What Is The Yellow Sauce On Elote? Experts Explain

If you’ve ever had elote, the delicious Mexican street food staple, then you know that the combination of sweet corn, salty cheese, and spicy chili powder is a match made in heaven.

But what about that mysterious yellow sauce that ties it all together?

It’s creamy, tangy, and adds the perfect amount of richness to the dish.

In this article, we’ll dive into what exactly that yellow sauce is and how to make it at home.

Get ready to take your elote game to the next level!

What Is The Yellow Sauce On Elote?

The yellow sauce on elote is a mixture of mayonnaise and crema, a Mexican sour cream. It’s seasoned with garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and chipotle pepper for a smoky, spicy kick.

Some people may mistake the sauce for butter or margarine due to its creamy texture and yellow color, but it’s important to note that it’s actually a combination of dairy products.

The crema adds a tangy flavor to the sauce, while the mayonnaise provides a creamy texture. The garlic and cilantro add depth and freshness, while the lime juice adds acidity to balance out the richness of the cheese and corn.

What Is Elote?

Elote is a popular Mexican street food that consists of grilled or boiled corn on the cob topped with a variety of flavorful ingredients. The most common toppings include the yellow sauce made with mayonnaise and crema, crumbled cheese such as queso fresco or feta, chili powder, and lime juice. Elote can also be served off the cob, known as esquites, and mixed with other ingredients such as jalapeños, onions, and tomatoes to make a salad. Elote is a beloved dish in Mexican cuisine and is often enjoyed at festivals and outdoor gatherings.

The Ingredients In The Yellow Sauce

To make the yellow sauce for elote, you will need mayonnaise, crema, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and chipotle pepper. Mayonnaise is a key ingredient that provides a rich and creamy texture to the sauce. Crema, a Mexican sour cream, adds a tangy flavor to the sauce and helps to balance out the richness of the mayonnaise.

Garlic and cilantro are used to add depth and freshness to the sauce. The garlic provides a slightly pungent flavor that complements the smoky and spicy chipotle pepper. Cilantro adds a fresh and herbaceous note that brightens up the sauce.

Finally, lime juice is added to provide a refreshing acidity that balances out the richness of the cheese and corn. The lime juice also helps to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients in the sauce.

The History Of The Yellow Sauce

The history of the yellow sauce on elote can be traced back to the indigenous peoples of Mexico, who used a similar sauce made from chili peppers and other ingredients to flavor their food. Over time, the sauce evolved to include dairy products like mayonnaise and crema, which were introduced to Mexico by European colonizers.

Today, the yellow sauce is a staple of Mexican street food and is commonly used to flavor elote. It’s also used as a condiment for other dishes like tacos and tostadas.

The exact origins of the yellow sauce are unclear, but it’s believed to have originated in central or southern Mexico. The sauce has since spread throughout Mexico and is now enjoyed by people all over the world.

Despite its popularity, the yellow sauce has faced criticism from some who argue that it’s too rich and unhealthy. However, many people continue to enjoy the sauce as a delicious and flavorful addition to their favorite dishes.

How To Make The Yellow Sauce At Home

Making the yellow sauce at home is fairly easy and requires only a few ingredients. Here’s how to make it:


– 1/2 cup mayonnaise

– 1/2 cup Mexican crema or sour cream

– 1 garlic clove, minced

– 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

– 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

– 1 teaspoon chipotle pepper (or more to taste)

– Salt to taste


1. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and Mexican crema until well combined.

2. Add the minced garlic, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and chipotle pepper to the bowl and stir until everything is evenly distributed.

3. Taste the sauce and add salt as needed.

4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors meld together.

Once the yellow sauce is made, it can be used as a topping for elote (Mexican street corn), tacos, burritos, or any other Mexican-inspired dish. The smoky, spicy flavor of the chipotle pepper pairs well with the sweetness of the corn and adds a delicious kick to any dish.

Other Uses For The Yellow Sauce

While the yellow sauce is traditionally used as a topping for elote, it can also be used in a variety of other dishes. Its creamy texture and bold flavor make it a versatile ingredient in many Mexican dishes.

One popular use for the yellow sauce is as a dip for tortilla chips or vegetables. Its smoky and spicy flavor pairs well with the crunch of the chips or the freshness of the veggies.

The sauce can also be used as a spread for tacos or sandwiches. Its tangy and creamy flavor complements the savory fillings, adding an extra layer of richness to the dish.

For those who enjoy spicy food, the yellow sauce can be used as a marinade for chicken or shrimp. The chipotle pepper adds a smoky heat to the dish, while the garlic and cilantro provide depth of flavor.