If you enjoy the iconic flavor of Mexican Street Corn, you’re going to LOVE this unique, healthy, DELICIOUS Mexican Street Corn Chicken Soup! If you've never tried Mexican Street Corn, welcome to a fabulous new flavor experience!
Not familiar with Mexican Street Corn? Also known as Elotes, it's a beloved snack sold by street vendors in Mexico City. Serious Eats describes it as "corn on the cob charred on the grill, then slathered in a spicy and creamy chili, garlic, and Cotija cheese–spiked sauce. Mexican Street Corn also become popular here in the U.S. in recent years and can be found on the menu at many Mexican restaurants. This Mexican Street Corn Soup boasts the same iconic flavors!
We have an amazing Mexican restaurant nearby that Scott and I love to dine at any time we have the opportunity. Although their menu rotates with the seasons, Mexican Street Corn is a constant and we can never pass it up. The sweet, tender corn combined with a creamy, slightly spicy, tangy coating is quite irresistible!
We also enjoy serving our Chopped Mexican Street Corn Salad for everyday meals and entertaining. It incorporates lots of other fresh veggies into a side dish with the same classic Elotes flavors. The South-of-the-Border-inspired salad pairs deliciously with grilled entrés as well as all kinds of Mexican main dishes.
This Mexican Street Corn Chicken Soup hits all the same delicious notes but in soup style!
A magical corn trick!
I really didn't enjoy cooking with fresh corn. To me, it was a labor of love with all the messy husks and silk to remove as well as big pots of boiling water. But a number of years ago, I learned a magical way to cook corn in the microwave that eliminated the labor and mess. I asked my daughter-in-law, Lindsay, to create a video demonstrating this easy technique. Check it out:
See what I mean? It's quite life-changing (in a "corny" culinary sense)!
This is a perfect soup to celebrate the arrival of corn season. We're not there yet, here in the mountains of Western North Carolina but we're starting to get beautiful corn from several states south of us. It's been so fun this last week to walk into our local grocery store and see a huge display of fresh corn for a wonderful price.
I love that this Mexican Street Corn Chicken Soup can be prepared a day or two in advance and gets even tastier as the flavors have a chance to meld and marry. That makes it perfect for busy weeknights, entertaining and quick meals on the run. Omit the chicken and you've got a fantastic appetizer soup for a Mexican-themed dinner party!
This soup is bursting with bright, fresh flavor. In addition to onion, shallot, jalapeño, bell pepper and garlic, there's a pinch of chili powder, a splash of fresh lime juice, a scoop of sour cream and a half cup of Cotija cheese. A medium size potato gets pureed into the soup to add thickness.
I love the options for garnishing this Mexican Street Corn Chicken Soup. You can go simple, with a sprinkle of chili powder or have fun with extra Cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, crisp tortilla strips and/or a sprinkle of additional corn.
If you enjoy Mexican Street Corn, you're going to LOVE this soup. I've you've never tried Mexican Street corn, this just might become your new favorite soup!
Café Tips for making this Mexican Street Corn Chicken Soup
- This recipe calls for Cotija cheese, both in the soup and as an optional garnish. I call Cotija the Mexican version of Parmesan. Cotija is a hard (not as hard as Parmesan) Mexican cheese made from cow's milk. It's firm in texture and it has a salty, milky flavor. It's named after the town of Cotija, a municipality located in the Mexican state of Michoacán. You'll find Cotija in the cheese section of most larger grocery stores although it's often stocked with other Mexican cheeses in its own section.
- There's no need for any fancy veggie chopping as the soup gets pureed in the end. Just give the veggies a rough chop so the pieces aren't too large.
- The corn in this soup is cooked in the microwave (see the video above in the post) and then sliced from the cobs. Don't throw the cobs away quite yet though. The stripped cobs are simmer with the other soup ingredients to add an extra layer of delicious corn flavor!
- Don't skip the potato in this Mexican Street Corn Chicken Soup. It acts as a thickener.
- Feel free to make this soup without the chicken if you prefer. It makes a great vegetarian lunch and a wonderful appetizer soup.
- This recipe calls for Ancho chili powder. Ancho chili powder is made from dried poblano peppers. I really like it because it has a smoky, earthy, complex flavor. If you don't have Ancho chili powder, use what you have.
Thought for the day:
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad,
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
they will sing before the Lord.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations, and ideas for variations.
- 6 ears fresh corn husks on
- 1 tablespoon butter I use salted
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 large yellow bell pepper
- 1 medium shallot peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 medium jalapeno seeds and ribs removed, roughly chopped
- 4 medium cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 5 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth maybe a bit more to thin
- 1 medium potato 8-10 ounces (226-283g), peeled and roughly chopped
- ¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2½-3 cups leftover or rotisserie chicken cut into bite-size pieces
- ½ cup sour cream or Mexican crema
- ½ cup crumbled or grated Cotija cheese
- freshly grated zest from 1 medium size lime
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice maybe a bit more
- basil and/or cilantro leaves or chopped basil and/or cilantro
- tortilla strips optional
- Cotija cheese
- 6 6- inch corn tortillas
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Place 3 ears of corn in the microwave, unhusked. Microwave on high power for 5 minutes (if your microwave is less than 900 watts, cook for 6 minutes. Use a clean kitchen towel or pot holder to remove the corn from the microwave as it will be very hot.
Allow the corn to sit for a few minutes to cool off a bit. Cut off 1½ inches from the bottom (stem end) of each ear. Using the towel or pot holder again to hold on to the silk end of the corn, slide the corn from the husk and silk. It should come out easily. Discard the silks and husks but reserve the bare cobs.
Lay an ear of corn flat on a cutting board and cut the kernels from one side. Turn so the cut side is down and continue to slice the kernels off until all that is left is the bare cob. Transfer the kernels to a medium size bowl and set aside.
Repeat with the other two ears of cooked corn. Then repeat microwaving, husking and cutting corn from the cobs the remaining 3 ears of corn. (Check out the video in the post to see a demonstration of this cooking technique as well as how to slice the kernels from the cobs.)
Heat oil and butter in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When the butter starts to sizzle just a bit, add the onion, shallot, bell pepper, and jalapeño. Cook for 5-6 minutes until veggies have softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add 5 cups of the chicken broth, the potato, chili powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper and the reserved stripped cobs to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a steady simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and, using a tongs or slotted spoon, remove the corn cobs from the mixture, shaking each one gently to remove any excess moisture. Stripped corn cobs can now be discarded.
Add ½ of the corn and the ½ cup of the Cotija cheese, Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender) puree the soup until smooth. (If using a regular blender, be sure to vent the top to prevent a build-up of steam.)
Add the chicken, most of the remaining corn (save a little for garnish, if desired), the sour cream, lime zest and juice. Stir well and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes to rewarm. Taste and add more salt and/or lime juice, as desired. If the soup is too thick, thin with a little extra chicken broth.
Garnish with crumbled cotija cheese, extra corn, basil and/or cilantro leaves or chopped basil and/or cilantro and tortilla strips. Serve and enjoy!
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup.
Stack tortilla strips on top of each other and cut in half. Stack halves on top of each other then cut cross-wise into thin strips (about ¼-inch thick)
Transfer the tortilla strips to the prepared pan. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Toss with a tongs or with your hands to coat the strips with oil.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, tossing to redistribute with a tongs every 5 minutes, until golden and crisp. Cool on the sheet pan then store in an airtight container.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.
Nutritional information does not include the optional garnishes
Dame Friandise says
Thanks for this recipe, Chris. I made it yesterday and having it for lunch today (while I'm waiting for your Easy French Almond Cake to come out of the oven). I had most of the ingredients on hand, except for the cheese and corn tortillas. I substituted feta for the cotija and I used some taco tortilla shells that I had in the panty. Simply toasted them them roughly broke them apart. Great soup and one that I will make again and again, especially when fresh from the farm corn is in season.
Cynthia Filbin says
The corn husking video you mentions is not included in the post. Will you please post the video; I’d love the learn the shortcut. Thank you!
Chris Scheuer says
Hi Cynthia, check again, it should be there now.
Was I the only one that did not get the video for cooking the corn in the microwave
That is actually ELOTES, SPANISH FOR CORN.
I think it is just a typo!