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Quick and Easy Mexican Corn in a Cup

C.E. Clark began cooking at age 11. Over the years, she developed a love for creating her own recipes. This is one of her most popular.

Mexican corn in a cup can be whipped up in no time!

Mexican corn in a cup can be whipped up in no time!

Authentic Mexican Elote and Corn in a Cup

Recently, one of my co-workers asked me if I had ever eaten Mexican elote. Elote, which directly translates to corn on the cob, is corn on the cob that has been roasted or grilled and then slathered in a delicious combination of butter, mayonnaise, queso fresco (a crumbly Mexican cheese), and ground chili powder or cayenne pepper to taste.

I had never heard of Mexican elote before, and I had no idea that it was such a popular street food. Here in Texas, Mexican food is very common, and many people enjoy it—whether or not they are of Mexican descent.

My co-worker, Americo Martinez, described elote as one of his favorite foods. He listed the ingredients and gave me a rough idea of how to prepare the dish, but he didn't provide amounts or quantities. I went home and started experimenting.

My Recipe Experiments

Americo told me that the corn need not be roasted or grilled, although he believes it has a better flavor when prepared that way. He said ordinary canned whole-kernel corn works just fine, too. So that is what I used to experiment with, and I came up with the following recipe.

My recipe, which I call corn in a cup, is very similar to Mexican elote—but the corn has been cut from the cob and placed in a cup, glass, or bowl, as shown in the photos here.

I made this recipe for my daughter and me, and we both loved it. My daughter said it was the chili powder that really made the difference, and that's the ingredient that my friend Americo felt was most special, as well.

Corn in a Cup Recipe

(Makes 1 serving)


  • 1 cup whole kernel corn, roasted, grilled, or canned (your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup queso fresco (or feta cheese), crumbled
  • Sprinkles of ground chili powder (or cayenne pepper)
  • Lime wedge for garnish (optional)


  1. Place the corn and butter in a microwavable bowl and heat on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until the butter is soft enough to easily mix into the corn, and the corn is warmed through. Do not overheat the butter.
  2. Mix the mayonnaise and lime juice into the corn and butter.
  3. Sprinkle the queso fresco (or feta cheese) on top of the corn mixture.
  4. Sprinkle with ground chili powder (or cayenne pepper).
  5. Serve in the small bowl that you microwaved the corn in, or in an attractive cup or mug. Garnish with a wedge of lime if you like.


  • This recipe takes only a few minutes to prepare—so it makes for a great, quick snack. It also works really well as a side dish. It looks beautiful in a clear glass cup, garnished with a lime wedge and served beside each place setting or in a serving bowl to be passed around the table.
  • Feel free to adjust the ingredients to make it just right for you and your family. Some people prefer more cheese, while others prefer more mayonnaise, etc. This recipe is very forgiving, so experimenting with the ingredients runs very little risk of spoiling the taste.
  • This recipe makes one serving. To make more, simply multiply the ingredients listed above times the number of people you plan to serve.
Mexican corn in a cup looks lovely when served in a clear glass jar.

Mexican corn in a cup looks lovely when served in a clear glass jar.

Thanks for Reading!

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it as much as we do! Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Questions & Answers

Question: Can you use Miracle Whip in this recipe if you don’t like mayonnaise that much?

Answer: If you use Miracle Whip, I would leave out the lime juice. Miracle Whip is essentially mayonnaise with lemon juice and sugar added.

Question: What other cheeses could I use in this recipe for Mexican corn in a cup? I couldn't find either of the ones listed.

Answer: I had a hard time finding the Queso Fresco cheese too. When I looked closer it was there, but I had never given it any attention. I had to look closely at the labels to recognize it.

Feté cheese is fairly common and you shouldn't have any trouble finding it even if the population of your town/city is under a thousand. It is a Greek cheese and is often spelled with an "a" here in the states (Feta). Also, it is pronounced "feeta).

Question: Is there a certain type of mayonnaise you used for Mexican corn in a cup?

Answer: I generally use Kraft or Hellmann's. Best Foods is good. Just use your favorite brand and it should be fine.

Question: Should canned corn be drained when making Mexican corn in a cup?

Answer: Yes, drain the canned corn before mixing other ingredients into it. It shouldn't have much water in it, but that quarter cup of water is enough to water everything down, so always drain the corn.

Question: When making Mexican corn in a cup, do you cook the corn?

Answer: Thank you for your question. I have added to the recipe to make it clearer. Yes, the corn should be cooked. As stated in the recipe, grilled is the favorite way for most people to prepare this corn, but a person may roast or grill the corn, or use canned corn.

Question: Can you boil the corn when making Mexican corn in a cup?

Answer: You may boil the corn if you wish, but be sure to drain it well before mixing it with the other ingredients. The canned corn has been boiled, as I'm sure you realize, so boiling does it no harm.

© 2013 C E Clark