Are you a fan of Mexican food? If pan-fried tacos, burritos and bean chilli are your thing you will love this Sopa De Elote recipe. Just follow a few simple steps and enjoy a bowl of thick and creamy Mexican street corn soup seasoned with smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper and lime juice.
Toppings add a whole new dimension of texture and flavour to the soup. Be sure to add roasted corn, cilantro/coriander and cheese as well as jalapeños if you can handle a little more heat.
It only takes 30 minutes to get this delicious and hearty soup on the table, so it is perfect if you're in a hurry. If you're someone who always has a bag of frozen corn in the fridge this is a dish you can make spontaneously along with my 30-minute Mexican Bean Soup.
The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!
5 reasons why you'll love this recipe:
- Tasty - This corn soup is the ultimate comfort food. Each sunny bowl of this spectacular soup is packed with your favourite Mexican street food flavours and finished with a handful of tasty toppings.
- Quick - corn doesn't have to be boiled or roasted for an extended period before it goes in the blender so the total cooking time is significantly shorter than a lot of other soups.
- Uses simple everyday ingredients - you'll be able to find all the ingredients you need to make this recipe in your local store.
- Versatile - Sopa de Elote is customisable. Adjust the seasoning to suit your tastes and choose your favourite toppings to add even more yummy texture and flavour.
- Make ahead - the cooked soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days and frozen for up to 3 months. Why not make a large batch and have some on hand for quick lunches and dinners on busy days?
This delicious and creamy elote soup requires a few simple ingredients. You're likely to have a few of them at home already.
- Corn - you can make this soup with frozen, tinned or fresh corn kernels. If you're using frozen corn for the roasted sweet corn topping make sure it's fully defrosted first and that you remove as much of the moisture as possible before it goes in the oven.
- Sour cream - single cream is a good alternative and you could also use a smaller amount of double cream or heavy cream.
- Vegetable stock - homemade, ready-made, or powdered all are all fine. I always have Bouillon powder on hand so mostly use that.
- Lime juice - added at the end to bring a subtle tanginess to the soup that contrasts the sweetness of the corn
- Seasoning - Mexican style flavours are brought to the corn soup with smoked paprika, cumin and a very small amount of cayenne pepper.
Other additions to try:
- Add meat - my recipe is vegetarian. I've not tried adding chicken or chorizo sausage to the soup yet, but I'm sure they would be yummy. I tend to eat this soup for lunch, but the addition of meat would certainly justify a dinner.
- Tortilla chips - break into small pieces and add as a topping or serve them as a side and dip them in the soup.
- Bread - I often serve my corn soup with a couple of slices of toasted sourdough.
The best type of corn to use
For best results, fresh corn is where it's at, especially when it's in season and locally sourced. Removing the kernels from the cob does take a little extra effort though.
If you're pushed for time or corn is not in season, frozen corn is a good choice. It's often frozen at its peak freshness and offers a good compromise between convenience and flavour. Frozen corn tends to be my go-to. It's a staple in my freezer, allowing me to whip up street corn soup on the spur of the moment.
Canned corn is super convenient, but it might not give you the quality of flavour and texture that you'd get from fresh or frozen corn.
🌽 How to cut fresh elotes off the cob
The best way to tackle this task is to use a bundt pan and place the corn in the middle of the pan. Take a sharp paring knife and cut kernels downwards, scraping cobs so that the kernels fall into the pan.
If you do not have a Bundt pan place a small bowl upside down inside a larger bowl and use the rim of the small bowl to hold the pan in place while you cut it vertically. You can also use a chopping board and cut horizontally. Discard cobs when you are finished and measure the corn. 2 ears of fresh corn will yield approximately 1.5 cups or 200g of whole corn kernels. Remember to put some excess corn aside to use for the roast corn topping.
🧑🍳 Recipe steps
Step 1: Heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add ¾ cup of corn to a roasting dish, remove any moisture with kitchen paper. Combine corn with olive oil, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Bake on a high shelf in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
Step 2: Meanwhile, fry the onions in in a large saucepan on a medium to low heat until soft. Then add garlic, smoked paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper.
Step 3: Add corn and vegetable stock to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Puree on a high speed using a countertop or hand blender.
Step 5: Add the puréed corn soup back to the pan and add sour cream, lime juice, salt and black pepper.
Step 6: Ladle into warm soup bowls and top with roasted corn. Additional toppings take the textures and flavours of the soup to a new level. I highly recommend adding some or all of the following.
- Cheese - adds cool saltiness to the soup that contrasts the sweetness of the corn. Take the traditional approach with cotuja or queso fresco. Monterey Jack and Cheddar also work well.
- Fresh jalapeños or poblano chiles - add heat and crunchiness. You may want to avoid them if you are sensitive to spice.
- Chopped cilantro leaves/coriander - brings a bittersweet taste that complements a lot of the flavours in the soup. It will also calm the heat of the jalapeños.
Want to make a heartier meal of it? Serve with tortilla chips, crusty bread or grilled cheese quesadillas.
- Remove moisture from the corn before roasting - ensures you avoid soggy roast corn and is especially important if you are using frozen corn.
- Add lime juice at the end - and add bright, fresh and zesty flavour to the soup. Adding lime juice earlier will mellow the citrusy flavour as the soup simmers.
- Don't skip the toppings - they add a whole new level of tasty texture and flavour to the soup. Top each bowl with cheese, jalapeños, cilantro and a handful of roasted corn kernels to enjoy this soup at its best.
Cayenne pepper gives it a light to moderate heat. Omit it if you are sensitive to spice. If you're after a hotter soup add more cayenne and top with fresh jalapeños.
Elotes are corn on the cob that is cooked on a grill or Mexican griddle and topped with melt butter, chihuahua cheese seasoned with a mashed garlic paste, chili powder, black pepper, cilantro, lime and salt. Mexican street corn is popular late-night snack that is served in many large cities across Mexico.
The word “elote” translates as 'tender cob' and stems from the Nahuatl word elotituti. Corn is a long-standing staple in Latin American culture. It remains popular today and is enjoyed as a quick street food snack in many large cities.
Blenders and better suited for liquids and pureeing soup, but a food processor will also do the job. Make sure you allow the soup to cool before you add it.
You can refrigerate elote soup for up to 3 days and freeze for up to 3 months. It's ideal for batch cooking and meal prep.
Place the soup into airtight container or a resealable plastic bag and allow it to cool to room temperature before placing it in the fridge or freezer. Thaw frozen soup in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
😋 Check out my other Mexican-inspired recipes
If you enjoyed this Mexican Street Corn Soup. You should try some of my other Mexican-inspired recipes, including these 30 minute burrito bowls and this canned corn, black bean and avocado salad. My guacamole without tomato is an excellent side for many Mexican dishes as well as a tasty snack.
Did you try this recipe? It would be really great if you could leave a comment and a star rating ⭐️. I would love to receive your feedback and know that other readers find it helpful too.
Don't forget to tag #knifeandsoulrecipes on Instagram or @knifeandsoul on Pinterest!
Sopa De Elote (Street Corn Soup)
Roasted Corn: (optional)
- ⅔ cup (100 g) corn kernels (Note 1)
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 clove garlic minced
- 2.5 cups (600 ml) vegetable broth or stock (Note 2)
- 4 cups (650 g) corn kernels (fresh, canned or thawed frozen)
- 1 lime (juice)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) sour cream (Note 3)
- salt to taste
- ground pepper to taste
- Cheese (Note 4)
- Cilantro (coriander) leaves
- Jalapeños or poblano chillies
Roasted Corn Topping: (optional)
- Heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Gently remove all moisture from the corn kernels with some kitchen paper and add it to a baking tray. (Note 5)
- Combine the corn with olive oil, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Mix until the seasoning is evenly distributed.
- Place on a high shelf in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Turn the corn with a spoon halfway.
- When the corn starts to turn brown remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Place a large saucepan on a medium heat, melt the butter or add oil. Gently fry the onions in the melted butter or oil until soft.
- Add the paprika, cumin, cayenne and garlic and fry for a further two minutes
- Pour in the vegetable broth/stock, add the corn kernels and simmer on a low/medium heat for 10 minutes
- Puree the soup with a countertop or hand blender
- Pour the pureed corn soup back into the pan and add the sour cream, lime juice, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary or add a little water if the soup is too thick.
- Finish with roasted corn and other toppings.
- Corn: You can make this soup with frozen, tinned or fresh corn kernels. If you're using frozen corn for the roasted sweet corn topping make sure it's fully defrosted first and that you remove as much of the moisture as possible before it goes in the oven. Scroll up to the best type of corn to use section for more information.
- Sour cream: Pouring cream (single cream) is a good alternative and you could also use a smaller amount of heavy cream (double cream).
- Vegetable stock - homemade, ready-made, or powdered all are all fine. Note that different stocks can vary in their level of saltiness so ensure you add additional salt to taste.
- Cheese: Take the traditional approach with cotuja or queso fresco. Monterey Jack and Cheddar also work well.
- Drying the corn before roasting: This step may not be necessary if you are using fresh corn.