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Elote vs Esquite: What’s the Difference?

Elote and esquite may sound like distant cousins in the corn family, but boy, are they different.

First off, we’re talking about the street food stars of Mexico. Elote? That’s corn on the cob slathered in all things magical – mayo, cheese, chili, and lime. Esquite? Think elote but off the cob, served in a cup, easy to eat while you’re on the move.

We’ve had our fair share of both, sidling up to food carts, debating our picks. Elote calls for commitment – you’re in it, face first, getting messy. Esquite, on the other hand, is your chill companion on a leisurely stroll.

Each has its charm, its pull. What’s your pick?

What is Elote?

Elote – a popular Mexican street food – is delish.

Grilled corn on the cob, slathered with mayo, cheese, chili powder, and lime juice.

Served on a stick and yummy as a savory snack.

The smoky grill and creamy-tangy mix of toppings creates an amazing flavor burst.

The way it’s cooked makes it special.

Grilled over an open flame, giving a charred-smoky taste that adds depth.

This traditional cooking method brings out the sweetness of the corn.

Toppings make elote unique.

Mayo adds creaminess and richness.

Cheese – cotija or queso fresco – gives a salty contrast to the sweet corn.

Chili powder or Tajin seasoning adds heat and tanginess.

Lime juice adds brightness and balances the flavors.

Elote can be customized too.

Add butter, garlic powder, cilantro, or hot sauce for an extra kick.

Some variations include avo slices or chopped onions.

Enjoy elote as a quick street food snack, or at home as a side dish or main course.

Perfect for any occasion – from BBQs to dinner parties.

What is Esquite?

Esquite, a distant cousin of elote, is a Mexican delicacy.

Made with corn kernels, it’s unlike elote, which is eaten on the cob.

Esquite is served in a cup or bowl.

It boasts a unique flavor with sweetness from corn, tanginess from lime juice, and richness from mayo.

It can be made even better with chili powder, cheese, and cilantro for extra kick.

What sets esquite apart? Presentation and texture.

Elote has whole kernels with sauce and toppings – esquite takes it further.

The kernels are cut off the cob and mixed with seasonings.

This provides a convenient eating experience and smoother texture.

Esquite is popular in Mexico and beyond due to its flavors.

It’s a great snack or side dish.

Plus, it’s nutritious with fiber and antioxidants from the corn.

Differences Between Elote and Esquite

Elote and esquite – two Mexican dishes, both featuring corn.

Yet, preparation and serving make them distinct.

Ingredients Used

Mexican street food has two popular dishes: elote and esquite.

Though they look similar, there are differences in how they’re prepared.

Elote – also known as Mexican corn on the cob – is usually served grilled or boiled.

It’s coated in creamy mayo and sprinkled with cotija cheese.

Lime juice adds a tangy kick and chili powder brings some heat.

All these flavors bring out the sweetness of the corn.

Esquite takes the same ingredients but serves them in a cup or bowl.

It also has diced onion for crunch, and sometimes chipotle peppers or cilantro.

Both dishes have creamy mayo, tangy lime juice, salty cotija cheese, and spicy chili powder or peppers.

Together, they make a tasty symphony of flavors.

So if you’re craving Mexican street food, elote or esquite are both great options.

Elote is perfect for savoring the juicy corn on the cob.

Esquite is portable and loaded with flavors and textures.

Whichever you choose, you’ll get a taste of Mexico City.

Preparation Method

Elote and esquite both involve cooking corn, but in different ways.

Elote is usually grilled on an open flame, while esquite is boiled in a broth.

This gives each dish its own flavor and texture.

Elote is served on the cob with toppings like mayo, cheese, and chili powder.

Esquite is served in a cup with toppings mixed in.

This small difference makes a big impact on how they are enjoyed.

Serving Style

Elote or esquite? Two Mexican dishes that contrast in serving style.

Elote is typically enjoyed on the cob – a beloved street food treat.

Grilled or boiled, then slathered in mayo, cheese, chili powder, and a squeeze of lime.

Or opt for esquite – kernels removed from the cob, in a cup or bowl.

With added flavor from onions, cilantro, and more.

Both dishes bring unique experiences.

Elote with its rustic handheld appeal.

Esquite with convenience and custom toppings.

Next time you’re craving corn, pick between elote and esquite – and savor a true Mexican flavor.

Flavor and Texture

Elote and esquite are two unique Mexican street foods, each with their own distinct flavor and texture.

Elote’s smoky, charred flavor is complemented by juicy, plump kernels that have a slightly crunchy exterior and a soft interior.

Esquite, on the other hand, offers a different experience.

Boiled or steamed corn kernels, mixed with seasonings like lime juice, chili powder, mayonnaise or crema fresca, cheese, and hot sauce, create a tangy, creamy, and spicy blend.

The texture of esquite is softer than elote’s, with a velvety mouthfeel and occasional crunch from toppings like cheese or crushed tortilla chips.

These Mexican delights provide a unique culinary experience that will take you to bustling street markets south of the border.

Enjoy the smokiness of elote or the creamy tanginess of esquite.

Similarities Between Elote and Esquite

Elote and esquite – two Mexican street foods – have lots in common.

Corn is the main ingredient for both.

They’re usually served on a stick or in a cup.

Plus, they’re both seasoned with lime juice, mayo, chili powder, and cheese.

This adds a tangy and spicy flavor to both dishes.

The combination of flavors and textures is what makes them so delicious.

The tender corn, creamy mayo, tangy lime juice, and savory cheese make every bite a mouthwatering experience.

How to Make Elote and Esquite at Home?

Explore the culinary world with Elote and Esquite.

Here’s a guide to making them at home:

Grill or cook the corn on the stovetop.

Let cool.

For Elote:

o Douse with mayo or Mexican crema.

o Top with chili powder, cotija cheese and lime juice.

o Sprinkle chopped cilantro or parsley.

For Esquite:

o Cut kernels and put them in a bowl.

o Melt butter, add garlic, and cook until fragrant.

o Add corn, cook until slightly charred.

o Mix in mayo/crema, cheese, chili powder and lime juice.

o Garnish with cilantro/parsley.


  • Adjust chili powder according to your spice preference.
  • Substitute cotija with feta or parmesan cheese.
  • Add hot sauce or Tajin seasoning for extra flavor.
  • For more color, include sautéed bell peppers or onions.

Start exploring Mexican cuisine with Elote and Esquite.

Enjoy the unique flavor and cultural experience.


Elote and esquite are Mexican street foods made from corn.

Elote is a grilled cob with toppings, while esquite is boiled kernels in a cup with mayo, cheese, juice and spices.

What makes them different?

  • Elote is usually on a stick or skewer. Esquite is in a cup or bowl.
  • Elote is grilled, esquite is boiled.
  • Elote is topped with condiments, esquite has them mixed in.
  • Elote is one cob, esquite is bite-sized kernels.

Both make corn deliciously unique – elote’s simplicity, or esquite’s savory mixture.

Both will satisfy your taste buds.

Elote vs Esquite: What’s the Difference?

Andrew Gray
Embark on a flavorful journey through Mexican street food with this comparison of elote and esquite. Explore the variations in presentation, toppings, and flavors that differentiate these popular corn dishes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That
Servings 1 Serving


  • Choose between Elote and Esquite based on your preference and the desired presentation.
  • Prepare the ingredients accordingly, ensuring you have fresh corn on the cob and the necessary toppings and seasonings.
  • For Elote, grill or roast the corn until cooked and lightly charred. Spread a layer of mayonnaise, sprinkle with cheese, and season with spices. Serve on a stick or in a dish.
  • For Esquite, remove the corn kernels from the cob and cook them in a skillet with butter. Add toppings such as mayonnaise, cheese, lime juice, and chili powder. Serve in a cup or bowl.
  • Enjoy the flavors and textures of either Elote or Esquite, savoring the unique taste experiences they offer.
  • Experiment with different variations and additional toppings to personalize your Elote or Esquite creations.
  • Share and indulge in these delightful Mexican street corn dishes with family and friends.
Keyword Elote vs Esquite
Did you make this recipe?Mention @AmericasRestaurant or tag #americasrestaurant!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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