When it comes to Mexican cuisine, people who are not well aware of this country’s culture may think of the most high-end and finger-licking dishes in the world. Who would think that even snacking on delicious corn from a street seller may be one of Mexico’s ultimate simple pleasures?
Esquites and elotes are so renowned in Mexico that you will likely see them in any food trucks, street stands, or any restaurants when traveling to this beautiful country.
Sweet, spicy, tangy, and smoky, esquites elotes are the off-the-cob version of esquites-grilled and elotes—grilled on-the-cob Mexican street corn.
Which one suits your taste more between Esquite vs Elote? We’ll take you around Mexican cuisine through its most popular snacking dishes and make you clear about their variations.
What Are Elotes?
Elote is a conventional way of enjoying corn on the cob.
The word “Elotes” comes from the Nahuatl term “elotito,” which means “tender cob.”
Corn has long been a staple in Latin American culture, extending back to indigenous peoples’ staple crop and retaining its popularity due to its portability, making it easier to eat for a population becoming increasingly mobile.
Mexican street corn, or Elotes, is a traditional way of eating corn on the cob. Elotes is grilled corn on the cob frequently topped with crumbly cheese, hot sauce, chile powder, and lime juice after being spread with mayonnaise (or butter).
This delicious street food is a great treat going well with any BBQ spread or as a summer snack.
If you are a mayo-hater and worried this recipe won’t be for you, think again. Elote will have you reconsidering your stance; or, at the very least, make one incredible exception.
The mayo becomes more like a creamy, hot sauce, absorbing the flavor of the chili powder, cotija cheese, and lime juice.
It’s tangy without overpowering the corn—exactly the kind of refreshing treat you could use at your next cookout or backyard BBQ.
If you’re having trouble finding cotija cheese, you can replace it with salty, crumbly cheese like feta or ricotta Salata.
But we recommend getting your hands on cotija for its perfect blend of texture and taste.
This side is perfect for any cookout staple—try it with barbecue chicken or grilled steak—or at a party.
You can set up all of the toppings (adding a few wildcards, like scallions, crumbled bacon, and sriracha) and create a Build Your Own Elote Bar.
What Are Esquites?
Esquites have some different versions, which are all yummy.
Esquites are a popular Mexican snack made from corn mixed with creamy mayonesa (mayonnaise), freshly crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco, lime juice, and chili powder.
Street vendors commonly sell it in Mexico and serve it in a large cup with a spoon to mix all the delicious ingredients together.
There are different variations of esquites depending on which street vendor you go to – some versions include a broth, others use grilled corn, and some have diced chiles and cilantro as optional ingredients.
All the versions are delicious. Esquites, or Mexican Street Corn cups, are an all-time favorite snack sold by street corn vendors all over Mexico.
Made with only a handful of inexpensive ingredients, each spoonful of esquites is filled with a salty, tangy, creamy, and mildly spicy bite. This bite is appealing and surely will spark your attempt to come back many times more.
Esquites Vs Elote – What Are The Differences?
Elotes and their cousin, Esquites, are two of the most popular Mexican street corn dishes.
Esquites share the same ingredients with elote: fresh, sweet corn, cilantro, mayonnaise, lime, crumbled cotija cheese, and chili powder. The combination is sublime, and this variation is much easier to eat.
Esquites vs elote – apart from the similarities discussed above, we’ll walk you through some prominent differences between them.
Elotes originate from Aztec.
Elotes dates back to the Aztec civilization, and its popularity was widespread across Mexico and Central America.
Indigenous tribes sell cobs of corn soaked in fresh lime juice outside of cornfields at the end of the harvest season to celebrate the plentiful harvest.
In the streets of Mexico City, the creamy, savory dessert that we know today first acquired popularity. Elotesros put up kiosks, drawing passers-by in with their delicious corn on the cobs warmed by spinning braziers.
Regarding Esquites, there are some stories behind the dishes. In a novel, Emperor Maximillian and Empress Carlota of Mexico prepared French cuisine in the late 1800s.
They did, however, substitute corn flour for wheat flour. The duet created several Mexican corn recipes and gave them French names. They made Esquites, which they dubbed “Odalisque’s teeth.”
Yet, Emperor Maximillian and Empress Carlota were not the first to create this food. According to the older story, Tlazocihuapilli of Xochimilcas invented Esquites and many other popular dishes.
It makes sense because Esquites derive from the Nahuatl term “zquiet,” which means “toasted corn.” The cultural significance of this delectable delicacy is just one more thing that justifies its popularity.
You need to remove the kernels from the cob first to start making esquites.
These two delectable street dishes are so prevalent in Mexico that you’ll undoubtedly encounter them at street stalls, food trucks, and other restaurants as you travel around the country.
Although the preparation is relatively similar, we can still distinguish some variations in preparation methods.
- Elotes recipe
To make Elotes, first, you could steam or boil your corn cobs. While the corn is cooking, combine mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, optional cayenne, and salt in a mixing bowl; then combine shredded cotija cheese and cilantro in a separate bowl.
The next step is to brush the corn with the mayo blend and sprinkle the Cotija and cilantro mixture all over and chili powder. Again, you can make changes to this dish as per your taste.
- Esquites recipe
Unlike Elotes, to make Esquites, first, you have to remove the kernels from the cob. Then, cook the fresh corn kernels for 5 minutes in a skillet with butter and garlic. These ingredients will bring out some of the corn’s sweetness while also adding a smokey aspect with a bit of char.
Then combine it with mayonnaise, cotija cheese, lime juice, cilantro, sliced jalapenos, and salt in a mixing dish.
According to the information mentioned above, both Elotes and Esquites are delicious and go-to Mexican corn dishes.
Thus, if you love Elotes, you also tend to love Esquites because they are practically identical, except for some slight differences.
As such, Esquites are served in a cup and are much easier to eat when compared with Elotes. Besides, when preparing Esquites, you have to remove the corn kernels from the cob first.
Therefore, when traveling to Mexico, you should enjoy the two dishes. They not only taste so delicious but also bring you different and fantastic experiences of eating.
Esquites are served in disposable cups, whereas elotes in plates.
Elotes are tasty, but it’s a little more challenging to eat than Esquites. It can be topped with anything you want: chili powder, butter, lime, mayonnaise or cream, shredded cotija cheese, and so on.
However, many people prefer the smoky grilled version, commonly grilled but can also be boiled because it is messier.
Every tasty bite of Elotes may bring you to a hot, carefree summer night in a bustling city. It’s ideal for anytime you need a little sunshine in your life, whether it’s the middle of July or the middle of December.
Elotes refers to grilled corn on the cob, and it’s usually served with a stick or a handle made from the husks.
Which One Is Your Go-To Snack?
If you don’t want to deal with the mess of eating corn still on the cob, Équites is the way to go. The corn kernels of Esquites are removed from the cob, cooked or sautéed, and served in a cup.
Vendors use disposable cups as the most typical way to serve Esquites, and there’s something about it that makes them irresistible.
Furthermore, Esquites taste best when hot, but you can eat corn cold as well. It all depends on your personal preferences. However, we are sure that you will enjoy them regardless of how you eat them.
The Bottom Line: Elote Vs Esquite
Elotes esquites are a staple on Mexicans balcony grill over the summer. They’re about as easy and inexpensive a dish as you can think of, and nothing can beat a hot plate of them.
We’ve enjoyed both options in Mexico City and love making them at home. And we bet you will also desire to cook this simple salad all summer and through the rest of the year.
Whether you like Elotes or Esquites, it’s undeniable that the two typical dishes in Mexican street food taste excellent.
We hope Battersby’s interesting info can help you figure out the variations between Esquite vs Elote and turn you into a geek in the charming Mexican cuisine.