Make Ahead

Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad)

October 11, 2022
10 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

I wanted to make an elote that was a little bit more eater-friendly. This dish can be eaten as a side or makes a nice dip with tortilla chips.

Helpful tools for this recipe:
- Nordic Ware Baking Sheets
- Food52 x Rosti Mixing Bowl
- Five Two Wooden Spoons


Test Kitchen Notes

Elote, the very popular grilled Mexican street corn, can usually only be made when fresh corn on the cob is in season. Which makes sense, considering it's the star ingredient! And grilling the corn over high heat gives you this charred, unforgettably deep flavor that's beautifully balanced out with creamy Cotija cheese and a kick of ancho chile powder. But here's a version that takes the corn off the cob, which is traditionally known in Mexico as esquites. The best part is that the corn doesn't have to be in season, and you don't have to use the grill, so you can make this simple yet supremely satisfying recipe any time of the year.

The best way to mimic that charred sweet street corn is to turn on your broiler and cook the corn on the highest heat setting possible. You could also get the same results if you cook the corn in a super-hot wok if you don't want to use the broiler. You should definitely try to track down Cotija cheese to get the best results possible, but feel free to add finely chopped scallions or jalape├▒os if you have some on hand. Since you can serve this salad warm or at room temperature, it'd be great for a picnic or barbecue. Not a fan of spice? Just add the chile powder to taste, or omit it entirely if you have spice-sensitive eaters. With just a handful of ingredients that results in tons of flavor, you'll find yourself making this over and over again. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • 2 pounds frozen corn kernels (or fresh if corn is in season)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat the broiler. Defrost the corn and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil, stirring once halfway through, for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the cheese, cilantro, mayonnaise, sour cream, lime zest, lime juice, and ancho chile powder; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the roasted corn to the cheese mixture and stir to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Raynettetasha
  • Kimberly Johnson-Walls
    Kimberly Johnson-Walls
  • Nedmama
  • Cperk082893

6 Reviews

Nedmama February 12, 2023
This is so easy and tastes great! This could be used as a side or dip with chips. Great party food!
Cperk082893 September 4, 2022
Amazing! Best elote ever! Hit if the party.
Homee2010 April 9, 2022
Googled an elote recipe, made this one because of its 5-star rating. Can't say anything but to add to that 5-star rating. It was excellent.
Raynettetasha January 23, 2022
Once you have all the ingredients, this is an easy dish. I subbed the ancho chili powder for 1 teaspoon of Spanish paprika and a dash of chili powder.

It was a crowd favorite.
Kimberly J. January 5, 2021
It has a name. It is esquites
Jaxxon5ive January 18, 2022
| "...which is traditionally known in Mexico as esquites."

As noted in the text.