Esquites Recipe: Mexican Street Food with Corn

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In México, a great amount of our street food is made up of vegetables, fruits and grains. We love to have baked sweet potatoes, baked plantains, fruit salads with cream, fruit with lime, salt and dry pepper, drinks made with fruits, and of course, corn. Corn can be prepared in many ways, like fire roasted, boiled, steamed, made into a cake, or with just the kernels served in a cup, like in this recipe.
Most street vendors place themselves in strategic places where they know people will gather, like a outside the church on a Sunday morning, close to the main city plaza, in the town fairgrounds, and outside hospitals and public government offices. But my favorite place to get a snack is at the beach. You can go to Miramar beach on any weekend and find all sorts of vendors pushing their carts full of fruits, seafood empanadas, shaved ice cones, and, of course, corn on the cob. Like the ones in the pictures below:

Otra visita a los troles
Photo Courtesy of León Felipe Guevara Chávez
Caminando en Miramar II
Photo Courtesy of León Felipe Guevara Chávez
These pictures were taken at the beach in my hometown. The cart vendor sells corn on the cob and esquites (also known as trotelotes or troles).

4 servings of Esquites, Central México Style.


  • 3 cups of fresh cut corn kernels (about 4 corn ears)
  • 1/2 cup  Mexican sour cream or mayonnaise*
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 tablespoon of chopped fresh epazote (if available) or dried epazote
  • 1 serrano pepper (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons crumbled queso fresco, cotija or farmers cheese**
  • Ground chili powder or cayenne pepper, for topping 
  • Lime wedges, optional
  • Salt to taste


This recipe is the way esquites are prepared in Central Mexico. In other states, the use of onion, serrano and epazote is omitted. Instead, chili powder and lime juice are used along the sour cream or mayonnaise.

* You can use either sour cream or mayonnaise or a combination of the two.

** In case none of this cheeses are available in your area, use grated parmesan cheese.


1. In a medium high heat, melt the butter in a skillet. Once melted, add the chopped onion and cook until transparent.


2. Add the corn and epazote (if using),  serrano pepper, and 1/3 water. Stir and cover to cook, stirring occasionally. It will take between 6-8 minutes to cook. Check for doneness and do not overcook, corn kernels should be firm.


3. Season with salt and serve in 4 cups. Top with cream and/or mayonnaise and cheese. If you don’t want to use the serrano peppers and use cayenne or chili powder instead, then add it at this point with some lime juice.

Serve warm and enjoy!!

If you want to learn more about México’s street food, check out this Martha Stewart video about Street Food during her visit to México: HERE.


  1. Mely qué antojo! qué rico! Te me adelantaste con la publicación del trolelote, como le dicen aquí y si vieras cómo ha cambiado la preparación. Cuando vengas vamos a comer trolelotes a Cd Madero!

    1. Si Nora,

      Y no solo Trolelotes, todo lo demas que ofrece Cd. Madero.

  2. this looks great so want to visit Mexico and eat ha

  3. What is Epazote? I checked it,out on Google. I still don't know what form of herb. ,is it common? I live in El Paso and use lots of Mexican cooking ingredients. This is a first.


    1. Hello Lita:

      You can see a close up picture for epazote in my chilaquiles recipe:

      The uses for Epazote goes from beans, stews, as a tea for stomachache,quesadillas, seafood soups, and even some people in Yucatan add it to their Tamales and Cochinita Pibil.

      Here a little bit more about it:


  4. so delicious.....authentically Mexican :-)

  5. Thank you for this recipe! We're just getting ready for corn season here in Colorado, and with a Mexican flare, this most certainly caught my attention. Pinned.

  6. I hope you enjoy it Lea Ann.

  7. Looks yummy, Mely. The corn in our garden is not ready yet, but can't wait!

  8. Los esquites creo son originarios de mi tierra, Tijuana. Se venden en todas partes pero son más comunes en "la línea". Cuando la gente esta haciendo fila para cruzar la frontera ya sea en carro o a pie, no faltan los vendedores ambulantes ofreciendo sus ricos esquites. Esta receta me trajo recuerdos de tiempos pasados cuando vivía en TJ y cruzaba todos los días al "otro lado" para ir a la escuela. Los burritos y los esquites siempre estaban ahí para mi deleite.

  9. Oh my....I want to eat that right now! I'm at my son's football practice and hungry, then I see this delightful corn in a cup. I have to try this and soon.

  10. Omg I'm going to make this asap!

  11. wow this is so quick and perfect party snack. We do get the same thing with lot of dry spices and lemon juice here in India. Never heard with cheese as a snack. Am sure this would be great. Will try sometime.


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