Esquites (Mexican Corn Salad)

Prep Time
Cook Time
Ready In

Recipe: #39279

August 09, 2022

"When I made this the first time...I wanted to eat it all! This is Mexican street food, simple but delicious. It is charred sweet corn with good ingredients that gives you just the right balance of smoky, spicy, tangy. We like it at room temp but can be eaten warm. I can see this as a main with shredded or chunked chicken. Serves 4-6 people as a side dish."

Original is 4 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (184.6 g)
  • Calories 226.4
  • Total Fat - 10.4 g
  • Saturated Fat - 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol - 4.9 mg
  • Sodium - 412.6 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 33.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 4 g
  • Sugars - 4.3 g
  • Protein - 6.1 g
  • Calcium - 68 mg
  • Iron - 1 mg
  • Vitamin C - 21.1 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.1 mg

Step by Step Method

Step 1

Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.

Step 2

Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted and golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Step 3

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Step 4

Remove from the heat and let the corn cool for a few minutes.

Step 5

Transfer the corn to a large bowl.

Step 6

Add the cilantro, jalapeño, Cotija, mayonnaise, lime juice, and chili powder, and stir to combine.

Step 7

Top with more Cotija and serve warm or at room temperature.


No special items needed.

Editorial Notes

The ingredient tips, suggestions, variations, facts, questions and answers below are not edits to the original author's recipe. They are not meant to imply any change would improve the recipe. They're offered for convenience, alternative ideas, and points of interest. If you have any comments about them, please post in the Help & Ideas forum.

  • For a milder flavor, use a milder chili powder like ancho chili powder.
  • If you can't find Cotija cheese, feta cheese can be used as a substitute.

  • Substitute olive oil for canola or vegetable oil - Olive oil is a healthier option than canola or vegetable oil, and it has a milder flavor that won't overpower the other ingredients in the recipe.
  • Substitute feta cheese for Cotija cheese - Feta cheese has a similar salty flavor to Cotija cheese, but it is lower in fat and calories, making it a healthier alternative. The creamy texture of feta will also help to bind the ingredients together.

Vegetarian Esquites Omit the Cotija cheese and replace the mayonnaise with an equal amount of vegan mayonnaise. Top with vegan cheese or nutritional yeast instead of Cotija.

Grilled Chicken Tacos - Grilled chicken tacos are the perfect accompaniment to Esquites. They provide a protein-packed option that pairs well with the smoky, spicy, and tangy flavors of the corn salad. The tacos are easy to make and can be customized to your taste with different toppings and sauces.

Pico de Gallo - Pico de gallo is a classic Mexican condiment that adds a delicious layer of flavor to Esquites. Its combination of fresh tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice, and salt adds a zesty, zingy flavor that complements the smoky and spicy flavors of the corn salad. It’s easy to make and can be served as a topping or a side dish.


Q: What type of oil should I use?

A: Canola or vegetable oil should be used for this recipe.

Q: How long should I cook the dish?

A: The dish should be cooked for approximately 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through.

2 Reviews


Got out my heavy duty cast iron pan to char the corn, other than having to sub the Cotija cheese (I did find a lovely block of Mexican Fiesta which I grated) made as posted. Love corn and bean salads and this combination for the Mexican corn is to love! Added to my 'Favourite Salads Cookbook'


review by:
(27 Sep 2023)


Yumee! We loved corn done this way. Everything from the garlic, cilantro, crema, etc. made it all taste fantastic! Mexicans know what they’re doing. Thanks so much, Luvcookn, for sharing. Made it for FYC.


review by:
(5 Sep 2022)

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Fun facts:

The dish Esquites is believed to have originated in the Mexican state of Hidalgo in the 1950s. It is a popular street food in Mexico and is served in a cup with a spoon.

The dish has become increasingly popular in the United States in recent years, with celebrities such as Selena Gomez, Eva Longoria, and Pitbull all enjoying it. It is also a favorite among chefs such as Bobby Flay and Rick Bayless.