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Easy Black Bean and Corn Salsa Packed With Flavor

by | Sep 14, 2021 | Recipes

Call it a salsa or call it a salad—it’s real name is delicious! This Easy Black Bean and Corn Salsa packs all of the flavors of Summer into one crave-inducing dish. Canned black beans and canned, frozen, or fresh corn give this salsa body and substance. Canned tomatoes with chiles give it a zip and zing of heat while the fresh tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro bring a brightness to the dish.

macro close up of prepared black bean and corn salsa

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This Easy Black Bean and Corn Salsa is one of my go-to snacks. Especially when I want to fully enjoy the flavors of Summer. I affectionally call it “crack salsa”. Because once I make it, I cannot overcome the urge to keep coming back for chip after chip loaded up with its deliciousness.

It’s jam packed with black beans, corn, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and canned tomatoes with diced chiles. It has just enough heat to make your tongue tingle. And the smoky vibe of the cumin and chile powder keep your tastebuds fully engaged.

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INGREDIENTS    SWAPS    TIPS & TRICKS    HOW-TO    RECIPE

Easy Black Bean and Corn Salsa

I first learned about a version of this salsa while I was living in the Washington, DC metro area. At the consulting firm I worked for, we were organizing a baby shower for a dear friend at HQ. One of our coworkers brought a black bean and corn salsa to the party that was downright delicious!

I don’t usually ask for peoples’ recipes, but I couldn’t help myself this time. Her salsa was too good to not ask for it. She told me it was the most simple salsa/salad recipe she’d ever come across and it never let her down. It was just one can of black beans, one can of corn, a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, and with some red onion tossed in if you like.

After that, it became a dish on occasional rotation in my household. At some point, I don’t really remember when, I realized that despite how delicious it was as is, it could probably use a makeover to make it even better.

close up of black bean and corn salsa in foreground and tortilla chips in background

Breathing New Life into Canned Black Beans & Corn

I first started out by amping up the fresh ingredients in this salsa. Adding in more red onion gave it that “fresh” salsa taste, but I knew there was more I could do. So, next up was adding in freshly diced tomatoes and a bit of fresh chopped cilantro. Ooh yeah, now we were getting somewhere!

Despite these improvements, the salsa was missing a depth of flavor. Everything was a top note of fresh or a base note of nothing to write home about, so to speak. I added a pinch or two of salt, hoping it would make something POP out on the canvas of flavor. But it didn’t do much.

So, thinking of how I basically had all of the elements of pico de gallo now in the dish except for the lime juice, I decided to add some lime juice. ….Getting closer! At this point, I knew it was time to head to the spice cabinet. I landed on a combo of ground cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder that amps the flavor of this Black Bean and Corn Salsa through the roof!

The garlic brings a much needed savory element while the cumin brings a smokiness that permeates through the black beans, corn, and fresh tomatoes. Chili powder is what finally sealed the deal for me with its smoky, subtle heat that lingers after the notes of the cumin pass.

Gonna try out this recipe?

Leave a star rating or review in the comments to let me know what you think!

Ingredients for Easy Black Bean and Corn Salsa

overhead shots of ingredients needed to make salsa
  • Black Beans – Canned beans make this salsa a super quick dish to make. I like to use the kind with no salt added. If you prefer to stay away from canned veggies, you could cook up some dried black beans to use instead.
  • Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles – I enjoy the balance of canned and fresh tomatoes in this recipe. The canned tomatoes with green chiles to bring some subtle heat to this salsa. If you’d prefer to use just fresh tomatoes, then I recommend adding in a diced jalapeno to ensure this salsa has a little heat.
  • Corn – I like to use frozen corn in this salsa. I like that it has the sweetness of fresh corn. It also allows me to make this salsa whether or not corn is in season.
  • Red Onion – Red onions have a great balance between sharp and sweet that settles nicely in this dish. If you don’t have red, you can easily make do with a white, yellow, or sweet onion. (If you use sweet onion, you may need to bump up the amounts of cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder.)
  • Roma Tomatoes – Typically when I make this Black Bean and Corn Salsa, I use Roma tomatoes because they’re the most inexpensive ones available to me. Slicer tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes work just as well. So do grape and cherry tomatoes.
  • Cilantro – I’m a big lover of cilantro, so I use a heap of it in this recipe. You can easily dial the amount back to something more to your liking. While I hope that you don’t take it out, I understand if you do because you can’t stand the taste. Either way, it will still be delicious because this salsa is a whole jam all on its own with or without cilantro.
  • Salt – Salt is used as needed to your individual taste. It amplifies the flavors of the ingredients in the dish.
  • Ground Cumin – A small amount of this smoky spice goes a long way. It also adds a depth of flavor that isn’t commonly found in other black bean and corn salsa recipes.
  • Chili Powder – Using chili powder amplifies the heat imparted through the green chilies in the canned tomatoes.
  • Garlic Powder – I tend to use garlic powder over fresh garlic in this dish. I feel that fresh garlic is a bit overpowering whereas garlic powder functions as a supporting actor rather than the lead.
  • Lime Juice – A fresh squeeze of lime juice gives a bright note of citrus that brings all of the other flavors together in this salsa.

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pinterest graphic for recipe

Ingredient Swaps & Variations

  • Canned Diced Tomatoes – If you don’t have any fresh tomatoes on hand, you can sub in canned diced tomatoes (the kind without chiles).
  • Canned Corn or Fresh Corn – If you don’t have frozen on hand, then canned corn will do. You could also use fresh corn, if it’s available.
  • Add More Heat – If you like spicy, then add more heat to this Black Bean and Corn Salsa using fresh diced hot peppers like jalapeno or serrano. You could also add in more spice by using your favorite hot sauce.
  • No Cumin or Chili Powder? No Problem! – If you don’t have cumin or chili powder in your spice cabinet, don’t fret! While it won’t taste exactly the same as my salsa, you can sub in a package of taco seasoning for the spices I’ve listed in the recipe.
  • Add More Zip and Zing! – Do you love acid? If so, then you might like a little Tajin seasoning or Tajin Snack Sauce added into this salsa. The lime in the seasoning and sauce will add an extra burst of citrusy acid.
  • Make It Creamy – Add in sour cream or a diced avocado to give this salsa a creaminess that is sure to delight!
  • Give It an Unexpected Twist – Toss in a handful of crumbled feta cheese to give this salsa an extra salty kick in an unexpected way.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

Notes – The salt will naturally bring the water content out of veggies in this dish and those “juices” will combine with the fresh lime juice to make a nice dressing of sorts. If you see the salsa looking like it’s been out a little too long and is getting “dry”, just stir it all up with a spoon again. Those juices will re-coat everything imparting a bomb of flavor along the way. (Pro Tip: You can also use this “juice” as a dressing on a salad of mixed greens, ground beef, and some crushed tortilla chips for a “faux” taco salad.)

What to Remember – Add heat (canned tomato/chile juice) and salt to this salsa slowly and taste test often. You can always add more heat or salt if needed, but you can’t take it back out once it’s in the salsa.

Ways to Use Black Bean and Corn Salsa Leftovers – I love to use this salsa as a taco and nacho topping or add it into burritos. It even makes a delicious addition to scrambled eggs for a fresh and hearty breakfast.

Recipes That Go Well with Black Bean and Corn Salsa – This salsa pairs exceptionally well with my Creamy Fully Loaded Guacamole with Tajin. I sometimes mix them in a 1:1 ratio to create the ultimate dip for tortilla chips.

overhead shot of black bean and corn salsa served with chips

Recipe Notes

Storage – Store this Black Bean and Corn Salsa in an airtight glass or plastic container in the fridge. This salsa is best in the first 2-3 days after being made. After Day 3, the salsa will definitely look less visually appealing. BUT, it will still taste great and be safe to eat for up to 7 days after it is made if it is stored properly in an airtight container.

Servings & Nutrition – One serving of this Black Bean and Corn Salsa is 1/2 cup. This recipe makes 10 servings. Each serving has approximately 40 calories, 9 g of carbohydrates, 2 g of protein, 1 g of fat, and 2 g of sugar. For the full recipe and additional nutritional information, please see the recipe card below.

How to Make Easy Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Step 1. Drain the juice from the tomatoes with chiles into a small bowl and set aside. Then, add the black beans, corn, tomatoes with chiles, fresh tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and spices to a large mixing bowl.

overhead shots of steps to make salsa

Step 2. Using a large spoon, stir everything together well to thoroughly combine the mixture. Taste to see if the salt or acid level needs to be adjusted to your liking. Add in some of the reserved juice from the canned tomatoes if additional heat/spiciness is preferred and then serve.

overhead shot of black bean and corn salsa prepared

If you make this recipe, tag me in your photos on Instagram—I love seeing what you guys decided to make!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does black bean and corn salsa last?

The leftover salsa will still be delicious and safe to eat for up to 7 days after you make it. However, the acid in this salsa begins to degrade the ingredients so by Day 2 it starts to look less visually appealing.

Can black bean and corn salsa be made ahead?

This salsa is best made the day of, preferably within 4 hours of when you intend to serve it.

How can I char the corn to increase the smoky flavor in this black bean and corn salsa?

If you’d like to add a deeper smoky element to the flavor profile of this salsa, you can certainly char the corn. You could either roast the corn in the oven, char it in a screaming hot skillet on the stove top, or char it over the open flame of a gas stove or charcoal grill.

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

macro close up of prepared black bean and corn salsa

Easy Black Bean and Corn Salsa Packed With Flavor

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

A quick and easy salsa of black beans, corn, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and canned tomatoes with diced chiles.

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz cans black beans
  • 1 10 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 2 cups frozen sweet corn
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cups chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lime juice

Instructions

1. Drain the juice from the tomatoes with chiles into a small bowl and set aside.

2. Add the canned black beans, frozen corn, and tomatoes with chiles to a large mixing bowl.

3. Dice the onion and add it to the mixing bowl.

4. Dice the tomatoes and add them to the mixing bowl.

5. Roughly chop the cilantro and add it to the mixing bowl.

6. Sprinkle the salt, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder over the veggie mixture in the mixing bowl.

7. Drizzle the freshly squeezed lime juice over everything in the mixing bowl. Then, using a large spoon stir everything together to thoroughly combine the mixture.

8. Taste the salsa and use the reserved juice from the canned tomatoes to adjust the heat level as necessary.

9. Add additional salt to taste as preferred and then serve.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 40Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 234mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g

This nutrition data is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. Please keep in mind that your specific nutritional values may vary based on the brand of ingredients you use to make this recipe.

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Hey there! I’m Krystal, the sassy-mouthed, self-taught, home cook behind the content here at Sweet, Savory & Sassy. I have a deep love for sharing food with people and showing folks just how easy it really is to make dishes that will bring a little extra joy to those you love. There’s nothing like making something special for friends and family and seeing their face light up in delight during that first bite!
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