Copycat Easy Ina Garten Corn Salad: 2 Delicious Variations

If you are looking for a new, exciting, and flavor-packed corn salad recipe, you have to try my Ina Garten-inspired corn salad.

I will show you how to make two versions, fresh and grilled. Plus, I’ve included some of my favorite add-ins which pair exceptionally well with the must-add ingredients.

Corn Salad close up on pink plate

For more salad recipes and side dishes, have a look at my blog. You will definitely love this Cucumber And Onion Salad recipe as well as my Vegan Peach Salad.

What Goes Into The Original Ina Garten-Inspired Corn Salad Recipe?

First, if you don’t know who Ina Garten is, you’re likely new to the foodie scene or lived under a rock. This is one of the most famous cookbook authors and host of the Food Network show, Barefoot Contessa

Corn Salad with fresh basil

She is incredible, and her whole focus is on making good AND healthy food from scratch. So needless to say, my heritage immediately drew me to her corn salad recipe, which so few people do right these days.

Now, there are a couple of versions she makes, depending on where you get the recipe from. The basic recipe includes corn, red onion, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and basil leaves. Salt and pepper to taste, of course.

The ears of corn are boiled in water, shucked, and combined with the rest of the prepared fresh ingredients.

In a bowl corn, red onion, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil leaves.

Barefoot Contessa-Inspired Corn Salad Recipe – My Version

For this recipe, there are two versions I like to make: fresh or grilled. 

They both offer very different flavor profiles that may suit some dinner settings better than others. 

For example, if you are having a beach picnic, a fresh corn salad is the best option. But, if you are having a barbecue or potluck, the grilled version, in my opinion, works better.

Below is a list of add-ins I love to include in my recipe. You can add them all or some of them. Or none if you don’t want to. But their flavors blend well, and the textures make the salad more complex and fun.

Ina Garten Corn Salad from above

Bell Peppers And Tomatoes

In my twist on Ina Garten’s corn salad with basil, I add bell peppers for a fresh crunch and color and cherry tomatoes for a softer texture.

Fresh Or Dried Chili

Another tweak is a chili sprinkle, fresh slices or dried flakes. Add as much as you like for a spicy kick or just a hint of heat.

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a must for its salty flavor, contrasting with the corn’s sweetness. Opt for crumbly feta, not creamy types. For alternatives, take a look at this list.


Finally, chickpeas, roasted with salt, pepper, and olive oil. They add a crunchy, earthy element without overpowering the salad.

Version 1: Making The Barefoot Contessa Fresh Corn Salad

To make the fresh version of this salad, you only need to boil the ears of corn in water.

Clean them by removing the outer leaves. Then, grab the top of the fibrous strands and pull them off. You should try removing as much as possible, as they aren’t too appealing to gulp down.

Once your ears are cleaned, place them in a pot of cold water. Add a little bit of salt and place the lid on the pot. 

boilling corn in salt water

Bring the water to a rolling boil and leave the corn to cook for roughly 10-12 minutes, depending on their size.

Once cooked, remove them from the water, place them in a bowl of iced water, and leave them to cool.

If you don’t cool them before cutting off the corn kernels, they will come off in large pieces, not individually (which is what you need for this salad).

Cut off the kernels directly into a large bowl with the other ingredients when the corn is completely cooled.

Corn in a bowl with the other ingredients.

Version 2: Grilled Corn Salad From Ina Garten

To make grilled corn, you will either need to pre-boil or pre-soak the ears of corn. This makes them tender before they are charred.

To boil them, use the technique laid out above. To pre-soak them, leave them in salted water for 30 minutes, preferably overnight.

Once softened, heat the grill to medium-high. Brush the ears of corn with oil and season them. 

corn with oil and salt and pepper

Add the ears to the preheated grill and leave them to char until you are happy with their look. Keep turning them until all sides are done. This will add a smoky flavor.

Grilled corn

When all the ears are cooked, leave them to cool completely before cutting off the kernels. After removing the kernels, transfer them to a large bowl containing the rest of your ingredients.

grilled Corn in a large bowl with the other ingredients.

Mix everything together thoroughly to ensure the flavors meld beautifully. This grilled corn will be a delightful addition to your recipe, imparting a smoky richness that complements the other ingredients perfectly. For more grill recipes, check out Grilled Shrimp Skewers, Grilled Salmon Skewers, or Roasted Potatoes on the Grill.

grilled Corn with pepper.
Ina Garten Corn Salad..

Easy Ina Garten Corn Salad – Fresh And Grilled Variations

For today's recipe, we will look at two delicious versions you can make that are inspired by the Ina Garten corn salad recipe. Both are super easy, packed with nutrients, and loaded with color, flavor, and texture. A salad rarely gets better than this!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Soaking time (optional) 30 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Salad
Servings 4
Calories 208 kcal


Version 1: Fresh

  • 5 large ears of corn, shucked and cleaned
  • Salted water, for boiling
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely shredded
  • Sea salt flakes, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Version 2: Grilled

  • 5 large ears of corn, shucked and cleaned
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil, for grilling
  • Sea salt flakes, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Optional Add-Ins (For Both Versions)

  • 1 medium bell pepper (any color), deseeded, finely diced
  • 1/2 – 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1-2 tsp dried chili (or sliced fresh chili instead)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup crumbly feta cheese
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups roasted chickpeas (with olive oil, salt, and pepper)


Version 1: Fresh Corn Salad

  • Pour salted water into a big pot. Add the cleaned ears of corn and close the pot with a lid. Bring the water to a boil and leave the corn to cook for 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove the cooked corn from the boiling water and place it inside a large bowl filled with ice and water.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients for the corn salad.
  • Once the ears of corn are completely cooled, remove them from the ice water and dry them.
  • Hold one end of the ear and keep the corn upright. Utilize a keen blade to remove the corn kernels. It helps if you can work directly into a mixing bowl. It makes the process less messy. Repeat with all the ears.
  • Mix all of the Ina Garten corn salad ingredients together and mix them well.

Version 2: Grilled Corn Salad

  • To make a grilled corn salad, first pre-cook or soak the ears. If you want to pre-cook them, use the method above. For pre-soaking, simply leave them in a bowl of salted water for 30 minutes or overnight.
  • Once prepared, remove the ears from the water and dry them well.
  • Brush them with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Preheat your grill or griddle pan over medium-high heat. Add the ears of corn and leave them to char for 2-4 minutes on each side.
  • Once cooked, remove them from the heat and leave them to cool at room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the other salad ingredients.
  • When the grilled corn has cooled, cut off the kernels directly into a mixing bowl.
  • Combine all of the salad ingredients and serve chilled.


Calories: 208kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gSodium: 7mgPotassium: 100mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 94IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 0.4mg
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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