Elote: Grilled Mexican Street Corn

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Elote… oh my new love, Elote!  Elote is a common street vendor food in Mexico, which I have sadly missed in my own forrays into Mexico. But you better believe I am going to have my eyes peeled for it the next time I am down south.  I asked some of my Mexican friends about it, and they all rolled their eyes up in ecstasy describing it!  Sweet grilled corn, slathered with mayonnaise (don’t turn your nose up yet!), lime, mexican Cotija cheese and sprinkled with chili powder… a tasty and unique treat. I was actually introduced to Mexican street corn by my mother-in-law, who made a version of it for a family barbecue.  She had no idea what it was called but had gotten the recipe from a friend.  A quick internet search revealed millions of variations of which I tried quite a few.  And I liked them all!  You’ll have to test them out and see which variation is your favorite.  For a crowd, I think it is probably easiest just to boil the corn and have people dress their own.  But grilling the corn definitely adds a unique flavor, so when you can… grill it up!

Elote: Grilled Mexican Street Corn
Submitted by Mindy ~ The Sisters Cafe

4 ears of corn
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup  or more grated Cotija Cheese (Queso Fresco or parmesan can be substituted)
2 limes – Juice of one lime, plus one lime cut into wedges
chili powder (can substitute or combine with cayenne pepper for a little more kick)
*You can also add  up to 1/4 cup of sour cream and/or 1/2 tablespoon of Cumin to the mayonnaise mixture to mix things up.

Mix mayonnaise with juice of one lime.  Place grated cheese on a flat plate.

Peel back corn husks and remove as much silk as possible, then pull husks back up around the corn.  Soak corn for 20 minutes in cold water.  Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Place corn directly on the grill.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, rotating occasionally until the husks are blackened and the kernals are bright yellow.

While still warm, peel back husks and slather each ear with the mayonnaise mixture (this is the glue for the cheese).    Roll the corn in cheese and sprinkle with chili powder.  Serve with additional limes.

If you prefer, you can cut the kernals off the cob and place in a cup and top with the remaining ingredients.


  1. teresa g says

    My daughter got her recipe from one of the local Mexican markets that makes corn-in-a-cup on the weekends. They add in a couple squeezes of liquid Parkay Margarine. It some how notches the flavor up a little. My daughter makes elote at least once a week now during corn season. So very good :-)

  2. Bonnie Bluth-Harkey says

    Oh my goodness–I grew up in Mexico and this is absolutely one of the BEST things, ever!! I can’tget enough of this corn! I especially like it with the white, sweet corn on the cob. It’s like candy and the mayo, cheese and chile with lime just add that little kick that is delicious!! Thanks for reminding me! I haven’t had or made in a long time!!

  3. Janelle says

    When I’ve had this, the corn has actually been boiled, not grilled. The street vendor kept a “cooler” of hot steamy water full of corn, so it was fresh and ready. Also, it wasn’t mayonnaise — it was “crema.” Mexican “crema” is like sour cream, but ever so slightly sweeter, and also runnier. Definitely amazing. It’s been almost 10 years since I’ve had elote.

    • says

      Janelle, a friend of mine from Honduras told me about crema this week. She was telling me that she thinks a lot of the street vendors use mayo because it is cheaper, but that most people at home make it with crema. I’ve been meaning to stop by the mexican market to pick some up. It sounds awesome!

  4. Will C says

    When I was in Mexico I ate a LOT of street corn in the markets and, well, on the streets. Every time I had it, though, it was always plainly dressed in butter or Parkay, lime juice, and chile powder. No mayo or cheese in the mix. I’m not sure if that was a regional thing from Guanajauto (specifically San Miguel de Allende) or what, but it was absolutely delicious. I’ve recreated it several times for cookouts and parties and the like and it is always a hit. I’ll have to try this variation next time I can get my hands on fresh corn.

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