Elote, or Mexican Street Corn, is charred and juicy corn on the cob smothered in a mayo sauce and topped with chile powder and cilantro. Perfect for summer cookouts, BBQs, and Cinco de Mayo.
Ultimate Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Aka Elote)
With Cinco de Mayo around the corner, I’m already pondering over the perfect dishes to prepare for the celebration! One classic I’m certain to include is Elote, also known as Mexican Street Corn.
This savory, charred corn on the cob is a must-have for any Mexican-themed feast. The fusion of a creamy, cheesy sauce with hints of chile, lime, and cilantro transforms ordinary corn on the cob into an incredibly delectable treat.
What is Elote?
Elote translates from Spanish to English as Corn Cob, but trust me – it’s not your standard corn on the cob. This is Mexican Street Corn, so it’s corn on the cob smothered in a cheesy, creamy mayo sauce with intense Mexican flavors like lime, ancho, and cilantro.
Elote is one of the most popular street foods you can get in Mexico. In addition to being sold on the streets, you’ll also find it at markets, festivals, fairs, and in restaurants. But, it’s just as fun and easy enough to make right at home!
There are so many great Mexican flavors in this recipe, like creamy cheeses, ancho, lime, and cilantro. Here’s what you’ll need to make the best Mexican Street Corn:
- corn on the cob
- mayonnaise plus plain yogurt, sour cream, or Mexican crema
- grated cotija cheese
- lime zest, lime juice, & lime wedges
- ancho chile powder & salt
How to Make Elote
- Remove husks and silk from corn and snap off ends.
- Heat a skillet until hot and cook corn for 15 to 20 minutes to char all sides.
- Meanwhile, mix together mayonnaise, yogurt, cotija cheese, garlic, lime zest and juice, chile powder, and salt. Add most of the cilantro into this mix.
- Once the corn is charred, roll each cob in the sauce.
- Top with extra cheese, chile powder, and reserved cilantro, and serve with lime wedges.
Tips for the Best Mexican Street Corn
- Use fresh corn. It should have bright green husks, and the kernels should be plump and juicy.
- You can save some time by husking your cobs ahead of time or buying pre husked corn on the cob.
- Add the chile, lime, and cilantro directly to the mayo and cheese mixture to save steps in the coating process.
- Set up your stations ahead of time. Have one station for the mayonnaise mixture, another for the cotija cheese, and a platter for serving. Move along from right to left.
- Using a pastry brush to spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly over the cobs is helpful.
Mexican street corn is the absolute best side dish for any Mexican meal – like mahi mahi fish tacos, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas, or mushroom fajitas. These Chili Lime Steak Fajitas would also be amazing with Elote!
It’s also a great dish to bring to a potluck or serve at a BBQ. Other nice sides to serve with your Elote are cornbread, baked beans, and tortilla chips with mango guacamole, queso, or fresh salsa.
If you’re having a total Mexican feast, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got some killer margaritas or mojitos ready!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Cool this mayo-rich dish and refrigerate within 2 hours. Store it well-covered in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
- To reheat, warm the corn in a 350˚F oven for several minutes or until heated.
Can I Bake Or Boil Corn for Elote?
Yes, but the texture and flavor will differ without the char.
- For oven roasting, brush corn with oil and bake at 400˚F for 30 minutes. Broil briefly at the end for some char.
- Boiling corn for Elote also works but lacks charring. Ensure corn is dry before applying the sauce. For best results, consider grilling your corn.
More Corn Recipes
- Grilled Corn with Feta Cheese and Chives Butter
- Bacon and Corn Skillet
- Cheesy Bacon and Corn Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Elote (Mexican Street Corn)
- 4 ears corn on the cob
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup plain yogurt, sour cream, or Mexican crema
- 1 cup finely grated cotija cheese , divided
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- zest of 1 whole lime
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder, plus more for serving
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- lime wedges, for serving
- Husk the ears of corn and remove silk. Snap off the ends, or shanks.
- Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat until hot. You need a hot pan so that when you add in the corn, it starts to char immediately.
- Add ears of corn to the hot skillet and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until charred all around. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, whisk together mayonnaise, yogurt, ½ cup grated cotija, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, ancho chile powder, and salt in a mixing bowl; whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Set aside 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro for serving; add the rest to the mayonnaise mixture and whisk to combine.
- Remove ears of corn from the skillet.
- Using a pair of tongs, pick up the corn, one by one, and roll in the mayonnaise mixture.
- Transfer to a serving platter.
- Garnish with more cotija, a sprinkle of ancho chile powder, and reserved cilantro.
- Serve with lime wedges.
- Fresh Corn: Always choose the freshest corn for the best flavor and texture. It should have bright green husks, and the kernels should be plump and juicy.
- Char it Well: Charring the corn properly is key to getting that delicious smoky flavor.
- Spice it Up: Feel free to adjust the amount of chili powder to suit your heat preference. Some like it spicy, some not so much.
- Grill Option: If you have a grill, use it! Grilling corn gives a wonderful flavor that’s hard to replicate in the oven or on the stove.
- Serve Immediately: Elote is best served right away while it’s still warm and the coating is creamy and delicious.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.