Corn in a Cup

Elote en Vaso


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 12


Appears in

Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor

Muy Bueno

By Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

Published 2013

  • About

This is Mexico’s finest street dish, often sold in styrofoam cups. Growing up in the border city of El Paso, I saw elote en vaso sold at street corners, bazaars, and festivals. When I moved away from home I craved these steaming corn kernels drenched in melted butter and aromatic lime juice, topped with crumbly cheese. This is a very simple recipe that produces a comforting Mexican classic. Feel free to adjust the proportions of lime juice, crema, cheese, and spices to taste.


  • 10 ears corn
  • 3 sticks (24 tablespoons) salted butter
  • 3 cups lime juice
  • 3 cups crema Mexicana or sour cream
  • Chili powder to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Hot sauce (optional; recommend Valentina Mexican Hot Sauce)
  • 12 ounces crumbly, salty white cheese (ideally cotija but parmesan is acceptable)
  • Lime wedges for garnish


Husk the corn, remove the silks, and slice the kernels from the cobs with a sharp knife. Place the corn in a saucepan with enough salted water to cover. Bring to a boil; let boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain. Turn off the heat and return corn to saucepan.

For each serving: Put ¾ cup of corn in a glass. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and stir to melt the butter. Mix in ¼ cup lime juice and ¼ cup crema. Sprinkle with a good heavy coating of chili powder and salt if desired, though the cheese adds plenty of salt. If you like spicy then add a few drops of some hot sauce for that extra kick of heat. Mix well. Top with 2 tablespoons crumbled cheese.

Serve with a spoon and lime wedges.