Elotes – Grilled Mexican Street Corn

2 mins read

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:


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 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. 

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. 

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.

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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