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Published July 21, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Elote is an incredibly delicious Mexican street corn recipe where corn on the cob is smothered in mayonnaise, crema, spices, and cheese for an irresistible flavor. This will hands down become your new favorite corn side dish.
If you’ve never tried an elote, you’ve been missing out. Mexican street corn is an amazing recipe that can be served as a side dish during the main meal or simply as a snack. Traditionally it would be shucked and boiled in water; however, you can absolutely grill the corn or roast it in the oven. Some of my other favorite corn recipes include this Corn Chowder or my Shrimp Boil Recipe.
Mexican Street Corn
Elote translates from Mexican to English as “corn cob.” It is a popular late-night snack in Mexico and is most often purchased from food carts or trucks on the streets, which is also why it’s also called Mexican Street Corn.
They are traditionally rubbed down with mayonnaise and/or Mexican crema and seasoned with chili powder, Peqiun pepper, cayenne, or Tajin and finished with crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco. You can eat it right off the cob as is, or oftentimes times it’s served on a stick for easier eating. If you grill the corn, you can fold back the husks, hold them and eat them.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Corn: on or off the cob, depending on how you want to cook it.
- Mayonnaise: I prefer homemade mayonnaise, but you can use your favorite brand.
- Crema: It would be most classic to use Mexican crema, which you purchase from a local Latin food market. Other options are sour cream or even crème Fraiche.
- Cotija Cheese: this is super classic, but you can also use different cheeses.
- Chile Powder: simple chili powder, or you can use Tajín, which is a premade spice, or pequin or cayenne pepper.
- Limes: Serve this up with limes to help add flavor and cut some of the spice from chili powder.
How to Make Mexican Street Corn
Follow these step-by-step procedures and images to make this amazing street corn recipe:
Shuck the corn and boil it in salted water for 10 to 12 minutes. See Chef notes on how to grill.
Mix the mayonnaise, crema, and optional salt until combined.
Pierce the bottom of the corn with a skewer to help hold it.
Brush the cooked corn on the cob with melted butter.
Next, brush each cob with the mayonnaise and crema mixture.
Generously spoon on the cotija cheese completely covering the corn.
Sprinkle the chili powder on all sides of the corn.
Garnish with optional chopped fresh cilantro.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: This recipe is meant to be served as soon as it is ready. You can, however, keep the ingredients separate and the corn warm in warm to hot water for up to 30 minutes before serving.
How to Store: Store the elote with toppings on the side covered in plastic and refrigerated for up to 4 days. It does not freeze well at all.
How to Reheat: If you do not plan to eat all of it in 1 sitting, then it is imperative to leave the topping ingredients separate. Simply reheat the corn in boiling water or in the microwave and then spread on the topping ingredients once finished.
Chef Notes + Tips
- What is Silk? Silk is the technical term for that annoying long stringy material between the raw husk and corn that goes everywhere.
- If you choose to grill the corn and use the husk as the handle for eating, remember only to pull the husk back so that it is still intact with the corn and the cob, and then tie a few pieces of butcher’s twine around the husk so that it isn’t going everywhere.
- I did not add salt to the crema and mayonnaise mixture in the video below, but I did include it in the written recipe in case you wanted things a bit saltier.
- Leave the corn in the husk and cook on a hot grill (450° to 550°) for 18 to 20 minutes. When cooking on the grill, it steam-cooks it and will shuck easily, allowing the silk to pull right off. The husk will also act as a handle to eat the corn if you don’t shuck it all the way and simply pull it back.
- The simplest form of this recipe would just be corn, mayonnaise, chili powder, and cheese. You can keep that easy if you’d like.
More Side Dish Recipes
Mexican Street Corn Recipe (Elote)
- 5 ears of shucked corn
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup of crema Mexicana
- 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
- ¼ cup melted unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- sea salt to taste
- Add the shucked corn to a large pot of salted boiling water and cook them for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. See chef notes for grilling.
- Mix the mayonnaise, crema, and optional salt until combined.
- Brush the cooked corn on the cob with melted butter.
- Next, brush each cob with the mayonnaise and crema mixture.
- Generously spoon on the cotija cheese completely covering the corn.
- Sprinkle the chili powder on all sides of the corn.
- Garnish with optional chopped fresh cilantro.