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Roasted chili corn salsa is a simple Chipotle copycat recipe. Ready in 20 minutes, this chunky dip features sweet yellow corn kernels, blackened poblano peppers, red onions, and lime juice. Serve it with burritos, tacos, or tortilla chips!
Table of Contents
🏆 Why this recipe works
- Quick & easy: Chipotle corn salsa is incredibly easy to prepare. Plus, there are numerous ways to reduce prep time even more!
- Diet-friendly: Gluten-free, vegan, and healthy, this roasted chili corn salsa fits into almost everyone’s meal plan.
- Versatile: Enjoy it as a dip with corn tortilla chips, a topping for your favorite foods, or as a potluck recipe for a party. This salsa can do it all!
- Customizable: Spicier? Sweeter? More protein? You can easily customize this recipe to be just right for your palate.
🌽 What is roasted chili corn salsa?
Roasted chili corn salsa is a copycat version of the recipe they make at Chipotle Mexican Grill.
This restaurant is famously known for serving up Mexican-inspired dishes like chipotle fajita veggies, cilantro-lime rice, guacamole, and burritos the size of your head!
The Chipotle corn salsa is extremely easy to make at home, which is why we wanted to share our take on it! You only need simple, fresh, and accessible ingredients like sweet corn, poblano peppers, cilantro, red onion, and lime.
This recipe is perfectly balanced between sweet, spicy, smoky, and zesty. You’ll hardly believe how quickly it comes together!
🌱 Is it vegan?
Chipotle has various vegan protein options at their restaurants, and a lot of their menu items (like this roasted chili corn salsa) are “accidentally vegan.”
Whether you’re making this salsa at home or ordering it out, rest assured both versions are 100% plant-based.
🫑 How to roast poblano peppers
There are many different ways to roast poblano peppers at home. They can be blackened in the oven, over a direct flame, in a cast-iron skillet, or on the grill.
Read our poblano pepper guide to learn about each roasting method. There is also a helpful instructional video if you’re a visual learner!
🛒 Ingredients & substitutions
Poblano pepper — Choose the poblano roasting method that suits your preferences, making sure the skin appears quite blackened on the outside. This makes peeling easier and provides a delicious charred flavor. Poblanos are rather mild, but you can substitute them with green bell peppers for a spice-free option.
Corn — Use frozen sweet white or yellow corn kernels. For reference, Chipotle uses white corn but both work. To substitute with fresh corn, boil the cobbs for 3 minutes, then run them under ice-cold water. Once they are cool enough to handle, cut away the kernels before continuing with the recipe.
Red onion — To add a zesty punch! Chipotle adds fresh red onion, but white or yellow onion are also great options if that’s what you have on hand.
Jalapeños — For the perfect heat level, add minced jalapeños. Are jalapeños too spicy for you? Use Anaheim peppers instead. Not spicy enough? Add serranos or habaneros.
Cilantro — Minced cilantro adds a herbaceous, bright, and citrusy element. If you’re one of the unfortunate few who find this herb tastes like soap, omit it or replace it with flat-leaf parsley.
Lime — Freshly-squeezed lime juice provides the best flavor. The next best option is fresh lemon juice, then lime juice from a bottle if that’s all you have available.
Sea salt — We prefer sea salt over regular salt since it’s more flavorful without being overpoweringly salty. However, use whichever type you have on hand.
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Step 1 — First, prepare the poblano pepper. Once it’s roasted, peeled, and seeded, dice it into small pieces and set it aside.
Step 2 — In the meantime, thaw the corn in a strainer by running it under cold water. Leave the corn to drain for a few minutes while you prep the rest of the salsa ingredients.
Step 3 — Add the diced red onion, poblano peppers, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, and sea salt to a large mixing bowl. Add the drained corn, then mix until incorporated.
Step 4 — Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference — more cilantro for herbaceous flavor, jalapeños for spice, or salt to enhance the other ingredients. Happy eating!
If you have questions about making Chipotle’s roasted chili corn salsa, check out our FAQs or leave a comment down below!
🌯 How to use Chipotle corn salsa
While there are a wide variety of uses for Chipotle corn salsa, you need to try at least one of these options:
Quesadillas — Stuff it into air fryer quesadillas, squash blossom quesadillas, or sweet potato quesadillas.
Tacos — Add a spoonful to your favorite taco recipe like jackfruit carnitas, “fish” tacos, or crispy black bean tacos.
Bowls — Serve some in a taco bowl or vegan buddha bowl with extra blackened corn.
Enchiladas — Add a dollop on top of red or green enchiladas.
Chips — Pair it with homemade totopos for the best appetizer!
Roasted chili corn salsa makes an excellent meal prep or potluck recipe. If you want to make it in advance or have leftovers, here’s what to do:
Fridge — Store the corn salsa in an airtight container and it will last for 5 days in the fridge.
Freezer — We don’t recommend freezing this salsa because the texture will change quite a bite when it thaws.
Spice — For more spice, use extra jalapeños, serranos, or habaneros. If poblano peppers are too spicy, use green bell peppers instead.
Creamy — To make a spin on esquites, add a few dollops of vegan Mexican crema and vegan mayo for a creamy version.
Extra roasted — Chipotle doesn’t roast their corn, but you can try roasting yours along with the poblano pepper for an ultra-smoky dip.
More substance — Add black beans or cubed avocado for more protein and healthy fats in this roasted chili corn salsa.
🧑🍳 Top tips
Wear gloves — If you’re handling spicy peppers, we recommend wearing gloves, avoiding touching your eyes, and washing your hands well afterward.
Consistent cuts — Make sure the vegetables are cut in a consistent manner so the flavors are evenly distributed.
Adjust seasonings — Taste and adjust the seasonings to suit your preferences before serving the salsa. Add more salt, black pepper, or Mexican oregano.
Let it chill — We recommend leaving the salsa to sit in the fridge for a few hours. This helps soften and meld the flavors together.
Don’t waste stems — Cilantro stems contain much of the flavor of this herb. Don’t be afraid to include them in your salsa!
Yes, this corn salsa is gluten-free, vegan, and made without oil.
This salsa is served cold at Chipotle. But, you can serve it cold or at room temperature if you don’t have time to wait for it to chill.
The official Chipotle roasted chili corn salsa is quite mild, which we’ve attempted to emulate in this recipe. If you’re sensitive to heat, simply omit the jalapeño as poblano peppers are generally fairly mild.
🍴 More salsa recipes
If you enjoyed this roasted corn salsa recipe, you should really try these other fresh and cooked salsas:
- Salsa fresca: Fresh salsa made with white onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lime, and green chiles.
- Mango pico de gallo: A sweeter version of pico de gallo thanks to fresh mango.
- Salsa ranchera: Chunky, bold, and flavorful red salsa made from char-grilled vegetables.
- Salsa taquera: The most popular taco sauce found at taquerías all across Mexico.
Roasted Chili Corn Salsa (Chipotle Copycat)
- Chef knife
- Large mixing bowl
- Citrus squeezer
- 1 large roasted poblano pepper ($0.12)
- 2 cups frozen corn ($0.50)
- 1 extra-small red onion, finely chopped ($0.29)
- 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded & minced ($0.04)
- ¼ – ⅓ cup cilantro, minced ($0.10)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice ($0.09)
- Sea salt to taste ($0.01)
- First, prepare the poblano pepper. Once it's roasted, peeled, and seeded, dice it into small pieces and set it aside.
- In the meantime, thaw the corn in a strainer by running it under cold water. Leave the corn to drain for a few minutes while you prep the rest of the salsa ingredients.
- Add the poblano peppers, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of sea salt to a large mixing bowl. Add the drained corn, then mix until incorporated.
- Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference — More cilantro for herbaceous flavor, jalapeños for spice, or salt to enhance the other ingredients.
- Serve immediately with tortilla chips, burrito bowls, tacos, and more. Happy eating!
- Wear gloves — If you’re handling spicy peppers, we recommend wearing gloves, avoiding touching your eyes, and washing your hands well afterward.
- Consistent cuts — Make sure the vegetables are cut in a consistent manner so the flavors are evenly distributed.
- Adjust seasonings — Taste and adjust the seasonings to suit your preferences before serving the salsa. Add more salt, black pepper, or Mexican oregano.
- Let it chill — We recommend leaving the salsa to sit in the fridge for a few hours. This helps soften and meld the flavors together.
- Don’t waste stems — Cilantro stems contain much of the flavor of this herb. Don’t be afraid to include them in your salsa!
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe to recipe. All prices are in USD.