Mexican Street Corn Salad, also commonly known as Esquites or Elote Salad, is a wonderful Mexican side dish. It is made with fresh grilled corn, coated in a tangy mayo and sour cream sauce, then mixed with cilantro and a tangy cheese like Cotija or feta. When you need a side dish for a Mexican dinner that isn’t beans and rice, this is the perfect recipe! It also makes a great appetizer with tortilla chips.
This dish was created as an easier way to eat Elote, which is a delicious Mexican street food. Corn on the cob is coated with mayo cream sauce, chili powder, lime and cheese. All these flavors are “deconstructed” and used in this Mexican Street Corn Salad recipe.
RELATED: Corn Salsa
Street Corn Salad Ingredients
This is the perfect dish to make when sweet corn is in season! Here are the ingredients you need to make Mexican Street Corn Salad:
- Corn on the cob – if you can find sweet corn on the cob, that is the best option! If not you can use frozen corn and sauté it in a pan until the edges start to darken.
- Cilantro – this is a classic herb used in a lot of cuisines across the world, including Mexican food. Cilantro adds a fresh herbaceous flavor to this dish.
- Cheese – Traditionally Cotija cheese is used in esquites. It can be a very strong cheese and isn’t necessarily available in all grocery stores. You can sub crumbled feta cheese as well. If you prefer something MUCH milder, try using a queso fresco.
- Lime – fresh lime juice balances and enhances all the flavors.
- Mayonnaise – mayonnaise is what is traditionally smeared on corn when making Elote. So it is the perfect base to use in the sauce for Street Corn Salad.
- Sour Cream – cuts the flavor of the mayo and adds creaminess to the dressing.
- Chipotle Pepper Chili Powder – this is a smokier version of traditional chili powder. If you cannot find it, just sub all chili powder!
- Garlic – Yum.
- Sugar – Balances all the flavors in the dressing.
Step by Step Picture Instructions
You can also pop over to Pinterest and watch Susie make this Mexican Street Corn Salad on a 30 min Pin TV Episode!
- Grill Corn
- Cut corn from the cob
Grill the corn over medium heat until some of the kernels start to brown.
If you can’t get the grill out (or don’t feel like doing it. LOL) you can also “grill” it on the stove top. See below- I used my grill pan and just rotated the corn until it starts to brown.
**if corn on the cob is out of season, just use frozen corn and pan fry it until some kernels start to blacken.
Once the corn cooled slightly, cut the corn kernels from the cob. There are two great ways to do this:
- Lay the corn on it’s side and use a large sharp knife to cut the corn on each side, rotating it about 4-5 times.
- Use a bundt pan to stand the corn up in the center hole, the corn will fall down into the bundt pan. We use this method when we make Creamed Corn. See photo:
In a bowl mix together all the dressing ingredients. I like to use a whisk so everything gets incorporated and there are no lumps of sour cream.
Mix the grilled corn with the salad dressing. Then add in cilantro and cheese. Give it a taste and add another squeeze of lime juice and salt and pepper if needed.
Garnish the dish with a sprinkle of chili powder and extra cheese. Can be served warm, room temp or cold.
Now that your Street Corn Salad is ready, there are loads of ways you can serve it:
- Serving Suggestions:
- Enjoy the salad as a side dish alongside classic Mexican favorites like tacos, enchiladas, or grilled meats.
- Serve it as a light lunch or dinner by pairing it with a protein of your choice, such as grilled chicken or shrimp.
- Top a Mexican Salad with a large scoop of this Esquites
- Use it as a filling for soft tortillas to create flavorful street corn tacos.
- Eat the street corn salad as a dip with tortilla chips or Frito scoops.
- Use like a salsa, as a condiment for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and quesadillas.
Here are some great Mexican dishes to serve with your Mexican Street Corn Salad. Click any link to be redirected to the full recipe:
- For an extra layer of flavor, add diced tomatoes, diced red onion or roasted red bell peppers to the salad.
- Add some jalapeno for a little spice and flavor.
- Give the salad a spicy kick by drizzling some hot sauce or sprinkling cayenne pepper on top.
- For added crunch, consider tossing in some roasted pumpkin seeds.
More Mexican Side Dishes
Street Corn Salad Recipe (aka. Esquites)
- 6-8 ears of corn – shucked you will need 4 cups of corn (see note #1)
- 3 tablespoon Mayonnaise
- 3 Tbsp. Sour cream
- 1 tablespoon Fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 Garlic clove – minced
- ½ tsp. Kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. Sugar
- ¾ tsp. Chili powder
- ½ tsp. Chipotle chili pepper powder
- ¼ cup Cilantro – chopped
- ½ cup Feta cheese – crumbled or Cotija cheese
- Grill the corn turning every 30 seconds or so until it is charred in spots and bright yellow (about 5-10 minutes depending on the temp of your grill).If you don't have a grill you can pan fry the corn until it is charred in some spots. I have used my grill pan for this multiple times.6-8 ears of corn – shucked
- Set aside to cool and then cut the kernels of corn off of the cob.Lay the corn on it's side and use a large sharp knife to cut the corn on each side, rotating it about 4-5 times.Or use a bundt pan to stand the corn up in the center hole, the corn will fall down into the bundt pan. See photo:
- To make the dressing: In a medium sized bowl, combine the mayo, sour cream, lime juice, garlic, salt, sugar, chili powder and chipotle chili powder. Stir to combine.*if you don't have chipotle chili powder just use all regular chili powder.3 tablespoon Mayonnaise, 3 Tbsp. Sour cream, 1 tablespoon Fresh squeezed lime juice, 1 Garlic clove – minced, ½ tsp. Kosher salt, ¼ tsp. Sugar, ¾ tsp. Chili powder, ½ tsp. Chipotle chili pepper powder
- Add in the 4 cups of charred corn and lightly toss to combine.
- Add in the cilantro and the cheese and give a quick stir. Taste to check seasonings and add another squeeze of lime juice and salt and pepper if needed.¼ cup Cilantro – chopped, ½ cup Feta cheese – crumbled or Cotija cheese
- Serve warm, at room temp., or cold.
- If corn on the cob is out of season, just use frozen corn and pan fry it until some kernels start to blacken.
If nutrition facts are provided they are calculated as an estimate to the best of our knowledge.