Grilled Mexican Street Corn Recipe

Grilled Mexican Street Corn

Introduction to Grilled Mexican Street Corn

Elote, more commonly known as Grilled Mexican Street Corn, is a vibrant and flavorful dish that has become a symbol of Mexican street food culture. Its origins trace back to the streets of Mexico, where vendors serve this charred corn, smothered in a creamy, spicy sauce, and sprinkled with cheese. The dish’s popularity has transcended borders, making it a beloved summer staple in many countries.

This recipe is more than just a way to prepare corn; it’s a celebration of texture and taste. The sweetness of the corn, combined with the tangy, creamy sauce, and the salty burst of cheese, creates a balance that is both indulgent and refreshing. It’s a versatile dish, often enjoyed on its own or as a side to complement a variety of main courses.

Grilled Mexican Street Corn is not just a treat for the taste buds but also a feast for the eyes. The golden char on the corn, paired with the vibrant colors of the garnishes, makes it an attractive addition to any table. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or looking for a quick and tasty snack, this recipe is sure to impress.

Ingredients and Substitutions

The magic of Elote lies in its simple yet impactful ingredients:

  • Essential Ingredients:
    • Fresh corn on the cob
    • Mayonnaise and Mexican crema (or sour cream)
    • Cotija cheese (or Parmesan)
    • Chili powder and Tajín
    • Lime for zest and juice
    • Fresh cilantro

However, the recipe is adaptable, and substitutions can be made without losing its essence:

  • Substitutes:
    • Greek yogurt or light sour cream for a healthier alternative to mayonnaise
    • Feta or queso fresco in place of Cotija cheese
    • Smoked paprika or cayenne pepper as alternatives to chili powder

These substitutions allow for customization based on dietary preferences or availability of ingredients, ensuring that Elote can be enjoyed by everyone. For a deeper understanding of the history and cultural significance of ingredients like corn, check out History of Mexican Street Food.

Step-by-Step Cooking Process

Creating the perfect Elote involves a few key steps:

  1. Preparing the Corn:
    • Begin by shucking the corn, removing all silk and husk.
    • Rinse the corn under cold water to clean any remaining silk.
    • Pat the corn dry, ensuring it’s ready for grilling.
  2. Grilling Techniques:
    • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
    • Lightly brush each ear of corn with oil and season with salt.
    • Place the corn directly on the grill, rotating every few minutes to achieve an even char. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
    • The goal is to get a nice caramelization on the kernels without burning them.
  3. Making the Crema Sauce:
    • While the corn is grilling, prepare the sauce.
    • In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, Mexican crema (or your chosen substitute), lime juice, and chili powder. Mix until smooth.
    • Finely chop cilantro and add it to the sauce, reserving some for garnish.
    • Once the corn is grilled, slather each cob generously with the crema sauce.
    • Sprinkle grated Cotija cheese over the sauce-coated corn.
    • For an extra kick, add a sprinkle of Tajín or additional chili powder.

This process not only infuses the corn with a smoky flavor but also allows the creamy sauce and cheese to meld beautifully with the warm kernels, creating a dish that’s bursting with flavor and texture. For more information, visit Health Benefits of Corn.

Flavor Enhancements and Variations

Elote is a dish that welcomes creativity, especially in terms of spices, herbs, and cheese:

  • Spice and Herb Variations:
    • For a spicier kick, add cayenne pepper or diced jalapeños to the crema.
    • Experiment with herbs like dill or parsley for a unique twist.
    • A dash of smoked paprika can add a deep, smoky flavor.
  • Cheese Options:
    • While traditional Elote uses Cotija cheese, variations like queso fresco, Parmesan, or even feta can be used.
    • Vegan cheese alternatives can also be used for a dairy-free version.

These variations not only cater to different palates but also add a personal touch to this classic dish.

Serving and Presentation Tips

Presentation is crucial for Elote. Here are some tips:

  • Plating Ideas:
    • Serve the corn on a rustic wooden board for a charming, street-food vibe.
    • Garnish with lime wedges and a sprinkle of cilantro for added color.
  • Accompaniments:
    • Pair with grilled meats or tacos for a complete meal.
    • Serve alongside a fresh salsa or guacamole for a refreshing contrast.

Nutritional Information

Elote is relatively nutritious but should be enjoyed in moderation:

  • Caloric Content:
    • One serving contains approximately 150-200 calories, mainly from the corn and toppings.
  • Dietary Considerations:
    • It’s gluten-free and can be made vegan with substitutions.
    • High in fiber and vitamins from the corn, but also high in fats from the crema and cheese.

Storage and Reheating Tips

Proper storage and reheating are essential for leftovers:

  • Refrigeration and Freezing:
    • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
    • Freezing is not recommended as it can alter the texture.
  • Reheating Methods:
    • Reheat on a grill or in a skillet over medium heat.
    • Avoid microwaving as it can make the corn soggy.


Can I use frozen corn?

  • Yes, but fresh corn yields the best flavor and texture.

What if I don’t have a grill?

  • Broil in the oven or cook in a skillet on the stove.

Is Elote gluten-free?

  • Yes, it’s naturally gluten-free.

Can I make it vegan?

  • Yes, use vegan mayonnaise and cheese substitutes.

How can I make it less spicy?

  • Reduce or omit chili powder and avoid spicy toppings like jalapeños.

What can I do with leftovers?

  • Cut off the kernels and use them in salads, tacos, or as a topping for soups.

Grilled Mexican Street Corn Recipe

Grilled Mexican Street Corn Recipe

This Grilled Mexican Street Corn, also known as Elote, is a popular Mexican street food that's easy to make and packed with flavor. It's a perfect combination of sweet, smoky, and savory, with a creamy topping and a sprinkle of cheese. Ideal for summer barbecues or as a tasty snack, this recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 servings
Calories 200 kcal


  • Grill or grill pan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Brush for oil
  • Tongs for turning corn


  • 4 ears of fresh corn husks removed
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup of grated Cotija cheese can substitute with feta or Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder adjust to taste
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime cut into wedges
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: Tajín seasoning for extra flavor


Preheat the Grill:

  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.

Prepare the Corn:

  • Brush each ear of corn with vegetable oil and season lightly with salt.
  • Place the corn on the grill, turning occasionally. Grill for about 10-15 minutes or until the kernels are tender and slightly charred.

Make the Crema Sauce:

  • In a small bowl, mix together the Mexican crema (or sour cream), mayonnaise, and chili powder. Adjust the chili powder to your preferred spice level.

Assemble the Elote:

  • Once the corn is grilled, spread the crema mixture over each ear of corn.
  • Sprinkle the grated Cotija cheese evenly over the corn.
  • Add a dash of Tajín seasoning if desired for an extra zing.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • Serve each ear of corn with a lime wedge on the side.


  • Squeeze the lime wedge over the corn before eating for a burst of citrus flavor.


  • For a healthier version, use Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise.
  • If you don't have a grill, you can broil the corn in the oven or cook it in a skillet on the stove.
  • Vegan alternatives can be used for a dairy-free version of this recipe.


  • Adjust the amount of chili powder based on your spice preference.
  • Cotija cheese can be substituted with feta or Parmesan for a different flavor profile.
  • For a healthier version, replace mayonnaise with Greek yogurt.
  • Vegan alternatives can be used for dairy ingredients to make this recipe vegan-friendly.
Keyword Grilled Mexican Street Corn Recipe

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Karen Elliot

Written by Karen Elliot

Hi, I'm Karen Elliot is a food blogger who founded to make cooking easier. Growing up on a farm in Spain, Karen was inspired by exquisite dishes prepared using simple ingredients. Karen Elliot is particularly known for making anyone can cook.


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  1. 5 stars
    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!

  2. 5 stars
    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 🙂🙂

  3. 5 stars
    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!

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