Mexican Street Corn (Elote Recipe)
Mexican Street Corn or “Elote” is covered with a tangy and spicy crema sauce and topped with crumbled cotija cheese. It takes just one bite to realize why Mexican grilled corn on the cob is so popular.
The flavor profile of this Mexican corn is similar to the sauce on our famous Fish Tacos. Make this Elote corn for your next party and you will get recipe requests.
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What is an Elote?
Elote, pronounced ‘ee-low-tay’ is a side dish of sweet grilled corn on the cob, smothered with a mixture of crema (or sour cream), mayonnaise, and spices. The combination of sweet and slightly charred corn with the spicy sauce is irresistibly good.
Elote is a popular street vendor food sold during Mexican festivals (especially for Cinco de Mayo) which is why it’s referred to as Mexican Street Corn.
How to Cook Corn for Elote?
You can cook corn using your favorite method, from simple Boiled Corn on the Cob to Instant Pot Corn on the Cob. During grilling season, we love to make Grilled Corn in Foil because it imparts an added smoky flavor.
How to Make Grilled Mexican Street Corn:
Mexican Street corn is really easy to prepare. It’s as simple as cooking the corn then covering it in the sauce, cheese, and cilantro.
1. Grill Corn: Use just enough foil to cover the corn once, overlapping slightly and tucking in the edges. We double wrap for a campfire. See our full tutorial on grilling corn in foil.
2. Partially Unwrap: Once the corn is grilled, let it rest inside the foil 10 minutes then peel back the foil to expose most of the corn, but keep the foil under the cob to use as a dish/ holder to avoid getting sauce on your hands.
3. Make Sauce: Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl then smother the corn in sauce and sprinkle with chili powder, a generous amount of cotija cheese, and chopped cilantro to serve.
How to Eat Mexican Street Corn
There really is no neat way to eat Mexican street corn. The foil wrapper helps but it is bound to get a little messy. You can take comfort in knowing that everyone else around you will also have sauce on their face. It’s so worth it! You can also skewer it as we did in our Boiled Corn on the Cob.
Serve the smothered corn right out of the foil ‘boats’ that you grilled the corn in to keep your hands clean and your guests will appreciate it. Mexican corn is perfect as a side dish and pairs really well with:
- Mexican Street Tacos – with Carne asada
- Grilled Salmon with garlic lime butter
- Pan-Seared Steak – with rosemary butter
- Juicy Cheeseburgers with secret sauce
- Grilled Shrimp Skewers with cajun butter
- Carnitas – Mexican pulled pork
Why Grill Corn in Foil?
This recipe goes from the grill to the table using the same foil. It’s so convenient to make and serve with Heavy-Duty Foil. Here’s why we love it:
- Make-ahead – you can pre-wrap the corn in advance and refrigerate until ready to use
- No pre-soaking or waiting required, simply wrap and grill the corn
- Great for any kind of grill – gas, charcoal, wood, or smoker, and you can even double wrap to grill it over a campfire
- Even cooking – the foil protects food over direct heat to evenly cook corn without burning
- Serve in Foil – to keep hands clean while enjoying saucy Mexican corn
- Easy clean up – no mess and no dishes
Grilling Safety Tip: when removing foil-wrapped corn from the grill, use tongs and please be very careful opening as the packet and steam inside will be extremely hot.
More Authentic Mexican Recipes:
If you love Mexican food, try our top-rated Mexican recipes. These sweet and savory recipes always get rave reviews and you’re sure to find some new favorites in this list.
- Ceviche – a crowd-pleasing shrimp salsa
- Pico de Gallo – one trick will make it taste authentic
- Guacamole – creamy, chunky, classic guac
- Churros – a Mexican dessert that is best homemade
- Tres Leches Cake – a super moist and unforgettable cake
Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote Recipe)
- 8 cobs of corn
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped (reserve some for garnish)
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 2 Tbsp lime juice, (plus lime wedges to serve)
- 1/2 cup cotija cheese, (crumbled)
- 1/2 tsp chili powder, to garnish
- Shuck corn and wrap in a single layer heavy duty foil to fully enclose the corn then grill corn in foil.
- In a small bowl, combine sour cream, mayo, cilantro, minced garlic, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, and 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice. Stir to blend and set aside.
- Partially unwrap corn to cool for a few minutes before applying sauce. Keep the foil under the corn to be used for serving the corn.
- Using a basting brush, generously brush on the sauce and sprinkle generously with cotija cheese. Garnish with chili powder and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.