Mexican Elote Especial (Corn Casserole)

Image: ​Loretta Forquer​

Every family has a signature dish that is expected at every important gathering. 

For some Mexican families, it’s tamales, chiles en Nogada, or pozole, but in my family, it’s corn casserole. 

It’s so simple to make, but only Tia Beatriz or “Tichi” knew how to make this elote especial.

Sadly, my tia passed away, so my mom became the keeper of this recipe. 

And I must say, for someone who doesn’t cook, she pulls it together with great ease.

And though my mom originally gave me the impression that she didn’t want to share this recipe with anyone; eventually, I discovered that a recipe doesn’t exist. 

Instead, my mom re-created the family favorite by memory. 

In my version, I’ve added a few extra ingredients, including chorizo and poblano peppers, to spice it up. 

For a vegetarian delight, you can serve it with rice and beans. 

My personal favorite pairing is a big baked ham and tamales. I hope it becomes a family favorite of yours!

Mexican Elote Especial (Corn Casserole)

Prep time: 30 minutes

Bake time: 40 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Image: ​​Loretta Forquer


  • 3 cans of 15 ounces of yellow corn, drained. 

    *Note: Don’t use creamed corn.

  • 10 ounces (1 package) of Oaxaca cheese, grated (available in the Hispanic section, but jack cheese works well too).

  • 8 ounces mild or medium cheddar cheese, grated. 

    *Note: You could buy a Mexican blend of grated cheese, but I prefer grating my own. Blend the cheeses together.

  • 2 cups full fat sour cream

  • 6-7 tablespoons of butter

  • 2 poblano peppers, diced and pan sautéed until soft.

  • 1 lb SoyRizo/soy chorizo (2 packages), sauteed, crumbled and drained. 

    *Note: I use SoyRizo brand because there is no fat, and the flavor is great. If you use beef or pork chorizo, be sure to drain the chorizo very well after it’s cooked. 

  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Image: ​Loretta Forquer​

Preparing the Mexican Elote {Corn Casserole}

  1. Cook chorizo in a skillet until cooked through and crumbling.

  2.  Remove from the skillet and place on a paper towel to drain.

  3. In the same skillet, cook the diced poblano peppers until soft.

  4. Prepare the casserole (9 x 12) by placing two tablespoons of butter dotted around the bottom of the dish. There is no need to spread the butter, just dot the bottom of the dish. 

  5. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

  6. Place ⅓ of the drained corn into the casserole and spread evenly.

  7. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper evenly over the corn layer.

  8. Add ⅓ of the sour cream in spoonfuls, onto the corn. Don’t spread it, just drop little mounds evenly onto the corn. Blot gently if the cream is clumped, but don’t spread it in an even layer. 

    *Note: The sour cream will spread out on its own while baking, but if you spread it, it may separate.

  9. Sprinkle ⅓ of the chorizo evenly on top of the sour cream.

  10. Place the poblano peppers on top of the chorizo.

  11. Place ⅓ of the cheese blend evenly on top of all the layers.

  12. Repeat the layering with all ingredients two more times in order: butter, corn, sour cream, chorizo, poblanos, cheese, salt and pepper.

  13. Bake the casserole in the top third of the oven at 300 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until all the layers are melted, golden and oozing.

  14. Remove from the oven and let the casserole rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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About the Author

Loretta Forquer

Loretta has a deep passion for cooking, entertaining, and bringing family and friends together for a great meal. She started cooking early in life at the apron strings of her abuelita, María Estela, who was a prolific Mexican cook. Since then, she’s worked in the specialty coffee and food industries including running her own cafés and catering business. She invites all of her readers to join in her journey through food experiences and recipes.

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