Mexican Street Corn (Elote Recipe)
Mexican Street Corn or “Elote” is covered with a tangy and spicy crema sauce and topped with crumbled cotija cheese. It takes just one bite to realize why Mexican grilled corn on the cob is so popular.
The flavor profile of this Mexican corn is similar to the sauce on our famous Fish Tacos. Make this Elote corn for your next party and you will get recipe requests.
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What is an Elote?
Elote, pronounced ‘ee-low-tay’ is a side dish of sweet grilled corn on the cob, smothered with a mixture of crema (or sour cream), mayonnaise, and spices. The combination of sweet and slightly charred corn with the spicy sauce is irresistibly good.
Elote is a popular street vendor food sold during Mexican festivals (especially for Cinco de Mayo) which is why it’s referred to as Mexican Street Corn.
How to Cook Corn for Elote?
You can cook corn using your favorite method, from simple Boiled Corn on the Cob to Instant Pot Corn on the Cob. During grilling season, we love to make Grilled Corn in Foil because it imparts an added smoky flavor.
How to Make Grilled Mexican Street Corn:
Mexican Street corn is really easy to prepare. It’s as simple as cooking the corn then covering it in the sauce, cheese, and cilantro.
1. Grill Corn: Use just enough foil to cover the corn once, overlapping slightly and tucking in the edges. We double wrap for a campfire. See our full tutorial on grilling corn in foil.
2. Partially Unwrap: Once the corn is grilled, let it rest inside the foil 10 minutes then peel back the foil to expose most of the corn, but keep the foil under the cob to use as a dish/ holder to avoid getting sauce on your hands.
3. Make Sauce: Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl then smother the corn in sauce and sprinkle with chili powder, a generous amount of cotija cheese, and chopped cilantro to serve.
How to Eat Mexican Street Corn
There really is no neat way to eat Mexican street corn. The foil wrapper helps but it is bound to get a little messy. You can take comfort in knowing that everyone else around you will also have sauce on their face. It’s so worth it! You can also skewer it as we did in our Boiled Corn on the Cob.
Serve the smothered corn right out of the foil ‘boats’ that you grilled the corn in to keep your hands clean and your guests will appreciate it. Mexican corn is perfect as a side dish and pairs really well with:
- Mexican Street Tacos – with Carne asada
- Grilled Salmon with garlic lime butter
- Pan-Seared Steak – with rosemary butter
- Juicy Cheeseburgers with secret sauce
- Grilled Shrimp Skewers with cajun butter
- Carnitas – Mexican pulled pork
Why Grill Corn in Foil?
This recipe goes from the grill to the table using the same foil. It’s so convenient to make and serve with Heavy-Duty Foil. Here’s why we love it:
- Make-ahead – you can pre-wrap the corn in advance and refrigerate until ready to use
- No pre-soaking or waiting required, simply wrap and grill the corn
- Great for any kind of grill – gas, charcoal, wood, or smoker, and you can even double wrap to grill it over a campfire
- Even cooking – the foil protects food over direct heat to evenly cook corn without burning
- Serve in Foil – to keep hands clean while enjoying saucy Mexican corn
- Easy clean up – no mess and no dishes
Grilling Safety Tip: when removing foil-wrapped corn from the grill, use tongs and please be very careful opening as the packet and steam inside will be extremely hot.
More Authentic Mexican Recipes:
If you love Mexican food, try our top-rated Mexican recipes. These sweet and savory recipes always get rave reviews and you’re sure to find some new favorites in this list.
- Ceviche – a crowd-pleasing shrimp salsa
- Pico de Gallo – one trick will make it taste authentic
- Guacamole – creamy, chunky, classic guac
- Churros – a Mexican dessert that is best homemade
- Tres Leches Cake – a super moist and unforgettable cake
Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote Recipe)
Mexican Street Corn or "Elote" is sweet corn on the cob smothered with a tangy and spicy crema sauce and topped with crumbled cotija cheese and cilantro.
- 8 cobs of corn
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped (reserve some for garnish)
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 2 Tbsp lime juice, (plus lime wedges to serve)
- 1/2 cup cotija cheese, (crumbled)
- 1/2 tsp chili powder, to garnish
Shuck corn and wrap in a single layer heavy duty foil to fully enclose the corn then grill corn in foil.
In a small bowl, combine sour cream, mayo, cilantro, minced garlic, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, and 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice. Stir to blend and set aside.
Partially unwrap corn to cool for a few minutes before applying sauce. Keep the foil under the corn to be used for serving the corn.
Using a basting brush, generously brush on the sauce and sprinkle generously with cotija cheese. Garnish with chili powder and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review
This was delicious!!!!!!!!
Can I make the sauce ahead of time and reuse?
Hi Jenna! So glad you enjoyed this recipe. We’ve always eaten this fresh but I think it will hold up well in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Hi. Can we used canned corn for this recipe and add the sauce to it? If so, how many cans for this recipe? Thanks!
Hi Jasmine, I have not tried this with canned corn, but it may work. If you experiment, I’d love to know how you like that.
Can you make mac n cheese balls/fried mac and cheese balls please?
Hi Holl, thank you so much for that recommendation! We have that added to our to-do list!
Oh good then! Oh and by the way, my name is Holly, but I didn’t press the y the first time i spelled my name. Thanks! 🙂 😀
Can you make a VERY, VERY CRISPY chicken sandwich please? Thanks!
Hi Lina, Have you tried my Crispy Chicken Sandwich recipe?
Yes I have. But I was hoping for the Cheesecake Factory spicy chicken sandwich because theirs is amazing. But if you cannot find or make up a recipe for Cheesecake Factory spicy chicken sandwich, then ok. Thanks! 🙂
It is so good, hope you can try it!
this one is new to me. boiling corn for 15 minutes never have did more than 3 or4 min. ill try 15 next time.
Hi Natasha, I hope you all are doing great! This elote looks perfect and it’s so good with very fresh corn if you can get a hold of some. I am fortunate to get it here on the east coast from June to September from surrounding farms. If you want to keep your fingers clean, these holders are what we use and they aren’t expensive- . If you can get fresh corn, cut the silk/husk tip end about 1 inch above the cob (pinch and you can feel the cob), then cut the stem end about a half inch below the cob. Peel off the loose outer husk leaves (3 or 4) and soak the cleaned cobs for at least 10 minutes in cold water. Then grill or bake directly on the rack for about 15 minutes or to your liking. This steams the husk, the corn and silk so that when you peel the husk off, the silk comes right off with it. Easy peasy. I think it also tastes better than boiled. You can eat it just like that or brown it some more on the grill for elote. Have a great day!
Thank you for sharing some tips with us!
Haven’t tried this way yet, but here in SoCal we buy it on the street and it’s made with butter, mayo, garlic salt, parmesan cheese, and chile powder.
P.S. Have tried many of your recipes and love them!
Sounds good, I hope you love this recipe too!
I love all of your recipes, I have cooked some, thanks so much. I just wish all of your recipes would include a video to view 🙂🙂
You’re welcome, Evelyn. Thanks for your suggestion, I’ll take note of that.
This has become my absolute favorite way to eat corn! It is the perfect side dish for just about anything we throw on the grill!
I’m so glad to hear that, thank you so much for your great review and feedback!
Yum! I always get this when I see it, now I can make it whenever I want. This recipe is so delicious!
Yes, that’s the greatest advantage of homemade and it is so much better too.
Yum!! Everything about this is delicious!! Best way to eat corn in my opinion!
Thank you so much, Natalie! Glad you loved the recipe.
How can you make this without a grill?
Hi Lauren, you could just boil the corn and then brush on the sauce. It would still taste great.
I don’t have a grill can this be done in the oven somehow?
Hi Brittney, I have note tested this in an oven to advise.
Delicious! I mixed in the chili powder and cilantro with the sauce. Instead of grilling the corn I used the air fryer. This has been the best Elote recipe I’ve tried yet! Thank you.
So nice to know that! Thank you so much for sharing that info with us.
Any instructions on using the air fryer?
Hi Jennifer, I haven’t tried this in an Air Fryer to advise. One of our readers mentioned making it in an air fryer, here’s what they said “Delicious! I mixed in the chili powder and cilantro with the sauce. Instead of grilling the corn, I used the air fryer. This has been the best Elote recipe I’ve tried yet! Thank you.”
I made this last night 7/13/20 and it was crazy good! My husband gave it a 10/10! Thank you so much!
That’s just awesome Natalia! I’m so glad you enjoyed that!
Where can I get cojita cheese or what cheese can I substitute
Hi Faith, we purchase cojita cheese in the cheese section in our local grocery store. There really isn’t another cheese that would work as well without a completely different flavor profile. I’ve seen people use crumbled feta or grated parmesan instead.
We had this with our dinner tonight it was wonderful. Thanks Natasha
I’m so happy you enjoyed that!
Can I substitute plain yogurt for the mayo? if not, then what can be substituted?
Hi Frank, I haven’t tested that with yogurt to advise. If you experiment please let me know how you like that.
The recipe looks delicious and I love corns. Can you please tell me what is sour cream?
Thank you! You can buy sour cream at the grocery stores.
I suppose one could grill the corn, cut if off the cobb nto a bowl, and mix all the other ingredients in another bowl, then spoon over the corn kernals, and mix it in , and serve it that way…..
That could work Surati!
This is the perfect way to eat fresh corn! So good!
Thank you so much for your good comments and review!
Perfect side for our tacos last night. SO GOOD and easy.
Love it! Thanks for your excellent review.
Question what part of Mexico sells the corn like this?
everywhere in Mexico you can find street corn
source: i’m mexican and i live in Mexico
Wow this looks tasty and easy to make! I like how you suggested using them in tacos, havent tried that before.
I hope you try it soon! These are so good!
Yummy!! I love Mexican street corn. So easy and tasty!
I’m so happy you enjoyed that Matt! Thank you for that great review!
Hi there if I can’t find cortija cheese what can I use thank you
Hi Gladys, for this recipe, there really isn’t another cheese that would work as well without a completely different flavor profile. I’ve seen people use crumbled feta or grated parmesan instead.
I’m just wondering…hmm..why they don’t hire you for the FOOD NETWORK ! You are TV ready, and SO talented !! I watch videos every day, Natasha !!
You are so nice! Thank you for that compliment Judy!
Yes! It’s my favorite! I make it all the time!
That’s so great! Thank you so much for sharing that with me!
Looks so so delicious, cant wait to try!
I hope you love this recipe Zara!
Oooooo looks delicious!!!
I hope you try and enjoy this recipe Lucy!