Corn and Black Bean Salsa

This corn and black bean salsa adds some protein and some extra color to your traditional salsa fresca for a heartier bite every time.

Jump to Recipe (or scroll for photos and riveting information...)
Advertisement - Continue Below
A hand dipping a tortilla chip into corn and black bean salsa.

How to Make Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Making salsa involves some knife work, but otherwise it’s super easy and can be a lot of fun. Once you’ve decided on all your ingredients, you just need to season it properly, toss it all together and dig in! This corn and black bean salsa does include your usual salsa ingredients, but adding the black beans, some red pepper and grilled or sautéed corn kernels along with a hit of chili powder turns it into a salsa that is more hearty and very versatile.

Ingredients on a wooden table - corn, cilantro, peppers, tomatoes, lime, spices and a can of black beans.

Salsa Ingredients

A traditional salsa fresca includes tomato, red onion, Jalapeño pepper, cilantro and lime juice and you’ll find all of those ingredients here too, but corn and black beans make up the bulk of this salsa. Choose corn that is as fresh as you can find it – usually a farmer’s market is your best bet. You can keep the corn in the fridge for a couple of days, but the fresher the better. 

Corn kernels in a skillet.

Grilling or Sautéing Corn

Before adding the corn to the salsa, you’ll need to cook it. The easiest ways to do that are to either cut the kernels off the cob and sauté it over medium-high heat for several minutes or to throw the whole ears of corn on the grill. There are five different ways to grill your corn and you can read about them here. Pick whichever method suits you.

Ingredients in a stainless steel bowl with a wooden spoon, surrounded by a napkin, cilantro, lime halves, olive oil and chili powder.

Make Ahead Salsa

This recipe for corn and black bean salsa does take some chopping time, which I personally really enjoy. Cutting all the ingredients into a size that is similar to a corn kernel (or a black bean) really makes this salsa look attractive, so think of it as a challenge and practice those knife skills with a sharp knife. You can do all of this ahead of time and keep the ingredients in the refrigerator until it is time to season the salsa.

Corn and black bean salsa mixed in a bowl with a wooden spoon.

Seasoning Salsa

When you’re ready to put the salsa together, toss all the ingredients and season with salt, pepper, lime juice and a little chili powder. If you’re serving the salsa with chips, make sure you taste the salsa on that chip. Chips can be salty and you don’t want to over season your salsa.

Corn and black bean salsa in a bowl on a wooden table with a blue and white checkered napkin and a wooden bowl of tortilla chips in the background.

What to Serve with Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Of course, tortilla chips are the obvious accompaniment to this corn and black bean salsa. You can even make your own homemade tortilla chips in the air fryer if you like. It’s easy, fun and allows you to season the chips the way you want to – sea salt, salt and pepper, chili powder, etc… This salsa would also be delicious over some BBQ salmon or plain air-fried salmon. Or, if you have a lot of corn on your hands, make these corn cakes and use the corn and black bean salsa on top. 

Featured Recipe Techniques

More about the skills used in this recipe.

Cooking School
5 Ways to Grill Corn

There are many different ways to cook corn on the grill and each method requires a little more work than...View Technique

How to Cut a Bell Pepper

There's a super easy and tidy way to cut bell peppers without getting the seeds all over your cutting board....View Technique

Advertisement - Continue Below

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 15 m
  • Total Time: 30 m
  • Servings:
    makes 2 cups


  • 2 to 3 ears corn on the cob about 2 cups kernels
  • Olive oil
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup red onion chopped and soaked in cold water for 20 minutes
  • ½ red bell pepper diced
  • 1 small jalapeno minced
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro


Cook the corn either on the grill or on the stovetop.
  1. a. If grilling, pre-heat your grill until you can only hold your hand 1-inch above the grates for 2 seconds before having to pull it away. Brush the ears of corn with olive oil. Grill the corn for 15 minutes, rotating the corn during the cooking process, letting some of the kernels char a little. Let the corn cool and remove the kernels from the cob.
  2. b. If cooking on the stovetop, remove the corn kernels from the cobs. Pre-heat a 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add a little olive oil to the skillet and cook the corn kernels for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Let the kernels cool.
  3. Smash ⅓ cup of the black beans with a fork and combine the smashed beans and the whole beans in a bowl. Add the corn, red onions, red bell pepper, Jalapeño pepper and tomatoes, mix well and stir in the lime juice, olive oil, chili powder and salt. Season with freshly ground black pepper and stir in the chopped cilantro.
  4. Chill the salsa until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips, tacos, quesadillas and nachos.
Advertisement - Continue Below
Advertisement - Continue Below
Advertisement - Continue Below

Comments (5)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe! The flavors are so fresh and I feel like I could eat it by the spooonful without chips.

  2. 5 stars
    Missing a few ingredients, and rushing through recipe as I did not feel like cooking, this was absolutely DELICIOUS. We couldn’t stop eating it. Another go to from Blue Jean Chef 👍

    Gkadwyne, PA

  3. I know that this is probably a no no, but fresh corn around here is seasonal only. If I want to make this year round, can I use frozen corn?

    1. Not a no-no at all! I prefer to use fresh corn when it’s in season, but you can use frozen corn kernels. Defrost the corn kernels and dry on a clean kitchen towel. Then, give them a little sauté in some olive oil before adding.

  4. 5 stars
    Easy to make, colorful presentation but most important – delicious! So fresh tasting and addictive! Finally, a healthy snack I can eat without any guilt!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *