Esquites Soup is a creamy, roasted corn-based soup with added vegetables and seasonings that is topped with fresh pico de gallo, sour cream, jalapeno peppers, and cheese. Try my Corn Soup for a tasty soup using fresh sweet corn.
Esquites, or Mexican Street Corn, is a must-have dish when visiting Mexico and has been popularized here in the USA as well. Authentic esquites is prepared with white Mexican corn, elote blanco, not sweet corn. I have a variation of Esquites here. This soup uses many of the same flavors of the side dish, but in a creamy soup.
Esquites Soup Ingredients (Full recipe below in recipe card)
- Sweet Corn – I opted for canned corn in this recipe as I love the sweet corn with the spice. But, you could use fresh sweet corn if it’s in season.
- Jalapeño Pepper – If you are like me and you like things a little spicy, you have been the recipient of the jalapeno that had no kick. On the flip side, you may have had the jalapeno that tasted like a ghost pepper. So, how you can you tell if the jalapeno is spicy? The older the pepper the spicier it will be. Looking at a pepper, the older ones will have stress marks, like little white lines or flecks on the flesh. The younger (less spicy) peppers will have a clear shiny flesh. So if you like them hot, pick the older pepper. If you like the mild, pick the younger one (and feel free to add more)! Keep some set aside for garnish as well.
- Cilantro – Fresh is best! When at the store pick up the cilantro and smell it. You may need to reach far in the back and get the freshest bunch! Be sure to wash it well before removing the leaves and discarding the stems.
- Cotija Cheese – Cotija is a Hispanic-style cheese named after the town of Cotija in the Mexican state of Michoacán. It is a hard, crumbly cheese is made mainly from cow’s milk. It is a bit salty and similar in texture to feta. This may seem bold, but I do not recommend making this dish without it! While I have seen some folks use parmesan, the Cojita cheese adds something unparalleled.
- Lime Juice – Grab a couple of extra limes so that folks can add more freshly-squeezed lime juice to their individual serving.
- Chili Powder – Feel free to taste as you go and change it to suit your tastes. You can also substitute cayenne.
- Pico de Gallo: Fresh pico de gallo really added some flavor and color when used as a topping.
This soup is a delicious soup that can be enjoyed as a light lunch, a starter, or even a meal with some added chicken. But, first, we have to get it made! To get started, heat up the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Cook the onions and jalapeno peppers until the onions are translucent. Remember to save some seeded and diced jalapeno peppers for garnish.
Next, add the drained canned corn to the pot. Cook the corn for 15-20 minutes, or until it’s a golden brown. Add the garlic and cilantro, cooking for another minute. Reduce the heat to low as you finish making the soup.
How to Make Esquites Soup
To finish making the esquites soup, carefully remove half the corn mixture into a separate bowl and set it aside. To the other half of the corn mixture remaining in the pot, add the chicken broth and the Cotija cheese. Use an immersion blender to blend these ingredients until nice and smooth.
After the mixture is smooth, pour the corn mixture that was set aside into the pot (still over low heat). Stir to combine. And finally, stir in the heavy cream, lime juice, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Serve warm, topped with additional cilantro, jalapeno peppers, cheese, pico de gallo, and sour cream.
Can I Make this Soup without an Immersion Blender?
Yes! Although an immersion blender is a handy kitchen gadget to have on hand, you can get by without one. I will let you know how you can use a blender to get all the flavors combined. However, the instructions are just a little different if not using an immersion blender. Cook the corn mixture as the instructions state in steps 1-4.
After step 4, remove the pot of the corn mixture from the heat. Let it cool for a few minutes. After it has cooled a bit, pour half of the corn mixture into a blender. To the blender, add the chicken broth and cheese. Blend these ingredients until smooth. Pour this back into the pot. Place the pot over low heat and finish the soup by stirring in the cream, lime juice, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
Looking for More Soup Recipes?
Esquites Soup is a creamy, roasted corn-based soup with added vegetables and seasonings that is topped with fresh pico de gallo, sour cream, jalapeno peppers, and cheese.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced (approximately ¾ cup)
- 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped (plus extra for garnish)
- 4 cups canned sweet corn, well-drained
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 32 ounces chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons Cotija cheese, crumbled (plus more for garnish)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1½ teaspoons salt, more or less to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper, more or less to taste
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
Add the onion and jalapeno. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
Add the drained sweet corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
Add the garlic and cilantro. Cook for 1 minute more. Reduce the heat to low.
Carefully remove half of the corn mixture and put it in a separate bowl. Set aside.
To the remaining corn mixture in the pot, add the chicken broth and the Cotija cheese. Use an immersion blender to blend the ingredients together.
Pour the corn mixture that was set aside back into the pot and stir to combine.
Stir in heavy cream, lime juice, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
Top soup with additional cilantro, jalapenos, Cotija cheese, pico de gallo, and sour cream.