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.

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.

After enjoying lots of crazy-delicious Mexican street corn in Austin, Texas on a recent weekend getaway, I was inspired to make it at home. 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.

cool

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.

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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

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 cup finely crumbled cotija cheese (see note)
  • 1/3 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.

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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Reviews & Comments

  • 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 on July 16, 2021
    • 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!

    • — Charlie L. on June 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • This corn was delicious! Will be making again and again.

    • — Julie on June 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Erin on June 14, 2021
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  • Absolutely fantastic! I’m an ametuer foodie and a harsh critic. This recipe ROCKS!

    • — Kasha on June 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was delicious!!! I will be making again and again!

    • — Stephanie on June 7, 2021
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  • 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.

    • — Cindy Cefalu on June 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • the sauce was stunning you are most certainly the queen of cuisine

    • — hugh douglas Stockport on June 1, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 1, 2021
      • Reply
  • 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! 😊

    • — Lisa on May 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Barb from BC on May 28, 2021
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  • 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 on May 27, 2021
    • 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!!

    • — Lisa on May 27, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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

    • — Leah on May 27, 2021
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    • Great recipe, I loved the combination of flavors.

      • — Sharron on June 6, 2021
      • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Melissa D on May 27, 2021
    • Reply
    • 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).

      • — Jenn on May 27, 2021
      • Reply
      • Awesome, thanks!!

        • — Melissa on June 2, 2021
        • Reply
        • Can this be prepared ahead and kept warm for a few hours?

          • — Tammy W on June 27, 2021
          • Reply
          • I wouldn’t recommend it, Tammy — sorry!

            • — Jenn on June 28, 2021

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