Totes Elotes

Elote carts are fairly ubiquitous in many Chicago neighborhoods. I finally tried it maybe eight years ago when my sister bought a couple, lured by their siren call. It was delicious if a little watery. I was inspired to make my own and set about perfecting my recipe. This is always my potluck contribution to our family parties. I recently dubbed it Totes Elotes. (Ok, I’m only making it rhyme but, really, it is pronounced eh-lo-tess.)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 heaping tbs minced garlic
  • 2 lbs frozen corn kernels, defrosted
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 16 oz mayo
  • 6 oz shredded Parmesan, Asiago or Romano

In a frying pan, saute garlic in the butter until golden. Toss in corn kernels, 1.5 tsp chili powder, 1.5 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes and salt. Fry until corn is a little caramelized, stirring every so often to prevent burning. Put in your chosen container.


Dollop the mayo evenly across the corn and spread.



Scatter the shredded cheese on top of the layer of mayo. Sprinkle remaining spices over the cheese. Et, voila! Homemade elotes which is a thousand times better than the street version.


Of course, the amount of spices can be increased according to taste. Also, the cheese used by street vendors is called cotija. I’ve tried it once but prefer the Italian cheeses. Enjoy!


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