Southwest Corn Salsa

Sometimes what you make is only secondary to what you can put on it. From toppings to dipping sauces, there are all kinds of condiments and enhancements that will either make or break a meal. It doesn’t matter if you make bland food or flavorful food on a regular basis. The right salsa goes a long way to how you enjoy your meal. For me, the best example is a quesadilla. It can be a very boring, or a very zesty and mouth watering entrée. In both cases, you should add salsa. One dish can be totally saved while the other already great dish is merely elevated. When it comes to flavor-enhancing salsas, my absolute favorite is southwest corn salsa.

A close up photo of a white bowl filled with Southwest Corn Salsa with a big spoonful held up over the bowl.

The Wonderful World of Salsa

What’s amazing about salsa is it is exceptionally varied. There are so many types of salsas that range from smooth to chunky, mild to spicy, and of course the unique flavor profiles of salsas like peach, pineapple, black bean, and more. Southwest corn salsa is just one little pocket of a world of salsas that is bigger than any other condiment. It’s bigger than barbecue sauce and it’s even bigger than salad dressing.

We all have our favorite salsas, but at the same time, because there are so many it is such fun to sample and experiment with as many as we can. That’s also what makes it so fun to make salsa at home. It’s as easy as mixing your favorite ingredients together. Whether the finished product resembles a soup or a salad more is up to you. What’s great about it is that you can take fresh ingredients any time and blend up a surefire way to add the right amount of flavor to virtually any dish. If you don’t want to cook, you can always just binge on tortilla chips until you mummified your insides from all the salt.

A white bowl filled with Southwest Corn Salsa which is corn, diced jalapenos, red onions and cilantro.

Where Did Corn Salsa Come From?

Who said Chipotle? That’s a good guess. In fact, it’s as good a guess as any! Corn salsa is a total mystery. As popular as it is, there isn’t so much as a hint of backstory to this common fast food condiment. Corn Salsa can be compared and even used interchangeably with corn salad, or Mexican street corn. But none of these foods seem to have a traceable origin. All I can say is that corn has been a staple of Latin America and the southern United States for centuries. It was originally domesticated in Honduras as far back as 66oo BC.

Since then it’s been used for everything from tortillas to gasoline. So of course salsa worked its way in there somewhere. Despite not having a grasp on the origins of corn salsa we can at least be reasonably certain of its Mexican heritage. It’s also very Southwestern. This is a totally different subset of Mexican inspired cuisine that exists in the regions of the United Stated that border Mexico. That includes everything from Tex-Mex to some dishes in California. It could be that corn salsa is just such a natural variation that everyone was doing it somewhere and nobody can trace it to a single place and time.

A white bowl filled with southwest corn salsa.

Defining South-Western Flavors

What makes a Mexican Dish and a Southwestern Dish. The obvious answer can’t be right if you think about it any longer than it takes to respond. You might think where it’s made makes the difference, but that can’t be true. Otherwise Mexican food in Ohio would go by a different name. It doesn’t. So Southwestern food must have something to do with a regional spin on classic Mexican food, or a set of flavors that are unique to the Southwest, though the dishes are more or less traditionally Mexican.

When I think of Southwestern food most of the time, I think of black beans, jalapenos, corn, etc. Interestingly, while these are common in cuisine of the Southwest, one of the major defining differences between this and traditional Mexican food is larger cuts of meat and fewer organs or other parts of an animal that the United States by and large isn’t used to.

The most iconic of southwestern approaches to Mexican food is New Mexican cuisine, which is popular not just in New Mexico, but also in Colorado and Utah. Next to Tex-Mex and New-Mex, there is a third subset of Southwestern cuisine in Arizona called Sonoran. All of these take Mexican food and add influences from Europe and Native American tribes.

In addition to corn, squash and beans. Southwestern cuisine is mostly known for the use of tortillas in a variety of forms and chili peppers as the primary source of seasoning.

What to Eat with Southwest Corn Salsa

Southwestern corn salsa is great with any Mexican or Southwestern dish. It is spicy and sweet with the right amount of sour. You can eat it on it’s own with tortilla chips or you can have it with tacos, burritos, tostadas, and quesadillas. Similar to a succotash, this Southwest corn salad even makes a perfect side dish. It’s easily modified into corn salad or Mexican street corn which use many of the same ingredients.

A white bowl filled with a serving of Southwest Corn Salsa and a spoonful held up a little above the bowl.

How to Store Southwest Corn Salsa

Once you make Southwest corn salsa, you have a choice. You can either eat all of it at once or save some of it. Honestly, this is one good reason to get into canning, because you can make a lot of this stuff and keep it for future meals. If you’re not there yet and you wind up with a small to moderate amount of leftovers You can keep it in the refrigerator for about half as long as store bought salsa. That’s because our version doesn’t have those preserving agents worked into the recipe.

If you don’t know, salsa does go bad relatively soon after you open it. Even store bought salsa only has about two weeks max once you’ve opened the jar. Our homemade Southwest corn salsa only has about 6 days in it if you seal it and keep it refrigerated. If you have an open jar of salsa in your refrigerator and you don’t remember when you opened it, now is a good time to throw it out.

Ingredients to Make Southwest Corn Salsa

  • A can of Southwest corn
  • Red Onion
  • Jalapenos
  • Cilantro
  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice
  • Salt

How To Make Southwest Corn Salsa

  • In a small bowl mix together corn, red onion, jalapenos, cilantro, lemon juice, lime juice, and salt. Set aside, or place in the fridge to chill until ready to use.
  • *This can be tossed in a frying pan to roast the veggies, for only a couple minutes, if desired, and then add the cilantro.
A double collage photo of Southwest Corn Salsa in a white bowl and a close up spoonful of salsa.

Try This Delicious Homemade Corn Salsa Today

A 3 photo collage of Southwest Corn Salsa in a white bowl.

Here are a few more delicious dip recipes you can find on the blog:

And here is one of the latest recipes, Southwest Chicken Wraps, from our other blog, Deliciously Seasoned, using this delicious corn salsa recipe.

Southwest Corn Salad

Great Grub, Delicious Treats

A delicious and hearty homemade corn salsa recipe that is perfect to add to all sorts of recipes.

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 0 mins

Total Time 20 mins

Course Appetizer

Cuisine Southwest

Servings 6 Servings

Calories 56 kcal


  • 11 ounce southwest corn, drained
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, stem and seeds removed, diced small
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ salt


  • In a small bowl mix together corn, red onion, jalapenos, cilantro, lemon juice, lime juice, and salt. Set aside or place in the fridge to chill until ready to use.

  • *This can be tossed in a frying pan to roast the veggies, for only a couple minutes, if desired, and then add the cilantro.


Nutritional values are approximate.


Please note that these values can change with different brands and any modifications made to the recipe. For the most accurate information, use a nutritional calculator with the exact brands and measurements.


Calories: 56kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 147mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 234IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 5mg

Keyword Corn Salsa, Homemade Corn Salsa, Southwest Corn Salsa

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A super close up photo of a spoonful of Southwest Corn Salsa held up over a white bowl filled with a serving of the salsa.
A close up shot of a spoonful of southwest corn salsa.

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