This Elotes, grilled Mexican Street Corn recipe, is coated with a cooling lime crema, spiced with some chile powder, and topped with crumbled cotija and diced cilantro. The perfect BBQ side dish or appetizer!

All about this Elote Recipe…

  • Easy & Flavorful: this recipe uses whole corn on the cob which turns out juicy and flavorful! Grilling gives a slightly smokey flavoring and a nice charred coloring to the corn.
  • Cooling Lime Crema: adding a few extra ingredients to the mayonnaise traditionally slathered on the grilled corn makes a nice cooling lime flavored dressing that makes this a family favorite!
  • Toppings: make them how you and your family love by topping with crumbled cotija or queso fresco, fresh cilantro, chili powder and an extra squeeze of tart lime juice.

Ingredients Needed:

Ingredients needed for making elotes, grilled mexican street corn, laid out on the counter.

Notes on Some Ingredients:

  • Crema: this is a thick and slightly tangy cream used in a lot of Mexican cooking. It is similar to sour cream, but it is a lot thinner, has a higher fat content and is much less tangy. If you are unable to find crema in the markets (usually located in the refrigerated section by cheeses) you can substitute with sour cream, just add bit of milk to it to thin it out slightly.
  • Cotija (not pictured): This is a salty, crumbly cheese that is mostly used as a topping or mixed into sauces. Queso fresco is very similar, but has a more mild flavor. Both should be able to be found in most local markets in the cheese section. If unable to find either, feta is a good option.

How to Make (step-by-step):

Step by step how to make the dressing needed for elotes.
  • Step 1 & 2: Prepare the Lime Crema. Either while the corn is grilling or just before starting it prepare the crema by combining the mayonnaise, crema, lime juice, cilantro, and seasonings in a bowl. Set aside until corn is done grilling.
  • Step 3: Grill the corn. Remove the husk and silk from the corn. Cook the corn either on a grill or in a hot skillet
  • Step 4: Brush the sauce all over the corn. Sprinkle with crumbled Cotija or Queso fresco, a little extra cilantro and a pinch of Chile powder. 
Grilling corn until blackened and then brushing with the dressing to make elotes.

Expert Tips:

  • Salad option: If you would prefer to make this as more of a dip or a salad you can check out this Mexican Corn Dip recipe. This particular recipe can be made with fresh, frozen or canned corn. 
  • Mexican Street Corn in a Cup: To make Elotes en vaso like you would find at a lot of taco shops, this Esquites recipe is what you are looking for! It’s very similar, but involves cutting the corn off the cob, mixing with a similar sauce, and toppings. 
  • Customize: if you would prefer to not use mayonnaise, you can cut it out and use just crema. I have seen recipes that use yogurt instead of either options. And you could also use veganaise if you are wanting to make this dairy free. 
Plate with elotes topped with crumbled cotija and chopped cilantro.

Elotes, Mexican Street Corn: FAQS

What is an elote made of?

Elote is made of grilled corn on the cob that is coated with a creamy mayonnaise based sauce with lime juice and chili powder. Traditionally it is topped with chili powder, crumbled cotija and cilantro. A drizzle of chili sauce or hot sauce may be added.

How do you pronounce elote?

Commonly pronounced as Eh-loh-teh as a singular. Plural is elotes (eh-loh-tehs).

What is a substitute for cotija?

Cotija is a slightly salty cheese that crumbled. Another option would be Queso Fresco, which is very similar but not nearly as salty and has a more mild flavoring. If you are unable to find either, Feta is a good option.

More Recipes you may enjoy:

Plate of elotes served with extra crumbled cotija, lime wedges and fresh cilantro.

Mexican Street Corn

5 from 6 votes
Mexican Street Corn, or Elotes. This grilled corn recipe is coated with a cooling lime Crema, spiced with some Chile powder, and topped with crumbled Cotija and diced cilantro. The perfect side dish or appetizer!

Ingredients

  • 4 corn cobs, husks and silk removed
  • ¼ cup Mexican Crema
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • tsp ground chili powder
  • tsp salt
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 2 tsp cilantro, chopped

Toppings

  • Cotija cheese or Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • cilantro, chopped
  • Chili powder

Instructions

  • Remove the husk and silk of the corn. If grilling, preheat the grill. Place the corn directly on the grill and cook for about 3 minutes, then turn the corn to continue cooking other sides. Continue this until all sides are cooked.
  • While the corn is cooking, prepare the sauce. Add the Mexican Crema, mayonnaise, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, lime juice, and chopped cilantro into a small bowl. Stir together until combined. 
  • After the corn is cooked, remove to a plate. Brush or spread the sauce onto the entire corn cob. 
  • Add toppings as desired, Cotija or queso fresco, cilantro, Chile powder, additional lime juice. 

Equipment

Notes

  •  Crema: this is a thick and slightly tangy cream. If you are unable to find crema in the markets (usually located in the refrigerated section by cheeses) you can substitute with sour cream, just add bit of milk to it to thin it out slightly.
  •  Cotija: This is a salty, crumbly cheese. Queso fresco is very similar, but has a more mild flavor. Both should be able to be found in most local markets in the cheese section. If unable to find either, feta is a good option.
  • If using a skillet, pour a small amount of olive oil in the skillet and heat on medium heat. Then cook the corn about 3 minutes, then turn and continue cooking. Do this until all sides are cooked. If you cook the corn on the skillet, you won’t get as much color to the corn as you would on a grill. If you’re looking for blackened corn, you will need to use a grill.
  • To make-ahead: Cook the corn, allow to cool and store covered in the fridge. Prepare the topping ingredients and store separately in the fridge. When ready to serve, brush the corn with melted butter or oil, reheat on a skillet briefly. Spread with toppings.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 202kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 168mg, Fiber: 3g
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Recipe first published June 14, 2019. Updated May 27, 2022 with new images and information. Recipe is unchanged.

Photography by the talented @KJandCompany.co