Elote in a cup, also known as Esquites, is Mexican Street Corn in a cup. Elote is a traditional way to serve corn on the cob topped with mayonnaise, cotija cheese, chili powder and lime. This recipe, however, is known as Esquites, which has all the same ingredients as Elote, but it’s served in a cup! This makes it much easier to eat and serve, and can even be prepared ahead of time.
With corn season here, there are so many delicious ways to cook and eat your favorite kind of corn. Traditionally made with white corn, which gives esquites a more grain-like taste, this dish can be prepared with any kind of corn. It just depends on how traditional you want to be.
This dish is made with corn cut off the cob mixed with mayo and chili powder, topped with more mayo or sour cream, lime juice, cotija, and chili powder and lime for garnish.
Mayo or Sour Cream?
Traditional elote is made with mayonnaise, but this recipe uses half mayo and half sour cream. The sour cream brings a lightness to an otherwise heavy dish. You can even replace all the mayo with sour cream if you prefer.
Another way to cut calories out of this dish is to use reduced fat sour cream. When you add the lime and chili powder, it’ll mix bind with the creaminess of the sour cream and you won’t be able to tell if you’re using a full fat ingredient or a lighter ingredient.
I even served this lighter version to my family and friends and they couldn’t tell that this was made with a light sour cream.
Cotjia cheese is a Mexican cheese that is made from cow’s milk. It’s incredibly salty and crumbly in nature. It’s used to accent tacos, tostadas and soups. While cotjia will soften when it is warmed, it will not melt, making it a good finishing cheese.
There are two versions of cotija – fresh and aged. You’ll want to pick up a fresh cotjia since it’s more crumbly in nature while the aged cheese is closer to a parmesan.
If you can’t find cotija cheese at your local supermarket, you can use feta as an alternative. Feta is not as salty but just as crumbly as cotija.
How to Make Elote in a Cup
Making elote in a cup is an easy side for a family dinner or a pot-luck.
- The corn: Either grill or boil the corn until it’s fork-tender. After letting the corn cobs cool for a couple of minutes, cut the kernels off the cob and set it into a medium bowl.
- The sauce: Add in your sour cream, mayo, lime juice and chili powder into the warm corn kernels and mix well.
- Garnish: After mixing the sauce into the corn, add more sour cream on top. Add your cheese as well. Use cotija cheese if you’re able to find it, but if not, a feta will work as well. Top with more chili powder and a lime wedge as well.
- Serve: Serving this side is easy. it can be served in individual cups or in one large bowl with a serving spoon. It can also be made ahead of time and served warm or cold.