This is a recipe for Mexican Street Corn in a Cup (esquites) with whole kernel sweet corn, mayonnaise, and sprinkled with chili powder, cotija cheese, and tortilla strips served in a bowl or cup. Can be served as a main dish or side.
Mexican street corn in a cup is a twist on the traditional dish that is usually served on the cob after being grilled. The grilled on-the-cob version is called elote in Spanish, which means “corn.”
Esquites is the off-the-cob version served as a salad in a bowl.
Esquites are also typically boiled in a large pot, sometimes with a broth. They’re served with chopped onion, fried green chile, chicken, and then topped with lime juice and mayo or sour cream, cotija, chile, and salt.
Both elote and esquites are Mexican street-fare that have become popular and trendy all over the world.
Here in Iowa, it is served at the Iowa State Fair at the Corn Stand where you can find a variety of corn in a cup versions:
- Chinese Sweet Corn Cup: Chinese barbecue pork, walnuts, sesame seeds, Chinese five-spice sauce, shredded daikon radish, and crispy wontons
- Mexican Street Corn Cup: Pork chorizo, chayote cheese, mayo, lime juice, cilantro, sour cream, and chili powder
- The Duke Corn Cup: Smoked sausage, BBQ sauce, pepper jack cheese, pork rinds, and chives
- Iowan Street Corn Cup: Pork sausage, cheddar cheese, mayo, butter, lime, and chili powder
Easy Mexican Street Corn in a Cup Ingredients
- Whole Kernel Sweet Corn (I used canned corn, but you can of course grill or boil corn on the cob and cut the kernels off.)
- Chili Powder
- Cotija Cheese
- Crispy Tortilla Strips
If you have difficulties finding cotija powdered cheese, the closest thing to another powdered cheese is Parmesan.
How do you make Mexican street corn in a cup?
- This recipe is using canned corn but grilled or boiled corn on the cob can be used too. Simply cut the kernels off the cob in a vertical fashion.
- I recommend using 3-4 ears of corn or two 15.25 oz cans of whole kernel sweet corn. One medium-sized ear gives about 3/4 cup of corn kernels.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add corn and stir until heated through.
- Remove from the heat and stir in mayonnaise.
- Squeeze fresh lime juice over each serving, followed by tortilla strips, sprinkles of cotija cheese and chili powder.
- Chicken Flautas
- Chicken-Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Corn and Black Bean Salsa
- Fish Tacos with Spicy Slaw
- Grilled Marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri
- Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas
- Instant Pot Street-Style Beef Tacos
- Mexican Black Beans