Mexican Street Corn Salsa (also called Esquites) is an amazing combination of flavors found in the popular street food. Fast and easy to make with lots of flavor that is perfect to serve up as an appetizer dip or a condiment for your favorite Mexican food recipes.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
Depending on where you live, have traveled, and are aware of, you may have NO idea of what I am talking about when I say Mexican street corn. (If so, you are missing out, but don’t worry, you will be in-the-know shortly!).
But oh, those of you that do know what that is, probably know all about the magic of this simple street food. It is my inspiration for this Mexican Street Corn Salsa.
Mexican street corn is typically a roasted ear of corn (husk still on for better grip!) that is slathered in mayo with chili powder and cotija cheese (although there are variations, of course).
This recipe uses those amazing flavors in a simple corn salsa recipe.
My first experience with Mexican street corn was on a family vacation to Santa Fe. I had seen and heard about this treat but had not come across an “authentic” source. So I was extremely excited when I found a Mexican street corn stand at a market in Santa Fe!
I am also a huge salsa freak, primarily for the chunky fresh types such as my Pico de Gallo, and this was a natural step to make a salsa out of the street corn, called esquites.
I was a little worried about the cheese at first (I LOVE cheese, so that was not the problem, you just don’t see chunks of it in salsa very often) but the softness and mildness of the cotija did not overpower the other flavors at all. Success!!!
These are the ingredients needed to make esquites:
- Chili Powder
- Cotija Cheese
Corn – I like to use frozen corn that was thawed. Fresh corn is great if you can get it.
Cotija Cheese – This cheese is a dry, crumbly cheese often used for tacos. You should be able to find it in the refrigerated Latin section of your grocery store.
You only need a few simple pieces of equipment to make this corn salsa:
- Cutting Board
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
This Mexican street corn salad recipe is very simple! Just chop and prep as needed, mix together, and chill until serving!
Modifications and Substitutions
Make it spicier by using hotter peppers like serrano, or more of them.
Frozen thawed corn is great for a fresh flavor. Fresh corn is ideal if you can get it. Canned corn will work but has a slightly different flavor profile because of its juice.
Feta is a great substitute for cotija.
This Mexican Street Corn Salsa is best the same day you make it as it starts to dry out over time, but you can freshen it back up with some more lime juice or a little water.
I have been using the amazing flavors of this Mexican Street Corn Salsa in different recipes. Check them out here! From enchiladas to frittatas and tacos, there are so many tasty options!
Even though I use this primarily as a salsa for dipping, it is also great as a topper for any other Mexican dish: fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, etc. I love adding fresh ingredients like this to brighten up what can be heavy Mexican food. That is, if there is any left over 🙂
Elote is with the corn still on the cob, and esquites is corn removed from the cob and served in a cup.
The primary ingredients are corn, chili powder, cotija cheese, and lime. Plus mayonnaise when thinking about it on the cob!
They are the same thing! Elote is the Spanish name for it in Mexico.
Feta cheese is a great substitution for cotija cheese. They are both a dry, crumbly cheese with similar flavor.
- Measuring Spoon
- 1 ½ cups corn
- 1 jalapeno
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ lime juice of
- 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped (optional)
- 2 ounces cotija cheese
- Finely dice the jalapeno pepper. Remove the ribs and seeds for a mild heat or keep them in for more of a kick.
- Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and mix. Season to taste as needed. Refrigerate until chilled, approximately 30 minutes. This salsa is best the same day as the corn tends to dry out if made too far in advance. You can correct this by adding more lime or a little water to freshen it up again.
58 thoughts on “Mexican Street Corn Salsa (Esquites)”
I absolutely adore Mexican Street Corn and this salsa recipe looks SO GOOD! I could eat it with a spoon!
Mexican street corn is the best! I live in Mexico, and every evening the elotero, or corn vendor, comes around. You can just step outside and buy a yummy cob of corn, slathered in mayo and covered with sprinkly cheese, lots of lime juice and enough chili powder to make it turn red. Delicious!!!!!
Yum!! I wish it was that easily available here!
Love the flavors of Mexican street corn. This is certainly an easier way to eat it. I am sure I would eat way more of it this way.
Hello perfection!!! I’ve been craving Mexican street corn and this looks so simple and delicious!! Saving and sharing!
It really is SO easy! Minimum effort, maximum flavor 🙂
I have to give this a try. Waiting for the fresh corn to come in season. Looks so good. Yum.
Fresh corn definitely puts it over the top!
This corn looks delicious! Can’t wait to make it!
How? How in the world does one not know about mexican street corn?? What a sad life that would be…it’s sooooo good!!!
A corn lovers DREAM come true!!!! They’d fill their bath tubs with this stuff! 😛
Oh, yum! I live in Iowa where there is no shortage of sweet corn in summer. I can’t wait to try this!
Um… this looks so divine! I am definitely saving this for later. Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to try!
I’ve never had mexican street corn. It looks delicious and full of flavor. I know my husband would LOVE it. I’m pinning for next time we have Mexican, can’t wait to try it!!
Looks absolutely delicious!
This looks like the perfect BBQ side dish – I will be making this this summer 🙂
Yummy! Can’t wait to try it!
This looks amazing and so easy to make! I love corn but have never made corn salsa so can’t wait to try this out
Corn? Salsa? Cheese?! You have made my mouth water and now I need this. Thank you!!
Gorgeous salsa! Do you think I can substitute the cotija cheese? Maybe goat cheese or feta cheese?
Yes, you definitely could! The cotija is not too strong of a flavor. Goat cheese will be a little creamier but I think both would be great substitutions!
Oh I’m pinning this. It looks and sounds lovely for Summer!
this looks so good, love a quick and easy recipe!
This looks great and will be the perfect addition to our taco night next week!
oh that looks so good!
This looks amazing!!!
This looks amazing! I love roasted corn. I am definitely making this.
Who can resist this? It looks both like a comfort food and a refreshing salad. Awesome. I’ve never heard of cotija cheese though (I don’t think it’s available here actually) so maybe sub another kind. Can’t wait to try!
Looks super tasty! I prefer corn salsa over tomato ones. I think it’s the sweet heat combo that I love so much. I’m definitely making some!
I can’t wait to make this recipe. But, I am going to wait until it warms up just a bit- I know it will taste so much better on a warm, sunny afternoon. Thanks so much for sharing.
you really can’t beat the flavors here and it’s simplicity in preparation makes it all the more appealing. A must for the warm weather for sure!
Oh my goodness, what a fabulous idea to create a salsa with these flavors!! I can’t wait to try it.
Elote as a salsa? That’s inspired! This Texan girl is definitely giving that a try.
Looks fresh and tasty!
Yum!! I love this side. I made a similar one with mayo in it last summer … but I really need to take a page out of your book and consider a healthier version. Love it!
I can whip this is in no time. Can’t wait to try this out.
Wow! This looks great– definitely going to have to try it!
Never had it, but it’s probably a nice dish when you have fresh corn from the garden!
Love this recipe 🙂 I will must try this 😉
OMG. This looks so good. I love your photography. I’ll definitely be back for more food inspiration.
It looks so yummy! I love Mexican food!
We have a tamale lady in the neighborhood, but I usually only see corn vendors at theme parks or after big events release in LA. As a HUGE fan of corn salsa, I think I’ll have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing!
Fam loved it on top of our meatless tacos!
Very delicious! Used feta instead of cojita because I couldn’t find it at my local store. Very lite and not a heavy dip at all! But it’s not super great the next day… so make it right before your meal!
Tripled the recipe and added tomatoes, it’s fantastic! Definitely keeping this recipe for later.
i added a tbs of heavy cream & a dash of hot sauce. it was so good!
Made this for a BBQ and it was a hit!
I tried this and actually grilled the corn and the jalapeños. Yum! Everyone loved it! Careful with the grilled chili fumes though
I couldn’t find the right cheese so i use feta and its just as good
Used frozen corn and let it cool before tossing with the rest of the ingredients
Absolutely the BEST summer salad!
I added black beans to the recipe. Sooo good!
A quick recipe with a lot of flavor, will definitely make again.
Had it was buffalo chicken tacos, was great!
This is so good! Great condiment for many things! Love it!
Great on fish tacos but tbh I can eat it with a spoon.
Used feta cheese instead and no jalapeño, so good I had to double the recipe! My mom, dad, and brother loved it! Definitely will make again, super easy!
A favourite. Very mild and versatile. Great as a condiment for nachos or tacos.