Elotes (Mexican Corn Cup)

by Kris on May 2, 2012

I had never tried, or even heard of, elotes until I moved to Texas. When I say elotes, I don’t mean the literal translation of corn on the cob (Thanks for that Greg). What I’m speaking of is this particular street dish that many taco stands sell here in Texas.

The first time I had it was at a gas station oddly enough. In most states, gas stations are where you fill up your car and grab some form of processed food for the road. It’s not much different here in Texas, except many of these gas stations also have incredible tacos and elote stands.


Traditionally elotes are comprised of roasted corn cut fresh from the cob smothered in cream, crumbly cheese, cayenne pepper and hot sauce. I decided to make my own version two ways. A traditional version using dairy, and a vegan alternative using cashew cream.

So many of my vegan friends have complained recently about the difficulties in eating Mexican cuisine. If a dish isn’t covered in cheese or meat, there’s a good chance there’s still animal products involved. Tortilla’s for example are usually made with lard, not so vegan friendly. With Cinco de Mayo quickly approaching, I wanted to share this Mexican dish in a way everyone can enjoy.

Traditionally the corn is roasted on a grill. I don’t have a grill at the moment, so I roasted the corn in my oven. If you do have a barbecue, try roasting the corn on an open flame. It will add a great smoky flavor to the dish. What I love the most about elotes is how easy it is. It makes a great side dish for a Cinco de Mayo barbecue or any summer gathering for that matter.

I was able to pick up the ingredients at my local Mexican grocer. If you live in an area where these ingredients are difficult to find (Canadians, I’m looking at you) there are some substitutes you can make. Cotija cheese is a hard, salty and crumbly cheese that is very similar to feta. Crema Mexicana varies by location. In some cases it is simply the Mexican version of heavy cream or creme fraiche. I have also seen versions that are a combination of heavy cream and sour cream. Feel free to try the recipe using these substitutions, just don’t leave out the hot sauce!

Have you ever had elotes before? Where did you first try it?

Authentic Street Style Elotes

  • 4 cobs of corn
  • ½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • ¾ cup crema Mexicana
  • juice from one lime
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • hot sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Place the cobs of corn (still in husks) in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove husks and cut the corn off the cob. Drizzle with lime juice.

Place the corn in a medium bowl and add the crema Mexicana. Toss to well combine.

Divide the corn between four cups. Top each cup with crumbled cotija cheese, a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a dash of hot sauce. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Vegan Elotes
4 cobs of corn
½ cup firm tofu, crumbled
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. nutritional yeast
½ tsp. vinegar
½ cup cashew cream
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
juice from one lime
1 tsp cayenne pepper
hot sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Place the cobs of corn (still in husks) in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove husks and cut the corn off the cob. Drizzle with the juice of one lime.

In a small bowl, combine crumbled tofu, salt, one tablespoon of lime juice, and vinegar. Stir well to coat the tofu. Let rest 10 minutes. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast.

Place the corn in a medium bowl and add the cashew cream and vegan mayonnaise. Toss to well combine.

Divide the corn between four cups. Top each cup with crumbled tofu mixture, a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a dash of hot sauce. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Print Friendly

Related posts: