Esquites Recipe


Serves 6

This quintessential street food from Mexico can be found in the plazas, outside of churches, and at every single fair. It may be its simplicity, just cooked corn kernels served with a variety of toppings, that makes it so special. Serve it as a snack or appetizer — or as a side dish with white fish.


  • 3 - 4 large ears corn, white or yellow
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp granulated sugar, optional
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 white onion
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 1/4 cups (about 6 oz) crumbled cotija cheese
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise or Mexican crema
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp chili powder, such as Tajin


  1. Remove husks and silk from corn; discard silk and reserve husks. With a knife, cut the kernels from each cob to make 3 cups kernels. Reserve kernels and 2 of the stripped cobs.
  2. Place water in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Add sugar, salt, and 2 stripped cobs. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the corn kernels, cilantro, and onion. Cover with a few of the corn husks. Return to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes or until corn is crisp-tender. Turn off the heat, cover the pot with lid and let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. With tongs, remove and discard husks, cobs, and cilantro.
  5. To serve, divide the corn into 6 small cups, you want some of the broth in the cups. Top with a few drops of lime juice, 2-3 tsp mayonnaise, a heaping spoonful of cheese, and 1/2 tsp chili powder. Add more of less of each toppings to your liking.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Amount Per Serving (based on 6 servings)
Calories: 350
Fat: 29 g
Saturated Fat: 8 g
Cholesterol: 35 mg
Sodium: 1330 mg
Carbohydrates: 16 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sugar: 3 g
Protein: 9 g
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