This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Elote en Vaso, also known as “Corn in a Cup” or “Esquites” (Likely from the Nahuatl word “ízquitl,” for “toasted corn.”),
It’s often found at street food stands alongside traditional Mexican Street Corn. Typically served in styrofoam cups and less messy to eat, but on the cob is just as delicious!
Perfect for enjoying on the go or at street food stalls and markets across Mexico.
To Cook the Corn:
- corn, or elote
- Chicken broth or vegetable broth
- Epazote leaves (optional)
- Lime juice
- Crumbled cotija cheese
- Chili powder
- Melted butter
- Hot sauce
Swap out cotija for another salty cheese like feta or parmesan. Or, use queso fresco.
Instead of mayonnaise, you can use sour cream, crema mexicana, or Greek yogurt.
In some regions of Mexico, this recipe is made with epazote, a hard-to-find, pungent herb that adds a distinct flavor to the dish. Omit if you can’t find it.
- Start by removing the husks and silk (hair) from the corn.
- Cut off the top and base of the cob.
How to Choose the Right Corn:
When selecting your sweet corn for this delicious dish, look for the following characteristics:
- Freshness: Choose corn with bright green husks that are tightly wrapped around the cob. The silk should be moist and slightly sticky.
- Kernels: The kernels should be plump, shiny, and arranged in tight rows. Avoid cobs with dried, wrinkled, or missing kernels.
- Firmness: Gently squeeze the cob to ensure it feels firm and filled out. A soft or hollow-feeling cob may indicate that the corn is not fresh or has been damaged.
- Smell: Fresh corn should have a sweet, grassy aroma. Avoid cobs with a sour or musty smell, as this may indicate spoilage.
- Hold one end of the cob and place the other end of the cob on the cutting board.
- Tilt the cob at a 45-degree angle.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off, making sure that you cut away from your hands and body.
This process will help ensure that your corn has the perfect texture and flavor.
While the exact origins of this dish are uncertain, it is believed to have been inspired by the traditional Mexican corn on the cob.
More Mexican corn recipes:
- Place the kernels, broth, water, epazote (if using), and salt in a stock pot.
- Bring it to a boil then reduce to medium heat. Cook until about ⅔ of the liquid has evaporated.
For a spicy kick, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce to the chili powder mixture.
Or, if you like it really spicy, ask the “elotero” (corn vendor) if they have ground chile piquín.
To Use Frozen Corn:
Add the frozen corn to a stock pot with broth, use only 1 cups water, and salt. Cook for 10 minutes. Prepare the same as described below.
How to Assemble:
Layer a spoonful of the cooked corn in the bottom of individual cups. Top with a dollop of mayonnaise, a sprinkle of Cotija cheese, a pinch of the chili powder mixture, butter, and hot sauce.
Repeat the layers until the cup is full. Serve each with lime wedges for squeezing over the top.
Place any leftovers in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
More Mexican Antojitos:
Elote en Vaso 🌽 is a scrumptious Mexican street food classic that’s perfect for on-the-go snacking! 😋 Taste this irresistible mix of sweet corn, tangy sauce, and savory cheese!
Hungry for More
Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter for my latest recipes and videos.
Elote en Vaso (Esquites)
To Cook the Corn:
- 4 ears corn (whole)
- 1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 4 cups water
- 2 epazote leaves (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tsp cotija cheese
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp butter (melted)
- 2 tbsp hot sauce
- 1 lime (juice)
- Remove the husks and the silk (hair) from the corn.
- Cut the top and base off of the corn cob.
- Hold one end of the cob with your hand and place the other end on the cutting board.
- Tilt at a 45-degree angle.
- Cut off the kernels with a sharp knife.
- Be sure to cut away from your hand and body.
- Place the kernels, 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth, 4 cups water, epazote (if using) and salt in a large stock pot.
- Bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat.
- Cook until 2/3 of the liquid has evaporated.
- Layer the corn with your desired toppings – corn, mayo, cheese, chili, butter, hot sauce.
- Repeat until the cup is full.
- Drizzle with lime juice on the top and enjoy.
cecilia w duran
what is epazote in English?
Epazote is a herb commonly used in Mexican cooking. It’s often used to season beans and soups, or in this case, these delicious Esquites. If you want to learn more about Epazote and where to purchase it, check out my blog post all about this versatile herb: https://inmamamaggieskitchen.com/epazote/
Oh my, this iconic street food dish looks absolutely delicious! The presentation makes it so enticing and tempting! I just love Mexican food, they all look so yummy!
Elote en vaso is indeed a popular and delicious street food in Mexico. Hope you get to try making it at home!
Amy Liu Dong
Wow! This recipe is so easy to make and looks delicious.
I am so excited to make this at home. Thank you!
Thank you! Glad to hear that. Enjoy making and eating your homemade Esquites!