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Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)

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This Mexican Street Corn Salad is loaded with all the flavors of elote and esquites. You’ll love the fresh flavors of this salad–tangy crema dressing, cotija cheese, cilantro, chili and lime!

mexican street corn salad in a white bowl

After filming our tutorial for how to boil corn, we had lots of leftovers, which we put to delicious use. I made a batch of our Fresh Corn Salsa, we added some to burrito bowls, and I tested out a corn chowder recipe (maybe coming soon?). But I kept coming back to the idea of Mexican street corn.

Elote (served on the cob), and esquites (served off the cob in cups) are two Mexican corn recipes that channel some seriously delicious flavor into summer’s favorite vegetable. Made with goodies like crema or mayo, lime juice, cotija cheese, and chili powder, they’re full of vibrant flavor that’s a tasty change of pace from butter and salt.

In case you, too, find yourself with an abundance of summer sweet corn, today we’re sharing our family-friendly take on these two classic dishes. Our Mexican street corn salad uses a tangy lime crema sauce and all the classic flavor you love, in a family-size salad that’s great for a crowd!

Serve scoops of this elote-style salad next to your favorite Tex-Mex dishes, or plate it up at a weekend BBQ! It’s fresh, flavorful, and absolutely delicious!

Here’s what you need to make our Mexican street corn salad…

ingredients for mexican street corn salad

Here’s What You need To Make This MExican Corn Salad:

  • Fresh Corn. I’m using boiled corn, since it’s so easy and fresh. If you prefer, you can absolutely use grilled or charred corn for some extra smoky flavor.
  • Mayo. Some esquites recipes use a mix of sour cream (or Greek Yogurt!) and mayo, but I prefer an all-mayo dressing, since I get plenty of tang from the lime. Speaking of which…
  • Fresh Lime Juice. This is THE moment for fresh lime juice (rather than bottled), since it’ll give you the sweetest, freshest flavor.
  • Cotija Cheese. Some salty cotija cheese or queso fresco adds umami and saltiness to the dish. It’s LOVELY!
  • Chili Powder. I love the smokiness and warmth you get from just half teaspoon chili powder.
  • Cilantro. It’s bright and light. A must for me!
  • Jalapeño & Onion. For a little heat and depth, I add a little jalapeño (I add a LITTLE, but you can certainly add a lot!), and a tiny bit of red onion or green onion.

Extras You Can Add:

If you want to mix things up a bit, you can add:

  • a pinch or two of cayenne pepper for some kick
  • more jalpeño for extra heat
  • diced red bell pepper for some color and sweetness
  • fresh lime zest for some brightness
  • a clove of garlic or some garlic powder for some depth
  • a few dashes of hot sauce to turn up the spice level
making mexican street corn salad step by step

How To MAke Esquites, Step By Step:

  1. Prep The Corn. If you haven’t already, boil or grill the corn to cook it through, then use a sharp knife to cut the corn kernels off the cob. (You can also cut the corn off the cob and cook it in a large skillet with a little butter for 4-5 mins on medium high heat.)
  2. Mix Up The Dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, fresh lime juice, and chili powder. Taste the dressing and add salt and pepper or more chili powder, to taste.
  3. Combine The Salad. Add the corn to a large bowl, along with jalapeño, red onion, cotija cheese, and cilantro. Pour the dressing over the salad, and gently stir to combine. (For a pretty finish, garnish with a little extra cilantro, some lime zest, and cotija cheese)
  4. Serve & Store. Enjoy the salad right away, or cover and store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. (The salad will continue to soften over time.)
Esquites salad in a white bowl

FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Mexican Corn Salad:

Try Adding The Zest! My favorite twist on this elote salad is turning up the lime by adding the lime zest as well. You can add some along with the lime juice, or garnish with it at the end. The lime oils in the zest add SO much fresh lime flavor, which can be delicious with the heat and warmth of the jalapeño and chili powder.

Can’t Find Cotija or Queso Fresco? These fresh cheeses are in more stores than ever, but if yours doesn’t carry it, you can substitute parmesan cheese or feta cheese. (It’s not an exact substitute, but it can work in a pinch.)

Serving Ideas. This fresh Mexican street corn salad is light and fresh enough to pair beautifully with BBQ classics like grilled chicken or shrimp, ribs, or burgers. It’s also a natural side dish for Tex-Mex faves, like chicken tacos, honey lime tilapia, tostadas, and burrito bowls. You can also even scoop it up with our baked tortilla chips!

Tricks For Cooking Your Corn. My favorite way to prep the corn for corn salad is to boil the corn to keep the kernels plump, tender, and sweet. If you prefer, feel free to grill the corn for some char and smoky flavor! If corn isn’t in season, you can also pick up some frozen corn (I love the grilled/charred frozen corn from Trader Joe’s in the winter!)

what’s the difference between elote and esquites?

The basic flavor profile of these recipes is the same! The big difference is the way it’s served. Elote is served with all the toppings on the cob, whereas esquites is served off the cob, usually in cups for easy eating.

mexican street corn salad in a white bowl
 
 

More Summer Salad Recipes To Try:

 

⭐ Don’t forget to leave a star review and comment below when you make our Mexican Street Corn Salad recipe. I can’t wait to hear how it goes! Tag me on Instagram @onelovelylife1

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Esquites salad in a white bowl

Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Emily Dixon, One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups salad 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This Mexican Street Corn Salad is loaded with all the flavors of elote and esquites. You’ll love the fresh flavors of this salad–tangy crema dressing, cotija cheese, cilantro, chili and lime!


Ingredients

Scale

For The Salad:

  • 45 cups sweet corn (46 ears of corn)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese or queso fresco, crumbled
  • 12 Tbsp. finely minced jalapeño

For The Crema Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Optional extras:

  • black pepper, cayenne pepper, or additional cilantro or cotija, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prep The Corn. If you haven’t already, boil or grill the corn to cook it through, then cut the corn off the cob. (You can also cut the corn off the cob and cook it in a pan with a little butter for 4-5 minutes.)

  2. Mix Up The Dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, fresh lime juice, and chili powder. Taste the dressing and add salt and pepper or more chili powder, to taste.

  3. Combine The Salad. Add the corn to a large mixing bowl, along with jalapeño, red onion, cotija cheese, and cilantro. Pour the dressing over the salad, and gently toss to combine. (For a pretty finish, garnish with a little extra cilantro, some lime zest, and cotija cheese)

  4. Serve & Store. Enjoy the salad right away, or cover and store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. (The salad will continue to soften over time.)

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

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