Street Corn Cups


Mexican street corn roasted corn kernels in a cheesy, creamy sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Sonoran Mexican Street Corn Cups
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Jackie Alpers
Roasted corn kernels in a creamy, cheesy sauce seasoned with chile and lime, inspired by Elote en Vaso sold by snack shops & street vendors in clear plastic cups. I made this recipe for my mom's skeptical, octogenarian friends at a dinner party at her house in late August, and they loved it. I used fresh Ohio sweet corn from the farmer's market that my brother cut from cob before sautéing in a hot cast iron skillet. 


  • Kernels from 8 ears of fresh corn about 4 cups
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 five-ounce can evaporated milk
  • juice from two large limes
  • ½ cup good quality mayonnaise like Dukes or Hellmann’s
  • ½ cup grated cotija cheese divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Serving

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh or freeze dried chives for garnish
  • Tajin or other chile-lime spice blend, for garnish


  • Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet, such as cast-iron, over high heat. Sauté the corn kernels in the butter until they are soft and starting to brown, about 2-3 minutes. You might have to do this in two or three batches. Salt and pepper the corn to taste. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let cool to room temperature.
  • Add the lime juice, mayonnaise, evaporated milk and half of the cotija cheese to corn. Stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  • Transfer to individual serving cups and top with a generous portion of cotija cheese. Garnish with chives, and a sprinkling of Tajin.
    Mexican street corn roasted corn kernels in a cheesy, creamy sauce


In a pinch you can use frozen corn kernels, preferably Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn. Just rinse them under cold water for a couple of minutes to defrost, then drain. Be sure to use evaporated milk and not sweetened condensed milk. The two are easy to confuse.
This dish is very rich, a little goes a long way. I served this in two-ounce plastic cups that I got at the dollar store
Here's how to cut corn from cob.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Sonoran Style Mexican
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