Best Grilled Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)

Kid FriendlyGluten Free

This Easy Mexican Street Corn Salad makes the perfect side for taco night and summer BBQ’s. Made with grilled sweet corn, roasted red pepper, cojita cheese and a chili lime cream sauce this equites recipe is bursting with flavor in every bite!

Looking for more grilled corn recipes? You need to try my Grilled Chili Lime Sweet Corn Salad or my Grilled Corn Salad with Jalapeño Dressing! They are on point!

a bowl filled with grilled mexican street corn salad topped with limes

Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)

Y’all tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, and I know it’s not an American holiday but I feel like we’ve adopted it and made it our own. Honestly, it’s probably one of my favorite holidays. Because what better way to celebrate than with guacamole, chips, salsa, tacos and margaritas! Now, that is MY kind of party!

As I was trying to think of what to make I realized I have a lot of unique recipes out there, but not a lot of “basics.” Well, today we are going back to the basics. Mexican Street Corn is all the way – but in salad form! You’re gonna love it!

grilled corn and crema in a bowls

What is Mexican Street Corn – AKA Elote?

Mexican Street Corn or Elote is sweet corn that is grilled over an open fire till it’s slightly charred on all sides. Then the corn is slathered in a sour cream and mayo combination then rolled in crumbled cojita cheese and garnished with chili powder, cilantro and lime juice! It is literally heaven on earth! 

What is Esquites?

Ok, now that you know what elote is, let’s talk about esquites. Essentially, elote is grilled corn on the cob topped with all the above things and it’s with the husks pulled down to make a handle. Esquites, or Mexican Street Corn Salad,  is the same corn, it’s just removed from the cob and served in a cup with lime juice, chili powder, hot sauce, cotija cheese, salt and mayo. So one is on the cob, the other is off the cob.

My version of Esquites is similar to the original but a bit different because I add a few extra ingredients because I like amp things up a bit!

A bowl filled with grilled corn, beans, cheese and herbs

a bowl of esquites salad being tossed together

Esquites Ingredients

  • Sweet Corn: I prefer to use fresh corn in this recipe because I grill it to add extra flavor. However, if you only have canned or frozen you could do use that as well.
  • Roasted Red Pepper: I love the pop of color and the flavor from the roasted red pepper instead of fresh added a nice change in taste that pairs perfectly with the rest of the corn salad. 
  • Green Onion: I like to add sliced green onions to this fresh corn salad to brighten it up a bit.
  • Cojita Cheese: It’s a crumbly mexican cheese that typically comes in a block and you crumble it on your own. It kinda looks like feta cheese, but it’s a lot less salty! It’s great crumbled on tacos too.
  • Cilantro: Adding fresh herbs at the end of a dish always brings a dish together and brightens it up!
  • Black Beans: Adding black beans gives this salad more “protein” and makes it a little more of a meal as opposed to a light side. If you want to leave the black beans out, that’s ok too. 
  • Dressing: Typically Mexican Street Corn is slathered in a cream sauce made from mayonnaise, sour cream (or Mexican crema) and a few other items. My version has a little bit of mayonnaise, greek yogurt, lime juice, chili powder, ancho chili powder (for some heat) and smoked paprika. It’s like a chili lime cream sauce that you’ll be obsessed with!

a bowl of grilled mexican street corn esquites salad topped with fresh cilantro

How to Make Esquites/Mexican Street Corn Salad 

I like to make my Mexican Street Corn on the grill instead of sautéd in butter. It adds another flavor dimension from the smoky grill and you’re not adding butter to the dish either, which saves on calories. Here’s how to make esquites:

  1. Preheat grill to medium high heat, about 375-400°F.
  2. Make the Chili Lime Cream Sauce: to a small bowl add mayo, plain yogurt, lime juice, smoked paprika, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined and smooth. Set aside.
  3. Grill Corn: Shuck corn and place directly on grill. Grill each side for 3-4 minutes or until it’s slightly charred on all sides then remove from grill and let cool. Once corn has cooled down, slice the corn off the cob into a large bowl using a large knife.
  4. Assemble Salad: to the large bowl with the corn add roasted red pepper, fresh cilantro, green onion,  cotija cheese, black beans and chili lime cream sauce. Using a spoon gently toss to coat everything with the sauce and serve.

side photo of a bowl filled with esquites salad

Tips for the Best Esquites:

Obviously, when you go to the internet you’re going to find thousands of ways to make an epic Mexican corn salad. Here are the tips & tricks I use to make my dish pop.

  • Grill it, don’t pan sear it. Yes, the traditional recipe calls for you to sauté the corn in butter. But honestly you get so much more flavor if you use fresh corn and place it directly on the grill. The char flavor adds a smoky flavor that sautéing in butter just cannot!
  • Chili Powder is a key component to Mexican street corn. It’s what you see sprinkled on top of the corn right before serving. I like to use two different kinds of chili powder. One that has that classic chili powder taste and then an ancho chili powder, made from ancho chilis that gives just a little bit of spice to change up the flavors.
  • Add the sauce and fresh cilantro right before serving, this keeps the integrity of the dish so it doesn’t get soggy. Keeping the cilantro for the end brightens the dish right up and keeps it at it’s freshest state!
  • Serve it warm. You can serve this corn salad warm or cold, I just like it warm because it reminds me of the way Mexican street corn is served. Fresh and hot off the grill!

What to Serve with Esquites

a bowl filled with best grilled mexican street corn salad topped with cilantro

Print
a bowl of grilled mexican street corn salad topped with fresh cilantro

Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites Recipe)

  • Author: Krista
  • prep_time Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • cook_time Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • total_time Total Time: 20 minutes
  • yield Yield: 5 -6 1x
  • category Category: Salad
  • method Method: Grill
  • cuisine Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This Easy Mexican Street Corn Salad makes the perfect side for taco night and summer BBQ’s. Made with grilled sweet corn, roasted red pepper, cojita cheese and a chili lime cream sauce this equites recipe is bursting with flavor in every bite!

Scale

Ingredients

  • 7 ears of sweet corn, shucked
  • 1 roasted red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion
  • 2/3 cup crumbled cojita cheese
  • 1 cup low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

Chili Lime Cream Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons mayo (I use Dukes)
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to medium high heat, about 375-400°F.
  2. To a small bowl add mayo, plain yogurt, lime juice, smoked paprika, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined and smooth. Set aside.
  3. Place corn directly on grill and grill each side for 3-4 minutes or until it’s slightly charred on all sides. Remove from grill. Once corn has cooled down, slice the corn off the cob and into a large bowl.
  4. To the large bowl of corn add roasted red pepper, fresh cilantro, green onion,  cotija cheese, black beans and chili lime cream sauce.
  5. Using a spoon gently toss to coat everything with the sauce and serve.

Keywords: mexican street corn salad recipe, mexican street corn sauce, what is mexican street corn, cinco de mayo recipes, esquites recipe, como hacer esquites, how to make esquites

pinterest image for best grilled mexican street corn salad recipe

pinterest image for best grilled mexican street corn salad recipe

pinterest image for best grilled mexican street corn salad recipe

DON’T MISS A RECIPE ->

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | BLOGLOVIN | INSTAGRAM

Hey There

Krista
Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football! { more }

Related Posts

Leave a Reply