Elote in a cup is a mess-free treat when you are craving Mexican street corn. Everything is layered in a cup that is easy to carry. I think it makes a great meatless meal all on its own!
I first discovered the flavors of elote years ago when my mom attended church in a Hispanic community in Oklahoma City. It was called Little Flower and every year they had a big festival with wonderful treats of all kinds.
I had never had Mexican street corn, but they offered it there in a cup, along with fruit juices, desserts and pastries, and so many other wonderful delights. The elote was the most memorable for me.
Authentic Mexican street corn
Traditional elote is on the cob and some people say the silks are tied and used as a handle while others claim it’s on a skewer. I don’t care how you do it, just make some and eat it.
I love it on the cob, but for kids, I had the idea to make it in a bowl and serve it in cups like at Little Flower because of the mess. There are 7 of them and one of me.
Another thing that makes it authentic is finding the correct ingredients such as Mexican Crema and Cojita cheese. If you can’t find those ingredients where you are, some substitutes could be sour cream for the crema and parmesan for the cojita. It won’t be authentic, but you can only get what you can get.
When I decided to make it with the kids, I had a daycare parent that knew the real deal, so he helped me and also helped me to know where to shop for authentic ingredients. It’s fun to find easy recipes to cook with kids.
Traditionally you grill the corn also. We did a bag of frozen corn since we weren’t using corn on the cob. But the flavor of grilled. Oh my, you HAVE to give it a try!
They serve it at a little snow cone booth in town and I love to get some any time I can! YUMMO!
Authentic elote recipe
Elote is a dish comprised of cooked sweet corn slathered in a mixture of spicy mayonnaise, crema, and chili powder and then sprinkled with cheese and herbs. It is a popular snack sold by vendors both on the streets and at festivals in Mexico. It’s the perfect side dish for summer! Elote in a cup makes it easy to transport too.
Mexican street corn in a cup
When elote is off the cob, it’s actually called esquites or elote en vaso, but we learned at the festival to call it elote, so I usually call it that either way. Appetizers or late night snacks like these are called antojitos or little cravings. So fun!
First, cook the corn. Like I mentioned, you can grill the cobs in the husks, cut them off and roast or boil them, use the instant pot, or whatever you like. You can also use frozen corn like we did. To boil, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and drop in the ears for just a few minutes.
If grilling, peel the husks back, remove the silks, slather the corn with some butter, and replace the husks. Grill for just a minute or two on each side.
Mix the mayo, crema, and lime juice together and spread a thin later over the cobs or mix in the corn kernals. Then sprinkle generously with cojita, chili powder and cilantro.
Crema tastes similar to sour cream, but a little tangier and thinner, so if you want to substitute, you could add more lime juice to the sour cream to get closer to the flavor.
Mexican corn in a cup with parmesan
If you can’t find cojita cheese (it’s hard to find here) you can substitute parmesan for the closest flavor that I can think of. Cojita is special though, so get it if you can find it.
How to make elote with canned corn
You can also make elote with canned corn if that’s what you have. It won’t have as much wonderful corn flavor and texture as other corn. But it will still be good. I mean, corn is just good!
Cooking Elote in a Cup Recipe with Kids
Sweet corn mixed with creamy mayo and crema along with tangy lime juice topped with herbs, chili, and cheese.
- 1 bag frozen corn
- 1/4 c mayonnaise
- 1/2 c Mexican crema
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 c cojita cheese
- 2 T chopped cilantro
Heat the corn in a pan with a bit of water.
Mix creama, mayo, and lime juice together.
Add warm corn.
Add chili powder and cojita.
Dip into cups and sprinkle with extra cojita, a squirt of lime and a sprinkle of cilantro.
The kids and I loved making this together and they loved eating it as much as I did.