Easy 15 minute Mexican street corn salad will quickly become a favorite esquites recipe to eat and share with others.
Frozen roasted corn and a tangy creamy and lime based dressing makes corn esquites the perfect side dish for a potluck, BBQ, alongside chicken or ribs, or even as a delicious vegetarian lunch.
What are Esquites?
If you haven’t heard the term corn esquites before, it’s the authentic Mexican term for a popular creamy corn snack served in a small cup. In the US, it’s more commonly known as Mexican corn salad or Mexican street corn salad.
The word esquites comes from the Nahuatl word ízquitl, which means “toasted corn.”
Street corn (or elote) is a popular corn dish served from food carts in Mexico and corn esquites is the salad version. While we haven’t had authentic corn esquites in Mexico itself, we have eaten this many times in the U.S.
Mexican Street Corn Salad
You know your recipe is a winner when your entire family stands at the counter wanting to eat samples straight from the bowl. THAT was this recipe! Not only did we devour the entire bowl of corn salad, I can honestly say this is the BEST Mexican street corn salad recipe!
And not only did 3 of us finish off the salad, but my teenage son asked if we could have corn esquites AGAIN the next day! And my early 20’s daughter (who doesn’t like to cook), asked if I’d teach her how to make it haha!
I am not even joking here, this quickly has become one of our most favorite salad recipes. Do not walk to get these ingredients….you must run! Run Forest Run!
Mexican corn salad made with frozen corn can literally be enjoyed all year long, no need to wait until August or September for that bumper crop of corn! It is perfect along side any grilled meats, my favorite is either with grilled chicken or baby back ribs. No joke here, this will be my new go-to potluck and “must serve to guests” salad.
Anything that’s easy AND looks impressive is a winner in our recipe book!
Ingredients for Easy Mexican Corn Salad
You won’t believe how simple it is learning how to make an esquites recipe with frozen corn. Using already cooked corn that is usually in my freezer, truly makes this Mexican corn salad a piece of cake.
While you of course CAN start with fresh corn and cut the corn from the cob, my esquites recipe hack is to not only buy frozen corn, but to buy frozen ROASTED corn.
16 oz bag frozen roasted corn (or regular frozen corn)- Defrosted
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp sour cream
1/2 cup cotija (Mexican Parmesan cheese), crumbled
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup red onion, diced
3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1.4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp chili powder
Making the Esquites Recipe
If you’ve been wondering how to make esquites and have questioned whether it’s too complicated, I’m here to re-assure you it is SO simple! Literally, you prep your ingredients, dump all of them in a bowl, mix it up and garnish.
Before you start, make sure your frozen corn is defrosted and drained. You can either defrost it in the fridge earlier in the day or microwave in a covered dish with 2 Tbsp of water and cook on high 5 minutes.
Either way, make sure to drain the corn or it’ll dilute your esquites dressing, once it’s added.
Put the corn in a medium sized bowl.
Add all other ingredients to the bowl- mayonnaise, sour cream, juice of one lime, cotija cheese, cilantro, red onion, sea salt, and chili powder.
Stir the Mexican corn salad until all ingredients are combined.
Garnish with more cilantro, chili powder and/or cheese if desired.
If you want your Mexican street corn salad to have more of a kick, sprinkle a pinch of cayenne pepper on top.
Tah dah! The easiest esquites recipe ever!
Corn Esquites Recipe Tips
What can I use instead of Cotija cheese?
Seeking out and purchasing cotija cheese has been such an eye opening experience in our household. While you CAN substitute feta cheese in a pinch, there truly isn’t an exact substitute for this amazing and tangy cheese. It doesn’t quite taste like parmesan although it’s known as a Mexican parmesan.
We purchased ours from Trader Joes and I believe it was around $4. We ALWAYS keep cotija cheese in our fridge now! It literally goes with everything and is a fantastic crumbly cheese when you want to use something other than feta or blue cheese in a recipe.
Kinds of Corn
While this esquites recipe uses frozen corn, you can definitely substitute drained canned corn or fresh corn off the cob (cooked first of course. Each ear of corn yields about 3/4 cup of corn.
The roasted corn flavor from the frozen corn we used adds a nice zing but it isn’t essential if you can’t find roasted frozen corn at your local grocery store. Trader Joes DOES carry a roasted frozen corn but I haven’t checked at other grocery stores.
Also, using either yellow or white corn would work as well!
Other Related Recipes You’ll Love
- 16 oz bag frozen roasted corn (or regular frozen corn)- Defrosted
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp sour cream
- 1/2 cup cotija (Mexican Parmesan cheese), crumbled
- Juice of one lime
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
You can quickly defrost the corn in a microwave covered dish with 2 Tbsp water for 5 mins. Drain before proceeding, prep other ingredients while the corn defrosts.
- Put the defrosted and drained corn in a medium sized bowl.
- Add all other ingredients to the bowl- mayonnaise, sour cream, juice of one lime, cotija cheese, cilantro, red onion, sea salt, and chili powder.
- Stir the Mexican corn salad until all ingredients are combined.
- Garnish with more cilantro, chili powder and/or cheese if desired.
- If you want your Mexican street corn salad to have more of a kick, sprinkle a pinch of cayenne pepper on top.
- Serves 4, enjoy either at room temperature or cold.
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 253Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 33mgSodium 457mgCarbohydrates 23gNet Carbohydrates 0gFiber 2gSugar 8gSugar Alcohols 0gProtein 7g
Be sure to pin the recipe for later on Pinterest so you can get back to it!
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