Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites)

  • Author: Dana Gerard
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad or Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Mexican inspired
Mexican Street Corn Salad at

Inspired by Mexican Street corn, called Esquites, this colorful corn dish can be served spicy or mild, warm or cold. Make variations of this salad with other grains, such as rice, pasta or quinoa.


  • 8 ears of corn, silks and husks removed
  • Olive or avocado oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • *1 large or 2 small limes, juiced and zested
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho or chipotle chili powder
  • (may substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons regular chili powder + pinch each cayenne and smoked paprika)
  • *1/4 cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped
  • *1/4 cup finely grated cheese (choose either cotija, parmesan or hard feta cheese)
  • 2 or 3 bell peppers (red, orange, green))
  • *set aside extra lime wedges, herbs and cheese for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Soak the corn in large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
  3. Place corn on baking sheet and rub with oil and a little kosher salt.
  4. Roast in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes, turning the ears halfway through baking time.
  5. Alternatively grill corn on high heat until charred on all sides, about 8 – 10 minutes, then remove.
  6. While corn is cooking, in a medium bowl, stir together sour cream, lime juice, zest, chili powder, black pepper, chopped herbs and grated cheese.
  7. Cut bell peppers, remove membranes and seeds and slice as thinly as possible into long strips. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside to use as a “bed” for the warm corn salad.
  8. Use a sharp knife and cutting board to cut kernels off the cob.
  9. Just before serving, heat corn and sour cream mixture on the stove or in the oven until cheese is melted and corn is heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings. (You may want to add more salt or pepper, chili powder, lime or cheese.)
  10. Place bell peppers on a serving plate and pile warm corn on top.
  11. Garnish with lime wedges, extra chopped herbs and plenty of grated cheese.
  12. Serve with your favorite main course, such as steak, chicken, burgers, barbecue or fish.


Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Grilled Corn Salad with Lime, Red Chili and Cotija