Mexican Street Corn

One of our favorite street snacks here in Southern California is esquites, a Mexican street corn salad made with mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder and crumbled Cotija cheese.

This esquites recipe comes together quickly and is perfect for a summer barbecue.

Two summers ago, my daughter Katie got her first job managing a local snack bar here in town. Most of the food was typical snack bar fare such as hot dogs, frozen pretzels, and nachos. She decided to kick things up a notch with homemade esquites, which are basically elotes served in a cup.

Although cotija cheese and fresh is the traditional topping for esquites, many Mexican snack stands top the dish with crushed Takis or Hot Cheetos, giving this Mexican Street Corn a delicious crunchy and spicy flavor.

This homemade Mexican Esquites recipe was a hit at our local Country Club!

This is basically an authentic elote recipe, but without the cob. Mexican street corn salad is much easier to eat (and less messy) by using just the kernels.

Mexican street corn ingredients

  • Corn kernels
  • Butter
  • New Mexico chili powder
  • Mayonnaise
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Grated Cotija, Queso Fresco cheese or feta cheese
  • Cilantro leaves

Serve this in a styrofoam cup with a plastic spoon. To make this a spicy esquites recipe, be sure to add some Takis or Hot Cheetos to add that extra bit of crunch!

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You may also enjoy my recipes for Mexican street tacos and Chimichangas!

Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad)

Recipe by Jason Hill –
One of our favorite street snacks here in Southern California is Esquites, a Mexican corn salad made with mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder and crumbled Cotija cheese. This is the best esquites recipe we have made, thanks to our daughter, who has perfected the recipe!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4


  • 4 cups frozen corn kernels thawed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon New Mexico chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Tajin Mexican seasoning
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1/2 lime


  • 1/2 cup grated Cotija, Queso Fresco cheese or feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup crushed Hot Cheetos or Takis


  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the corn and cook until heated through.
  • Fold in the mayo and the juice of 1 lime.
  • Stir in the chili powder and Tajin.
  • Add to serving dish. Top with the cotija cheese, chopped cilantro and crushed hot cheetos.
  • Serve with lime wedges on the side, and feel free to pass around extra chili powder to spice it up even more.
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Keyword cilantro, corn, Cotija cheese, Mexican recipes
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AboutJason Hill

Hi, I’m Jason Hill, host of YouTube’s “Chef Tips” series. I graduated from culinary school in 1998, and gained my experience working the lines in Southern California. I launched my cooking videos in 2007. I love sharing quick and easy recipes that get people back in the kitchen.

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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