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A bowl of corn salad garnished with cilantro, and fresh lime wedges
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5 from 2 votes

Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)

Everyone's favorite charred corn salad with plenty of zing and loads of flavor.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Salad, Side Dish, Vegetable
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: corn, side dish, vegetable
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 208kcal
Author: Tricia


For the dressing:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise (118g or 4oz) (see notes below)
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (60g or 2 ¼ oz)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the corn salad:

  • 6 ears corn, husks and silk removed (4 ½ to 5 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeds and stem removed, diced
  • 1 small red pepper or chili seeds and stem removed, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ a small red onion, chopped
  • cup Queso Fresco or Cotija cheese, crumbled, plus extra for serving (68g or 2 1/2oz)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced (parsley is fine too) (5g)
  • Additional lime wedges, cheese, fresh ground black pepper and cilantro leaves for serving


For the dressing:

  • Blend together the mayonnaise, lime juice, and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the corn:

  • Cut the corn kernels from the cobs. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half the corn kernels and spread to cover the bottom of the skillet. Season with a pinch of salt and plenty of fresh black pepper. Cover and cook undisturbed until the corn is charred, about 5 minutes. Remove the corn to a large bowl to cool. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and the remaining corn.
  • Once the second batch of corn is charred, remove the skillet from the lid. Add the garlic, jalapeño, chopped red pepper, if using, and the red pepper flakes. Sauté (off heat) until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Combine with the previously cooked corn. Allow the corn mixture to cool for 15 minutes.
  • Add the chopped onion to the charred corn. Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the corn, peppers and onions and toss to combine. Add the cheese and cilantro and fold together until blended.
  • Check the seasoning and add salt or pepper, if needed. Garnish with extra cheese, cilantro and lime wedges. Serve
  • Refrigerate leftovers.


  • Substitute sour cream or plain Greek Yogurt for half the mayonnaise, if desired.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. When multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.


Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 144mg | Potassium: 243mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 379IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg