Esquites (Mexican Corn)


Esquites is an off-the-cob version of elote--the sweet, smoky, Mexican corn served from street vendors. This is best made with fresh sweet corn, but frozen can work when you're looking for that perfect comfort dish in off-season months. The flavors of this dish are versatile--enjoy as a side with any Mexican or BBQ fare such as enchiladas, tacos, grilled/roasted chicken, BBQ pork, or burgers. This is best served at room temperature.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
20 mins
6 servings


  • 4 tablespoons butter, or more as needed

  • 6 ears fresh corn kernels

  • 1 teaspoon dried epazote, or to taste (Optional)

  • 4 tablespoons Mexican crema, or more to taste

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste

  • salt to taste

  • ¼ cup crumbled Cotija cheese, or to taste

  • 1 pinch chipotle pepper powder, or more to taste (Optional)

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (Optional)


  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn and epazote. Cook, stirring frequently, until cooked to your preference, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat.

  2. Combine crema and lemon juice in a bowl; season with salt. Mix crema into the hot corn and transfer mixture to a serving dish. Let cool to room temperature.

  3. Sprinkle Cotija cheese and chipotle powder on top of corn and serve with lime wedges.

Cook's Notes:

An easy tip to get corn off the cob - put a small plastic bowl upside-down inside a larger bowl. Put the corn vertically on top of the small bowl and cut off the corn with a knife. The corn will fall inside the bigger bowl, preventing corn from flying all over the kitchen. Best made with fresh corn, but you can use frozen corn when fresh isn't available.

Epazote is an herb or weed. It can be hard to find fresh; if you do, use 1 tablespoon chopped in this recipe. Dried is found in most grocery stores with other dried Mexican herbs. If you can't find it near you, you can omit it and the corn is still delicious.

Do-ahead tip - you can prepare corn through step 2. When ready to serve, bring to room temperature (not hot), in the microwave and proceed with finishing the dish.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

204 Calories
14g Fat
19g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 204
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 40mg 13%
Sodium 160mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 10mg 50%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 267mg 6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.