Recipes

Mexican Street Corn Elote Recipe

Mexican Street Corn is a traditional grilled corn recipe straight from Latin America. With spices, herbs, and cheese, it’s a must-try summer recipe!

Mexican street corn is featured on a wood platter and garnished with basil and quest fresco.

Elote (Mexican street corn) is a food I was dying to make this summer. I sampled some in the spring when traveling (in Hot Springs, AR–at Diablos Tacos and Mezcal) , and already loving Mexican food, I had to teach myself to make it at home.

With just a handful of ingredients, corn is transformed into a delicacy loved far and wide. 

Starting with high-quality ears of corn that are charred to perfection, its juicy, tender kernels burst with flavor. After removing it from the grill, the corn is smothered with a creamy mixture before topping it with cotija cheese and fresh herbs. 

This classic Mexican favorite makes its way to many American dinner tables in the summer months and is known to show up at many parties. From Cinco de Mayo to the Fourth of July, this traditional recipe never gets old at get-togethers. 

Mexican street corn is served on a platter alongside limes, avocado, and mango.

My husband had been telling me about Mexican street corn for ages, so I’m just head over heels in love with this recipe I came up with. We will be eating this all throughout the summer…

It is so easy to repurpose these leftovers, too. I like to cut off the flavored kernels and toss them into salads or onto soft corn tacos. 

We don’t even own a grill since it’s just us two, so a small indoor grill works out amazing for us. I use a George Foreman grill HERE to grill the corn in this recipe and it turns out perfectly each time.

It is best directly grilled (opposed to wrapping in foil), leaving gorgeous char marks that create a robust, distinct flavor that can’t be replicated in an oven.

Here’s how to make Mexican Street Corn.

Elote is served on a platter near avocados and mangos.

Tools You Need

Grill

Tongs

Large plate or platter

Measuring cups and spoons

Small mixing bowl

Basting brush

Wooden or reusable skewers, optional

Ingredients for Mexican Street Corn

Corn – Use fresh ears of corn for this recipe. You can cut them in half if you need them to stretch farther.

Queso fresco – Crumbled queso fresco is essential for a Mexican street corn recipe. It adds just enough flavor with its mild taste and melts into the hot corn.

Mayonnaise – Mayo instantly melts as it hits the hot corn and gives a rich flavor to it. It also helps the spices, herbs, and cheese stick to the corn.

Basil – I use fresh basil in this recipe, although typically fresh cilantro is used. Feel free to use cilantro instead, if you like it. Finely chop it to mix with the spices and cheese to give it a distinct flavor.

Chili powder – Add some spice to this recipe by adding in chili powder. If you can’t handle the heat, use paprika instead which is a bit milder.

Garlic powder – This is one of few recipes that I prefer powdered garlic over fresh. Powdered garlic just combines better with the other ingredients before being added to the corn.

Lime juice – No Mexican recipe is complete without a squeeze of fresh lime juice to top it all off. Don’t skip adding this if you want truly authentic elote.

Different ingredients are set out for making a Mexican corn dish.

How to Make Mexican Street Corn

Start by turning your grill on to medium heat. If you’re using an indoor grill such as a George Foreman grill, plug it in to heat up. As this heats, begin shucking your corn. Make sure to get all the stringy silk out. 

Corn is ready to be shucked before being grilled.

Next, reserve a little queso fresco and basil for garnishing with. In a small mixing bowl, combine the mayo, cheese, and all the remaining ingredients together. Stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside for later.

A creamy marinade is created for basting on the corn.

Place corn directly on the grill and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Turn the corn 2-3 times to cook all sides evenly. If you’re using an indoor grill that grills two sides at once, you will need to turn it less often. In total, this should take about 15 minutes. When it is done, the corn will be slightly charred with grill marks and the kernels will be soft enough to bite into.

Corn has grill marks on it after being cooked on a grill.

As soon as the corn is done on the grill, brush the mayonnaise mixture onto each of the cobs until it melts into them. Turn them to coat all sides evenly. If it doesn’t all completely melt into it, return the covered cobs to the grill for another 2 minutes or so, or until fully melted. Garnish with more queso fresco and basil before serving.

Corn has been basted in a delicious mayo sauce for making Elote.
Corn is garnished with cheese and basil for a final touch.

Tips for Making Mexican Street Corn

If you can’t find queso fresco, using a nice, crumbly feta cheese will do. Feta is stronger, though, so you may need to go lighter on it. Mozzarella cheese more accurately reflects the mild cheese flavor of queso fresco, but for this recipe you really do need a crumbled cheese. 

Some recipes use Mexican crema (or sour cream) instead of mayonnaise, but this gives it a bit of a richer flavor. However, feel free to use this instead if you prefer.

If you want to use fresh cilantro or even parsley in place of basil, swap it out. Cilantro is the traditional herb used, however, some people have really strong feelings about cilantro. Parsley is in the same family as cilantro and basil is great in just about any corn recipe, so feel free to use any of these options. I actually prefer using basil myself since I always have it on hand.

Mexican street corn is being served on a platter.

More Recipe Inspiration

Deviled Egg Potato Salad  

Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce  

Authentic Italian Pizza  

Vegetarian Fried Rice  

The Best Deviled Eggs  

Elote Mexican Street Corn Recipe

Mexican Street Corn is a traditional grilled corn recipe straight from Latin America. With spices, herbs, and cheese, it’s a must-try summer recipe!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword corn recipes, elote, Mexican recipes, mexican street corn, summer recipes, tex-mex
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 235kcal

Equipment

  • Grill
  • Tongs
  • Large plate or platter
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • small mixing bowl
  • Basting brush
  • Wooden or reusable skewers optional

Ingredients

  • 4 ears corn
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup queso fresco, crumbled plus extra for garnishing
  • 2 tbsp fresh, chopped basil plus extra for garnishing
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder

Instructions

  • Start by turning your grill on to medium heat. If you’re using an indoor grill such as a George Foreman grill, plug it in to heat up. As this heats, begin shucking your corn. Make sure to get all the stringy silk out.
  • Next, reserve a little queso fresco and basil for garnishing with. In a small mixing bowl, combine the mayo, cheese, and all the remaining ingredients together. Stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside for later.
  • Place corn directly on the grill and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Turn the corn 2-3 times to make sure all sides get cooked evenly. If you’re using an indoor grill that grills two sides at once, you will need to turn it less often. In total, this should take about 15 minutes. When it is done, the corn will be slightly charred with grill marks and the kernels will be soft enough to bite into.
  • As soon as the corn is done on the grill, begin brushing the mayonnaise mixture onto each of the cobs until it melts into them. Turn them to coat all sides evenly. If it doesn’t all completely melt into it, return the covered cobs to the grill for another 2 minutes or so, or until fully melted. Garnish with more queso fresco and basil before serving.

Notes

If you can’t find queso fresco, using a nice, crumbly feta cheese will do. Feta is stronger, though, so you may need to go lighter on it. Mozzarella cheese more accurately reflects the mild cheese flavor of queso fresco, but for this recipe you really do need a crumbled cheese. 
Some recipes use Mexican crema (or sour cream) instead of mayonnaise, but this gives it a bit of a richer flavor. However, feel free to use this instead if you prefer.
If you want to use fresh cilantro or even parsley in place of basil, swap it out. Cilantro is the traditional herb used, however, I know some people have really strong feelings about cilantro. Parsley is in the same family as cilantro and basil is great in just about any corn recipe, so feel free to use any of these options. I actually prefer using basil myself since I always have it on hand.


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