Elote, aka Mexican Street Corn, will be your new favorite side dish. It’s charred and juicy corn on the cob smothered in a cheesy chile, lime, and cilantro sauce. Perfect for a BBQ, potluck or your Cinco de Mayo celebration.
The Best Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Aka Elote)
Cinco de Mayo is just a couple weeks away and I’m already dreaming about the best foods to make to celebrate! When planning my menu, one thing I know for sure I need to have is Elote, aka Mexican Street corn.
No Mexican feast is complete without this juicy charred corn on the cob recipe. The creamy and cheesy chile, lime, and cilantro sauce elevates your average corn on the cob to something seriously mouth watering.
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 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
- plain yogurt, sour cream, or Mexican crema
- grated cotija cheese
- lime zest
- lime juice
- ancho chile powder
- lime wedges
How to Make Elote
- Prep: Husk your ears of corn and remove all of the silk. Snap off the ends or shanks of each cob.
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.
- Char: Add the ears of corn to the hot skillet and cook them for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until they are charred all around. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Mix: In the meantime, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, ½ cup grated cotija, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, ancho chile powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk everything until it is thoroughly combined.
- Add: Set aside 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro for serving. Add the rest to the mayonnaise mixture and whisk it in to combine.
- Coat: Remove the ears of corn from the skillet. Using a pair of tongs, pick up the corn, one by one, and roll them each in the mayonnaise mixture.
- Serve: Transfer to a serving platter. Garnish corn with more cotija, a sprinkle of ancho chile powder, and the reserved cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
Tips for the Best Mexican Street Corn
Elote is so good, but following these simple steps will make it the best you’ve ever had:
- 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.
- It’s helpful to use a pastry brush to spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly on the cobs.
Mexican street corn is the absolute best side dish for any Mexican meal – like tacos, quesadilla, burritos, enchiladas, or fajitas. These Chili Lime Steak Fajitas would 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 corn bread, baked beans, and tortilla chips with 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
- Because of all of the mayo in this dish, you’re going to want to store these in the fridge as soon as they cool. Do not store them if they’ve been left out for longer than 2 hours. At that point, they will be unsafe to eat.
- If properly covered or stored in an airtight container, they can remain in your fridge for about 3 days.
- To reheat, you can place the corn cobs on a parchment lined baking dish and warm them in a 350˚F oven until they are heated through. You can also remove the corn from the cob and heat the corn in a baking dish.
Can I Bake Corn for Elote?
- You can bake it, but this will give it a different texture – you’ll miss out on the crispy charred texture and flavor.
- If roasting in the oven, to maintain some of that flavor, brush your corn cobs with oil before roasting them on a parchment lined baking sheet. You can bake them at 400˚F for about 30 minutes.
- If you want to try to get that charred flavor, put them under the broiler for the last few minutes and you will get a bit of a char.
Can I Boil Corn for Elote?
- You can, but again, this will give it a completely different texture – there won’t be any charring. Without that crispy char, the flavor will be different, as well. Make sure you pat your corn cobs dry before coating them in the mayonnaise mixture to ensure it sticks.
- If you’re really looking for a good alternative cooking method, I’d suggest throwing your corn on the grill.
More Corn Recipes
- Grilled Corn with Feta Cheese and Chives Butter
- Bacon and Corn Skillet
- Cheesy Bacon and Corn Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Tools Used in this Recipe
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 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp ancho chile powder, plus more for serving
- ½ tsp 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.