This Elote en Vaso features flavorful tender corn in a cup served along with cream, cheese, hot sauce, and lime juice. The sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors make it so addictive!

Elote en vaso is a popular Mexican street food that translates to “corn in a cup” in English. It is a delicious and flavorful snack made with fresh corn (elote) that has been cooked and then served in a cup with various garnishes to create a tasty and savory treat.

Depending on the region, Mexican corn in a cup can be found with various names such as Esquites, Elote en Vaso, cóctel de elote, or Chaskas.

This easy recipe consists of cooking first the corn in a mixture of water and aromatics to give some flavor.

Once cooked you’re going to serve the corn kernels in cups along with the cooking water and layers of cream, sauce, queso fresco, and lime juice. It is incredibly delicious!

Close-up of elote en vaso.

Ingredients

  • Corn: You’ll need fresh corn on the cob, use any type available to you. If fresh corn is not in season, you can use frozen or canned.
  • To boil the corn: You’ll need water, onion, cilantro, butter, and salt. This will add a wonderful flavor to the boiled corn.
  • Cream: Crema Mexicana has a slightly tangy taste which is perfect for this recipe. If you can’t find this ingredient you can substitute it with sour cream, Greek yogurt, or crème fraîche.
  • Cheese: I used queso fresco, but other types of cheese work for this recipe too, such as Cotija cheese, parmesan cheese, or feta cheese.
  • Spicy: To assemble the Mexican corn in a cup I used chili powder, store-bought hot sauce, and my amazing salsa macha because it adds tons of flavor! Feel free to use your favorite hot sauce.
  • Limes: A good squeeze of fresh lime juice is the authentic way for eating elotes in a cup! Cut them into wedges and place one on top of each cup for presentation.

How To Make Elote en Vaso

Remove the husks and silk from the corn on the cob. Wash each ear under cold water and pat dry them with a kitchen towel.

Take the corn cob in one hand firmly but gently. Using a sharp knife, position the blade at the top of the cob, then carefully slice downward, removing the kernels. Repeat this process until you collect all kernels.

Corn kernels on a cutting board.

Pour about 6-7 cups of water into a large saucepan or pot. Add onion, cilantro, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil and add the cork kernels.

Turn the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes or until tender and nicely flavored.

Tip: This combination of aromatics will give the corn a delicious and hearty flavor. So don’t skip it!

Showing the corn kernels with a spoon after they cooked.

Remove the pan from heat and allow everything to reach room temperature.

Assemble

To assemble your Mexican corn in cups, first fill about half of each cup with the cooked corn and some cooking water. Next, make a layer of cream, cheese, and hot sauce.

Add more kernels (but without cooking water) filling the cup almost to the top, then top with more crema, cheese, and a sprinkle of chili powder.

Assembling Mexican street corn in a cup with various garnishes around.

Finish with a good squeeze of lime and more sauce if desired. Stir to combine the ingredients and ¡Buen Provecho!

Top Tips & Notes

  • Use frozen corn: When fresh corn is not available or to cut down the preparation of this elote en vaso recipe.
  • Seasoning: The key to the deliciousness of this snack lies in the seasoning. Traditionally, elote en vaso is seasoned with a combination of mayonnaise, crema, cheese, lime juice, and chili powder or Tajin. However, feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your taste. You can also add a bit of melted butter for extra richness.
  • Use other aromatics: To give flavor to the corn, you can use a variety of fresh herbs or aromatics like epazote, bay leaves, oregano, black pepper, or garlic.
  • Mix Well: Before eating your elote en vaso, give a good mix with a spoon or fork and enjoy the richness and creaminess of all ingredients combined together!
Elote en Vaso with a lime wedge on top.

How To Serve Mexican Corn in a Cup

You can serve Mexican corn in a cup as a snack at your parties and it makes a perfect addition to a Cinco de Mayo potluck since is so easy to eat while standing.

It can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature and you can also plan a prep station so your guests can assemble their cups personally.

But not only, this amazing recipe is also perfect to serve as a side dish for a carne asada platter, grilled chicken, or just as an easy appetizer along with chips!

3 cups of elote en vaso, one of them mixed with a spoon.

Did you know? En vaso means “in a cup” in English and in Mexico you can find many snacks served this way such as fruit cups and tacos in a cup!

Store & Reheat

The cooked corn mixture can last up to 3-4 days stored in the fridge in an airtight container. Just make sure to allow the mixture to cool down and then store.

For reheating, transfer the corn along with the cooking water to a saucepan or pot and reheat on the stove stirring constantly until warm again.

Assembled elote en vaso can be stored for 1-2 days. Cover the cups with cling film and place them in the refrigerator. When ready to enjoy remove from the fridge to allow the corn to reach room temperature and enjoy.

FAQ

What chile is used for elote en vaso?

The chile for elote en vaso can vary from regional or personal preferences. Most street vendors will have a selection of various types of chili powder and salsas like tajin, chile de árbol powder, chile chipotle, chili oil, chamoy, etc. This way the customer can add the type they prefer and as much as they want.

What is elote in a cup made of?

Elote in a cup is made of boiled or grilled corn kernels layered in a cup with cream, mayonnaise, cheese, chili powder, and hot sauce.

What is the difference between elotes and esquites?

The difference between elotes and esquites lies in their presentation and the way the corn is served.
Both are cooked either grilled or boiled and served with the same garnishes like cream, mayonnaise, cheese, chili powder, hot sauce, and lime juice.
But elotes are served whole with a stick inserted to handle the cob, while esquites are served on a cup with a lime wedge on top and a spoon to eat the corn.

More Mexican Snacks

Have you tried this Elote en Vaso recipe? Did this corn in a cup satisfy your cravings or leave you wanting more? We value your feedback! Please rate the recipe and leave your comments below. And don’t forget to follow this blog on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, & Instagram.

Video

Elote en Vaso Recipe.

Elote En Vaso

6 cups
Elote en Vaso is made by layering Mexican corn in a cup along with cream, cheese, and hot sauce. It results in a delicious snack with a combination of flavors that goes from sweet to tangy to slightly spicy!
prep 10 minutes
cook 10 minutes
total 20 minutes

Equipment

  • 6 cups (7-8 ounces size each)

Ingredients 

  • 6 ears of corn
  • ½ small onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

For serving

  • 1 cup Mexican crema (or sour cream)
  • 1 cup queso fresco (read notes)
  • chili powder (as needed)
  • hot sauce (as needed)
  • 3-4 limes (cut into wedges)

Instructions
 

  • Remove the husks and silk from the corn on the cob. Wash each ear under cold water and pat dry it with a kitchen towel.
  • Add about 6-7 cups of water in a large saucepan or pot.
  • Add onion, cilantro, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil and then add the corn kernels.
  • Turn the heat to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes or until corn is tender and nicely flavored.
  • Remove the pan from the stove and allow the mixture to reach room temperature.

Assemble the cups

  • Add corn kernels and a little bit of the cooking water to fill about half of the cup.
  • Make a layer of cream, cheese, and hot sauce.
  • Add more kernels (but without cooking water) filling the cup almost to the top, and top with more crema, cheese, and a sprinkle of chili powder.
  • Repeat until you make all 6 cups and serve with a spoon and a lime wedge on top.

Notes

  • Other types of cheese work for this recipe too, such as Cotija, parmesan, or feta cheese.
  • You can use other aromatics to give flavor to the corn, think of garlic, bay leaves, oregano, or epazote.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 cup | Calories: 261kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 956mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 774IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 184mg | Iron: 1mg
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Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My kids loved your elote en vaso recipe! It is our favorite Mexican street food ever. We made our own with your recipe and it was sweet, spicy, and tangy. Absolutely delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    Elote en vaso was a delightful discovery! Creamy, tangy, and packed with flavor. The convenience of enjoying Mexican street corn in a cup made it even better. A mouthwatering treat that brings back fond memories of strolling through vibrant food markets. Can’t wait to have it again!

  3. 5 stars
    This was a delightful treat! Creamy, tangy, and full of flavor. Loved the convenient cup format for enjoying this traditional Mexican street corn. A must-try!

  4. 5 stars
    SO DELICIOUS! Since I had some corn on the cob at home, I decided to try this recipe and I am SO glad I did! Cooking the corn with aromatics is key. I added extra herbs (some chives and fresh basil) and oh my…
    Served also to the kids with a bit melted butter (as your recommendation) and they loved it and asked seconds, definitely a must-try recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    Elote en vaso is a fiesta in a cup! I made some last night, just for fun! It is really easy to prepare and a crowd-pleaser, this recipe is a must-try for all corn lovers!