Esquites (Grilled Corn Cups)

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Esquites (Warm, Grilled Corn Cups)

Prep Time: minutes
Cook Time: minutes
Yields: esquites


  • 4 ears corn
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 2 jalapeños you can also use serranos or red Fresno peppers
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 3 limes juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons epazote dried, or 2 fresh teaspoons of epazote
  • 1/3 teaspoon pepper
  • salt to taste
  • You Will Also Need
  • 1 cup cotija cheese crumbled
  • chiles pequin crushed, or red pepper flakes
  • hot sauce of your choice
  • Chile limon powder
  • Lime wedges
These esquites are a refreshing treat that reminds me of my days in Mexico. Another bonus of this recipe? It's easy-breezy to make, and healthy, too!

Esquites, toasted corn from the Nahuatl word izquitl are, in my opinion, one of the most popular of Mexico's antojitos (snacks). As kids, when we would visit Mexico, you would hear the sounds of a man yelling, "Elotes! Elotes!" It was a mad dash to find Mom or Dad for some money quickly before the man was too far, ha ha ha! Soon you could find hot, spicy cups of esquites and elotes on a stick everywhere in L.A.

The corn is typically boiled, but why not grilled? To prepare these at home, I grilled all the corn ahead of time and removed the kernels from the cobs. When I was ready to serve, I mixed all of my ingredients and warmed the cups in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes and garnished with my favorite toppings. While still hot, add in mayo or Mexican cream, lime juice, crumbled cheese and top with hot sauce. If you want them extra cheesy, you could mix in some extra cotija cheese before warming in the oven. 

Most of the toppings/garnishes are typical for esquites that I list; they are also optional.


  1. Grill the corn, onion and hot peppers on an outdoor preheated grill or stovetop grill pan set at medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes, turning as needed. Let cool slightly.
  2. Remove corn kernels from cob. Mince and dice the onion and hot peppers, and mix with corn. In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, lime juice, olive oil, epazote, pepper and salt to taste. Add mayonnaise mixture to the corn and stir well to combine.
  3. Divide the corn mixture into 4 bowls or stoneware crocks. You can serve at room temperature or warm in the oven or microwave. Garnish with cotija cheese, chile pequin, hot sauce, chile limón powder and lime wedges. I added extra chile pequin! We loved it!

Chef Notes

To remove kernels easily from cob, place a small bowl, flat-side up in a larger bowl. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut down into bowl.

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Rating: 5
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