Mexican Corn in a Cup Recipe

Rebekah Garcia Kalinowski | Kitchen Gidget

Mexican Corn in a Cup is pretty ubiquitous at Texas fairs, from Fiesta to Oysterbake. Make it at home – it’s perfect next to authentic carne asada!

One of my favorite foods in the summer is corn on the cob! I love when it’s been roasted on the grill like you get at the fair.

Mexican-style is even better with the variety of toppings you can add yourself—butter, cheese and all types of chile.

There’s only one drawback—I hate eating corn on the cob! Ever since I was a little girl I would request my parents to cut off the kernels. Just one of those weird food quirks I can’t explain.

Lucky for me there is what’s known as Mexican corn in a cup or elote en vaso (also called esquites). With the corn in a cup, I can eat it by the spoonful instead of nibbling typewriter style on a cob. That’s a win in my book!

Mexican Corn in a Cup Photo

This is the perfect side dish when you’re grilling authentic carne asada this summer. It’s sweet, salty, creamy and bursting with fresh flavor. (You may also like our favorite carne asada seasoning mix.)

This is party food to me, so it would also be cute in individual Styrofoam cups as an appetizer along with chips, fiesta bean dip and cut fruit with salt and chile.

This past spring I was in San Antonio, Texas during Fiesta week (so much fun!) and of course I got some corn in a cup from one of the street vendors. To my surprise it was served piping hot.

Mexican Corn in a Cup Picture

Growing up I’ve always eaten it cold, which is refreshing on a hot summer’s day, but both ways are delicious!

Whether it’s hot or cold, there are a few ingredients you need to make corn in a cup. The first is obvious: corn. Sweet summer corn that’s been cut from the cob is best, but you could also make this with canned or frozen corn kernels.

Now, I may get some controversy with this next ingredient, but I’ll say it anyways: margarine. That’s right, margarine or vegetable oil spread instead of butter. If that ingredient makes you shiver, go ahead and use the real deal and we’ll say no more about it.

Mexican Corn in a Cup Image

However, I know a lot of people who call margarine or other butter substitutes “butter” and do not realize the difference. My husband was one of those people.

That’s fine if it floats your boat, but I couldn’t figure out why my corn tasted different until I saw what they were actually mixing in…and it was not real butter.

One of my favorite Mexican corn in a cup stands even uses the squeeze bottle “butter”! What a shock to my foodie pride. But it’s insanely, out-of-this-world, mouthwateringly delicious corn.

Mexican Corn in a Cup Pic

You’ll also need mayonnaise to make it creamy. Some people use sour cream, Mexican crema or a combination.

As for the cheese, cotija is traditional, but you can also use parmesan or queso fresco. I love how soft and velvety these cheeses are. The saltiness is perfect for the sweet corn.

Other toppings include lime, cilantro, chili powder (I like ancho chile) and your favorite hot sauce. Mix everything together and serve in cups for an authentic experience!

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Mexican Corn in a Cup Recipe

    4 Servings


  • 4 ears Corn, shucked
  • 4 tablespoons Mayonnaise, or sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons Margarine, or butter, melted
  • 8 tablespoons Cotija Cheese, crumbled, or Parmesan
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • Chili Powder, and hot sauce, for serving


  1. Place corn in a large pot of boiling water. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Remove corn and drain.
  2. Cut off kernels and place in a large bowl.
  3. Mix the corn with mayonnaise, margarine, cheese and lime juice until well combined.
  4. Serve with chili powder and hot sauce for toppings.


Side Dishes
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Related Recipes:
Cheese Recipes, Corn Recipes, Side Dish Recipes, Appetizer Recipes, Snack Recipes, Family Meals and Snack Recipes, Vegetable Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes, Easy Recipes, Party Food Recipes
Recipe Yields:
4 servings
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Author: Rebekah Garcia Kalinowski
Recipe Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 152
Calories 334

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g
  Saturated Fat 7g
Sodium 637mg
Total Carbohydrate 22g
  Dietary Fiber 0g
  Sugars 0g
Protein 9g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.
Rebekah Garcia Kalinowski

About Rebekah

Rebekah is the blogger behind Kitchen Gidget, an all-encompassing food blog dedicated to her Midwestern roots and Hispanic heritage. She adores cheese (who doesn't?!), so we asked her to be our Cheese fanatic. Time to get excited!

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