Homemade Mexican Corn Salad with Blackened Corn

October 5, 2023
Corn Salad with Blackened Corn

Mexican Corn Salad, often referred to as “Esquites,” is a popular street food in Mexico, typically sold in cups and eaten with spoons. It’s a delightful mixture of sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors, combined with the smoky aroma of blackened corn. This side dish is perfect for BBQs, potlucks, and family dinners, offering a refreshing and zesty complement to various mains.


  • 4 cups of corn kernels (preferably from fresh corn cobs)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely chopped (optional for added heat)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cheese (Cotija is traditional, but feta or queso fresco work well too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or chili powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: A dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper for extra heat
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon mayonnaise or Mexican crema for creaminess


  • Blackening the Corn: In a large skillet or on a grill, heat the olive oil or melt the butter over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the corn kernels. Cook without stirring too often, allowing the corn to char and blacken in spots. This will take about 7-10 minutes.
  • Mixing Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the blackened corn, chopped red onion, cilantro, and jalapeño (if you’re using it).
  • Seasoning: Sprinkle in the smoked paprika or chili powder, salt, and pepper. If you’re using hot sauce or cayenne, add that as well. Mix everything together, ensuring the spices are evenly distributed.
  • Finishing Touches: Drizzle the lime juice over the mixture and gently fold in the crumbled cheese. If you’re opting for a creamier salad, mix in the mayonnaise or Mexican crema until well combined.
  • Chilling & Serving: For the best flavor, let the salad chill in the refrigerator for about an hour before serving. This allows the flavors to meld. However, if you’re short on time, you can serve it immediately as well.

Homemade Mexican Corn Salad with blackened corn is a burst of flavors in every bite. The smoky aroma of the corn, combined with the zest of lime and the sharpness of red onion, makes it a side dish that’s hard to resist. Whether you serve it alongside grilled meats or eat it on its own, it promises a taste of Mexico right at home!

Find more side dish recipes here

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