We Tried 4 Corn Salad Recipes from Celebrities — Here's the Most Corn-Tastic One

Plus why the winner, and her dish, surprised us!

Headshots of Reese Witherspoon, Chrissy Teigen and her mom, Pepper, Cameron Diaz, and Ree Drummond sit on a teal background surrounded by bowls of corn salads prepared from their recipes.
Photo: Tyrel Stendahl/Dotdash Meredith Design

Summer may be coming to an end, but corn season is still in full swing. To celebrate the internet's favorite vegetable I decided to give four celebrities' corn salad recipes a try to get to the bottom of whose aren't worth another go, and whose are shuckin' a-maize-ing!

Our Celebrity Corn Salad Recipe Taste Test

Reese Witherspoon's Family Corn Salad

A Headshot of Reese Witherspoon sits on a teal background with a bowl full of corn salads prepared from her recipe.
Tyrel Stendahl/Dotdash Meredith Design

Reese is a born-and-bred Southern girl, so I had high hopes for her family's corn salad. With roots in Georgia, Tennessee, and Louisiana, I expected it to include Southern ingredients like mayonnaise, bacon, beans, or green peppers, but surprisingly it had none of those things. It turned out to be the lightest, freshest option from the entire test.

The recipe — which is credited to Dorothea, Reese's grandmother — is packed with fresh summer herbs like basil, cilantro, chives, tarragon, and parsley, and tossed with a zippy shallot-Dijon vinaigrette that packed an acidic punch. This recipe was also notably the only in the batch that kept the corn raw, letting its sweetness really shine. Since it is served raw, make sure you're using the best, in-season corn you can find if you're going to make this dish.

Leaving the corn raw meant this salad came together in minutes and I love that it was simple, with a handful of ingredients, several of which I could pull from my garden. Ultimately, this corn salad was tasty and light, but lacking in something rich like cheese or bacon to balance out all that acid and tie the dish together. That being said, I did try dipping a few tortilla chips in this salad @BakedByMelissa style and it was delicious as a corn salad-salsa hybrid.

Ree Drummond's Corn Salad

A Headshot of Ree Drummond sits on a teal background with a bowl full of corn salads prepared from her recipe.
Tyrel Stendahl/Dotdash Meredith Design

I had to include a recipe from The Pioneer Woman herself for good measure. Drummond has numerous corn salad recipes, but for this taste test, I went with her Grilled Corn Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette. The recipe called for grilling the corn, along with sweet onion, but I don't have a grill so I used these tips to get the same effect with my cast-iron skillet. The charred quality really came through and added a lovely depth of savory, summery flavor to the whole salad.

The first thing that occurred to me was that this salad is hearty. Chock full of grilled corn, pinto beans, avocado, and yellow tomatoes (sidenote: not sure why Ree specifies yellow tomatoes), this salad was filling. A couple of bites in, I was nearing full, so I could see this salad pulling focus — and appetites — away from the rest of the spread at a BBQ.

I did love the cilantro dressing, which blended up in no time in my food processor. Make sure to season and taste with salt and pepper as you go; my salad needed some salt by the end. The addition of pimiento peppers added a pop of color, but I wish they brought more actual spice (I ended up adding a few dashes of hot sauce on top of mine). In the end, I liked this one a lot and loved that the avocado added richness, but felt it was — like Reese's — missing a salty or crunchy element.

Pepper Teigen's Corn Salad

A Headshot of Chrissy and Pepper Teigen sits on a teal background with a bowl full of corn salads prepared from Pepper's recipe.
Tyrel Stendahl/Dotdash Meredith Design

If you don't know Pepper Teigen (aka Chrissy Teigen's mom), you should by now. Not only is she a delightful presence on the internet, but she's also the force behind much of Chrissy's prowess and curiosity in the kitchen. After an initial read-through of the recipes, I have to admit I was the most excited to try Pepper's corn salad. With ingredients like bacon, fish sauce, and chilies, I had high hopes that it would be packed with flavor.

And the final product did not disappoint. This recipe has a lot going for it. For one, the corn gets sautéed in bacon fat, which imbues it with a smoky, delicious flavor. There's also a great variety of color and texture going on in this salad. From sweet cherry tomatoes that get kissed with heat to release their juices, to crispy, salty bacon, to the sliced chilies that add a little spice, this corn salad is a veritable party in the mouth. Shockingly, the fish sauce didn't overpower the salad either but rather enhanced all the smoky, sweet, salty corn goodness going on in there.

It was my favorite salad until I tried the last, but I could easily see myself making this recipe again, especially since it can also be made with frozen corn year-round. With so much else going on in there, Pepper's salad doesn't rely as heavily on sweet, fresh corn for balance as Reese's or Ree's salads.

One final note: this salad does come out fairly warm, which I liked, but felt like this was worth noting because warm avocado can turn some people off. If you're not a fan of warm avocado, add the slices on top, rather than mixing them in.

Cameron Diaz's Corn Salad

A Headshot of Cameron Diaz sits on a teal background with a bowl full of corn salads prepared from her recipe.
Tyrel Stendahl/Dotdash Meredith Design

Of all the recipes, this was not the one I expected to love. For one thing, I didn't even know Cameron Diaz liked to cook, let alone develop recipes. But when she posted this recipe(ish) on her Instagram two summers ago, the internet went wild. I never got around to trying it, so when this Taste Test came up, I knew I had to give it a shot.

Cameron's corn salad is super easy to make — like simple-enough-to-fit-in-an-Instagram-caption easy. It essentially involves making a quick vinaigrette with fresh orange juice, olive oil, and champagne vinegar. I couldn't find champagne vinegar at my grocery store, so I substituted a mix of white wine vinegar and sherry vinegar.

The only actual cooking in this recipe is pan-frying the corn on high heat with a little olive oil until it "pops" and browns a bit. It took only a few minutes, but my corn did start to pop and get crunchy. It won't get popcorn-level crunchy, but the outsides get crispy and the centers stay creamy, adding a fun layer of texture to the whole salad. Finally, you mix the corn together with chopped sugar snap peas and the vinaigrette, then top with flaky salt, pepper, and crumbled feta cheese and that's it!

I was able to cook along with Cameron and the whole thing came together from start to finish in the same time as her video took, which is to say under 15 minutes. It makes about one serving for a light lunch or "summer snack", as she describes it, but could easily be multiplied to make a larger serving for a BBQ, potluck, or family dinner.

Simply put, I loved this salad! It was easy to make, straightforward, light yet full of flavor, and had such that perfect balance of textures, temperatures, and flavors that all the other salads fell short on. Salty, sweet, crunchy, and creamy, it was my ideal corn salad, and I've already made it several times since the initial test.

The Bottom Line

Never judge a book by its cover and never judge a recipe by its author! Cameron Diaz may be known for past acting roles like The Holiday, There's Something About Mary, and Charlie's Angels, but from now on, in my house, she'll be known for this corn salad. Thank you Cameron for my new go-to summer snack!

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