Grilled Mexican Corn (Elote)

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!!

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 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.

What’s Elote

Elote is grilled 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.

Where To Buy The Ingredients

Mexican crema is usually sold in the cheese area. Also you can 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.

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 Grill The Corn

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.

I recommend using fresh, in-season, sweet corn.

If You Have Extra

Although the elote 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.

Favorite Corn Recipes

Here’s a video showing how I make the corn.

Grilled Mexican Corn (Elote)

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!!

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  • 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
  • 5 or 6 ears of fresh corn, husked and cleaned
  • about 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


  1. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat (or indoor grill pan).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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), and either sprinkle with the cheese or add the cheese to a shallow bowl and dredge the corn through the cheese.
  5. Evenly squirt with lime juice and sprinkle with chili powder, cayenne powder, and/or smoked paprika, to taste.
  6. 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.
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