This homemade Elote seasoning is the perfect blend of spicy, sweet, and smoky, adding bold Mexican flavor to any dish. That's right — it's not just for making a fantastic Mexican street corn. Use it to add spicy flavor and a touch of heat to grilled meats, roasted veggies, taco dishes, or even popcorn!
If you've ever had Trader Joe's Everything But the Elote seasoning, this recipe is a good homemade version. Not everyone has access to a Trader Joe's store, so we love to make Trader Joe copycats at home, like this 3-ingredient cauliflower gnocchi or blueberry goat cheese (aka blueberry vanilla chèvre).
If you like the spicy flavor of Mexican cuisine, take a look through our Cinco de Mayo recipes for inspiration on where to add this seasoning.
Why This Elote Seasoning Blend Works
Smoky-sweet flavors: The combination of chili powder and sugar is just the right mix of smoky and sweet. Your taste buds will love the bold flavors in this blend of spices.
Easy: You can make it in five minutes or less with the pantry ingredients you have right at home.
Versatile: The traditional Mexican flavors go great with so many different dishes.
Customizable: One of the best things about homemade seasonings is that you can change them up depending on what your taste buds prefer or what you have at home.
Grab These Ingredients
Here is the simple ingredient list for this elote seasoning. Most are pantry staples and easy (and affordable) to find in grocery stores. Jump down to the recipe card for exact measurements.
- Kosher salt: The kosher salt is key to making all of the flavors pop.
- Chili powder: Gives it a warm and smoky flavor, and a mild to moderate level of spiciness.
- Parmesan cheese: You can also use cotija cheese. You want the cheese to be finely grated.
- Cane sugar: Substitute with brown sugar or coconut sugar.
- Cumin: Adds a slightly nutty flavor.
- Dried cilantro: It's milder tasting than fresh cilantro, but feel free to use fresh instead.
- Chipotle powder: Adds heat and a smoky flavor.
Pro Tip: If you want to store this seasoning in the pantry for longer, omit the parmesan cheese. Spice blends will keep for up to a year if stored in a cool, dry place.
How to Make Elote Seasoning
The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through the steps with some photos so you have a clear idea of what to expect. This Elote seasoning is really easy and these step-by-step instructions will make sure it turns out every time.
Combine Ingredients. Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Season away! Use on your favorite Mexican recipes or classic Elote with mayo, lime juice, lime zest, and cotija cheese.
What is Elote?
Elote is a popular street food in Mexico, made with grilled or boiled corn on the cob. The corn is then slathered with a delicious mixture of mayonnaise or sour cream, chili powder, lime juice, and grated cotija cheese. It's often served on a stick or with the husks pulled back to form a handle, making it easy to eat.
The creamy mayo or sour cream adds a rich and smooth texture, while the chili powder provides a subtle heat that complements the natural sweetness of the corn. The lime juice adds a refreshing citrusy kick, and the cotija cheese, a crumbly and salty cheese, provides a savory element to the dish.
While Tajin is a popular choice for seasoning Elote due to its tangy and spicy flavor, you can create Elote seasoning using similar ingredients found in Tajin or adjust the blend to your taste preferences
If you're looking for a substitute for Mexican seasoning, you can create a similar flavor profile using a combination of common spices and herbs that are often found in Mexican cuisine. Some that are often used are chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
How to Use Elote Seasoning
There are a variety of ways to use this easy seasoning mix besides a traditional Elote recipe. One of our favorite ways to get creative with recipes is to use homemade seasonings. Add Elote seasoning to any of these recipes for extra flavor:
- Try it in this roasted corn and goat cheese guacamole or easy healthy guacamole and serve it up with tortilla chips.
- This Mexican street corn pasta salad has all of the flavors of Elote, put into a delicious pasta salad recipe. Sprinkle the Elote seasoning in with the pasta and fresh corn blend.
- Take it to the grill during the summer months and use it as a seasoning on grilled hamburgers, ribeye, or chicken thighs. Add a side of black beans or fresh mango pineapple salsa to make it a meal.
- Toss it in with these crispy instant pot carnitas for the best flavor.
- We love having Mexican any time of the year, but it's especially fun to mix it into some classic Thanksgiving side dishes. Mix it into this chorizo cornbread stuffing or add it to this easy recipe for sweet potato salad.
- Use the spice mix to season the veggies on these sheet pan shrimp fajitas or sheet pan chicken fajitas.
- Swap out the seasoning in one of our favorite recipes, sheet pan pork chops to give the dish a little heat.
- Have it with breakfast! Sprinkle it on top of this cottage cheese toast or sheet pan sweet potato breakfast hash.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
Feel free to make this recipe ahead and use it when you're ready to season. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Don't forget: if you want to store this seasoning in the pantry for longer, omit the parmesan cheese. Spice blends will keep for up to a year if stored in a cool, dry place.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon parmesan cheese or cotija cheese
- 1 Tablespoon cane sugar brown sugar, or coconut sugar
- 3 teaspoons cumin
- 1 Tablespoon dried cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
- Small bowl
- Resealable bag or airtight jar for storing
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Use on your favorite Mexican recipes or classic Elote (grilled corn) with mayo, lime juice, lime zest, and cotija cheese.