A bowl of Mexican Street Corn with a cilantro leaf as garnish.

Mexican Street Corn

A simple way to jazz up the common corn side-dish is with this Mexican Street Corn recipe. It’s full of creamy, cheesy, tangy flavor seasoned with the spice of chili powder and more, like the classic Mexican dish called Esquite or Elote.

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What’s Esquite or Elote, you ask?

They are Spanish names for food made famous by street vendors throughout Mexico. These names can be interchanged to mean the same thing, corn. Corn that is cooked/grilled and served on or off the cob.

Esquite (ehs-kee-teh) means Mexican street corn cups, which is whole kernel corn mixed with a tangy, creamy sauce.

Elote (eh-loh-teh) on the other hand, refers to grilled or roasted corn on the cob brushed with a similar sauce.

The Flavors Of The Mexican Street Corn

No matter how it’s served, the combination of ingredients takes this simple vegetable from good to great!

Recently, I asked my friend, Maria, who makes esquite for her family how she prepares it and this is what she did.

She spooned some whole kernel corn I had cooking on the stove into a coffee cup for a single serving. Then she stirred in some mayonnaise and powdered parmesan cheese. Her kids like it seasoned with Tajin seasoning, but she likes it plain, and believe me, plain is delicious!

She said other ingredients such as chili powder, cilantro, and/or lime juice can be added to suit one’s taste. That’s the convenience of making the individual servings in a cup.

Are you familiar with Tajin Clasico Chili-Lime Seasoning? It’s a salty, citrusy condiment that’s spicy but not hot. The warm taste from chili peppers oddly accents fresh fruit deliciously. Yeah, that’s right, fresh fruit like pineapples, melons, and even peaches. Try it on popcorn and as a seasoning for chicken, too! Warning, it can be addictive.

Sometimes I serve corn the simple way like Maria taught me. But today, we’re jazzing it up with my Homemade Taco Seasoning instead of chili powder, along with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro and a splash of lime juice.

It’s so good!

A bowl of corn with a bowl of limes and sprigs of cilantro and a serving spoon.

Let’s talk about cooking the corn.

The traditional way of preparing Mexican Street Corn is to roast it on the cob. That charred taste is hard to beat! Sometimes the husks are peeled back from the corn and cleverly used as a handle for chomping down on the cob.

Corn on the cob can be hard to eat for some, so cooking the cut whole kernels already off the cob is an easy option.

Corn cooking in a pan with bay leaves.

Note: One nugget of information Maria shared with me is to simmer the corn with a few dried bay leaves. This extra flavor complements the corn very well.

A bowl of Mexican Street Corn with cilantro.

You can’t mess up this dish! It’s too easy!

I like versatile recipes like this one, don’t you? It’s no stress food prep, especially when you’re feeding a crowd. And I mean, cooking for 4 or more people can sometimes feel like a crowd, especially if you do it often!

Here are some more easy-to-prepare dishes you might like:

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A bowl of Mexican Street Corn with a cilantro leaf as garnish.

Mexican Street Corn


  • Author: Louisiana Woman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

An easy traditional Mexican corn dish that’s creamy, cheesy, tangy, and spicy good!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 cups (14 ounces) of frozen cut corn plus 2 cups of water or 2 (15.5-ounce) cans of whole kernel corn, undrained
  • 2 bay leaves, dried
  • 2 tablespoons reserved liquid
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup powdered parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning, or 3/4 teaspoon chili powder or 1 teaspoon Tajin Clasico chili-lime seasoning 
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges, optional
  • chopped cilantro leaves, optional

Instructions

  1. Add corn, water if you are using frozen corn or the liquid from the canned corn, and bay leaves together into a medium-sized pot, and bring them to a boil under medium heat.
  2. Turn heat down and simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Drain corn and reserve the liquid for the next step.
  4. Place corn into a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of the reserved liquid.
  5. Add mayonnaise, cheese, and seasoning, mix well.
  6. Stir in chopped cilantro and the juice of half of the lime if desired into the corn mixture.
  7. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and the rest of the lime slices.

Notes

  • You can omit the seasoning altogether for a milder dish.
  • For more lime taste, squeeze the juice from the rest of the lime slices over the corn. 
  • Make individual servings in a cup with desired seasonings and garnishes.
  • Use roasted corn for a richer corn flavor.
  • Make a paste with the last 6 ingredients to brush onto cooked corn on the cob.
  • Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.
  • Serve cold with chips for a dip or warm to serve again.
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: simmering
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Mexican street corn

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