8 Smart Ways to Use Trader Joe’s Everything But The Elote Seasoning Blend

published Jul 12, 2020
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Credit: Julian Montijo

A few years ago, I visited Mexico City during the beautiful celebration of Dia de los Muertos. During my trip, I made a habit of visiting the many street vendors serving esquites, which are cups filled with roasted corn mixed with lime juice, chile powder, salt, and mayonnaise, and sprinkled with cotija cheese. The snack is the off-the-cob equivalent of elote, a word that comes from the Nahuatl word ēlōtl, meaning tender corn.

After returning home, my best bet for replicating the experience was to search high and low for esquites and elote on restaurant menus. It wasn’t until a serendipitous research trip for @TraderJoeSampleKing that I learned that Trader Joe’s had bottled up the flavor into its Everything but the Elote Seasoning Blend.

A bright and beautiful blend of salt, chile pepper, cheese, chipotle, and cumin, this seasoning is a wonderful reminder of the real thing (although certainly not a replacement). In the months since this blend has been around, it’s gotten a lot of love from TJ’s fans on Instagram, with countless shoppers (as well as the official account for the store itself) sharing creative ways to use it.

Here are some ideas that I’m using as inspiration now that this seasoning has become my newest spice-rack staple. 

1. Cornbread Pancakes

This Elote-Jalapeno Cornbread Pancake recipe from Trader Joe’s is a surefire way to mix up Sunday brunch. With both sweet and savory notes, it’s the perfect compromise for when you can’t decide which route to take. (It also uses Trader Joe’s fan-favorite cornbread mix!)

2. Pizza

Spice up pizza night with this elote pizza recipe. Bonus points if you use Trader Joe’s pre-made pizza dough! I can’t wait to cook this in cast iron for that crispy pizza-oven char.

3. Avocado Toast

I’m not over avocado toast just yet — especially with the thought of dusting this seasoning on top. Just like this example, I think I’ll fry up two eggs, smash some avocado, and plop it all on sourdough toast with a garnish of EBTES.

4. Chaffles

For those unfamiliar with what a “chaffle” is, here’s an explainer on the keto cheese waffle trend that took over Pinterest last year. Another breakfast item, this chaffle is somewhat spicy, somewhat crispy, and a little bit tangy. Top it off with a dollop of sour cream and, you guessed it, a few shakes of the good stuff. 

5. Chicken Tenders

Add some protein to the dinner plate with this double elote crispy chicken tenders recipe straight from the Trader Joe’s team. The suggested pairing of Trader Joe’s Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers is a no-brainer.

6. Tacos

As someone who eats a taco or quesadilla almost every single day, this suggestion really spoke to me. Adding this seasoning to a corn side salad is also an excellent idea.

7. Sheet-Pan Shrimp

Who doesn’t love a super-simple sheet pan dinner? The best part of this recipe is the amount given in the Everything But the Elote Seasoning step: “Didn’t measure, but used heavily.”

8. Popcorn

Finally, the easiest application yet! Sprinkle Everything but the Elote Seasoning into a bowl of popcorn to dress up kernels in their popped form.

How are you using the spice? Share your recipes with us in the comments below!