Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa

by | Mar 2, 2016 | All, Appetizers

No need for takeout with this “just like Chipotle” Corn Salsa recipe. Perfect for homemade burrito bowls, a taco bar or plate of nachos & game day dips! 

Bowl of Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa recipe surrounded by chips, cilantro and lime wedges.

We’re not usually big fans of copycat recipes. They often fall short of the hype. But this Chipotle Corn Salsa recipe? You NEED to make it today. This tex-mex food is totally worth your time. 

This salsa includes two kinds of peppers, a roasted poblano and a fresh jalapeño, to give just a bit of kick to every bite – just like the famous restaurant. Add this easy corn salsa recipe to your homemade burrito bowls & soak in the compliments. 

Chipotle Corn Salsa Ingredients

You can get all of the ingredients for this salsa at the grocery store. No tough to find items here! 

  • Sweet corn (fresh or frozen)
  • Poblano pepper
  • Jalapeño pepper 
  • Red onion
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Olive oil
  • Sugar
  • Salt
Large glass bowl filled with Chipotle Corn Salsa

Fresh or frozen corn?

Word on the street is that Chipotle uses frozen sweet corn in their famous salsa, which makes sense given the amount they produce every single day. How would you source that much fresh corn on a regular basis??

For a home cook, there is no specific corn that must be used in this recipe. If fresh sweet corn is in season, I often reach for that. If it’s the dead of winter, frozen sweet corn is my go-to. Both options are delicious in this salsa. 

Note: I prefer to cook my fresh sweet corn for just a few minutes before adding to this recipe. I know some people who don’t do that. It’s really up to you. 

Is a poblano pepper hot? 

Poblanos are rank pretty low on the Scoville scale (the standard for measuring the heat of various chiles), which means they have a little bit of spice but overall are pretty tame. Do you like banana peppers? Poblanos are spicier than banana peppers but far below the heat of a jalapeño.

Tip: Normally poblanos are readily available in grocery stores, but if you can’t find them for some reason, you can substitute an Anaheim pepper in this recipe. Anaheims are spicier than poblanos, so you might want to only add a portion of the roasted Anaheim and taste the salsa before adding more. 

Chipotle Corn Salsa ingredients on a black cutting board

How to roast a poblano pepper

A roasted poblano is key to the flavor of this salsa. But it’s also why a lot of people get intimidated by this recipe. Don’t be. Roasting a poblano is super easy.

Once you learn how to roast one kind of pepper, you can roast them all, including bell peppers and other chile peppers. Roasting peppers brings out their sweetness and adds a delicious smoky, charred flavor.

You can buy jarred roasted bell peppers at the grocery store, but their texture is usually pretty soft. When you roast your own peppers, you have a lot more control over the texture based on how long you roast them.  

There are three different ways to roast peppers: 

  1. Gas Stovetop: Turn one of the burners on your stovetop to high. Place the pepper right on the grate. You want the skin to char. It will likely pop a bit but that’s normal. Use a pair of metal tongs to turn the pepper over the flame until the entire pepper is black. Place the pepper in a zip top bag or in a container with fitted lid for at least 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. 
  2. Grill: The directions for roasting peppers on a grill is very similar to roasting on a stovetop: heat the grill and place the peppers directly on the grates. Turn occasionally until peppers are charred. Place in zip top bag or container with lid.
  3. Oven: Preheat your broiler. Line a sheet pan with foil (for easier clean up). Cut your peppers in half and remove the stem, seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves on the prepared pan skin side up. Flatten each pepper half with your palm so they are flush with the pan (they will crack a little – that’s OK). Place them under the broiler and allow them to blacken. Remove from oven, place in zip top bag or other lidded container for at least 10 minutes. 

Adding the charred peppers to a bag or lidded container keeps the heat trapped and helps lift the blackened skin off the pepper flesh. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove them from their container and gently pull the charred skin off the peppers. Slice or chop as needed. 

Chipotle Corn Salsa ingredients in a glass bowl

How long do roasted peppers last?

If you leave them in an airtight container, they will be good for at least 3-4 days. (I’ve also heard you can freeze roasted peppers for 3 months, but I’ve never done this myself. If you have any experience with this, please leave a comment below and let us know how it worked!)

Step by step instructions

Making this roasted chile corn salsa is easy! There really is nothing to mess up here, but I’ve included a few extra tips below to make sure it turns out perfect every time: 

Step 1: Defrost the frozen corn, if using. Fresh corn should be cooked for 2-3 minutes in boiling water or until tender. Drain and set aside. 

Step 2: Roast the poblano pepper. (Read the section above for three different ways to roast peppers.) Once cool, peel and chop the pepper.

Step 3: Combine corn, poblano pepper and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. 

Step 4: The salsa can be served immediately or refrigerated until ready to use. The flavor is best within the first 24 hours.  

Bowl of Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa recipe surrounded by chips, cilantro and lime wedges.

Ways to use Chipotle Corn Salsa

The obvious way to use this salsa is to put a big scoop on your homemade chipotle burrito bowl. This recipe for grilled chipotle chicken would be an awesome base.  (Don’t forget the cilantro lime rice!) 

But why stop there? Add it to your taco bar for Taco Tuesday, to your brunch buffet for breakfast tacos or as a pop of color and flavor to a plate of nachos. It’s really versatile. 

You can also just keep it simple and enjoy it with your favorite tortilla chips during the big game. There’s no right or wrong here. Just an easy way to indulge your restaurant cravings at home. 

Glass bowl filled with copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa recipe

Salsas, dips, spreads – we’ve got easy appetizer recipes and tex-mex party snacks for everyone!

Easy tequila drinks are a perfect match for any of these flavorful munchies, especially this blood orange margarita recipe. But if whiskey cocktails are more your speed, then you definitely want to try this easy, 3-ingredient Whiskey Ginger made with ginger ale. 

Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa in a gray bowl garnished with fresh cilantro and lime wedges.
Yield: 3 cups

Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa

Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa

Make restaurant quality burrito bowls at home with this easy, copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa recipe. It tastes just like the restaurant salsa! 

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large poblano chile pepper
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears), or 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Slice stem off poblano and cut pepper in half. Remove seeds and membranes. Flatten pepper halves on baking sheet and broil for 10 minutes or until charred. Remove from oven and place in a zip top plastic bag for 10-15 minutes. Remove and discard charred skin from peppers. Dice poblano pepper flesh and place in a mixing bowl.
  3. If you are using fresh corn, cook it in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, or until tender.
  4. Mix the corn (if using frozen, add it here) and the remaining ingredients in the mixing bowl with the poblano pepper. Stir and serve.

Notes

You can also roast the poblano pepper over a gas grate on the stovetop or on the grill.

  • Stovetop: Turn one of the burners on your stovetop to high. Place the pepper right on the grate. (You want the skin to char.) Use a pair of metal tongs to turn the pepper over the flame until the entire pepper is black. Place the pepper in a zip top bag or in a container with fitted lid for at least 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. 
  • Grill: The directions for roasting peppers on a grill is very similar to roasting on a stovetop: heat the grill and place the peppers directly on the grates. Turn occasionally until peppers are charred. Place in zip top bag or container with lid.


Recipe barely adapted from Food Network.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1/3 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 92Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 238mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 3g
Collage image of copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa recipe.

Indulge your restaurant cravings at home with this easy copycat recipe for Chipotle Corn Salsa. Once you add it to burrito bowls, tacos or a cheesy plate of nachos, everyone will want the recipe. 

We're the creative juices behind Garnish with Lemon. In the past 8 years, millions of people have sipped & snacked on our recipes. Need easy, delicious party food and drinks for your next shindig? You’ve come to the right place.

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About Anna

Hi, I’m Anna, a former corporate communications nerd turned food fanatic. Turns out I like cooking for others A LOT more than explaining HR policies to them. C’mon over!

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    This looks really nice, very nice salad idea.

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    YUM!! This looks delicious.

    Reply
  3. Avatar

    I was looking for a salsa to try for this weekend. This might be it!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Me, too, Jennifer!

      Reply
  4. Avatar

    I could live on Chipotle for every meal I think. Love love love their salad bowls and their salsa. I can’t wait to try this recipe. It has been pinned so I don’t lose it!

    Reply
  5. Avatar

    Interesting new take on salsa, this was a hit with my friends.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      It always disappears! Thanks for your note!

      Reply

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