This Elote Dip is a lighter version of many Mexican Corn Dip recipes as it is heavier on the fresh corn and lighter on the binders (the cream cheese and sour cream). I don’t want an appetizer to fill everyone up before dinner. Instead, I want just to tempt those taste buds.
To that end, this elote dip is a cross between a fresh sweet corn salad and a creamy corn dip. The corn is browned slightly and then sauteed with fresh garlic and jalapeño before just a bit of cream cheese and sour cream are added to hold all the ingredients together. Tajin seasoning adds the spice and tang of traditional sweet corn. Finally, a sprinkling of Cotija cheese and fresh cilantro finish this elote dip perfectly.
I think you’ll like it if you are looking to lighten up your appetizers!
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what is elote?
Technically speaking, elote is an ear of corn, and elotes are ears of corn. However, the name ‘elote’ has become associated with a traditional Mexican street corn that is seasoned and grilled with spicy and creamy garlic, chili, and Cotija cheese sauce. A lime wedge is typically served with the elotes so that you can squeeze lime juice over your elote before you tuck in. It’s that perfect combination of creamy, salty, sweet, tangy, nutty, and cheesy…all at once!
what is tajin
Tajin is a Mexican spice blend of chili, lime, and salt. It was introduced to U.S. markets in the ’90s and is used primarily to spice fruit and vegetables. That being said, it is pretty darned good on the rim of a Margarita!
If you don’t have Tajin, you can make it by mixing one tablespoon of chili powder with one-half a teaspoon each of lime zest and salt. Because of the moisture from the lime zest, you need to use this mixture immediately and won’t be able to store it.
fresh or frozen corn
I’ve made this recipe using both fresh corn that I cut from the cob and frozen whole kernel corn. I’m always partial to the flavor and texture of fresh vegetables, but I think you might be hard-pressed to tell the difference, especially once the corn is browned and flavored with all the rest of the seasoning.
If you do use frozen corn, just ensure to drain off any liquid that may have accumulated in the bag before you sautee it.
how do you serve elote dip?
You can serve this dip right from the stove while still warm or at room temperature. However, if you do serve it at room temperature, refrigerate it after two hours because of the dairy it contains. Use tortilla chips as dippers for this yummy corn dip.
storing this elote dip
I’ve stored this corn dip in my refrigerator for six days, and it was still delicious. Before serving, I rewarmed the dip for one minute at 40% power in the microwave.
ingredients in elote dip
how to make elote dip
Making elote dip is really pretty easy. Cutting the corn from the cob and dicing the jalapeño are the hardest elements, as those are both pretty easy. Just remember to use rubber gloves when dicing jalapeño peppers.
- Cut fresh corn kernels from the corn cob. I like to do this on a rimmed baking sheet so the corn doesn’t scatter.
- Dice the jalapeño and cilantro and crush the garlic. I’ve been using this garlic crusher for fifteen years and it is by far one of my favorite kitchen tools! It is easy to store, there is no waste, it is easy to clean, and you can determine the size of your mince by going over the garlic again with the rocker if need be.
- Add corn to a warm skillet to which butter has already been added and melted.
- Cook corn over medium to medium-high heat until some of the corn kernels start to brown. I find that if I let them cook for one to two minutes before I stir, they get a nice browning. So I let them sit for a bit, then stir, then let them sit, then stir until about one-third to one-half are browned on some part. If I stir constantly, they are less likely to brown nicely.
- Add garlic and jalapeño and sautee for another three to five minutes until garlic and jalapeño are cooked.
- Add cream cheese, sour cream, and tajin seasoning and stir to combine over low heat.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.
- When your elote dip is in the serving bowl, sprinkle with crumbled cotija cheese, more fresh cilantro, and a sprinkling of tajin seasoning or chili seasoning.
other Mexican or Latin-inspired recipes
We love our Latin or Mexican food in this house! Here are a few of our favorites:
- My dad’s Margarita recipe is ALWAYS one of our site’s top 10 most popular posts for a reason!
- Spice-Rubbed Short Rib Tacos
- Shrimp Salsa , Layered Taco Dip, and Mango Habanero Salsa are additional appetizers to serve alongside this elote dip.
- Slow cooker Pinto Beans are excellent as is for a side dish, or mash them for quick refried beans.
- 4 cups of corn kernels, preferably fresh (from 5-6 ears of corn)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 fresh jalapeño, diced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic, from 4-5 cloves of garlic
- 4 ounces of cream cheese , cubed
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspons tajin (see note)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (more to taste)
- 2-3 tablespoons crumbled cotija cheese, queso fresco or parmesan cheese
- Remove corn from cobs.
- Melt butter in a large skillet.
- Add corn and heat over medium-high heat until corn kernels begin to brown. You don't need to brown them all right now, but you want some of them to start turning brown.
- Add minced garlic and diced jalapeño and saute for three minutes.
- Add cream cheese, sour cream, and tajin seasoning and stir to combine.
- When the cream cheese has melted, stir in the cilantro.
- Put elote dip in a serving bowl and sprinkle with cotija cheese and more cilantro.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
If you don't have Tajin, you can make it by mixing one tablespoon of chili powder with one-half a teaspoon each of lime zest and salt. Because of the moisture from the lime zest, you need to use this mixture immediately and won't be able to store it.
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