Mexican Street Corn Salad Recipe (Esquites Recipe)
This easy side dish is full of fresh, zingy flavor! Mexican Street Corn Salad is a twist on my favorite Mexican restaurant’s Elote recipe but made even easier. A great addition to any party and quick enough for a fun weeknight dinner.
Originally published in May 2017 and updated in June 2019.
I think when you get to this point in the year….you just yearn a bit more for summer. The seesawing weather really affects my mood to the point that I just want it to get hot, already, so I’m sweating profusely and need to eat ALL the watermelon within a five mile radius.
Everything about the summer is better….beyond the weather. The produce is spectacular, the sounds of the evening are soothing and the summer cookouts always have the best dishes. Like creamy macaroni salad spiked with lobster, sweet and caramelized baked beans and now….Mexican Street Corn Salad…..or Esquites.
I’m a little obsessed with corn on the cob…it’s the best part of summer. Dripping with butter and salted more than the average person would like, I could eat a dozen ears all by myself.
So, when I started to see drippy, cheesy Elote (Mexican Street Corn) popping up all over Pinterest years ago, I vowed to make it myself. And I did…but it’s a mess to eat. Like, you’ll have stains on every square inch of your clothes…or that’s just me.
That’s when I decided to turn it into a quick and easy side dish… and this Mexican Street Corn Salad Recipe was born. Now, I’m not claiming to have invented the salad concept….in fact, it seems they’re already enjoying it in Northern Mexico…..but I definitely improved upon it in my own way.
And, to be honest, I thought I DID come up with a pretty new idea until I googled it and then….there it was. Mexican Street Corn Salad, or Esquites, 50 billion ways. But I made my own anyway.
What is Esquites?
Esquites, or Esquites Receta, is the “salad” form of Mexico’s popular Elote…which is basically grilled or toasted corn on the cob with cheese, mayonnaise, crema and chili powder.
Esquites, commonly known in the United States as Mexican Street Corn Salad, is the easier way to enjoy Elote. Served on the streets in Mexico as a snack or dip, it’s basically Mexican corn in a cup (or elote in a cup if we’re splitting hairs here). No mess, no dental floss needed. And you’ll have a clean shirt after you stuff your face with this amazingness.
How to Make It
I started by charring the corn kernels in a skillet with a bit of oil. Just until they begin to smell toasty, then I let them cool before tossing with red onion, green onion, cilantro, jalapeño and cheese.
I whisked together sour cream, a little mayonnaise, a little more cheese, chili powder, cayenne and lime then tossed the salad to coat.
What to Serve with It
My favorite time to serve this easy Esquites recipe is at barbecues during the summertime. So naturally, these are my FAVORITE things to serve alongside this addicting side dish:
- Add a heaping spoonful to these Easy Beef Nachos
- Boost the flavor of this Grilled Fajita Salad with a some Esquites mixed in.
- Make it a dip with some Homemade Tortilla Chips
- Serve alongside these Easy Chicken Enchiladas
It really is the best tasting side dish I’ve ever made. Filled to the brim with vibrant flavor that is completely and utterly addicting. It’s so perfect served alongside some simple Barbecue Chicken or my favorite spicy ribs.
Mexican Street Corn Salad is definitely one of those dishes you’re going to make again and again and again. And AGAIN.
If you love this recipe, you should also try this Frito Corn Salad! It’s just as flavor packed with an extra salty crunch!
Mexican Street Corn Salad
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups corn kernels thawed, if frozen
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 jalapeno seeded and minced
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 ounces Cojita cheese crumbled
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- zest and juice of 2 limes
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn to the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes or until slightly charred, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
- Transfer the corn to a mixing bowl. Add the onion, jalapeño, green onion, cilantro and cheese. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime zest, lime juice, cayenne pepper and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the dressing over the corn mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with additional cilantro and Cojita cheese, if desired. Serve immediately