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Corn in a Cup

Mexican corn in a cup (elote en vaso) – now you can have this amazing street food at home! Fresh corn with mayonnaise, cheese, lime and chile. It’s creamy and insanely delicious. Try it and you won’t want to eat corn any other way!

Mexican Corn in a Cup recipe (Elotes). Now you can have this street food at home!

Mexican Corn in a Cup

One of my favorite foods in the summer is corn on the cob! I love when it’s been roasted on the grill like you get at the fair.

Mexican-style is even better with the variety of toppings you can add yourself—butter, cheese and all types of chile.

There’s only one drawback—I hate eating corn on the cob!

Ever since I was a little girl I would request my parents to cut off the kernels.

Just one of those weird food quirks I can’t explain.

Lucky for me there is what’s known as Mexican corn in a cup or elote en vaso (also called esquites).

With the corn in a cup, I can eat it by the spoonful instead of nibbling typewriter style on a cob. That’s a win in my book!

If you don’t mind the cob then you’ll definitely want to make this Elotes recipe!

Mexican Corn in a Cup recipe (Elotes). Now you can have this street food at home!

This is the perfect side dish when you’re grilling authentic carne asada this summer.

It’s sweet, salty, creamy and bursting with fresh flavor.

This is party food to me, so it would also be cute in individual Styrofoam cups as an appetizer along with guajillo chile salsa, chips, fiesta bean dip and cut fruit with salt and chile.

Mexican Corn in a Cup recipe (Elotes). Now you can have this street food at home!

This past spring I was in San Antonio, Texas during Fiesta week (so much fun!) and of course I got some corn in a cup from one of the street vendors.

To my surprise it was served piping hot.

Growing up I’ve always eaten it cold, which is refreshing on a hot summer’s day, but both ways are delicious!

Whether it’s hot or cold, there are a few ingredients you need to make corn in a cup.

How to Make Corn In a Cup

The first is obvious: corn. Sweet summer corn that’s been cut from the cob is best, but you could also make this with canned or frozen corn kernels.

Mexican Corn in a Cup recipe (Elotes). Now you can have this street food at home!

Now, I may get some controversy with this next ingredient, but I’ll say it anyways: margarine.

That’s right, margarine or vegetable oil spread instead of butter.

If that ingredient makes you shiver, go ahead and use the real deal and we’ll say no more about it.

However, I know a lot of people who call margarine or other butter substitutes “butter” and do not realize the difference. My husband was one of those people.

That’s fine if it floats your boat, but I couldn’t figure out why my corn tasted different until I saw what they were actually mixing in…and it was not real butter.

Mexican Corn in a Cup recipe (Elotes). Now you can have this street food at home!

One of my favorite Mexican corn in a cup stands even uses the squeeze bottle “butter”!

What a shock to my foodie pride. But it’s insanely, out-of-this-world, mouthwateringly delicious corn.

You’ll also need mayonnaise to make it creamy. Some people use sour cream, Mexican crema or a combination.

As for the cheese, cotija is traditional, but you can also use parmesan or queso fresco.

I love how soft and velvety these cheeses are.

The saltiness is perfect for the sweet corn.

Other toppings include lime, cilantro, chili powder (I like ancho chile) and your favorite hot sauce (my husband is nuts about Cholula).

Mix everything together and serve in cups for an authentic experience!

Mexican Corn in a Cup recipe (Elotes). Now you can have this street food at home!

Mexican Corn in a Cup

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Creamy Mexican corn in a cup with chile and lime. A classic street food that makes a great side dish for any Mexican meal!


  • 4 ears of corn, shucked
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise or sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
  • 8 tablespoons cotija cheese, crumbled (or parmesan)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Chili Powder and hot sauce, for serving


  1. Place corn in a large pot of boiling water. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Remove corn and drain.
  2. Cut off kernels and place in a large bowl.
  3. Mix the corn with mayonnaise, margarine, cheese and lime juice until well combined.
  4. Serve with chili powder and hot sauce for toppings

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 363Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 343mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g

Nutritional information provided is an estimate only. Please consult the labels of ingredients you use for more accurate results.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment below! Or tag @kitchengidget on Instagram with the hashtag #kitchengidget

Want more Mexican in a cup?

Try this mouthwatering Mangonada or Fresas con Crema in a cup!

Fresas con Crema - Mexican strawberries and cream in a cup
Cup of mangonada garnished with chamoy and tamarind straw

Ceci Samaniego

Monday 7th of August 2023

Yes I made the corn in a cup but since I'm on the Keto diet it was just too many carbs so I substituted riced cauliflower. I have to admit it was good and almost zero carbs!!


Tuesday 8th of August 2023

Great idea!


Sunday 16th of April 2023

So they said mix the cheese with the other ingredients so is that shredded cheese or is it just Parmesan cheese?? I’ve never had it before an heard it’s amazing and I wanna make it but want to do it right


Tuesday 18th of April 2023

It's cotija cheese or Parmesan cheese if you can't get cotija :-)


Wednesday 28th of December 2022

Could I substitute lemon for the lime ?


Thursday 29th of December 2022

You can. It's a different flavor so don't add too much and you can always add more if you want.


Monday 29th of August 2022

This was the perfect recipe for street corn. My whole family loved it.


Saturday 25th of June 2022

Hi, having a graduation party and would like to know is this to be served cold or hot?


Saturday 25th of June 2022

Cold if you're making it ahead of time. At street vendors they make it with fresh, hot corn so it's served warm. It's your preference!

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