Esquites, or Mexican Street Corn Cups, are an all-time favorite snack sold by street food vendors all over Mexico! Made with only a handful of inexpensive ingredients, each spoonful of esquites is filled with a creamy, salty, tangy and slightly spicy bite that’s addicting and will keep you coming back for more.
What are Esquites?
Esquites are a popular Mexican snack made from corn mixed with creamy mayonesa (mayonnaise), freshly crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco, lime juice, and chili powder.
It’s commonly sold by street vendors in Mexico and is served in a large cup with a spoon to mix all the delicious ingredients together!
There are different variations of esquites depending on which street vendor you go to – some versions include a broth, others use grilled corn and some have diced chiles and cilantro as optional ingredients.
All the versions are delicious
What’s the difference between Esquites and Elotes?
If you love Elotes (Mexican Street Corn), then you’re going to love esquites! Why? Because they’re practically the same thing – except in a cup and much easier to eat!
Esquites is Mexican street corn served off the cob and in a cup, whereas elotes is Mexican street corn served on the cob.
How to Make Esquites
Making esquites is very easy and only requires about 5 minutes of actual cook time!
First, cook the fresh corn kernels in a skillet with butter, garlic, and a diced jalapeño for 5 minutes. This will bring out some of the sweetness from the corn, as well as give it a little char to add a smoky element.
Then, mix it together in a bowl with mayonnaise, cotija cheese, lime juice, cilantro, and salt.
Esquites is typically served hot, so I recommend serving immediately. Then top each serving with chili powder to taste, more cotija cheese and a lime wedge.
Tips and Variations
- To give the esquites a delicious smoky flavor, grill the corn on the cob first. Then, slice the kernels off and add all the mix-ins.
- The amount of chili powder you use is entirely up to you. When you buy esquites from a street food vendor, the chili powder is usually in a little jar on the side of their cart and you have to season it to your liking. So when you make it at home, I recommend sprinkling a good amount of chili powder on your serving, mixing it all together, tasting it and then adding more until you think it’s just right.
- If you want to make your esquites spicy, leave in the seeds of the jalapeño. You could also use serrano peppers instead for even more heat.
- Don’t like cilantro? You can omit it completely and it will still be delicious!
Esquites are best served hot, but you can eat them cold as well! I’ve eaten leftovers cold with tortilla chips (like a dip) and they were delicious!
If you do have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.