Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad) Recipe

If you've been to Mexico, you've no doubt experienced Mexican street corn either on the cob, known as "elote" or "esquites." The sweet crisp corn paired with the spicy, creamy dressing makes for a delicious snack or side dish and is easy to whip together. Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe and says, "My favorite thing about this salad is how fresh it tastes and how versatile it is. It's a perfect side dish for an outdoor barbeque, a great appetizer with tortilla chips, delicious added to a green salad, or even good piled high in a baked potato. 

Although you can make this salad with canned or frozen corn, it's so much better made with corn on the cob that has been charred on all sides. The grilled flavor really comes through and adds a smokiness that you just won't get with canned corn." Read on to learn how to make this famous Mexican street corn salad.

Gather the ingredients

To make this recipe, you'll need to visit the produce aisle for some fresh corn, a red pepper, a jalapeño, red onion, cilantro, and some limes. Then you'll need some mayonnaise, sour cream and cotija cheese, and some pantry staples like avocado oil, salt, and Tajin

According to Hahn, "If you can't find the cotija cheese, feta cheese is a good substitute and if you prefer to make this recipe vegan just use vegan mayo, dairy-free sour cream, and dairy-free feta cheese," 

Roast the corn

To roast the corn, you can put it on an outdoor grill, use a griddle or grill pan on your stovetop, or you can cook it in batches in a cast iron skillet. Add the oil to whatever cooking vessel you are using and bring the heat to high. If you are using a griddle with a temperature gauge, bring the heat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Place the corn on the surface and cook for 30-45 minutes, turning every 5-10 minutes until the corn is charred in some areas. When it's done, let it cool for about 10 minutes. Then, slice the corn off the cob and transfer it to a large bowl.

Chop the other ingredients

You'll have some time while the corn is cooking to prepare the other vegetables. Dice the red pepper, jalapeño, red onion, and cilantro. According to Hahn, "We are going for a small dice here so that everything is roughly the same size as the corn kernels. Having everything cut up small makes this salad easy to eat and ensures that you get a mix of everything in one bite. 

When cutting the jalapeño, remove the ribs and discard the seeds to keep the heat to a minimum. For the cilantro, we want mostly the leaves, but a few stems mixed in will be fine."

Make the dressing, toss, and serve

The dressing for the esquites is quick and easy. Grab a small bowl and combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, Tajin, and salt. Toss this with the corn mixture and serve. 

The salad will last well for up to 3 days if stored in a sealed container in the fridge. Hahn says, "It may be a little dry after it sits in the fridge, so squeeze on some fresh lime and stir well when serving as leftovers. Enjoy your fresh little taste of Mexico!

Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad) Recipe
4.9 from 36 ratings
Esquites, or Mexican street corn salad, is a delicious dish that's easy to whip up whenever needed. All you need are the ingredients and the perfect recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Corn salad in two bowls
Total time: 45 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 8 ears of corn
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 jalapeño
  • ¼ red onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Juice from 1½ limes
  • 1 teaspoon Tajin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cotija cheese
  1. Heat up a grill pan to high heat and add the oil. Place the corn on the grill pan and cook for about 30 minutes, turning every 5-10 minutes until the corn is charred in some areas. When the corn is done, cut the corn from the cob.
  2. While the corn is cooking, dice the red pepper, jalapeño, red onion, and cilantro.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, Tajin, and salt.
  4. Add the red pepper, jalapeño, red onion, cilantro, and cheese to the bowl with the corn. Toss with dressing and serve.
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