Salsa is usually considered neutral territory in a party spread, but homemade Black Bean and Corn Salsa is about to stage a coup. You’ll definitely need back up chips to take on this easy appetizer. Fresh tomatoes, black beans, sweet corn, red onion, jalapenos, and more are about to unleash a barrage of flavor. Your other party dip recipes are doomed.

Side view, black bean and corn salsa in a white bowl surrounded by tortilla chips.
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We follow a simple creed here – if salsa’s gonna be chunky, it better be fresh. Cause if you think about it, salsa is more than just a snack – it’s a salad. And therefore it’s fair game as an entire meal. You’re welcome!

Yes, some salsas may taste amazing even if they look like pasta sauce (we’re lookin’ at you Blender Salsa!). But it’s not a recipe you’re going to eat on its own for dinner. (Unless you’re 22 and that dinner is salsa and margaritas, and in that case, perhaps you get a pass, because 22 is rough, y’all).

But just look at that array up there ⬆️. Tomato, onion, peppers, corn. It’s a dang bowl full of vegetables. Which is also known by it’s street name, “salad.”

While one typically eats salad with a utensil – perhaps a fork – a spoon is also a utensil. And you could totally eat homemade black bean and corn salsa with a spoon, which may also be referred to by its street name, “scoop.” And whether a scoop is made from plastic, metal, or Tostitos, it’s still a handheld tool for getting food in your mouth. Boom. Case closed.

For this recipe, you want your bowl full of veggies nice and crisp, and bursting with bright flavor. Then you’re gonna punch it up with a little “dressing,” with just enough fresh squeezed lime juice and garlic and cumin in it to elevate those bright, fresh flavors.

Look, you could walk into a Chipotle and essentially order a fast-casual version of this homemade salsa for dinner and no one would blink. On the other hand, you walk into a Chipotle, sit down, and eat a whole jar of Ortega around 5 p.m. on a Tuesday, and (according to the officer on the scene) people find it objectionable.

That’s clear proof that fresh chunky salsa > mushy chunky salsa.

The ingredients for black bean and corn salsa in small bowls on a concrete background.
Red onion, lime juice, tomatoes, frozen corn, cumin, ground pepper, garlic, cilantro, canned black beans, orange bell pepper, green onions, minced jalapeno, kosher salt.

Ingredients for Black Bean and Corn Salsa

  • Red Onion: finely minced to roughly the size of the black beans.
  • Lime Juice: fresh is best! You’ll need 2-3 limes.
  • Garlic: psst – it’s okay to use the jarred stuff, as long as it’s minced, not chopped.
  • Tomatoes: we like vine-ripened tomatoes, but any fresh, whole tomatoes will do; see them first, then finely chop.
  • Black Beans: drain and rinse canned beans for best texture.
  • Corn: we like frozen, not canned, to avoid unnecessary sodium. Use fresh if you can get it.
  • Bell Pepper: we used an orange one to enhance the color variety (and nutritional profile! Different colors = different vitamins and nutrients). Again, finely chopped.
  • Green Onion: sliced or chopped.
  • Cilantro: fresh, minced cilantro, more or less depending on taste.
  • Jalapeños: minced, with or without seeds depending on your preference for heat.
  • Seasonings: kosher salt, ground pepper, and cumin

Our secret trick for GREAT salsa

Layered flavors!! Instead of throwing everything into a bowl and calling it good, try this instead:

  1. Macerate the onions and garlic to remove the bitter bite. You’ll let ’em sit with an acid (lime juice) and salt for 10 minutes or so. PS – this is also the trick to making really good guacamole and hummus.
  2. Salt the tomatoes – this will remove the water, and you’ll be rewarded with chunky salsa, not salsa soup.

We promise these extra steps will make your fresh chunky salsa with corn and black beans even better!

How to make Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Chop, chop! Black Bean and Corn Salsa is easy to make, but time is also an important “ingredient.” This recipe is perfect for party prepping in advance, as fresh squeezed lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and cumin need at least an hour to help marry the flavors of the tomatoes, corn, onions, and peppers.

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