Welcome to the delicious flavors of elote in a cup (aka esquites). This Mexican street corn salad is loaded with toasted corn, a creamy drizzle, salty crumble of cotija, and plenty of fresh cilantro and lime juice along with a sprinkle of tajin to bring it all together. It’s an easy recipe and truly my favorite way to eat corn!
Elote in a cup is a beloved Mexican street food classic that is widely loved by just about anyone who has tried it from street vendors. This popular Mexican snack takes the essence of traditional elote en vaso, or Mexican street corn, and serves it up in convenient and portable plastic cups. This fun recipe is an easy way to enjoy this delicious combination and the perfect side dish to your Mexican meals.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
- What Is Esquites?
- What You'll Love About Esquites
- How to Make Elote in a Cup
- Storage Instructions
- What to Serve with Mexican Street Corn Salad
- How to Feed Mexican Corn to the Whole Family
- Want More?
- More Mexican-ish Recipes
- Let me Meal Plan for you!
What Is Esquites?
Wondering what is elote in a cup called? It goes by a few names, but esquites is a different version of elotes. Instead of the corn toppings being served directly on the cob, the corn and toppings are served in a cup or as a salad.
The two dishes are essentially the same, just served in a different way.
What You’ll Love About Esquites
- Bright and fresh flavors
- Delicious and satisfying dish
- Made with simple ingredients
- Perfect side for Mexican dishes
- Mayonnaise – Use your favorite high-quality mayonnaise for best results.
- Crema Mexicana – Is a Mexican condiment that is similar to sour cream, but is richer in flavor and thinner in texture. You can typically find it in the Mexican section in your local grocery store. You could also use sour cream if you can’t find it, I like to thin it out with a bit of milk or even lime juice so it’s a closer replication.
- Oil – Use your favorite vegetable oil for sauteeing the corn, avocado oil or another neutral oil works well.
- Corn – You have a few options for corn. Fresh sweet corn obviously works well, but requires it to be in season and takes a bit more effort. Frozen corn kernels are a great option that is incredibly convenient and a great option anytime of year and even canned corn will work, simply drain and rinse before using.
- Cotija – Cotija cheese is a crumbly and salty cheese, similar to feta, and what you’ll often see sprinkled over Mexican dishes. You can also use feta cheese if you can’t find it.
- Cilantro – Use fresh cilantro that is a deep green and doesn’t have any yellowing or browning on the leaves.
- Lime – This helps add major zip and tang to the esquites recipe, don’t skip it, I serve the dish with lime wedges so everyone can add their own.
- Tajin – The tajin is the final sprinkle and adds a mild heat, red color, and salty flavor to the dish, it truly brings everything together. You could also use chili powder, but I prefer tajin. You could also use a splash of hot sauce.
How to Make Elote in a Cup
This is an overview on how to make homemade elote in a cup, the detailed instructions can be found below in the recipe card.
Is esquite the same as elote en vaso?
Esquites is also known as elote en vaso or just elote.
What is the difference between elote and Mexican street corn?
Elote means “corn cob” in Spanish, and it’s sometimes referred to as Mexican street corn. They both consist of fresh corn cobs topped with a Mexican cream mixture, cotija cheese, lime juice, cilantro, and chili powder.
How should I serve the Mexican street corn cups?
You have options on how to serve up this popular street food! If serving as a traditional esquites recipe, serve in disposable cups. You can also serve in a pretty glass or even a salad bowl if serving a crowd.
Store esquites ingredients in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
How to reheat
Reheat corn in a hot skillet or in the microwave until heated through.
Can you freeze elotes?
You can definitely freeze the cooked corn, but don’t freeze the other components.
What to Serve with Mexican Street Corn Salad
All this Mexican street corn salad recipe needs is a main dish! Here are a few to try:
- Grilled Drumsticks
- Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs
- Turkey Tostadas
- Air Fryer Flautas
- Crockpot Salsa Chicken
How to Feed Mexican Corn to the Whole Family
I get it, feeding kids can be tough! But following the Division of Responsibility and knowing your job and your child’s job makes it SO much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to feed your kids any meal, which will help ensure that they are eating a variety of nutritious foods – with plenty of play food sprinkled in.
I would recommend serving the Mexican street corn salad
in a pinch bowl (taster bowl) if it’s fully composed or serving the cooked corn with the variety of toppings to let everyone add their own, according to their personal taste buds which is how I serve it if it’s not for a party or gathering.
More Mexican-ish Recipes
If you like this elote in a cup recipe, you might also like some of these other Mexican-ish recipes:
- Fish Tacos with Mango Slaw
- Cheesy Black Bean Burrito
- Crispy Black Bean Tacos
- Cheesy Ground Turkey Taco Skillet
Let me Meal Plan for you!
In a dinner time rut? Overwhelmed with the task of meal planning? It’s time to hand over meal planning to a pro!
This done-for-you plan can easily be customized and your grocery list is made with the click of a button – all while you sit in the school pick up line.
You’ll save time, save money, waste less food, and go into meals calm instead of stressed. Your dinner is planned and your grocery list is made and everything is conveniently delivered to an app so you can print it out, access from your phone, or computer.
Experience the mouthwatering explosion of flavors with this elote in a cup (esquites), a delectable Mexican street corn classic served in an easy way.
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup crema Mexicana
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 20 oz. frozen corn or about 3 cups corn kernels
- 1/2 cup Cotija cheese crumbles
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- lime wedges
- Mix together mayonnaise and crema until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Saute corn in large skillet for 6-8 minutes, until cooked through and slightly charred.
- Put corn into cups or a serving bowl and drizzle with mayo mixture. Top with cotija cheese and cilantro.
- Squeeze lime juice and finish with tajin to taste.
Keywords: elote in a cup, elote en vaso, esquites recipe, Mexican street corn salad
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