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Elote Corn Soup
Fresh and bright, this recipe transforms a classic Mexican street food, corn on the cob, into an irresistible bowl of soup. Chili spiced and lime spiked, these sweet and creamy bowls take the corn off the cob, turning it into the perfect summer starter or main. But it can also be prepared anytime of the year with 6 cups of frozen corn kernels rather than fresh. Most of the creaminess in this soup actually comes from blending the corn, but we find that a touch of extra creaminess from heavy cream makes it extra luxurious just like street corn; the cream can always be omitted to make it dairy free.
extra-virgin olive oil
cloves garlic, minced
corn kernels (from about 8 ears)
low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
finely grated lime zest, plus 4 tbsp. fresh lime juice, divided
crumbled cotija cheese
finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Mexican crema or sour cream
Sweet paprika, for garnish
Sliced jalapeño, for garnish
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant and light golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add corn and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until corn is bright and crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer 1½ cups of the corn to a medium heatproof bowl; set aside.
- Add broth, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and ¼ teaspoon salt to saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until corn is tender and flavors meld, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
- Working in batches, if necessary, transfer the soup to a blender and carefully puree until smooth, about 30 seconds. Return soup to pot and stir in heavy cream and 3 tablespoons lime juice. Rewarm soup over medium, if necessary, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine reserved corn mixture with lime zest, remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, cotija, cilantro, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with spoonfuls of corn mixture. Drizzle with crema, sprinkle with paprika, and top with jalapeño.