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Elote Recipe or Mexican Grilled Corn

Elote Recipe or Mexican Grilled Corn

This elote recipe, or Mexican grilled corn, is one of the only preparations for corn on the cob that I think is better than just eating the corn straight from the oven or grill. The sweet corn kernels caramelize and take on a bit of smokiness as they are grilled.

metal baking pan with elote, Mexican grilled corn cobs with mayonnaise, chili powder, lime juice, and grated cheese

Slathered with lime juice and mayonnaise, seasoned with chili powder, and sprinkled with salty Cotija or Parmesan cheese, they are an addictive snack or side dish.

If you are looking for an easy side for your next barbecue party or Mexican meal, look no further than this grilled corn recipe. This simple take on Mexican street corn is perfect.

Cobs of sweet, juicy summer corn are perfectly charred on a barbecue grill. Then they’re seasoned to perfection with creamy mayo and spicy chili powder. Lots of grated cheese is the final touch.

What is elote?

Elote is a Mexican grilled corn recipe that you’ll frequently see being sold by street vendors and at festivals in Mexico. It is simply sweet corn on the cob that is grilled and then slathered with a creamy sauce, seasoned with chili powder, and dusted with lots of salty grated or crumbled cheese.

Its flavor and texture contrasts—sweet-spicy, tangy-salty, creamy-crunchy, fresh-smoky—make it totally addictive.

Elote can be messy to eat, but that is part of the fun and what makes it such a great side for a backyard BBQ.

low angle vertical shot of grilled Mexican corn with limes, cobs are coated with mayonnaise and sprinkled with chili powder and grated cheese

What ingredients do you need?

One of my favorite things about this elote recipe is that it has only 5 ingredients:

  • Corn on the cob
  • Lime juice
  • Mayonnaise
  • Chili powder
  • Cayenne (optional)
  • Grated Cotija cheese or Parmesan cheese

In Mexico, you might find elotes made with crema, sweet-tart Mexican cream that is similar to sour cream, or with Mayonnaise. I use mayo because I always have it in my fridge and I love the richness. A squeeze of lime juice adds all the tang you need.

The cheese used in authentic elote in Mexico is usually a crumbled or grated aged cheese called cotija. You can find cotija in Mexican markets and in many supermarkets. I often substitute grated Parmesan, which has a similar dry, salty, aged flavor. Crumbled feta cheese works, too.

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.

Tips for success

Use sweet, juicy, fresh corn on the cob. If you have fresh corn kernels, make my Mexican Street Corn Salad instead.

Shuck each ear of corn before cooking. Many people like to roast or grill the corn in the husk, but I prefer putting the shucked cobs right on the grill because I love the smokiness and beautiful bits of caramelization you get that way.

You do not need to boil or steam the corn before cooking. In my opinion, precooking only concentrates the starch and makes the end result less crisp, juicy, and sweet.

After pulling the cobs from the grill, let them cool for 5 to 10 minutes before seasoning them. If you don’t, the mayo will melt and your seasoning will slide right off.

Use a butter knife or pastry brush to spread the mayonnaise on the corn.

Offer a spicy hot sauce for people to add to their own taste. I love Tapatio for its heat and excellent flavor.

Overhead vertical shot of grilled Mexican corn with limes, cobs are coated with mayonnaise and sprinkled with chili powder and grated cheese

What to serve it with

This grilled corn makes a great side to any Barbecue meal, like ribs or steak. I also love it alongside classic Mexican dishes like Keto Al Pastor Carnitas or Pineapple Pork Carnitas. Add a side of my famous Refried Beans from Scratch and Mexican Pickled Onions and you’re golden.

More summer recipes you’ll love

Yield: Serves 4

Elote or Mexican Grilled corn

Low angle shot of grilled Mexican corn with limes, sprinkled with chili powder and grated cheeese

Elote, or Mexican grilled corn, is one of the only preparations for corn on the cob that I think is better than just eating the corn straight from the oven or grill. With this elote recipe, the sweet corn kernels caramelize and take on a bit of smokiness as they are grilled.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 ears sweet corn
  • 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 cup grated Cotija or Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  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. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice over the corn.
  6. Spread mayonnaise all over each ear 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.



Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 239Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 17mgSodium 429mgCarbohydrates 22gFiber 4gSugar 4gProtein 7g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

Pinterest pin for Mexican grilled corn or elote. Top photo shows 4 ears of corn grilled and dusted in chili powder and grated cheese with some lime halves in the pan. The text says authentic elote recipe Mexican grilled corn. Bottom photo showes 4 grilled ears of corn with chili powder and cheese in an overhead shot.

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