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Esquites (Creamy Corn Salad)

Photo: Christopher Testani; Styling: Paige Hicks

Hands-on time 20 mins
Total time 20 mins

Serves 8 (serving size: 1/2 cup)

Esquites is a cousin to elote--that street food favorite of creamy cheese-coated corn cobs. You can also find this off-the-cob version with Mexican street food vendors. It's great on its own or served as a side dish with grilled meats.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 (16-ounce) packages frozen whole-kernel corn, divided
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ounces Cotija cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 212
  • fat 11.9 g
  • satfat 2.4 g
  • monofat 6.2 g
  • polyfat 2.4 g
  • protein 6 g
  • carbohydrate 25 g
  • fiber 3 g
  • cholesterol 10 mg
  • iron 1 mg
  • sodium 351 mg
  • calcium 109 mg

How to Make It

  1. Heat a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of corn and 1 teaspoon sugar; toss to combine. Cook, without stirring, 3 minutes or until corn begins to brown on bottom. Stir and cook 3 minutes or until most of the kernels are browned. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, corn, and 1 teaspoon sugar.

  2. Combine mayonnaise, lime juice, chile powder, coriander, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add corn; toss to combine. Sprinkle cheese over corn; serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.