This Elote in a Cup recipe is like Mexican street corn served in a handy-dandy cup! This fresh sweet corn salad is full of fresh flavor and topped with crunchy Fritos, cheese, and seasonings for the ultimate summertime snack you can make in about 10 minutes.
Snacks are always best when you can take them with you. And that’s what is so great about Elote in a Cup! It’s like Mexican street corn, but less messy to eat and, dare I say, more fun?
This easy recipe combines sweet corn with a creamy dressing from mayo and sour cream, flavored with chili powder, garlic, lime, fresh parsley, green onions, and cotija cheese. It's topped with crunchy Fritos and more flavorful seasonings.
It’s a fun holiday appetizer (kids go crazy for having their own cup of corn), perfect side dish for game day, and a fun party food for BBQs and summer gatherings.
You’re going to love this
Fun party snack. Kids and grown-ups alike will love the fresh flavors of this delicious Elote recipe.
No corn cobs = less mess. Not that it isn’t fun to have corn all over your face ... oh, wait, it just isn’t.
Fritos! Crunchy Fritos add great taste and texture to the creamy corn cups.
Individual appetizers. Everyone loves having their very own little Mexican street corn cup!
Sweet corn. I use frozen corn kernels, thawed. You can also use fresh corn -- raw, boiled, or grilled -- or canned corn that has been drained.
Mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is a traditional ingredient in Mexican street corn.
Sour cream. Sour cream adds tang to the mayonnaise dressing. You can also use Mexican crema.
Cotija cheese. Cotija cheese is a white, crumbly Mexican cheese with a salty flavor. Queso fresco, feta cheese, or Parmesan cheese are all great substitutes for salty cotija cheese.
Green onions. Sliced green onions add fresh herbaceousness. You can also use red onion.
Parsley or cilantro. Fresh herbs add lots of flavor. If you’re not into cilantro (like me), parsley is a great substitute.
Fritos. The crunchy Fritos on top are probably my favorite part of this whole recipe!
Place corn in a small bowl. Stir mayonnaise, sour cream, 3 tablespoons of cotija, chili powder, garlic powder, juice from ½ of a lime, 2 sliced green onions, and 2 tablespoons parsley (or cilantro) together with the corn.
Spoon the corn mixture into 4 individual cups. If you’re serving them right away, you can layer them with Fritos, like a parfait. Otherwise, add the Fritos on top.
Top the cups with the remaining cheese, parsley, and green onion, and add a sprinkle of chili powder.
These corn cups are best when served immediately.
To make these ahead of time, assemble the corn salad and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Right before serving, spoon the corn mixture into cups and add the Fritos and the rest of the toppings.
What else can you put on or in these little Mexican street corn dip cups? For extra flavor, try these fresh ideas!
- Stir some black beans into the creamy corn salad
- Drizzle with your favorite hot sauce
- Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper or tajin seasoning
- Serve each cup with a lime wedge
Frozen corn that’s thawed works well in this recipe. Unless, of course, you have access to really fresh sweet corn! Grilled corn is also delicious in this recipe!
Can’t find cotija cheese? Use feta or Parmesan cheese instead.
Make mini Elote in a Cup and spoon the Mexican street corn salad into scoops corn chips!
Try topping your Elote in a Cup with your favorite chips like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, lime tortilla chips, or blue corn tortilla strips.
Elote is Mexican street corn served on the cob, while Esquites is Mexican street corn that is served in a cup.
Esquites is a popular street food that is commonly sold by street vendors in Mexico. It consists of boiled corn that is spooned into individual styrofoam cups and served with a variety of toppings like lime juice, chili powder, hot sauce, cotija cheese, and mayonnaise.
You can use fresh, frozen, or canned corn. I use frozen and thawed because I can always find it here in Minnesota.
If you prefer to boil, sautee, or broil the frozen corn first, you certainly can. You can also use canned corn, just be sure it’s well-drained. Fresh sweet summer corn is also delicious — raw, boiled, or grilled.
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Corn in a Cup
- 3 cups corn, frozen and thawed
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 4 tablespoons cotija cheese, or feta -- divided, save some for garnish
- 1 teaspoon chili powder, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ lime, juice
- 3 green onions, sliced -- divided, save some for garnish
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley -- divided, save some for garnish
- Frito chips
- Place corn in a small bowl. Stir mayonnaise, sour cream, 3 tablespoons of cotija, chili powder, garlic powder, juice from ½ of a lime, 2 sliced green onions, and 2 tablespoons parsley (or cilantro) together with the corn.
- Spoon the corn mixture into 4 individual cups. If you’re serving them right away, you can add a layer of Fritos in the middle, like a parfait. Otherwise, add the Fritos on top.
- Top the cups with the remaining cheese, parsley, and green onion, and add a sprinkle of chili powder.
- These corn cups are best when served immediately.
- To make these ahead of time, assemble the corn salad and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Right before serving, spoon the corn mixture into cups and add the Fritos and the rest of the toppings.