Elote is the Mexican name for grilled corn on the cob that is coated in spices and cheese. Esquites is everything from the cob removed and served basically as a corn salad. These salad recipes are also called Mexican street corn salad.

I’ve never gone crazy with the whole elote idea, mostly because it’s messy to eat that way. However, with the corn removed from the cob, other yummy ingredients added, plus a zingy dressing? I’ll eat that with a spoon!

The two recipes I printed a while back and saved, are from two of my favorite blogs – Tricia’s Saving Room for Dessert and Laura’s Hummingbird Thyme. I decided to fuse the two and see what happened!

Mexican Street Corn Salad

6 firm corn cobs in their husks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 purple onion, finely chopped
2 small red bell peppers, finely chopped
A dozen or so green onions, thinly sliced
8 ounces feta cheese

1/3 cup good mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon salt

For serving:
Extra crumbled Mexican cheese or feta
Freshly chopped cilantro
Cayenne pepper flakes

Begin by “cooking” the corn cobs in the microwave. Wrap the cobs in a dish towel, and cook on high for 8 minutes. Let them cool in the microwave first for about 5 minutes, then remove them from the microwave.

When the corn cobs have cooled down, remove the husks and silk. With this microwave technique, they come off really easily. Roll the cobs in oil poured onto a flat surface like a jelly roll pan, to get the corn completely coated.

Using your gas stove top, grill the corn, just as you would roast chile peppers, until some of the corn is charred. Continue until all six have been grilled. Set pan aside to let the corn cool further.

Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a blender jar; set aside at room temperature. Refrigerate if not using right away.

Cut the corn off of the cobs, break them into smaller pieces and place The corn in a large serving bowl.

Add the onion, red bell peppers, green onions, and toss together well.

Add the dressing and stir. You might not want to add the whole amount if you’re not into heavy dressings.

To serve, sprinkle the salad with more cheese if desired, and cilantro, and offer cayenne pepper flakes for those who like spicy!

Cotija cheese is a popular crumbly Mexican cheese, but I find it too salty. If you like it, definitely use it, or use feta cheese.

The salad is mostly about the corn, but you could always include an avocado and/or tomatoes in the salad. And, you could also add white or black beans.

The basic salad ingredients can be tossed together ahead of time, but only add the onions right before serving.

If you want more smokiness, use a smoky paprika, and up the chipotle powder a bit.

note: If you want the corn to look more yellow, skip the grilling part.

By Published On: September 1st, 202048 Comments on Esquites

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen September 1, 2020 at 7:40 AM - Reply

    This dish look fabulous (and I love your plate!)!!! Our sweet corn has been great this year.

    • chef mimi September 1, 2020 at 8:01 AM - Reply

      I love them, too. It’s Caskata. So many beautiful colors and prints.

  2. popsiclesociety September 1, 2020 at 7:51 AM - Reply

    Grilled corn is the best 🌽 Super delicious dish 😋

    • chef mimi September 1, 2020 at 8:00 AM - Reply

      It really is! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Molly Pisula September 1, 2020 at 8:06 AM - Reply

    Yum! I love elote, but I agree, it’s not neat! Love the idea of this salad that you can eat with a fork. Looks so delicious!

    • chef mimi September 1, 2020 at 8:11 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Molly! By the way I meant to say something about the beautiful photos on your last blog post. Made me miss France…

  4. September 1, 2020 at 9:08 AM - Reply

    I love Mexican corn and made it for the first time last year (actually the first time I ate it). Great way to use fresh corn in such a pretty and tasty salad!

    • chef mimi September 1, 2020 at 9:58 AM - Reply

      Elote is yummy, just messy for me. I’m such a lady 🤣 But as a salad it’s so flavorful and satisfying.

      • September 2, 2020 at 3:59 PM

        Your salad would be my choice – I’m a lady too :) I really prefer corn on the cob with just some butter. Ordered some of the plates you used.

  5. givememeatloaf September 1, 2020 at 9:57 AM - Reply

    We’ve made this a lot this summer – love your addition of red bell peppers and feta! YUM!

    • chef mimi September 1, 2020 at 9:58 AM - Reply

      I think you could add just about anything to the corn and it would be delicious!

  6. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons September 1, 2020 at 11:18 AM - Reply

    This looks amazing Mimi, I am definitely putting it on our rotation…perfect for a Labor Day BBQ.

    • chef mimi September 1, 2020 at 1:23 PM - Reply

      Oh it is! Great idea!

  7. Kim Bultman September 1, 2020 at 12:13 PM - Reply

    Your “combo” instincts serve you (and us) well, Chef Mimi. Thanks!

    • chef mimi September 10, 2020 at 6:39 AM - Reply

      Thanks. That’s really sweet of you to say!

  8. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats September 1, 2020 at 12:36 PM - Reply

    This looks so very delicious! Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with the quality of corn I got this year, which is a big deal for me, as I love fresh corn! But this recipe makes me think I should give it another try! :)

    • chef mimi September 1, 2020 at 3:23 PM - Reply

      Oh, that’s too bad. Are you allowed to peek under the husk? Actually I think I just go by weight – the heavier the better! Or do you mean the flavor wasn’t good.

      • Ronit Penso Tasty Eats September 1, 2020 at 5:11 PM

        Yes, the problem was with the flavor, not freshness. I’ll give it another try…

  9. Raymund September 1, 2020 at 3:16 PM - Reply

    Thats the best way of preparing corn, grilling them gives a lot of flavour specially its natural sweetness. Great recipe!

    • chef mimi September 1, 2020 at 3:21 PM - Reply

      It really works well, even inside on the stove! My husband will only grill with charcoal, so it isn’t worth lighting charcoal just to grill some corn cobs!

  10. Josette@thebrookcook September 2, 2020 at 5:23 AM - Reply

    This looks absolutely incredible! I hesitate to make street corn on the cob as well. I will have to try this while delicious fresh corn is still available.

    • chef mimi September 2, 2020 at 10:28 AM - Reply

      We’re still having good corn because it grows here, and nearby in Kansas. I didn’t used to make it so much, but in my older age I’ve gotten kind of addicted to corn. I don’t mind it on the cob with butter and salt, but this salad is the bomb!

  11. kitchenriffs September 2, 2020 at 9:39 AM - Reply

    I really like all the flavors of the traditional dish, but I’m with you on eating it on the cob — way too messy. So when I make this, mine looks a lot like yours. Much easier to eat, and frankly I think you can flavor it better when prepared like this, too.

    • chef mimi September 2, 2020 at 10:27 AM - Reply

      That makes total sense. The seasoning gets all over the corn, not just on one side!

  12. chef mimi September 2, 2020 at 3:36 PM - Reply

    It really is. A good picnic salad!

  13. David Scott Allen September 2, 2020 at 4:27 PM - Reply

    This is beautiful. I like plain corn on the cob, and that is about as messy as I get. I cannot imagine the elote – especially as a street food. I would be an oily mess! I love what oyu have done here. And, luckily, we have been having an amazing corn season here. Sweetest I can remember.

    • chef mimi September 2, 2020 at 5:22 PM - Reply

      Messy indeed. Interestingly enough, I used the microwave trick today, and had corn on the cob with butter and salt. Like you said, it’s messy enough, not only for your face but for your teeth!

  14. cookingontheweekends September 3, 2020 at 12:58 AM - Reply

    I’ve been buying corn every few days this summer. It’s been so deliciously sweet. I love this recipe — like deconstructed Elote! Perfect. :-) ~Valentina

    • chef mimi September 3, 2020 at 6:37 AM - Reply

      And easier to eat. I love that you can change up the ingredients in this salad. It’s quite versatile.

  15. Tandy | Lavender and Lime September 3, 2020 at 4:15 AM - Reply


    • Tandy | Lavender and Lime September 3, 2020 at 4:16 AM - Reply

      Trying again! Oh yum, anything with lime works for me! I had never heard of the terms Elote and Esquites before. I like corn both ways :)

      • chef mimi September 3, 2020 at 6:36 AM

        I just had some the old fashioned way yesterday – with butter and salt. I’m not giving up on that “recipe!”

  16. Mae Sander September 3, 2020 at 6:26 AM - Reply

    I love corn on the cob when the fresh crop comes it — every time I make it, I do extra ears for salads of this type. I hadn’t thought of a creamy dressing like yours — I hope there’s more corn this year so I can try it. We do corn on the grill, which would have the same flavor as your two-step method.

    And there’s no end to the variety of ingredients you can add, it doesn’t have to be Mexican (in fact, there’s even a French version of corn salad). And in winter it even works with frozen kernels — far less work!

    be well… mae at

    • chef mimi September 3, 2020 at 6:35 AM - Reply

      My husband will only use charcoal, so to just the two of us, it’s not worth going through all of that to grill outside. It really worked on the gas stove, and made the house smell really good!

  17. David @ Spiced September 3, 2020 at 6:29 AM - Reply

    Interesting! I never knew that Esquites basically meant Mexican street corn in salad form. We’ve made the salad version before, and it’s a huge favorite! (To be fair, we love the on-the-cob version, too, but it is so darned messy to eat.) We’re in prime corn season here right now in New York, and I’m totally going to pick up some fresh corn from our nearby farm stand now!

    • chef mimi September 3, 2020 at 6:34 AM - Reply

      Exactly. Very messy. And when corn is in salad form, it doesn’t get in your teeth!

  18. chef mimi September 3, 2020 at 8:04 AM - Reply

    You are so welcome! It’s a really fun salad!

  19. Karen (Back Road Journal) September 3, 2020 at 1:16 PM - Reply

    You found a way to enjoy the flavors of elote without all the mess. That is a winner as far as I’m concerned.

    • chef mimi September 5, 2020 at 11:57 AM - Reply

      I’m kind of relieved that most all commenters agree that elote is messy! But everyone agrees it’s wonderful, especially in salad form.

  20. Lauren - September 3, 2020 at 3:33 PM - Reply

    ooo one of my favorite summery salads! I love your recipe for it, perfect instructions and the pictures make it so easy to follow!

    • chef mimi September 3, 2020 at 5:50 PM - Reply

      Thanks. It’s such a fun salad to make cause you can really mix and match the ingredients. And the dressing can be just about anything!

  21. Liz September 3, 2020 at 8:31 PM - Reply

    So delicious with grilled corn! I wouldn’t need an entree, just a huge serving of your esquites!!!

    • chef mimi September 4, 2020 at 2:35 PM - Reply

      Me, too. A meal in a bowl!

  22. StefanGourmet September 6, 2020 at 10:31 AM - Reply

    Hi Mimi, this looks great! We love Elote, even though it is indeed messy to eat. I’ve recently made a salad version, using the same ingredients as for the Elote (sour cream, chilli powder, cheese) and it was great. These Esquites look very colorful and tasty.

    • chef mimi September 6, 2020 at 10:53 AM - Reply

      That’s exactly what I love about a salad that is corn-based. You can pretty much add anything you want, and create any kind of dressing you want! It’s very versatile. Hope you’re both doing well, and your parents.

  23. Healthy World Cuisine September 9, 2020 at 7:14 PM - Reply

    These are one of these kind of salads that you say… well just a little dab more… maybe just a little scoop more until you polish off the whole darn dish. Looks amazing Mimi.

    • chef mimi September 10, 2020 at 6:40 AM - Reply

      No, I’ve never done that before 😬Hahahaha! Yes, it’s very addicting!

  24. chef mimi September 10, 2020 at 6:39 AM - Reply

    Thank you! And the salad is really good. Very versatile.

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