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Mexican corn salad in a brown bowl.

Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites)

Straight from the streets of rural Mexico, this Mexican Corn Salad (known as esquites by the natives) is super simple to make and so delicious. If you're looking for the real deal, look no further.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 16 servings (1/2 cup each)
Calories 183kcal



  • In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to boil. Add corn and boil until bright yellow and tender, about 4 minutes. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet to cool.
  • In a large bowl, add cooled corn, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, and lime juice. Stir to combine, then sprinkle with Tajin or chili powder. Garnish with cilantro and serve with Doritos.


  1. Corn: To substitute fresh corn, boil 8 ears of corn in 4 quarts boiling water for about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly, then cut the kernels off the cob. You should have about 6 cups kernels. 
  2. Parmesan: Look for the grated Parm in the green shaker can. This might sound inauthentic, but it is closest to what street vendors actually use in the non-touristy parts of Mexico. Or, substitute Cotjia cheese or feta cheese.
  3. Tajin seasoning: Tajin is a mild chili powder with a bright lime flavor that tastes great on Elote. Or, try regular chili powder, ancho chile powder, or even cayenne pepper (if you love the heat).
  4. Doritos: Nacho Cheese Doritos are the preferred dipper in rural Mexico. Fritos (corn chips) or tortilla chips are good, too.
  5. Yield: This recipe makes 8 cups of Esquites.
  6. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  7. Make ahead: Cook the corn a day in advance and store in the refrigerator. Bring the corn to room temperature before assembling the rest of the salad.


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 201mg | Potassium: 198mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 67IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1mg