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. Did I skip this beautiful recipe ladt year? Looks like I did. So thank you for bringing it back, Kevin. This salad is amazing. Grilled corn, hazelnuts, and fresh herbs make the beautiful combo! I would add a little of feta for myself too.

  2. Wow! This salad sounds so amazing! I love all the flavors together, so different and fun! I cant wait to try this! We’ve been eating corn like crazy lately as well and I think this recipe is going to have to make it’s way into the rotation!

  3. I love fresh corn in a salad, and do that often. However, I’ve never made a salad whose main ingredient was corn! Thank you for this recipe! I’m really eager to try it.

    1. Thanks Jeff, hope you give it a try! Your “Tonga” comment Saturday evening made me smile. That was quite the entrance, right?

  4. Seeing all of this corn give me so much pleasure. Isn’t corn the best!? I could sit and eat an entire platter of this salad and nothing else. Love it!

  5. 5 stars
    I’m pretty jealous of you being able to grow citrus trees in your own yard. I grew up with that and totally took it for granted.

    You know that I’m a lover of grilled corn. Add hazelnuts, zingy citrus and pecorino and I’m drooling.

    Happy weekend, Friend. 🙂

    1. Thanks Marissa! It looked like your mountain hiking, snow filled, Bend weekend was a cool one! Sadly, I read you comment and guess I take it for granted also. Better count my blessings. 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    For-real-sees, I have been eating corn daily for the past few months… I just CAN’T get enough! And to be honest, I don’t wanna! GIMME ALL DAT CORN! 😉 Naturally I am drooling all over your site with this one, Kevin!! The flavors you used here are INCREDIBLE!! I NEED this in my life. PRONTO! Pinned! I’m totally doing this over the weekend!! Yay! Cheers, buddy!

    1. Me too, I’ll be eating it until there is no more fresh (and by that I mean good) corn on the cob. Like I mentioned to another reader, Kathleen, I swear I must be going mad because I thought I had responded to these comments here already and as I scrolled realized that is not the case!
      There’s lots of flavors and textures in this one! Thanks for stopping by Chey!

  7. I love the smell of gardenias too! Those are going to be so wonderful walking in and out of your house with them blooming. So grilled corn…. LOVE it! I think that’s got to be one of the greatest single foods for summer! Made into this gorgeous salad, and this is one helluva dish!

    1. THE best, right? I swear I must be going mad because I thought I had responded to the comments already and as I scrolled realized that is not the case! Thanks for stopping by Kathleen. I just love corn with a little char from the grill, so good and tossed in a salad is a fav of mine.

  8. Hey Kevin! Like you guys, we have been chowing down on fresh corn too! And cooking it on the grill is the way to go. I like the addition of the toasted hazelnuts! Our figs aren’t ripe yet, but when they do ripen we’re going to have a lot of figs!

    1. Hi Dorothy! I don’t know what’s up with my figs, possibly the drought, I do water the tree often, but they are smaller this year and taking awhile to ripen. Discouraged! Anyways, I’m in love with this corn salad and hope you give it a go!

  9. Wow! A citrus tree AND you have fresh figs! Oh, man, that sounds freakin’ awesome! I rarely see fresh figs around here and we I do they are not their optimal freshness. I guess because of the long trip to get here. But, I do love them and they are such a treat to get.
    Ok, ok, this salad, Kevin! Corn, hazelnuts, tarragon, orange…….just WOW! I can taste this salad now. Every single ingredient must pack so much flavour and I bet the texture is just wonderful with the corn and hazelnuts. Big plateful for me 🙂 Pinned, of course! Cheers!

    1. You’ve guys have got the rockin’ garden too! I just wish our lemon tree was as prolific as the Mexican lime, I have to give bags of them away. Those trees keep giving. The orange and tarragon here are poppin’ in the flavor department and then the mint cools and the crunchy corn and hazelnuts. Man I could go on, but I think I will just go have a small bowl from the leftovers… 😉 Thanks Dawn!