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Elote (Mexican Grilled Corn)

Elote (Mexican Grilled Corn)

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This recipe is great for serving family-style: Put all of the ingredients out separately and let your guests top the corn however they wish. Watch the step-by-step video here.


  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise or unsalted butter
  • ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese, Parmesan, or ricotta salata
  • 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

Recipe Preparation

  • Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to high. Brush grill grate with oil. Combine chile powder and cayenne in a small bowl.

  • Grill corn, turning occasionally with tongs, until cooked through and lightly charred, about 10 minutes. Remove from grill and immediately brush each ear with 1½ tsp. mayonnaise. Sprinkle each with 1 Tbsp. cheese and a pinch of chile powder mixture. Squeeze 1 lime wedge over each ear and serve.

Recipe by The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen

Related Video

The BA Summer Grilling Manual: Corn

Reviews SectionBasic recipe to start - modify from here.rakshashiSanta Fe, NM07/07/18

Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

Mexican street corn, or elote, is a drip-down-your-chin juicy corn on the cob snack sold by street vendors all over Mexico and the American Southwest. (In Spanish, the word for corn is elote and the vendors are often referred to as eloteros.) The corn is typically boiled or chargrilled, slathered with a creamy and tangy sauce, dusted with chili powder and cotija cheese, and served on a wooden stick, similar to a popsicle.

After enjoying lots of crazy-delicious Mexican street corn in Austin, Texas on a recent weekend getaway, I was inspired to make it at home. This chargrilled version is quick and easy to prepare, and it makes a fabulous side dish to burgers, tacos, carne asada, or tequila lime chicken.

What is elote?

Elote is grilled corn that’s slathered in a sauce of sour cream, mayonnaise, and chili powder, and sprinkled with cheese. It’s a popular snack served by street vendors in Mexico, so it’s often called Mexican street corn. Of course, it’s the very best on the street in Mexico or cities that have a strong Mexican heritage: there’s nothing like it!

What makes elote so irresistible is the contrasts of flavors and textures. You’ve got the sweet corn, charred to smoky perfection on the grill, then the creamy mayo and sour cream sauce. Our sauce has chili powder, garlic powder and cumin, then it’s filled with chunks of feta, cotija, or queso fresco cheese. Serve it with tangy lime and cilantro, and the crunch of the corn against the creamy, messy sauce is satisfying in almost a primal way.

Easy Elote: Grilled Mexican Street Corn

Inspired by the popular Mexican street food, our version of elote ( a.k.a. grilled Mexican street corn) features the summer vegetable staple grilled until smoky, slathered in a creamy sauce and rolled in cheese. When it comes to mouthwatering, messy summer corn recipes, this delicious snack can&rsquot be beat. It&rsquos equal parts sweet, savory and a little bit tart, and you won&rsquot be able to stop after one bite.

So if you&rsquove never brushed freshly grilled corn with a combo of mayo, lime juice, chili powder, smoked paprika and salt, prepare to meet your new favorite BBQ side dish. We added in a built-in handle for easy eating by pulling back the corn husks and tying them with butcher's twine, then grilling the corn with the husks still attached. Not only does this allow you to walk and snack, but it also makes the prettiest presentation. If you&rsquod prefer to take the corn off the cob, you can remove kernels after grilling and toss with the rest of the ingredients for the ultimate BBQ salad.

Substitution Ideas for Elote

&bullSwap out the mayonnaise for sour cream or crema for a tangier, creamier bite.

&bullTry crumbled feta cheese instead of Cotija for something a little bit saltier (and just as delicious!).

&bullAdd chopped fresh herbs, like cilantro, to the sauce for a touch of green and fresh flavor.

How to make elote or Mexican grilled corn

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Shuck the corn by pulling off the leaves and then pulling off the silk, but don’t worry too much about the silk because it will burn off on the grill.
  3. Grill the corn, with the lid down as much as possible, turning every few minutes, until it is charred and golden brown in spots. This will take 8 to 12 minutes.
  4. Remove the corn from the grill and let it cool for several minutes.
  5. Squeeze lime juice over the corn.
  6. Spread mayonnaise all over each cob of corn.
  7. Sprinkle the chili powder and cayenne, if using, all over the corn.
  8. Sprinkle grated or crumbled cheese generously all over the corn.
  9. Serve immediately with lime wedges, if desired.

How to Grill Corn for Elote

Grilling corn is our favorite way to cook it, and for this Mexican street corn recipe, it’s the only way to cook it. A smoky, heady char is what makes grilled Mexican street corn so addictive—don’t fear the heat! Here’s how to grill corn for our elote recipe:

  • Shuck the corn—meaning peel off the outer husks—and remove as many of strings of corn silk as you can without fussing too much over every last one. Leave the end piece if you can, so that you’ll have something to hold onto while you eat the corn.
  • Prep the grill! If you’re grilling over gas, heat it to medium-high, and if you’re working with charcoal, just get those coals good and hot.
  • Grill! Yep, just lay the corn cobs naked on the grill and let that fire do the rest. Turn the cobs often, so that all sides of the corn cob get nice color. You want a good char on the kernels, but pull it off before it is burnt—this usually about ten minutes.


This was great. And to, "OLDUNC," Epi makes it quite clear staples everyone has in the their cabinets do not count. It is not a unique concept. Any time you look for 3 or 4 ingredient dishes it is always the same. Unfortunately, every time they publish one of these recipes there is someone like you who cannot grasp the concept, doesn't make the recipe and downgrades the rating.

Excellent recipe. Go for the mayo mixed with adobo sauce, it's worth the calories. Will definitely make this again.

This was pretty great, I love elote and wish Iɽ learned how to do this a long time ago. I mixed avocado mayo with Cholula chipotle and it was good but needed more spice - will try the adobo next time.

I count 7 ingredients, and that's if you count canned adobo sauce as 1 ingredient. Mayonnaise is a truly bad idea.

This was delicious and easy. I used fat-free Greek yogurt instead of mayo to save fat calories. Didn't miss the mayo.

Love mexican street corn. Usually just mix the mayo with lime juice, spread on cooked corn, sprinkle with chili powder and cotija cheese, but will try the Chipotle mayo.

Street corn recipe ingredients

  • Sweet corn on the cob– In the U.S., fresh sweet corn is typically in season during the mid to late summer months. If you want to make this recipe and fresh corn isn’t available, you may be able to find frozen corn on the cob at the grocery store. It won’t be nearly as delicious after thawing and grilling it, but it’ll do in a pinch.
  • Seasonings– A bit of chili powder adds a little kick of spice to the street corn recipe. I have a homemade chili powder recipe that you can use if you’d like.
  • Mexican crema or mayonnaise– After grilling the corn, you’ll brush either Mexican crema or mayo onto the kernels. This will hold the cheese and seasonings onto the elote street corn.

Mexican crema is a thin, creamy sauce, similar to sour cream. I prefer the consistency and flavor of crema rather than thick mayonnaise. You can buy it or make it yourself by stirring some lime juice into sour cream.

Even better though, flavor the crema! Check out my crema recipe post and you’ll find recipes for avocado, chipotle, and a couple of other flavors of Mexican crema you can make!

How to make an authentic elote recipe

    Simply pull down the husks like you would when eating a banana, keeping them still attached at the base of the stalk.

    Squeeze fresh lime juice on the corn kernels, sprinkle each one with salt, pepper and other spices. Then, wrap the husks in foil so they don’t burn when grilling.
  • Mexican crema
  • Chili powder or chipotle powder
  • Crumbled Cojita cheese
  • Chopped cilantro

What to serve with the street corn recipe

For a complete meal, serve up a few of these Mexican specialties along with the Mexican street corn!

How to Make Elote

Elote is quite easy to make. Once your corn is cooked, you’re only five to ten minutes away from elotes! Here’s how to do it:

1) Grill your corn.

You could steam or boil your corn cobs instead, but like I’ve said, I love the flavor of grilled corn.

2) Prepare your sauce and sprinklings.

While the corn is cooking, you’ll mix together mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, optional cayenne (if you like heat) and salt. In another bowl, mix together grated Cotija cheese and cilantro.

3) Brush the corn with the mayo blend.

This is where things start getting messy. If you don’t have a pastry brush, you could probably get by with a butter knife.

4) Sprinkle the Cotija and cilantro mixture all over.

Place a plate under the corn to any cheese that doesn’t stick. You might need it.

5) Finish it off with a sprinkle of chili powder.

A final dusting of chili powder offers some much-needed color and a final boost of flavor. Enjoy!

Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

Mexican Street Corn, also known as Elote, is a summertime staple! Juicy grilled corn topped with a tangy, creamy sauce and cheese, you’re going to want to make this all summer long!


Preheat the grill to medium heat.

Mix together the sauce ingredients and set it in the fridge until you are ready for it.

Melt the butter and brush the corn cobs with it. Wrap in aluminum foil wrap and grill for about 15-18 minutes until cobs are blistered, flipping them around every 3-5 minutes or so.

Remove from grill and unwrap. Remove from the wrap and add to a plate. Let the cobs cool for a few minutes and then brush the sauce mixture on them. Top with cotija cheese, some more tajin sauce and chopped parsley.

Serve immediately and enjoy.


  • I recommend using fresh lime juice as bottled lime juice just doesn’t taste as fresh!
  • If cotija isn’t available, you can swap for grated Parmesan or crumbled feta cheese instead.
  • If you don’t have a grill, you can bake the corn instead. Check out my post on How to Cook Corn to find the instructions for baked corn on the cob.
  • Make this a little spicier by adding some chili powder on top of using tajin!
  • Don’t skip the mayo. It acts as the base of a creamy dressing. While some may think mayo is unhealthy, it really isn’t! Make sure to use a mayo without filler ingredients.


Calories: 198 kcal | Carbohydrates: 2 g | Protein: 2 g | Fat: 21 g | Saturated Fat: 9 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 41 mg | Sodium: 423 mg | Potassium: 51 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 1 g | Vitamin A: 666 IU | Vitamin C: 1 mg | Calcium: 67 mg | Iron: 1 mg