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Mexican Street Corn Salad

Mexican Street Corn Salad, or Esquites, is creamy, spicy, and totally delicious. Perfect when fresh corn is in season and easier to eat than on the cob!

street corn in a bowl with a spoon

Mexican Street Corn Salad Recipe

Also known by the names esquites or elote, it is an easy, healthy, salad that will change the way you think about corn.

I love to eat it as a main dish but it is the perfect side dish alongside BBQ, burgers, or pulled pork. Think about how delicious this is with Pork Carnitas!!

What is Esquites?

And what is Elote? And how are they related?

Elote is the name for a Mexican dish that consists of grilled corn on the cob. It is traditionally served on a stick or with the husks peeled down and topped with a creamy dressing and Cotija cheese.

It’s authentic Mexican street corn is a popular treat sold by vendors on the streets of Mexico at various festivals.

What is the difference between elotes and esquites?

Esquites is the same dish but the corn is stripped off the cob and served in a cup. You can eat it with a spoon like a well-mannered person but I prefer it on the cob so it’s nice and messy:)

How do you eat esquites?

First off, I never thought I would think to eat corn with mayo, but I have to say that it really works!

Just prepare the grilled or charred corn as usual, strip it off the cob, and add the rest of ingredients. Stir to combine and eat as you like.

My favorite ways to eat it are in a pasta salad or in crispy wonton cups as an appetizer.

This street corn recipe will be your new favorite vegetarian and gluten free meal. Perfect for Meatless Mondays!

ingredients for the perfect summer recipe

Ingredients Needed

Corn kernels – Use fresh, frozen, canned, grilled, or roasted

Red onion – Substitute white onion if needed

Limes – Fresh lime juice and lime zest is best.

Bell peppers – Use red, yellow, or orange peppers.

Jalapeño – I prefer fresh but you can also use pickled.

Sour cream – Fat free or reduced fat will work. Substitute plain Greek yogurt if desired.

Salty Cotija cheese – A delicious salty and crumbly cheese. Substitute crumbled feta if you can’t find it.

Pantry staples – Unsalted butter or olive oil, salt, black pepper.

Garnish – Chopped fresh cilantro or sliced green onions.

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How to Make Mexican Corn Salad

First: In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter and the frozen corn. Cook for 8-10 minutes stirring often until the corn is cooked through and has a charred look to it.

Second: Remove from skillet and place in a large bowl. Add the red onion, lime juice, lime zest, bell pepper, cilantro, and jalapeño. Stir to combine.

Third: Add the sour cream and the Cotija cheese. Stir to complete. Serve immediately or chill and enjoy when ready.

For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.

Looking for more leftover worthy dishes? Follow LTB on Pinterest and pin to a board!

mexican street corn in a salad version

Is Mexican street corn served hot or cold?

Esquites is traditionally served warm or hot but I love it as a cold salad. Especially for topping my tacos or nachos. I also eat mine with tortilla chips.

What kind of corn do I use?

Fresh sweet corn is best but it’s not always available. Feel free to use frozen or canned because you will be charring it in a pan.

Traditional elotes are ears of corn that are grilled which adds a touch of smokiness!

What is Mexican Crema?

It’s Mexican version of sour cream which is thick and tangy. Feel free to substitute Mexican crema, plain Greek yogurt, lowfat mayonnaise, or French crème fraîche.

What can I use as a substitute for cotija cheese?

Feta cheese is the best alternative but also try Queso Fresco, Parmesan, or Romano. Just make sure it’s crumbled or grated to give the salad that signature texture!

How do you get corn off the cob?

You can cut the corn off the cob with a sharp knife but a corn cob tool is easier and safer!

esquites recipe in wonton cups

How to Serve it Mexican Street Corn

Serve it as a side dish, as a topping for tacos and nachos, in empanadas, or in wonton cups for a delicious and fancy appetizer!

How to Store it

Keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

If you are storing for later I would recommend leaving out the Cojita cheese until you are ready to serve. Otherwise it looses it’s yummy texture.

I would not recommend freezing this recipe. The sour cream and cheese won’t hold up well and it will get mushy and watery. No one likes that!

Tips for No Leftovers

  • If using canned corn, be sure to rinse it fully.
  • Want more veggies? Add black beans, sliced cherry tomatoes, and avocado slices!
  • More spice? Try a dash of hot sauce, chili powder, cumin, Southwest seasoning, taco seasoning, or Tajin.
  • Mix it with coleslaw or cooked pasta for a new salad twist.
  • Let it sit in the fridge for an hour to allow the flavors to fully mix before serving.
  • Serve with lime wedges if people prefer more brightness.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

collage of corn with text "mexican street corn"

Traditional street corn is great in salad form. This classic Mexican street food makes an easy summer salad full of delicious ingredients and the perfect addition to any meal.

square photo of corn salad in a white bowl

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Mexican Street Corn Salad, or Esquites, is creamy, spicy, and totally delicious. Perfect when fresh corn is in season and easier to eat than on the cob!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
  • 5 cups corn (I use the frozen white shoepeg variety)
  • 1/2 red onion (chopped fine)
  • 2 limes (zested, juiced, juice reserved separately)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 jalapeño (ribbed, seeded, and diced fine)
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3/4 cup Cojita cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter and the frozen corn.
  2. Cook for 8-10 minutes stirring often until the corn is cooked through and has a charred look to it.
  3. Remove from skillet and place in a large bowl.
  4. Add the red onion, lime juice, lime zest, bell pepper, cilantro, and jalapeño.
  5. Stir to combine.
  6. Add the sour cream and the Cojita cheese
  7. Stir to complete. Garnish with more cilantro or sliced green onion and a little lime zest.
  8. Enjoy with friends and a margarita!

Notes

  • If using canned corn, be sure to rinse it fully.
  • Want more veggies? Add black beans, sliced cherry tomatoes, and avocado slices!
  • More spice? Try a dash of hot sauce, chili powder, cumin, Southwest seasoning, taco seasoning, or Tajin.
  • Mix it with coleslaw or cooked pasta for a new salad twist.
  • Let it sit in the fridge for an hour to allow the flavors to fully mix before serving.
  • Serve with lime wedges if people prefer more brightness.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 145Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 81mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 5g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

LeftoversThenBreakfast.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encourages and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

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MS

Tuesday 15th of March 2022

this salad is delish!!! I didn't have cojita cheese so I used feta instead. After being in the fridge overnight the dressing got a little thick so I thinned it out with a little splash of milk! So good!!

Jennifer

Wednesday 16th of March 2022

So glad you liked it!

JOSIE ANN Kenkel

Wednesday 28th of October 2020

This was PERFECT with the homemade enchiladas I made last night! Great recipe!

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