Corn Esquites


If your go-to recipe for cooking an ear of corn is to make corn on the cob dripping in butter, then why not try something completely new? 

Mexican Corn in a Cup Photo

Esquites (pronounced ehs-kee-teh) are corn kernels OFF the cob – an interesting twist on the better known elote (Mexican corn on the cob). You may also see esquites referred to as elote en vaso (corn in a cup) – so named because that is the way it is served!

The flavor of esquites is a wonderful combination of spicy, zesty, sweet and smoky – a mouthwatering mixture that makes this recipe something you will return to over and over again!

Mexican Corn in a Cup Picture

It makes a real treat served to your guests as an appetizer at parties. You can eat esquites hot or cold, so it is ideal for everything from summertime BBQs to winter get-togethers!

Ideally you will want to use sweet, fresh ears of corn for this recipe, but if you can’t get hold of any, feel free to use frozen or canned kernels instead. 

Mexican Corn in a Cup Image

How to shuck corn and remove the kernels

Shucking corn can be a pain but there are a few ways of making it much easier!

  1. Take off all the outer leaves until you are left with just a thin layer of inner leaves.
  2. Pull back the leaves at the top to expose the tip, then get hold of both the leaves and the tassel of silk.
  3. Holding the base of the ear firmly with your other hand, pull the leaves and silks downwards until the ear is fully exposed.
  4. Break off the leaves and silks, then pick off any remaining silks left on the corn.
  5. Take a large bowl and place a small bowl inside it, upside down.
  6. Stand each ear on its flat edge on top of the small bowl and – using a sharp knife – slice down the ear of corn. Using the two bowls will allow you to catch the corn kernels, whilst simultaneously being able to reach all the way to the bottom of the ear.
Mexican Corn in a Cup Pic

What to serve with esquites

Esquites is a Mexican street food and the traditional way to enjoy it is from a cup with a spoon! It also makes a perfect side dish to serve with Carne Asada Nachos or just about any Mexican meal!

Mexican Corn in a Cup Photo

Corn Esquites

Christine Albury
Wondering how to make corn esquites, the Mexican treat that’s fun to eat? We’ve got you covered!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Cuisine Tex Mex
Servings 6 1 serving
Calories 187.5 kcal


  • 6 Ear of Corn
  • 2 Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Diced Jalapeño Peppers
  • 0.25 Salt
  • 0.5 Queso Fresco
  • 4 Mexican Crema
  • 0.25 Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 Lime Juice
  • 1 Chili Powder


  • Remove the kernels from the ears of corn until you have filled 4 cups.
  • In a large skillet over a medium-high heat, heat the oil and add the jalapeño pepper.
  • Sauté for 2 minutes, then add the corn kernels and season with salt. 
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, for around 10 to 15 minutes, until the kernels are golden in color.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  • Pour the kernels into a large mixing bowl and add the crumbled queso fresco, Mexican crema, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and chili powder. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
  • Serve with garnishes of your choice, such as crumbled queso fresco, chopped cilantro and cayenne pepper


Calories: 187.5kcalCarbohydrates: 18.42gProtein: 4gFat: 11.58gSaturated Fat: 4.25gSodium: 218.67mgSugar: 0.67g
Keyword Appetizers, Barbecues, Corn, Mexican, Side Dishes, Tex Mex
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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