Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

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Slathered with a creamy, tangy sauce and dusted with chili powder and cotija cheese, this Mexican street corn takes your corn on the cob up a notch.

Plate of grilled Mexican street corn (elote.)

Mexican street corn, or elote, is a drip-down-your-chin juicy corn on the cob snack sold by street vendors all over Mexico and the American Southwest. In Spanish, the word for corn is elote, and the vendors are often referred to as eloteros. The corn is typically boiled or chargrilled, slathered with a creamy and tangy sauce, dusted with chili powder and cotija cheese, and served on a wooden stick, similar to a popsicle. This chargrilled version is quick and easy to prepare, and it makes a fabulous side dish to burgers, tacos, carne asada, or tequila lime chicken.

What  you’ll Need To Make Mexican Street Corn

ingredients for Mexican street corn

Cotija is a salty, crumbly cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s firm and dry and slow to melt so it’s frequently used in Mexican cuisine to add a finishing touch and a pop of flavor. Most large supermarkets carry it (look for it near the Mexican cheeses or the feta cheese), but if you’re unable to find it, feta cheese makes a good substitute due to it’s salty, crumbly texture.

Step-by-Step Instructions

In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, garlic, salt, and sugar.

mayonnaise, sour cream, lime, garlic and seasoning in bowl

Whisk well and set aside.

whisked sauce for mexican street corn in bowl

Heat a grill to medium-high (about 400°F). Place the ears of corn directly on the grill (no need to oil the corn or the grill first). Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until the corn is cooked through and lightly charred, about 10 minutes.

corn on grill for mexican street corn

Let the corn sit for a few minutes until cool enough to handle.

Grilled corn on a cutting board.

Combine the cotija cheese and cilantro on a large, flat plate. Using a pastry brush, coat each ear of corn with the mayonnaise/sour cream mixture and then lightly roll each ear in the cotija/cilantro mixture. spreading sauce on corn and coating with cotija and cilantro

Sprinkle each ear all over with a pinch of chipotle chili powder. Serve warm with lime wedges.

Plate of grilled Mexican street corn (elote.)

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Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

Slathered with a creamy, tangy sauce and dusted with chili powder and cotija cheese, this Mexican street corn takes your corn on the cob up a notch.

Servings: 8
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 8 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 cup finely crumbled cotija cheese (see note)
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Chipotle chile powder, for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, garlic, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
  2. Heat the grill to medium-high (about 400°F). Place the ears of corn directly on the grill (no need to oil the corn or the grill first). Grill the corn, covered, turning occasionally, until the corn is cooked through and lightly charred, about 10 minutes.
  3. Let the corn sit for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Combine the cotija cheese and cilantro on a large, flat plate. Using a pastry brush, coat each ear of corn with the mayonnaise/sour cream mixture and then lightly roll each ear in the cotija/cilantro mixture. Sprinkle each ear all over with a pinch of chipotle chili powder. Serve warm with lime wedges.
  4. Note: Most large supermarkets carry cotija cheese (look for it near the Mexican cheeses or the feta cheese), but if you're unable to find it, feta cheese makes a good substitute.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 ear corn
  • Calories: 208
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Sodium: 313 mg
  • Cholesterol: 22 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • Made it into a salad (esquites) and charred a bag of frozen corn. Turned out great. Wonderful flavours. Look forward to trying it on fresh cobs when corn is in season.

    • — Gail on March 27, 2024
    • Reply
  • We have tried a few but always come back to this amazing fresh (light and cheesy, is that possible?) Mexican street corn recipe, and of course a bit of heat. Oh here I am, an old Silver Queen corn kind of gal loving and passing on this deliciousness!

    • — Nancy on September 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this into a salad using a 12 oz bag of frozen corn. I just thawed the corn and charred it in a skillet. Then mixed it with the sauce, 1/4 tsp chipotle powder and 1/2 the cheese. It was so quick to put together and much easier to eat than a corn cob. I would add more corn next time (it’s all I had) to get a better sauce/corn ratio and cut back on the salt. Then we’d have leftovers for another meal! Served it with grilled kielbasa sausage, onion, and mushrooms. Delicious!

    • — Kim on August 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • Oh My Gosh….this Street Corn is delicious and so easy to make! We get our corn from a little farmers market in our town, and it’s so fresh. We cut the left overs off the husks and serve it in the next day or two….wow, it’s even more flavorful! We’ll never go back to plain old butter…..Thanks Jenn

    • — Liz on August 14, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is very close to the recipe I’ve been using for years except I don’t add garlic, salt or sugar. I also prefer a 1/3 mayo to 2/3 sour cream (if I don’t have crema on hand). Here in Texas we’ve always used Tajin seasoning instead of chili powder. Love all your recipes and I’ve never made one we didn’t really like. Thank you.

    • — S. Walker on July 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • Everyone raved about this and asked for the recipe. A delicious alternative to plain corn on the cob and super-easy and fast to make, especially if you’re already grilling your main entree. Seriously, people were chanting “elote!, elote!, elote!” because it was that good! I’ve made this twice in the past week, and just realized I forgot to sprinkle on the chili powder the second time, and it was still sumptuous. Half of a cob per person is plenty if you’re serving this with other side dishes.

    • — Laurie I on July 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Unfortunately, cojita cheese isn’t readily available here in Australia. It’s suggested to use ricotta salata in place of it.. Would that be preferred over feta as an alternative? Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Hi Nicole, either would be fine, but I’d lean toward feta. Hope you enjoy!

      • Thanks Jenn . I’ve now tried it with both feta and parmesan.. it is absolutely delicious and incredibly moreish! I actually preferred the parmesan 🙂

  • Hey Jenn,
    Could you use this same recipe and deconstruct it for like a dip/salad?
    If so would the measurements be the same?
    Thanks, Lisa

    • Sure, Lisa. I would make the sauce as is but add it to taste.

  • Hi Jenn, I have a question. I know yellow corn is sweeter than white corn and white is more dense than yellow. What corn do you prefer when making this recipe, white or yellow?

    • Hi Elisa, It really doesn’t make a difference — I just get whatever’s available at my store.

    • Hi Jenn
      I love the Mexican street corn and so does everyone I’ve made it for! I am wondering if I could make it as a salad for a dinner party? Thanks for another amazing recipe!

      • Hi Cindy, Glad you’d like this! I do think it’d work well as a salad.

        • Actually it’s called Esquites and is very common in Mexico street vendors because it’s easier to eat

          • — S. Walker on July 30, 2022
          • Reply
  • Really very tasty and easy! This recipe gets a lot of positive feedback from guests.

  • This is an amazing recipe! Loved it. PS-something strange on website. When I word search (ie broccoli). Forward to the recipe and then page back my search for broccoli recipes are gone (replaced by random recipes) and I have to start over. A little thing but just enough to drive me crazy. Just thought you’d like to know Jenn.

    • — Sherry, Kelowna, Canada
    • Reply
  • Love it! This recipe is so delicious. I made it with 5 ears of corn and had leftover sauce but just enough cheese mixture. I love Cilantro so I added some extra. I definitely recommend the Chipolte chile powder, it gives it that nice bit of heat!

  • This corn was delicious! Will be making again and again.

  • This was absolutely delicious!! I did 5 ears of medium sized corn, grilled them directly on the grill, took the corn off the cob and ended up adding about 1/2 the sauce. Served with carnitas tacos but we loved putting the corn on the tacos themselves! I will make this ALL summer long and am already looking forward to making it again.

  • Absolutely fantastic! I’m an ametuer foodie and a harsh critic. This recipe ROCKS!

  • This was delicious!!! I will be making again and again!

  • Fabulous! I’ve made this twice in a week. My husband had been to a bbq place & came home raving about the corn he had. The next day Jen posted this recipe, we both love it. He puts bbq seasoning on his instead of chipotle powder & says it’s as good as the restaurant. On my menu for supper club with pulled pork next week.

  • the sauce was stunning you are most certainly the queen of cuisine

    • — hugh douglas Stockport
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  • Excellent!!
    Perfect flavors and easy to put together. I shucked the corn after grilling and mixed the other ingredients with it in a large bowl.
    I managed to find the Cotija cheese at a Mexican market nearby which really makes the dish!
    I served it with bbq shrimp.
    Fantastic recipe! Thanks Jen for another great recipe! 😊

  • This is amazing!! My 13 year old son ate so much corn he didn’t even have room for tacos and that is unheard of in my house. We substituted feta. So good!

  • This recipe couldn’t have come at a better time in my inbox. I just came home from grocery shopping and had all the ingredients, but had to substitute with feta cheese. Well I have say it fabulous, it was like I had a party going on in my mouth with all the flavours. I will definitely be making this again. Thank you for all your great recipes. They always come out and taste fabulous.

    • — Sheree Schlote
    • Reply
  • Can’t wait to try this!
    We recently returned home from vacation in Scottsdale AZ and had this at a Mexican restaurant there. It was fabulous and I’ve been searching for recipes online to recreate it…….search no more!
    I’m definitely trying Jen’s version cuz I’m sure it won’t disappoint!!
    I’ll report soon! ☺️
    Thanks Jen!!

  • Love this recipe. A good method for grilling the corn is to grill it first unshucked so it gets steamed then shuck and blacken it for a few minutes again on the grill

    • Great recipe, I loved the combination of flavors.

  • This looks amazing Jen!! Another one to try. Do you have any suggestions/adjustments for altering this recipe to be off the cob? Don’t want to pull off my tooth bonding!

    • Ha! You can slice the kernels off the cobs and then add the sauce, cheese, and herbs to taste (you won’t need all of it).

      • Awesome, thanks!!

        • Can this be prepared ahead and kept warm for a few hours?

          • I wouldn’t recommend it, Tammy — sorry!

            • — Jenn

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