A classic Mexican street food, this corn on the cob is charred on the grill, then slathered in mayo, and topped with tangy Cotija cheese, chili powder and cilantro.
Instead of serving plain old corn on the cob, try this Mexican corn on the cob to add some excitement and flavor to your dinner. It will quickly become one of your favorites, once you see how well all these flavors enhance the corn. It’s truly addictive.
Mexican Street Corn is one of my favorite quick and tasty foods that can be found at street stands all over Mexico. The ears of corn are tossed on the grill to get tender and sweet, then they’re lathered up with a mixture of mayo and sour cream, and topped with cotija (Mexican cheese), chili powder, and cilantro.
This is a fantastic way to add excitement to your regularly old corn on the cob. Whether you cook it on the grill outside or on the stovetop, it’s easy and delicious. It’s also a fun way to serve corn at a barbecue. You can set out all the ingredients and allow guests to build their own perfect street corn.
In Mexico this corn is called Elote. After one bite, you’ll surely understand why it’s so popular in Mexico. We make it frequently at home. We even experiment with different version (think different sauces, cheeses and spices). There’s no end to what you can do to dress up your corn.
If you’re not a fan of Mexican corn on the cob, you can cut the corn from the cob and serve it in a cup or bowl instead.
How to Make Mexican Street Corn
This elote recipe is incredibly simple. Start with a good quality corn on the cob. It’s up to you whether you grill it or blanch it on the stove top. The most traditional way to do it is on the grill. The smoky flavor from the grill adds to the flavor and authenticity and the corn turns out so sweet.
Once the corn is off the grill, you’re ready to dress them up. The typical Mexican corn recipe calls for mayonnaise to be slathered on the corn. You can make a mixture of mayo and sour cream if you don’t love mayo.
You can also add butter and/or minced garlic to the mayo. I recommend trying it with just mayo first and then experimenting to see what you like best.
You’ll need a good basting brush to slather on the mayo. I like this one by Oxo Good Grips. It’s a silicon brush and is made in one continuous piece, so food and debris doesn’t get trapped under the head.
The next most important ingredient is cotija cheese. This Mexican cheese crumbles easily, so it can be sprinkled over the corn. It adds a nice tangy element to the corn.
If you can’t find cotija at your grocery, it can be substituted with a full-fat feta or even homemade ricotta. I say full fat because the low fat version just doesn’t taste that good.
Once you’ve sprinkled on the cheese, shake on some chili powder and chopped cilantro. If you don’t like spicy chili powder, it’s also acceptable to use paprika (either sweet or smoked).
We serve this as a side dish and also as an appetizer. If you’re serving lots of other dishes with it, like for a taco night, you can cut the ears of corn into smaller pieces.
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Classic Mexican Street Corn (Elote)
- 2 medium ears of sweet corn husks removed
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp cotija cheese crumbled
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
- 1/2 tsp chili powder or paprika
- Fresh lime wedges
- Grill the corn on the barbecue or boil until tender. Allow to cool slightly.
- Slather with mayo. Sprinkle on the cotija cheese, cilantro and chili powder. Finish with a spritz of lime. Serve.
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Laura is a home cook who loves making new recipes and finding new favorite things to eat, whether at home or abroad. She also runs a popular travel blog and spends a lot of her time traveling for food.