Elote dip is the recipe that’s going to take your Cinco de Mayo party or Taco Tuesday to a whole new level! This hearty Tex-Mex dip is made from charred corn, cream cheese, mayo, plenty of cheese, and the zestiest flavors, like garlic, paprika, chili powder, and fresh lime zest.
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This Mexican street corn dip is a take on the classic Mexican elote recipe. Served with tortilla chips, you and your guests will be scooping up mouthfuls of this dip, and I promise, you won’t want to stop! It’s creamy, chunky, and full of flavor, plus, it only takes about 15 minutes of prep time.
What is Elote?
Elote is a Mexican street food that consists of grilled or boiled corn on the cob that is typically topped with mayonnaise, cotija cheese, chili powder, and lime juice. It is a popular snack food that is often sold by street vendors in Mexico and in Mexican-American communities in the United States. The combination of sweet, smoky, and savory flavors makes elote a delicious and satisfying treat.
This dip takes the flavors of Mexican street corn and creates a fun appetizer that is sure to be a huge hit at your next party.
🌟Why This Recipe Works
Before developing this recipe I surveyed my readers. I noted most elite dip recipes were cold or room temperature. But 79% of my readers said they preferred a baked version. After testing several variations, I agree!
- This recipe doesn't rely on store-bought elote seasoning or other specialty ingredients.
- The fresh lime and creamy flavors are a perfect complement to the spicy chili powder and paprika.
- You can prepare this recipe ahead of time and bake it just before serving to make your game day party prep simpler.
📋Elote Dip Ingredients
Corn - You can use thawed frozen corn, or freshly cooked corn cut off the cob. I generally don't recommend using canned corn but it actually does work in this recipe. If you use canned corn be sure it is whole kernel corn and not creamed corn.
Sour Cream- If you can find Mexican crema at your local grocer, I highly recommend using it instead. Crema is similar to sour cream, but it’s actually thinner and a bit milder in flavor. It is a wonderful choice to enhance the flavors of the spices in the dish.
Monterey Jack Cheese - I highly recommend buying a brick of cheese and shredding it yourself. You can also use sharp cheddar, or pepper jack cheese for an extra kick of heat.
Cotija Cheese - Cotija is a Mexican crumbling cheese that is similar to feta. It’s typically sold in the cheese section of your local deli. If you can’t find cotija, you can use feta cheese instead.
Cream Cheese - I recommend full-fat for this recipe because it melts a lot better than low-fat and has a fuller, richer flavor.
Onion -Use a basic white or yellow onion. You can also use a red onion for a bit of color.
Smoked Paprika - Smoked paprika provides a deep, rich, and smoky flavor. Regular paprika will provide the same beautiful red color and a hint of heat, but smoked paprika is next-level good in this recipe.
Additional Seasonings- Lime zest, garlic, chili powder, and salt.
Feel free to add any garnishes you like from fresh cilantro to sliced jalapeno peppers.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
🍲How to Make Elote Dip
Elote dip takes just 10 minutes to prep, then you pop it in the oven for 30 minutes to get it all creamy and bubbly. Here’s how you make it.
Heat the oil in a saute pan and add the corn. Slowly allow the corn to cook until it begins to brown and appear ‘charred.’ Stir occasionally, but give the corn time to char on the bottom of the pan. Finally, add the onion and garlic and saute for a few more minutes.
The other option is to grill the corn cob and then cut off the charred kernels. This is a great option if the gill is already on. Just brush the corn with oil and grill on medium-high heat turning the corn every few minutes. Allow the grilled corn to cool before you try to cut off the kernels.
Meanwhile, add the cream cheese, sour cream (or crema), mayo, lime zest, all the spices and seasonings, and half the Monterey jack cheese to a large bowl.
When the corn is finished charring, add it to the mixture and stir to combine.
Pour the entire mixture into a greased baking dish and top with the remaining cheeses.
Bake for 20 minutes until the dip is golden brown and bubbly. Let is cool for 5 minutes before serving.
🥣 How to Serve Elote Dip
This elote appetizer is typically served with tortilla chips you can also serve it with cut-up raw veggies, tostadas, flatbread, or even as a sauce for roasted vegetables.
Mexican corn dip can also be served as topping for tacos or burrito bowls.
To save time, you can also buy charred corn (sometimes called fire-roasted corn) and skip the step of charring the corn yourself. Just put the pre-charred corn in a sautee pan long enough to heat it up, then add the garlic and onion.
You can easily store leftover elote dip in the fridge. Just place the leftovers in an airtight container, or wrap your serving dish tightly with plastic wrap. Keep for up to 2-3 days. However, if you serve this at a party and a lot of people have been dipping directly into the dip, you might want to simply discard it.
This dip does not freeze well, so try to eat up your leftovers within a few days.
To reheat this dip, place it back in the oven at 350°F for 5-10 minutes or until heated through. You can also use the microwave to make it hot, then top it with a bit more cheese and broil to get that fresh-baked, cheesy yumminess.
You can make this elote dip in advance by assembling it but not baking. Store in the fridge covered with foil. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
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💬Frequently Asked Questions
Elote dip can be served hot from the oven or cooled down. When hot, it’s ooey gooey and cheesy, and when cold it’s thicker and chunkier. Either way, the dip will be delicious. If you’re serving the dip cold, choose heartier sides like thick corn tortilla chips, crackers, or veggie sticks for dipping.
- Mixing Bowl
- Saute Pan
- 1 pound corn kernals (off the cob) see notes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ¾ cup sour cream or use Mexican crema if you can find it
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese shredded and divded
- Zest of one lime
- ¾ teaspoon chili powder
- ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cotija cheese
- Fresh cilantro
- Green onions
- Hot sauce
- Lime wedges
- Sliced jalpeno pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Cut the corn off the cob if needed. In a medium saute pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the corn and saute and char, stirring occasionally. This will take about 10 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 3 minutes.1 pound corn kernals (off the cob), 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ cup onion, 2 cloves garlic
- While the corn is cooking mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, lime zest, all the spices and seasonings, and half the Monterrey jack cheese in a large mixing bowl. Add the corn mixture to the mixing bowl and stir to combine.8 ounces cream cheese, ¾ cup sour cream, ¾ cup mayonnaise, 2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Zest of one lime, ¾ teaspoon chili powder, ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika, ¾ teaspoon salt
- Transfer the mixture to a greased oven-safe dish. Top with the remaining shredded cheese and sprinkle on the cotija cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top. Garnish as desired and serve with corn chips.½ cup cotija cheese, 2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese
- Use frozen charred corn, also called fire-roasted corn, (thaw first) and skip the charring process.
- You can skip the lime zest and spices and substitute 2 ½ teaspoons of tajin seasoning instead.
- For a spicy version of this recipe, I add one finely diced jalapeno pepper to the saute pan with the onion.