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Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)

This Mexican Street Corn Salad recipe is quick, simple, and tremendously flavorful. This dish boasts bold, exciting flavors. Great for gatherings, as it can be made ahead of time.

Mexican street corn salad in a bowl

Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)

Summer produce is simply unparalleled. Farmer’s markets and grocery stores have been teeming with fresh picked berries and lush herbs. Now, freshly picked sweet corn is on the stands, and we are all in.

Fresh, ripe sweet corn is something to look forward to every single summer. There’s nothing like freshly picked, sweet corn on the cob. Sometimes, such delicious corn only needs is a few minutes in boiling water and it’s ready to serve up… perfect with a pat of butter, or simply as-is.

Sometimes, bold and zesty flavors are called for. That’s where this Mexican Street Corn Salad comes in. This festive corn salad is otherwise known as esquites, which is a close cousin to elote or Mexican corn on the cob. Both are famous for their irresistible charred corn and slathering of a blissfully creamy-smoky sauce.

This Mexican Street Corn Salad, like our faithful avocado corn salad, is a jackpot for taco nights, gatherings, or simply a healthy lunch. A serving of this corn salad paired with crispy tortilla chips tends to incite notable happiness. It’s a good thing leftovers of this stuff tastes awesome.

Charred corn in skillet

How to Make Mexican Street Corn Salad

The best way to start off is with fresh and sweet corn on the cob. (That said, you won’t be faulted for using frozen sweet corn if needed. Just don’t thaw the frozen corn, as it will become too soggy to produce the charring you’re after.)

Cut the corn kernels off of the cobs, heat up some oil in a big skillet over high heat, and work on the char. You’ll want to stir the corn kernels some, but not too much – they’ll need a chance to char in the pan. Once the corn is nicely charred in some parts (it’s not necessary for all kernels to be charred,) turn the heat off and add in remaining ingredients.

The dressing here is sublime. It’s loaded with the bold and zesty flavors of smoked paprika, cumin, lime, and cojita cheese (if you can’t find cojita, feta can be substituted.) We lightened up our dressing by using only 2 TB mayo and omitting sour cream altogether. We found that the tanginess from freshly squeezed lime juice was enough and we didn’t need the sour cream.

We also found that freshly grated parmesan cheese truly packs in the flavor. Though parmesan may be going rogue a bit, be sure not to omit it, as it blends in with existing flavors amazingly.

diced tomatoes, onions, and cilantro in bowls

When and how to serve Mexican Street Corn Salad

Here’s my bullet list of when or how Mexican Street Corn Salad would be totally perfect:

Plan Ahead

When planning a simple menu for gatherings (or just weeknight dinner) …it’s always brilliant to plan ahead. Choose recipes that can be mostly prepared ahead of time, so you aren’t scrambling when hungry people are hanging around.

Up to 2 days ahead, the amazing dressing can be mixed up and chilled. The rest of the salad can be prepared the day before and chilled overnight or a few hours prior to serving. Make it easy on yourself, cook smart, and enjoy your table time with friends and family.

mexican street corn salad with lime dressing

In case you missed it:

Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)

5 from 12 ratings
This Mexican Street Corn Salad recipe is quick, simple, and epically delicious! Mexican street corn salad brings big, bold, exciting flavors to the table. Great for parties, potlucks, and lunch.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 6 -8 side servings

Ingredients  

For the Dressing:

  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 TB real mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad:

  • 3 cups sweet corn kernels, cut off the cobs
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ cup crumbled Cojita cheese

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients. Use hand whisk to incorporate well; try to get mayo mostly dissolved. Set aside (dressing can be made ahead of time and chilled until ready to use)
  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. Once hot, add corn kernels and cook 3-5 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Once some of the kernels are nicely charred, turn off the heat. Add in parmesan, cilantro, bell pepper, green onions, red onion, jalapeño, and garlic powder, stirring well to combine. Toss with dressing and sprinkle with crumbled cojita (or feta) cheese. Serve at room temp or chilled.

Notes

Salad can be made a few hours ahead of time, covered, and chilled.
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side
Cuisine: Mexican

Did you make this?

Leave a comment below and tag @chewoutloud on Instagram

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Recipe Rating




40 comments

    • LaKita
    • 5 stars

    This Mexican corn salad is so colorful, flavorful, and delicious! Love this salad combination, perfect for any time.

      • Amy Dong

      Thank you!

    • Erin
    • 5 stars

    I had never had this before but gave it a try. SO good! We all loved it and will be making again soon. Thanks!

      • Amy Dong

      Yay, so happy to hear that!

    • Mikayla
    • 5 stars

    My goodness, great on chips, but really good on a taco or in your burrito.

      • Amy Dong

      Yes!!

    • veenaazmanov
    • 5 stars

    Love the delicious and flavorful combination of this Salad. Definitely refreshing and healthy for any meal. Looks colorful and inviting.

    • Natalie
    • 5 stars

    Made this for a family gathering. My mom keeps asking me when am I gonna make your lovely salad again. It is nice when you make something, and the entire family enjoys it, thanks!

      • Amy Dong

      You’re so welcome, Natalie!

    • megane
    • 5 stars

    This is easily one of my favourite salads. So yummy and fresh.

    • Heather
    • 5 stars

    One of my favorite salads to make! Made this for a side with some grilled chicken- perfect dinner!

      • Amy Dong

      Yay, thank you, Heather!

    • Amanda Mason
    • 5 stars

    This turned out AMAZING! The flavor was spot on! This is going to be my new go-to recipe….it was that good!

      • Amy Dong

      Awesome, Amanda!

    • Sharon
    • 5 stars

    The combination of fresh flavors in this corn salad is a great side dish or topping for taco night.

    • Diana Pouliot

    So you cut raw kernels off the cob? Or precook the corn on the cob then cut the kernels off?

      • chewoutloud

      I precook the corn prior to cutting them 🙂

    • Sondra Barker

    I need to try this now! Looks so tasty and fresh. Thanks for the recipe!

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