This recipe is inspired by esquites, a popular street snack in Mexico City that is a close cousin to elotes, or Mexican street corn. Only instead of eating a whole cob skewered on a stick, with esquites the kernels are shaved off and then served in a cup with the same toppings—mayonnaise, crumbled Cotija and chili powder. Here the dish is served family-style in a generous bowl, with the toppings added before doling out each portion.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Ease of Preparation: Easy


  • 6 ears fresh corn
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • Pink Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup crumbled Cotija, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes, 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges for serving
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chile-lime seasoning, such as Tajin


Shuck the corn and remove the silks. Use a chef's knife to remove the kernels from the corn cob. (See Cook's Note.)

Melt the butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn kernels and spread in an even layer. Don’t stir for the first minute so the corn can start to brown, then cook, stirring, until the kernels are tender and nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the corn to a large bowl. Add the mayonnaise, Cotija, smoked paprika, scallions, lime juice and cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Toss well to combine. Sprinkle with the chile-lime seasoning along with more crumbled Cotija and cilantro and serve with the lime wedges.

Cook's Note: Put the corn cobs in a gallon-size resealable bag and store in the freezer for adding flavor to soups.

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