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Difference Between Elotes And Esquites

Most people have enjoyed corn in one form or the other. Cereals, popcorn and corn salad are only a few.

Another exciting way that this grain can be used is to prepare street snacks such as elotes and esquites

Elotes and Esquites are popular Mexican street foods that are made from corn. These dishes consist of the cooked corn kernels dressed in a variety of sweet, savory or spicy toppings.

They are commonly sold from the carts of street vendors or restaurants, and they can be enjoyed while on the go.

So, what is the difference between elotes and esquites? The major difference is how both dishes are presented. For elotes, the corn kernels are served whole on the cob, while in esquites, the corn kernels are shaved off of the cob and often served in disposable cups. 

Continue reading to find out more about these two Mexican snacks.

Elotes vs esquites


In esquites, the corn kernels are shaved off the cob after which they are boiled in water together with epazote and salt. The kernels are then topped with lime juice, chili powder, cotija cheese and mayonnaise. 

Elotes are typically grilled after which the corn cob is dressed in a mayo-based sauce. The corn is also topped with chili powder, lime juice and cotija cheese. 

If you enjoy your corn grilled, then elotes are just for you.


The shaved corn kernels in esquites and served in cups and eaten with a spoon, sometime they could also be served off the corn husks.

On the other hand, elotes are typically eaten from the cob with hands.


The corn kernels in esquites have a soft texture. Both the inside and the exterior of the kernels are soft because because they are boiled in water. 

However, the texture of the corn kernels is crisp in elotes especially in the exterior.

What is esquites?


A popular Mexican street food. 

The word esquites is gotten from a Nahuatl word “izquitl” which means toasted corn. Esquites is also known as elote en vaso which means “corn in a cup.”

This snack consists of corn kernels that are shaved off the cob and boiled in water. The kernels can also be sautéed.

After cooking the corn kernels, they are served in cups and topped with a variety of ingredients.

It could be topped with a wide variety of toppings including chili powder, cotija cheese, hot sauce, and mayonnaise.  

The boiled corn kernels have a soft texture and the flavor depend on the combination of toppings used. 

Esquites are easy to make, they could also be bought from street vendors both in Mexico and the US.

What is elote?


Esquites are a Mexican street food that consists of Grilled corn on a cob topped with a sauce and cheese.

A summer staple, Elote means ‘corn cob’ in Spanish, however this version is a Mexican street food that is dressed in sauce.

This snack consists of the corn kernels grilled on the corn.

Elote is coated with different sauces and seasonings. The sauce used is typically a mayonnaise based sauce.

It can be topped with Onions, pepper and cilantro. Cotija cheese and chili powder are often sprinkled over this snack, and fresh lime juice may be drizzled over the cob.

This snack is a mix Savory, tangy, spicy flavors.

Since elotes are grilled, they could also have smoky flavor. and the kernels in elotes are crunchy.

It is easy to prepare and can be enjoyed either as a snack or a side dish.

Elotes are sold from street carts where the corn is served together with the cob or on a stick.