Sometimes I wonder, do other people love corn as much as I do? Is my level of adoration for corn abnormal? Is it due to my Hoosier heritage? Whatever the case may be, if a recipe involves corn, there is a high likelihood that I am going to love it. Corn desserts in particular are a favorite of mine (more coming soon!) but I love it in side and main dishes as well. The one way I do not love it, however, is on the cob. It is messy and sticks in my teeth and though I do not consider myself a very dignified person, I feel especially undignified when eating it. So I usually don’t.

Every time I have encountered elotes, Mexican street corn, I love the idea of it. Grilled corn topped with a drizzle of slightly spicy mayo, a squeeze of lime, and some crumbled cotija – it all makes for a flavor and texture combination that is hard to resist. But the execution involving the intact cob of corn – no thank you. Enter this Mexican street corn salad, also known as esquites…it’s my dream come true! All the good parts of elotes, none of the messy eating. What’s more, this comes together in a flash which is a must when I’m making a Mexican meal. Guaranteed I’m always pulling together some variety of fresh margaritas, guacamole, and one or two kinds of tacos at minimum. If I’m going to the effort of making an extra side dish, it needs to be 1) easy and simple, and 2) delicious enough to be worth making at all. This is all of that! In addition to being able to stand alone as a side, it can also be a killer addition as a taco topping. Just make it, okay? I promise you’ll love it too.


  • 2 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 ears corn, shucked, kernels removed (about 3 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 oz. cotija cheese, finely crumbled
  • ½ cup finely sliced scallion greens
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Smoked paprika or ground chipotle, to taste


  • 01

    In a large non-stick skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add the corn kernels to the pan and season to taste with salt. Cook for a minute or two without stirring to char, then toss lightly and char again. (Use the lid as necessary to guard against spattering oil and/or popcorn action.) Repeat until most sides are slightly charred, about 8-10 minutes total. Transfer the corn to a large mixing bowl. Let cool slightly.

  • 02

    Once the corn has cooled slightly, add the mayonnaise, cotija, scallion greens, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, and lime juice to the bowl. Season lightly with smoked paprika or ground chipotle. Toss gently just until evenly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve.

  • Melissa Brooker

    mmm i love corn! although, on the cob is my very favourite way to eat it! To me, it epitomizes summer! but i also love it off the cob! i have yet to find cotija cheese here, but i will do some googling and see if i can’t find some specialty store or a good sub! I can’t wait to try this!

  • Annie

    If you can find queso fresco, that would be a perfect sub. Also it is super easy to make your own. I don’t remember if you have that One Hour Cheese book I posted about a couple of years ago, but queso fresco is as easy and nearly as quick as homemade ricotta. Enjoy!

  • Kristin

    Made this last night for a gathering with friends, and am so sad that there isn’t any left. It was delicious, and I will be making it again very soon!

  • Erika

    Hi Annie. Have you done anything different with your blog posting recently? I just realized I missed the last four because my RRS reader/app (Feedly) is no longer recognizing new posts from you. I tried deleting and re-adding your blog, but the last post pulling through is from Caroline’s Birthday party. Not sure if anybody else is experiencing this also…

  • My elote obsession knows no bounds. NEED to make this before summer corn is gone!

  • Annie

    Hey Erika, here’s the new feed!

  • Amber

    Life has been crazy busy lately, but it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t been receiving your delicious recipes, so I googled your website (I was too lazy to type it in) :) and it said “new” and I was worried, haha! Glad to see the website is new (and fresh!), but all the recipes are still the same! When you said you were updating your blog and kitchen, I had no idea! I can’t wait to have time to peruse!