Elote, in Spanish, is a Mexican Street Corn Recipe and is the popular street food recipe that will deliver the most flavorful corn on the cob you will ever have the pleasure of eating. Elote is super easy to make either on the grill or in the oven. They are the most mouthwatering tangy, spicy, cheese spread that is spread all over hot and sweet grilled corn. Mind-blowing!
If you have ever eaten this Mexican street food in Mexico from local street vendors or at a Cinco de Mayo festival, you will appreciate why this amazing Mexican corn on the cob is one recipe you must try. Elote (Mexican Street Corn) is easy to make at home either on the grill, in the oven, boiled in a pot or even sous vide! Serve this authentic elote recipe already slathered in the Mexican crema and sprinkled with chili powder and cheese or serve these goodies on the side.
What We Love About This Mexican Street Corn Recipe:
- Easy side dish. Grill or roast corn and baste with the creamy chili pepper mixture.
- Minimal cleanup. Bowl, measuring cup, pastry brush.
- Quick. 10 minutes, not including time to pre-heat the grill or oven.
- mouth-watering taste. Sweet, juicy corn on the cob slathered with a creamy, cheesy, spicy sauce.
💭 Tips for Choosing the Best Fresh Corn on the Cob
- Check the husk. It should be slightly moist, tight against the ear, and have no little brown holes.
- Check the base. The part of the corn where the ear was bent off the stalk should not be brown, indicating older ears.
- Check the tassel. It should be yellowish-white, slightly sticky, and smell slightly sweet.
- Gently squeeze the kernels. Move your hands, gently squeezing, over the length of the husk. The kernels should be firm and plump, with no missing kernels.
🥘 Ingredients Needed
- Mayonnaise: Mayo adds just the right amount of creaminess to make all the other goodies stick to the corn. I'm talking about your cheese.
- Sour Cream: I use a full-fat sour cream because its flavor marries so well with the other ingredients.
- Garlic Powder: Make sure to use garlic powder and not garlic salt. You can also use finely minced fresh garlic if you prefer the extra bite.
- Chili Powder: Ancho chili powder is the choice here for authentic Mexican street corn flavor. If you have regular chili powder on hand and don't want to buy a special jar of ancho chili powder, feel free to use that.
- Crumbled Cotija Cheese: Cotija cheese is a Mexican cheese that has a crumbly texture. It can be found in well-stocked grocery stores - often at the cheese counter - or in Mexican grocers. If you can't find Cotija cheese, you can substitute Feta cheese although the flavor will have a bit more tang. For either one, you will want to crumble it into tiny bits.
- Fresh Cilantro Leaves: I chop the leaves only. The stems can be discarded.
- Sweet Corn: Peak season sweet corn on the cob is always the best. I like the bi-color corn (the ones with white and yellow kernels), but any fresh corn on the cob is ideal too. Make sure to get corn with the husks still intact. Corn without husks lose their sweetness faster when refrigerated.
- Lime: I cut the lime into wedges to serve alongside the corn. This way people can choose to add the lime juice or not. If you know everyone eating likes the lime, then, by all means, squeeze it into the mayonnaise mixture, and still serve a lime wedge alongside.
(The printable recipe below tells you the exact measurement and methods.)
🔪 How to Make Mexican Street Corn
- Preheat Your Grill: Set your grill to medium-high heat. (See alternative cooking methods below.)
- Make the Street Corn Sauce: Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, chili powder, garlic, and cilantro.
- Grill the Corn: Grill the corn for about 8 to 10 minutes until cooked through and lightly charred.
- Spread on the Goodies: Spread the creamy cheese and ancho chili pepper mixture over the corn. Serve sprinkled with more cheese and chili powder. Serve with lime wedges alongside.
- Mexican Corn Salad: Called Esquites, this is the salad version of Elote. To make it, cut the corn kernels from the corn cobs after cooking, and then stir the mayonnaise, sour cream, chili powder, garlic, and cilantro into the corn.
- For festive cups of corn for Cinco de Mayo or taco Tuesday make these Mexican street corn cups with are also called Elote en Vaso.
- Or have some fun with these Corn Fries which are smaller corn ribs served up with all the amazing flavors of elote.
♨️ How To Make Elote Without a Grill
- Roast: Keep husks on corn. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place corn husks directly on the oven rack and roast for 30 minutes or until corn is soft. Remove husks.
- Boil: Remove husks from corn. Add corn to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Microwave: Cut stem end and about ½-inch up from the bottom of the cob off using a sharp knife. Microwave on High for 2 minutes per cob. Holding the tassel end, shake until the corn slides out from the center.
🥗 What to Serve With Street Corn
This one is really hard for me to narrow down because we just love all Mexican food.
- Always requested is this recipe for Birria Tacos either served in soft tortillas or as a hearty beef stew.
- A delicious chicken main dish that is a popular recipe on this site is our easy Enchiladas Verdes which is great with Elote. I would also recommend this authentic chicken tinga recipe.
- Zesty seafood pairs perfectly with sweet and cheesy street corn. Spicy shrimp dishes such as Camarones a la Diabla or Blackened Shrimp are great choices. If you like pan-fried cod, these Fish Tacos are an easy main course.
Elote an Outstanding Mexican Street Corn Recipe
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ½ cup finely crumbled Cotija cheese approx. with more for serving
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder approx. with more for serving
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 ears corn, shucked
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Heat your gas grill to medium-high.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, garlic powder, chili powder, and cilantro. Set aside.
- Grill corn, turning occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or until cooked through and lightly charred.
- Transfer corn to the bowl with the cheese mixture. Using a pastry brush, brush corn on all sides with the mixture. Remove from bowl; sprinkle with extra cheese and chili powder. Serve with lime wedges.
- Store corn at room temperature for up to 3 hours.
- To refrigerate your corn, keep the husks on and wrap in plastic wrap. Fresh corn should be used within 1 to 2 days.
- You can substitute feta cheese for the cotija if necessary. However, I highly recommend that you use cotija.