on the required grilling time. 

However, if you are planning on grilling your corn still in the husk, go ahead and give it a nice soak prior to grilling. This will help keep it steam quickly and efficiently while reducing the risk it might burn. After soaking, you can toss the whole ear directly on the grill.

What does corn salad taste like?

Flavors will vary based on the other ingredients used, but there will always be some level of sweetness from the star of the dish. This particular corn salad recipe features the smoky-sweet flavor of charred corn and the nutty crunch of toasted hazelnuts tossed in a voraciously vibrant citrus-herb vinaigrette. It’s a fresh, earthy salad that is sweet, nutty, tangy, and bright.

What to serve with grilled corn salad?

Grilled corn salad with hazelnuts makes an excellent vegetarian snack, side dish, or entree. This fresh, smoky salad is perfect for all your summertime barbecues and potlucks. Here are just a few of my favorite dishes to serve alongside it:

BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Jerk Pork Jamaican Ribs, or Beef Short Ribs 
Citrus Honey Grilled Chicken or  Harissa Grilled Chicken
Honey Mustard Wild Sockeye Salmon, Grilled Sea Bass, or Grilled Ahi Tuna Steak
Smashed Red Potatoes or Pesto Potato Salad
Creamy Brussel Sprouts Gratin or Roasted Fall Vegetables
Spicy Cilantro Lime Slaw

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A plate of food with corn Hazelnut and Salad

Grilled Corn Salad with Hazelnuts

5 from 4 votes
Grilled corn salad with hazelnuts is a breeze to make and is bursting with flavor, featuring a smoky-sweet, tangy, and nutty crunch!
Servings: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 22 minutes


  • 1 cup hazelnuts toasted
  • 4 ears of corn husked
  • 1 garlic clove smashed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (See Note 1)
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil separated
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (See Note 2)
  • 2 oz Pecorino Romano grated


  • Toast hazelnuts in a small saute pan over medium heat. Shaking pan occasionally so they don’t burn, 8 minutes. Let cool. Roll in a paper towel to remove any skins.
  • Brush corn with 1 tablespoon of oil and grill, turning to char on all sides, about 12 minutes total time. Allow to cool. (see Note 3)
  • In a small bowl whisk together the garlic, orange juice, vinegar, one tablespoon oil and lemon zest to combine. Season with salt and set aside.
  • Cut the kernels from each cob and add to vinaigrette. Add hazelnuts, mint, tarragon, and pepper and toss to combine. Grate fresh Pecorino Romano cheese on top, serve.



  1. I have even used 1/4 cup orange concentrate for an even more intense orange flavor. Love it.
  2. Aleppo pepper can be substituted here. I ground them into a powder in my spice grinder (or coffee grinder, mortar and pestle) and sprinkle on after. This is optional.
  3. Alternatively, you could cut kernels from cobs and cook in a dry, large skillet over medium heat. Shake pan occasionally, until charred in spots, about 4 minutes.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 36.6g | Protein: 12.2g | Fat: 23.5g | Saturated Fat: 3.9g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 14.7mg | Sodium: 285.5mg | Fiber: 6.1g | Sugar: 7g

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American, Western
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
grilled corn and nut salad in white bowl


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 5 stars
    Would we be able to use this recipe and share it out on our social and website? Sounds delicious! We will be sure to tag and give you credit for this recipe 🙂

  2. Hi Kevin,
    My tablet just blacked out so forgive me if you already received this message.
    I am in the middle of making this salad and was about to pick some mint from
    my garden and was wondering whether to use spearmint or peppermint?
    Thanks and best wishes,

    1. Hello Carol! Sorry to read that about your tablet. As for the mint, I pick up the herb that the market labels “mint” so if I was to choose between your two, I would go with the spearmint. I used to grow it myself, but made the mistake of not having it in a container and it took over! Enjoy the salad, it’s a keeper and thanks for trying it. Let me know your thoughts. 🙂

      1. Hi Kevin,
        I served this salad for my daughters birthday
        party and we all loved it. I did use the spearmint and it was delicious. I loved all the different flavors and textures going on. I also used the frozen O.J. concentrate. Mmmm.
        The Masterbuilt Smoker arrived and I bought a stand with wheels and just waiting for hubby to put it together. I am excited to use it. Have a wonderul weekend and
        Best wishes,

      2. So glad you enjoyed the salad Carol and especially happy to hear the smoker you won made it! Happy smoking!
        I have lots of smoking recipes here on the site. Give them a try and let me know what you think. Cheers!