Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites)


  • 3 tablespoons lime juice, plus extra for seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1-2 serrano chiles, stemmed and cut into 1/8-inch thick rings (we used 2 serranos and thinly sliced them)
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 6 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs (6 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin


  1. Mix the lime juice, sour cream, mayonnaise, serranos and ¼ teaspoon of salt together in a large mixing bowl, setting the bowl off to the side for now.
  2. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into a 12-inch nonstick skillet, setting the heat to high. Once the oil’s shimmering, add half of the corn into the skillet, spreading it out into an even layer. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of salt over the corn and put the lid on afterwards. Cook the corn for 3 minutes or until the corn that’s touching the skillet looks charred, not stirring it all during that time. Take the skillet off the heat and let it stand, covered, for 15 seconds or until any popping stops. Add  the charred corn to the large mixing bowl from step one. Repeat this process with another tablespoon of oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and the remaining corn.
  3. Place the empty skillet back on the stovetop, pouring in the last teaspoon of oil. Once the oil’s hot, add in the garlic and chili powder, stirring constantly for 30 seconds or until they become fragrant. Add the garlic mixture to the bowl, tossing everything together to combine. Lex the mixture cool for a minimum 15 minutes.
  4. Add the cotija cheese, cilantro, and scallions to the bowl, tossing everything to combine. Try a bite of it and season with salt if you think it needs any, adding up to another tablespoon of lime juice if you want. Serve immediately.

This is addictively good ! The serranos make this spicy but not unbearably so. You can really taste the cotija in this and we just love that funky (in a good way) flavor of the cheese. The dish is a little salty but it’s not unbearably so. It was hard to stop eating this because it was that good.

We got this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Cook’s Illustrated.

Take care everybody !

One thought on “Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites)

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