Grilled Mexican Corn (Elote) — Learn how to make this EASY and FLAVORFUL grilled Mexican street corn at home in minutes!! Fresh sweet corn is covered in crema, cheese, and finished with chili, lime juice, and cilantro!!
What is Elote?
I love grilled corn and have fond memories of walking on the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta eating freshly grilled corn from the street vendors.
This Mexican elote is a fast and easy side dish that works well with most any Mexican recipe, with grilled chicken, or burgers. It’s a dish that’s sure to please everyone at your next backyard barbecue, picnic, or potluck.
Elote is grilled Mexican street corn that has been brushed with a mixture of mayonnaise, Mexican crema (or sour cream), topped with cotija cheese, and sprinkled with either chili powder, cayenne powder, or smoked paprika, before adding lime juice and fresh cilantro.
It’s a flavor explosion in your mouth. Because I like spicy foods, I add either a generous dose of chili powder or a more reserved amount of cayenne pepper. Smoked paprika is also great.
The mayo and Mexican crema mixture is so creamy and tempers some of the heat if you’re a heat-seeker like me.
The cotija cheese is salty (I don’t find the need to add any additional salt to the recipe), and along with the finishing squirt of lime juice which adds a lovely tanginess, they are both great flavor contrasts to the naturally sweet corn.
Ingredients in Mexican Corn
To make Mexican grilled street corn, you’ll need:
- Mexican crema
- Fresh corn
- Cotija cheese
- Lime juice
- Chili powder, cayenne pepper, or smoked paprika
- Fresh cilantro
Is There a Mexican Crema Substitute I Can Use?
Mexican crema is usually sold in the cheese area. You can also check the sour cream section of your grocery store if you don’t see it near the cheese. If you absolutely can’t find crema, you can use sour cream to make the Mexican street corn on the cob.
Is There a Cotija Cheese Substitute I Can Use?
Cotija cheese is also sold in the cheese area of most mainstream grocery stores. If you can’t find it, you could try using queso fresco but if you can’t find cotija, you’re probably not going to be able to find queso fresco either. In a pinch I would try shredded Monterrey Jack or crumbled feta.
How to Make Mexican Corn
This is a very easy and straightforward recipe for Mexican corn! Here’s how to make elote in about 15 minutes:
- Stir together the mayo, crema, and garlic, then set aside. Grill the corn over over medium-high heat until cooked to your liking.
- Generously brush the grilled corn with the mayo mixture, then sprinkle with cheese.
- Squirt fresh lime juice over the corn and sprinkle with your choice of cayenne, chili powder, or smoked paprika.
- Garnish with cilantro and enjoy!
Should I Shuck the Corn Before Grilling It?
Yes! Although it’s a bit more traditional to grill the corn while it’s still in the husks, I like to clean the corn, remove all the husks and silks, and add the corn directly to the grill.
I love the flavor the corn gets from being directly on the grill grates. Plus, is cooks quicker when it’s naked than in husks. I am all about saving time.
How Else Can I Cook Mexican Street Corn?
This Mexican street corn recipe tastes best when prepared on the grill. However, you can also broil the corn in the oven or grill it on the stovetop using a grill pan.
Tips for Making Mexican Corn
Note that I recommend using fresh, in-season, sweet corn for this Mexican corn recipe.
Although Mexican elote corn is best warm and fresh, if you have extra you can always shear the cobs with a sharp knife and the extra elote will keep airtight in the fridge.
But this recipe goes very fast and I don’t ever seem to have much left over. There’s something about sinking your teeth into freshly grilled corn that’s irresistible.
What to Serve with Mexican Street Corn
Pair the Mexican corn on the cob with your favorite Mexican entrees for an epic feast, or serve it alongside other grilled dishes for a cookout you won’t forget!
Here are some of my favorite entrees to serve alongside the Mexican corn:
- Grilled Salsa Verde Chicken
- Grilled Carne Asada Tacos
- Grilled Lime Cilantro Chicken
- Foil Pack Lime Cilantro Salmon
- Grilled Steak Kabobs
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Grilled Mexican Corn (Elote)
Learn how to make this EASY and FLAVORFUL grilled Mexican corn at home in minutes!! Fresh sweet corn is covered in crema, cheese, and finished with chili, lime juice, and cilantro!!
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup Mexican crema (sour cream may be substituted), or as necessary for consistency
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
- vegetable oil, for brushing
- 6 ears fresh corn, husked and cleaned
- 1/2 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
- fresh lime juice, from about 2 medium limes
- chili powder, cayenne powder, and/or smoked paprika, for sprinkling as desired
- fresh cilantro for garnishing, optional
- Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat (or indoor grill pan).
- To a medium bowl, add the mayo, crema, garlic, and stir to combine. If you mixture is very thick, add a couple more tablespoons of crema to taste; set mixture aside.
- Brush grill grates with oil, add the corn to the grill, and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until corn is as cooked as desired; rotate corn a quarter turn every couple of minutes to ensure even cooking.
- Remove corn from grill, evenly brush all ears with the mayo-crema mixture (I brush very liberally; if you don’t you will likely have some left over)
- Either sprinkle with the cheese or add the cheese to a shallow bowl and dredge the corn through the cheese.
- Evenly squirt with lime juice and sprinkle with chili powder, cayenne powder, and/or smoked paprika, to taste.
- Optionally garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.
- Corn is best warm and fresh but extra can be cut off the ears with a sharp knife and stored airtight in a bowl in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 235Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 265mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 5g
More Mexican Side Dishes:
Creamy Mexican Grilled Corn and Zucchini Salad — A healthy, easy salad that’s ready in 15 minutes and so flavorful! Corn, zucchini, cilantro, queso fresco and more are tossed in a delish creamy lime sauce!
Skinny Mexican Bean and Corn Salad – Two kinds of beans, juicy corn, tomatoes, peppers, and more tossed in a light chili-lime-cumin vinaigrette! Healthy, easy, ready in 5 minutes, and loaded with flavor!
Avocado, Black Bean and Corn Salad with Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette – Everything tastes better with avocado! Easy, healthy and tons of flavor!
Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad — An EASY and HEALTHY salad that’s ready in 10 minutes and you won’t be able to stop eating it!! Juicy corn, creamy avocado, cilantro, and fresh lime juice is a FIESTA in your mouth!!
Mexican Wedge Salad with Avocado-Cilantro Dressing — This is an easy and healthy salad has lots of veggies for added texture and the dressing is loaded with flavor.
Blueberry Corn Salsa — The salsa is packed with fresh blueberries, corn, strawberries, jalapeno, cilantro, lime, and hot sauce!
Originally posted July 18, 2018 and reposted July 2, 2021 with updated text.
Perfect for our 4th of July cook-out! It was my first time grilling corn without the husks, and I will grill it this way from now on (and never boil corn again if I can help it)! Turned out picture-perfect and so tasty! One of my guests is of Mexican heritage, and he dubbed it ‘Autentico.’ No higher praise!
Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad that this was perfect for your cookout! And yes, I have never boiled corn in my life since figuring out grilling without the husks was soooo easy! And wow love the autentico commentario!
We got out two burner cast iron grill pan for around $10 in the camping section at Walmart!
Hey Averie! Could I make this in the oven. I don’t have access to a grill. Thanks!
I would broil it but it will really depend on your oven for how long to broil it. Or invest in a grill pan that you can place on your stove. Check amazon, very inexpensive options.
This recipe takes me back to my childhood in Albuquerque. I live in the Midwest now where my children love all my Albuquerque Mexican dishes. Thanks for reminding me of the simple but best things.
Thanks for the five star review and glad this takes you back to your childhood!
Oh my!! Best corn EVER!! I’ve never bought mexican crema or cotija but loved trying them both and Kroger has the brand referenced in your post. Jon was very excited about this recipe too.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you loved the recipe! Glad you think it’s the best corn EVER! Glad that you were able to find both the crema and cotija at your Kroger – perfect. Glad Jon was excited about this one too!
they look great
The homegrown sweetcorn carts are popping up roadside and in church parking lots now and we love it on the grill too. We usually use chilli powder with it so I know we’ll love this!
That’s great that you have homegrown corn for sale in your area. Those little roadside stands are the best! If you already like chili powder on your corn, I think you’ll love this!