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Esquites is a tasty corn salad topped with chili powder and cotija cheese. It’s incredibly delicious, easy to whip up, and makes a perfect side!

Esquites is one of our favorite Mexican-style corn side dishes, right up there with Mexican Street Corn and Mexican Corn on the Cob!

Esquites in a plastic cup with lime and cilantro.


esquites = Mexican Street Corn Cups

Elote is the Mexican name for grilled corn on the cob. It is served on a stick or with the husks pulled down to make a handle and topped with spices and cheese.

Esquites are essentially the same grilled or boiled corn, but removed from the cob, served in a cup, and eaten with a spoon. In fact, esquites are sometimes called “elote en vaso” or “corn in a cup”.

It’s one of our favorite side dishes because:

  • It’s so flavorful! With the creamed corn with creamy mayo, cotija cheese, lime juice, and chili powder and it is so delicious and tasty.
  • Pairs perfectly. Whether it’s Tacos, Bean Burritos, Chimichangas or Flautas, this Esquites is the perfect side for so many recipes!
  • Can be made ahead. This is a great side that can be made ahead and store in the fridge or places in a slow cooker on warm.

Now you do not have to go to Mexico to buy these from street vendors. You can make it at home!

Ingredients

  • Corn. We used frozen corn, but when corn is in season you can cut fresh corn right off the cob to make this delicious dish.
    • To add an extra layer of flavor, grill the corn on the cob, then cut the kernels off the ears of corn. In this case, you would skip step 2. Toss the grilled corn kernels with the warm mayo mixture and continue with step 5.
    • In a pinch, use canned corn. Drain and cook according to the recipe.
    • To use corn cobs to make this dish note that 2 medium ears of corn can yield about 2 cups of corn kernels which is about 5 oz.
  • Mayo. Substitute mayo for miracle whip or Greek yogurt, but it will alter the taste and consistency of the recipe slightly.
  • Mexican Cream. Sour Cream can also be used.
  • Lime Juice
  • Salted Butter
  • Cheese. We use cotija, but you can also use Mexican queso fresco.
  • Seasonings + Toppings. Garlic Salt (with parsley flakes), chili powder, cilantro and fresh limes cut into wedges.
How to make corn esquites by adding cream sauce to corn kernels.

How to Make Esquites

  1. SAUCE. In a small bowl, combine mayo, crema, garlic salt, and lime juice. Set aside.
  2. CORN. In a medium pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the corn and cover.
  3. SIMMER + COOK. Bring back to a simmer and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the corn is cooked through. Drain water and return the corn kernels to the skillet and cook until a few pieces are a little browned/charred.
  4. MIX + SERVE. Add butter and the mayo-crema mixture and cook until combined. Divide into cups and top with cotija, chili powder, and fresh cilantro. Serve warm.

Elote in a cup is often served warm but can be served chilled. It just depends on your preference.

Variations

Since this esquites recipe is served in a cup you can play around with the ingredients a little more than you can when you’re serving Elote.

  • add lime wedges to each cup
  • diced avocado
  • green onions
  • spice it up with jalapeños or serrano peppers

Really that is what makes cooking the best – taking a delicious recipe and making it your own.

How to Store

Make ahead of time. Combine mayo, crema, garlic salt, and lime juice and store it in a container in the fridge. Boil and simmer the corn as directed in step two.

Drain the corn and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. When you are ready to make the esquites, proceed with step 3. 

STORE. Place any esquites leftovers in an airtight container. It can last in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Reheat in the microwave or stovetop until warm.

Corn esquites in a plastic cup with lime and cilantro.

For more Mexican Sides:

5 from 32 votes

Esquites

By: Lil’ Luna
Esquites is a tasty corn salad topped with chili and cotija cheese. It's incredibly delicious, easy to whip up, and makes a perfect side!
Servings: 4
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

Ingredients 

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • cup Mexican Crema, or sour cream
  • garlic salt (with parsley flakes)
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 (12-ounce) bags frozen corn
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • ½ cup cotija cheese
  • chili powder, to taste
  • cilantro, for garnish
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges for garnish

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, combine mayo, crema, garlic salt, and lime juice. Set aside.
  • In a medium pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Once boiling, add corn and cover. Bring back to a simmer and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the corn is cooked through.
  • Drain water and return the corn to a pan and cook until a few pieces are a little browned/charred. Add butter and the mayo-crema mixture and cook until combined.
  • Divide into cups and top with cotijja, chili powder, and cilantro. Serve warm.
  • Serves 4-6.

Video

Notes

Make ahead of time. Combine mayo, crema, garlic salt, and lime juice and store it in a container in the fridge. Boil and simmer the corn as directed in step two.
Drain the corn and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. When you are ready to make the esquites, proceed with step 3. 
STORE. Place any esquites leftovers in an airtight container. It can last in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Reheat in the microwave or stovetop until warm.

Nutrition

Calories: 486kcal, Carbohydrates: 64g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 48mg, Sodium: 443mg, Potassium: 779mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 345IU, Vitamin C: 24mg, Calcium: 140mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Making this recipe? Tag us!
Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lilluna, so we can see what you’re creating in the kitchen!


About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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