Warm Elote Corn Dip Recipe

Nothing says party quite like a warm, bubbly dip. Join that with the flavors of elote — Mexico's popular street food of grilled corn slathered in creamy, spicy goodness — and you've got yourself a true fiesta for the ages. According to Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table, elote is considered one of the most beloved street snacks, called "antojitos," in Mexican cuisine. 

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Corn always makes us think of sunshine, celebrations, and the taste of late summer. Luckily, we can enjoy those same flavors any time of year with this easy, crowd-pleasing corn dip. This dip captures everything there is to love about elote in a hearty, flavor-packed package perfect for chip dipping. Combining sweet corn, zesty lime juice, spicy jalapeños, and creamy cotija cheese, this recipe is sure to be a hit at your next game day or potluck party.

The method for making this Mexican-inspired dip is surprisingly simple, too — just roast some corn, fold it into a quickly prepared creamy and cheesy base that has all the traditional elote toppings and sauce, and bake until hot and bubbly. Top with crispy cotija cheese and fresh cilantro for an authentic elote taste, and serve to a crowd! Grab some tortilla chips and get ready for a taste of this insanely delicious, Mexican-inspired appetizer.

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Gather the ingredients for warm elote corn dip

Before starting work on this recipe, it's best to gather all the key ingredients to make the process smoother and faster. From the freezer aisle, grab frozen sweet corn; from the dry goods sections, mayonnaise, garlic powder, lime juice, Mexican hot sauce, and tortilla chips. From the refrigerators, grab some sour cream, shredded Mexican blend cheese, and cotija cheese. Finally, from the produce section, you will need a jalapeño and fresh cilantro. And, just gathering these ingredients puts you more than one-third of the way through this recipe!

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Step 1: Set the oven to broil

Set the oven to broil on high.

Step 2: Prep a baking sheet

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 3: Spread corn

Spread the frozen corn on the prepared baking sheet.

Step 4: Broil corn

Bake for 5–7 minutes, until the corn starts to brown.

Step 5: Reduce the oven temperature

Set the oven to 350 F.

Step 6: Mix the dip

In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder, lime juice, 1 cup cotija cheese, and diced jalapeño. Add hot sauce to your liking.

Step 7: Add corn

Stir the warmed corn into the mixture.

Step 8: Transfer to a baking dish

Transfer the mixture to an oven-safe dish.

Step 9: Top with more cheese

Top with shredded cheese and remaining ½ cup cotija cheese.

Step 10: Bake

Bake for 5–8 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Step 11: Broil

Broil on high for 2 minutes to brown the cheese.

Step 12: Top with cilantro

Remove from the oven and top with fresh cilantro.

Step 13: Serve the warm elote dip

Serve the warm dip with tortilla chips.

Can I use fresh corn instead of frozen to make this elote corn dip?

While the original recipe calls for frozen sweet corn, fresh or canned corn can be used instead to make this elote dip. When deciding between fresh, frozen, or canned corn, keep in mind that frozen and canned corn has already been blanched, so it just needs a quick roast in the oven to release the sugars and caramelize it slightly. Fresh corn, on the other hand, will need more time to cook through before being incorporated into the dip. If using fresh corn, it's best to grill, broil, or sauté the corn first to get some char on the kernels and bring out the natural sweetness. We suggest that you cut the corn off the cob, and then bake the fresh corn at 350 F for 7–10 minutes, until lightly browned. A short broil may be needed after to give it more color. Canned corn can also be substituted in place of frozen corn. Just make sure to drain and rinse it before using to remove any excess liquid or salt.

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What can I use instead of cotija cheese in this elote corn dip?

Cotija cheese is traditional in Mexican cooking in general and in elote recipes in particular, as it adds salty and crumbly texture to the dish. However, we know that it can be hard to find! You can use a few alternatives if you can't find cotija near you. In terms of texture and flavor, the best cotija substitute is probably feta cheese. Like cotija, feta is a firm, crumbly cheese with a salty tang that holds its shape when baked or grated. For a milder flavor, queso fresco or even ricotta salata can be used in place of the cotija. Queso fresco has a similar crumbly texture, while ricotta salata delivers creamy, mellow saltiness. For cotija's distinctive aged, nutty notes, parmesan or romano make excellent substitutes. Just use freshly grated cheese in the dip base, and sprinkle some on top of the baked dip. The hard Italian cheeses bring that salty, umami pop that the recipe needs. While not exactly the same, any of these cheeses can provide this dip with the necessary flavor and texture in place of traditional cotija cheese.

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Can I make this elote corn dip ahead of time?

The convenience of being able to make the dip ahead is one of the best parts about this recipe! This elote dip can be made 1–2 days in advance for easy entertaining and parties. To get a head start, prepare the dip through the step of combining all the ingredients — corn, mayonnaise, sour cream, spices, lime juice, cheese, and the rest. Then, transfer the mixture to an oven-safe baking dish, but do not bake it yet. Cover the dish tightly and refrigerate overnight or for up to 48 hours. When ready to serve, remove the chilled dip from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to take the chill off. Then, bake the dip in a preheated oven at 350 F for 20–25 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Turn the broiler on high for 2–3 minutes at the end to get the cheese golden brown. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with tortilla chips while still warm. This will drastically shorten the amount of work you have to do on the day of serving while still giving your guests a melty, fresh dip to sink their chips into!

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Warm Elote Corn Dip Recipe

5 (16 ratings)

This game day– and party-friendly dip harnesses the ingredients and flavors of Mexican street food favorite elote for a winning, shareable table offering.

Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
15
minutes
servings
6
Servings
Cheesy corn dip with cilantro, chips and limes
Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (12-ounce) package frozen sweet corn
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 + ½ cups crumbled cotija cheese, divided
  • 5 dashes Mexican hot sauce, or more, to taste
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced
  • ½ cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Tortilla chips, for serving

Directions

  1. Set the oven to broil on high.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread the frozen corn on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 5–7 minutes, until the corn starts to brown.
  5. Set the oven to 350 F.
  6. In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder, lime juice, 1 cup cotija cheese, and diced jalapeño. Add hot sauce to your liking.
  7. Stir the warmed corn into the mixture.
  8. Transfer the mixture to an oven-safe dish.
  9. Top with shredded cheese and remaining ½ cup cotija cheese.
  10. Bake for 5–8 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  11. Broil on high for 2 minutes to brown the cheese.
  12. Remove from the oven and top with fresh cilantro.
  13. Serve the warm dip with tortilla chips.
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