Elote in a Cup is the perfect side dish or appetizer – it’s takes one of my favorite ways to eat corn on the cob and has all the flavor but makes it less messy and more portable! Loaded with fresh corn and a tangy creamy sauce topped with a crunchy spicy coating!
What You Will ❤️ About Elote in a Cup
- Food Truck Favorite! My friend’s food truck makes this and it’s a best seller!
- Corn all year! You can use frozen corn and still have that bite of summer all year round!
- Quick! Only 5 min of cook time and it’s ready in 20 minutes.
What is Elote Corn?
Elote means corn in Spanish and it’s plentiful and a very popular street food in Mexico. Traditional elote is corn on the cob covered in butter, mayonnaise, cotija cheese and chili powder. This recipe for Elote in a Cup makes that delicious street food a little more portable but with the same great taste!
Ingredients for Elote in a Cup recipe
These ingredients are very similar to what you’d have if you kept it on the cob. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Salt & Sugar
- Corn on the cob or whole kernel corn – you can use fresh or frozen
- Duke’s Mayonnaise – I only use Duke’s! Have you tried it?
- Hot Cheetos – this gives it a kick!
- Chile powder or cayenne pepper – and another kick!
- Tajin – and another kick! This is a blend of chili peppers, lime & salt.
- Parmesan cheese – or romano, cotija, queso fresco or even feta cheese
- Chopped Cilantro
How do you cook corn for this elote recipe?
I like to use fresh corn for this recipe – mainly because I first tried this in the summer – when it’s available on every corner! But in January – I still like elote – but there’s no fresh corn! What to do? Here’s how to cook the corn – no matter what time of year you’re serving it!
- Fresh corn on the cob – once your corn cut off the cob – boil 1.5 cups of water with 1 tbsp sugar. Add your corn and boil for 3-5 minutes. Then drain and let cool for 5 min.
- Frozen corn – heat according to directions on the bag – typically microwave/steam for 6 minutes.
- Canned corn – heat in a sauce pan. Then drain and cool for 5 minutes.
How do you make Mexican Street Corn in a Cup?
- Bring water to a boil and add salt & sugar – this helps make it like sweet corn
- When salted water is boiling, add corn and cover with lid.
- Simmer corn for 3-5 minutes or until corn is cooked though and tender.
- While corn is simmering, combine mayonnaise, lime juice and salt in a small bowl. Refrigerate.
- In a blender, add Cheetos, Tajin and chili powder. Pulverize until made into crumbs
- When corn is done cooking, drain well and spread out in strainer. Allow to cool for about 3-5 minutes.
- Place corn in cup and layer mayo mixture and cheetos mixture on top of corn mixture
- Garnish with parmesan and chopped cilantro and squeeze a lime wedge over top
- You could even sprinkle with your favorite hot sauce
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Tips, Tricks & FAQs
Elote is commonly known as the street corn served on the cob. Esquites is the Mexican street corn salad form of elote – usually served in a cup. So this recipe is a bit of both!
It simply translates to Corn
eee-LOW-tay is the pronunciation of elote
Yes – definitely! Instructions are in the recipe.
Traditional elote is served with cotija. You can substitute queso fresco, feta or – as we do – Parmesan!
Sure! You could swap out with Mexican crema, sour cream or nonfat plain yogurt if you’re not a fan of mayo. If you are using mayo – I always recommend Duke’s.
Meh – not so much – if you think you’ll have more than you need – I recommend keeping the ingredients separate
Elote in a Cup Variations
- Grilled – you can also grill your corn rather than a quick boil! Very delicious!
- Not in a cup – cook your corn but squirtle all the toppings on the ears of corn for a traditional Elote.
- Veggies – saute bell peppers and onions and add to the corn mixture – then top with diced avocado.
- Chicken – add pulled rotisserie chicken to the dish for a full meal
What to serve with Elote in a Cup?
- Traeger Grilled Chicken Thighs
- Cilantro Lime Shredded Pork Tacos
- Reverse-Sear Steak
- Air Fryer Cilantro Lime Breaded Shrimp
Other Yummy Recipes with Corn
Elote in a Cup
- Bring water, salt and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan2 tbsp sugar, 1.5 cups water, 2 tbsp salt
- While water is coming to a boil, shuck corn and cut it off the cob. You should yield 2 cups of corn for this recipe. You can also use canned or frozen corn for this recipe as well.2-3 ears corn on the cob
- When water is boiling – add corn and cover with lid. Simmer for 3-5 minutes until corn is cooked and tender. Adjust accordingly if using frozen or canned. (frozen – you can microwave in bag, canned – heat with liquid in can)2-3 ears corn on the cob, 1.5 cups water, 2 tbsp sugar
- While corn is simmering, combine mayonnaise, juice from 1/2 of lime and salt in a small bowl. Stir and refrigerate until ready to serve.1/2 cup Duke's Mayonnaise, 1 lime, 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
- In a blender, add Cheetos, Tajin and Chili powder. Pulverize until made into crumbs. Set aside until ready to serve.2 cups Hot Cheetos, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tbsp Tajin
- When corn is done, pour into a strainer to drain. Spread out corn around strainer to cool more quickly. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes.2-3 ears corn on the cob
- In your cups, add 1-2 spoonfuls of corn across bottom of dish. Spoon 1 large spoonful of mayo mixture over corn. (Go light on the mayo layer – it can overwhelm) Spoon 1-2 spoonfuls of Cheetos mixture over corn.
- Repeat all layers – corn, mayo and cheetos.
- Cut other half of lime into four wedges.1 lime
- Sprinkle top with cheese, cilantro and a lime wedge.1/4 cup cheese, 1 tsp cilantro