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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

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Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)

5 from 2 reviews

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

Yield: 6-8 side servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 TB real mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 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
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Cojita cheese

Instructions

  1. 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)
  2. 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.

  • Category: salad, side, appetizer
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Did you make this?

Leave a comment below and tag @chewoutloud on Instagram

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Recipe rating

26 comments

    • World in Eyes

    This corn salad recipe sounds so delicious and tasty..surely gonna give it a chance once..haven’t tried it ever before..well glad you shared this with us..

    • Emily Fata

    Okay, I am 100% making this recipe this weekend! Holy moly, it looks so delicious!

    • tweenselmom

    I haven’t tried making this one before but it looks really delicious! Looking forward to making this sometime, thanks for sharing the recipe with us!

    • Marie Phillips

    Street corn is one of my daughter’s favorite foods, so I know she would love this salad! Can’t wait to share it with her!

    • Mosaics Lab

    I am literally drooling!!! I love any street food but especially mexican!!! I will make this over the weekend…drooooooling….

    • Jennifer A

    This is a wonderful salad! Layers of flavor! I just made it and I think it’s great room temp, though I am chilling it to bring to a party tonight. I think it’s good even without the dressing! I will make this over and over again! Thank you!

      • chewoutloud

      Yipee! So happy to hear you really liked this one – we love it, too! 🙂

    • jnuna

    Ohhhhh that made my mouth water! Looks absolutely delicious!

    • Elizabeth O

    This is such a unique and pleasant twist on a salad, Mexican style looks and sounds incredible. Definitely a welcome addition to try at the next family garden party!

    • Danielle

    This recipe looks amazing! Saving this for the next time I have to bring a dish somewhere!

    • Czjai Reyes-Ocampo

    I love love love corn salad! Definitely trying this recipe – the photos alone are making me crave for it, and it’s almost midnight in my time zone!

    • eliza

    wow! looks tasty and delicious! I have tried corn with tomatoes and onion yet, truly Mexican dish is a rich and colourful one. I may try this recipe this week. Wish me luck!

    • Holly

    Oh, this looks super yummy. I will definitely have to try this. I love trying new recipes!!

    • Lisa Rios

    I love corn in salads! It is delicious and this looks perfect as a dip for chips or a sandwich filler. YUM!

    • hillcitybride

    I love corn and Mexican! This looks like a really healthy recipe that would be oh so fun to make. Thanks for sharing!

    • Angela Amores

    Omg! I’ve been looking for a recipe like this. Can’t wait to try it.

    • Nancie

    I love the bright, fresh look of this salad. I’m going to save to make later. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tami (@ThisMomsDelight)

    I love this stuff! My friends usually serve it when we eat at their house.

    • Beth Eaton

    This look amazing and like the PERFECT addition to our 4th of July menu!! Thanks so much for sharing in the perfect timing for me 🙂

    • hashtagsandhangsbags

    This looks SO good! Bookmarking it to make this summer!

    • 21flavorsofsplendor

    Yummy! This would be a perfect salad to make after grilling corn at a bbq.

      • chewoutloud

      Yes, perfect for leftover grilled corn! 🙂

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