If you're not familiar with esquites, now is the time to get on this flavor train. Esquites are Mexican street corn that is off the cob. Depending on where you're from, you may have heard of elotes which are also Mexican street corn, but it is served with all the delicious flavoring with the corn still on the cob.
Esquites are insanely delicious, really easy to make, and make for a fun and different side to accompany literally anything you're grilling up this summer (or any time of year). It is just a few ingredients that make for a creamy, smoky and salty concoction that pairs so well with the sweet pop of corn. You can make these by either grilling corn then cutting it off the cob or you can simply use a can of drained sweet corn, making this a dish that is accessible all year long.
Even if you're not making a Mexican-flavored main, esquites should be thought of as just another stellar and flavor-packed side for your meal planning options. Additionally, you can put out a bowl of this with some tortilla chips and turn it into a hearty dip in the snap of a finger.
Another thing that makes this a great side, even to bring to a potluck, is that this is best served room temp or even cold. You need to let the corn cool down a bit before adding the rest of the ingredients, which make it a prime candidate for transporting to a party or making ahead for a gathering at your own home.
While I know these are perfectly authentic, the changes I've made to a more authentic recipe makes them a bit more accessible without missing any of the flavor. Make these for our family and friends and you'll be the hero of the day!
Easy Esquites (Mexican Street Corn)
Makes ~ 4-6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 5 minutes
Click the file below to download and print the recipe
I recommend reading the recipe all the way through, including the recipe notes at the bottom, before you start cooking.
1 15oz. can of whole kernel sweet corn, drained and rinsed (or 2 ears of fresh corn on the cob*)
2 tsp. flavorless oil such as grape seed, vegetable, or canola.
3 TB sour cream
3 TB mayo
2 tsp. chipotle adobo sauce (either adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles in adobo or I use this Frontera adobo sauce)
Juice from 1/2 a lime
2 TB chopped cilantro
2-3 oz. plain, crumbled feta cheese
In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of oil. Once hot, add the drained can of corn and stir to coat in the oil. Cook over medium heat until the corn is hot and starting to caramelize on some pieces, about 5 minutes. Transfer the corn to a large bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
In a separate bowl while the corn cools, make the dressing by whisking together the sour cream, mayo, adobo sauce, lime juice, and cilantro. Add the feta cheese and mix again.
Once the corn has cooled a bit (not piping hot anymore, but slightly warm still is ok), add half of the dressing mixture to the bowl with the corn. Mix it and continue to add more dressing until everything is generously coated and creamy. Taste for seasoning and add any salt and pepper as needed.
Serve in a bowl garnished with extra cilantro if desired alongside your Mexican-inspired main, grilled chicken, steak, or anything else. It also makes a great dip with tortilla chips. This can be made ahead of time and stored covered in the refrigerator for a few days. Stir before serving.
*Recipe notes + Variations*
*If you're using corn on the cob instead of canned corn, grill it until all the sides are cooked and slightly charred. Allow to cool enough to handle then cut the kernels from the cob then continue to step 2.