Mexican Street Corn – Try this Mexico inspired grilled corn, made with lime juice, mayo, cilantro, chipotle chili powder and Queso Blanco (or Cotija). This is a great way to serve fresh summer corn and makes a delicious side dish for a BBQ or backyard party.
What is Elote?
Elote means corn cob in Spanish. Elote, or Mexican street corn is lime soaked grilled corn on the cob, topped with a mayo sauce that's packed to the brim with the flavors of more sour lime, the saltiness of Mexican cheese, the herbiness of cilantro and the spicy smokiness of chipotle powder. YES. And PLEASE.
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Street corn, or elote, is one of my favorite things to eat in Mexico every winter. We walk down to the square and get one of everything, from elote - Mexican street corn, to esquites - the corn in a bowl topped with anything from hot Cheetos to cheese to candy.
And then there are the churros (like long cinnamon donuts dipped in dulce de leche), the marquesitas (special crepes stuffed with Nutella and Edam cheese) and paletas (ice cream pops). My favorite is the corn paletas.
But Mexican street corn is something special. It's fresh sweet corn, soaked in lime juice, topped generously with mayonnaise, cheese and chili powder or Tajin.
It's sweet, sour, tangy, cheesy, and spicy and in one beautiful, delicious cob of corn - a staple food in Mexican history.
About the ingredients for this recipe. See the recipe card below for exact amounts.
- corn cobs: I shuck the corn before grilling it to get nice charring on the corn
- lime juice: I use fresh lime juice and squeeze it generously on the corn cobs
- mayonnaise: you can use vegan mayo or homemade mayo if you want
- cheese: for the cheese, I used a crumbly white cheese, or Queso Blanco. You can use Cotija cheese or sub with Feta which is usually more available where I live.
- chipotle chili powder or Tajin: I use a smoky chipotle chili powder and sometimes I use Tajin, a chili and lime seasoning
- cilantro: This isn't typical of the street corn that I've seen and eaten in Mexico but I love cilantro with corn.
How do you make Mexican Street Corn?
You can cook the corn to your liking, but I recommend grilling the corn over medium flame on the grill for about 8-10 minutes – longer if you want some black bits. You can also boil it if you prefer or char it in a grill pan on the stovetop.
You can also use whatever cheese you prefer. I use a Queso Blanco – that's what I can get. I'd love to get my hands on some Mexican Cotija but it's just not possible/easily available in my city. If you can't get either of those – try feta but maybe a bit less.
- Peel the corn cobs
- Slice limes
Peel the husks off the corn and then squeeze lime all over them and let them sit while you preheat the BBQ to a medium heat.
Make the sauce by combining the sauce ingredients and then season with salt and pepper.
Grill the corn for about 8-10 minutes, or to your liking. I like lots of charring on mine.
Remove the corn from the BBQ and let cool for a minute or two and then add the sauce on top. Garnish with extra sauce, cheese cilantro and chili powder if you like.
✔ This recipe is vegetarian
Don't have queso blanco or cotija? Try feta cheese.
Don't want to use chipotle chile powder? Try Tajin, it's a chile lime seasoning.
More recipes with corn
Tips + FAQs
Elote is a Mexican street corn dish of lime soaked grilled corn, topped with a mayo, Mexican cheese, cilantro and chipotle powder.
Mexican Street Corn – Elote
For the Corn:
- 4 ears of corn
- Lime juice from one or two limes (or about 1 tbsp)
For the Sauce:
- ¼ cup mayo
- ½ tablespoon lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or less for less spicy)
- ¼ teaspoon Tajin Chile Lime Seasoning (instead of chipotle chile powder)
- ¼ cup queso blanco (crumbled)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- small handful of cilantro (chopped)
- Prepare the toppings first while you preheat your grill to medium.
- Squeeze lime juice all over the corn and let sit.
- Mix together the mayo, lime juice, chipotle powder, queso blanco, and cilantro. Season to your preference. Set aside.
- Grill the corn for about 8-10 minutes, or until it's done to your liking and has enough color for your tastes.
- Let cool briefly.
- Roll in the sauce or spread on with a fork. Top with extra cheese, cilantro and chipotle powder or Tajin if you prefer.
Nutritional information is an estimate. Values vary based on products used.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
This post was originally posted on July 18, 2019. Updated July 17, 2022 to provide clearer recipe information and nutritional information
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