Elote (Mexican Street Corn)

Elote is classic Mexican street corn, grilled and slathered in a irresistible sauce. This recipe has an added bonus: built-in handles for easy eating!

Elote recipe (Mexican Street Corn)

What can we say? This elote is the perfect summer side dish, if you ask us. As residents of the state of Indiana, where corn is king, Alex and I take it as our duty to be a sort of corn ambassador to the world wide web. Sweet corn is what summer is all about in Indiana. And Mexican street corn style might be the ideal way to eat it. This elote recipe shows you how to grill corn perfectly, with the added bonus of a built-in handle! Keeping the husk on the corn makes for a perfect handle for eating it: and the creamy sauce is truly irresistible. Keep reading for the best elote recipe, fabulous with tacos, grilled fish, or a good old burger.

Related: 15 Summer Side Dishes You Need

Elote (Mexican Street Corn)

What is elote?

Elote is grilled corn that’s slathered in a sauce of sour cream, mayonnaise, and chili powder, and sprinkled with cheese. It’s a popular snack served by street vendors in Mexico, so it’s often called Mexican street corn.

What makes elote so irresistible is the contrasts of flavors and textures. You’ve got the sweet corn, charred to smoky perfection on the grill, then the creamy mayo and sour cream sauce. Our sauce has chili powder, garlic powder and cumin, then it’s filled with chunks of feta or queso fresco cheese. Serve it with tangy lime and cilantro, and the crunch of the corn against the creamy, messy sauce is pretty much to die for.

We’re getting a little hungry now…

Elote Recipe (Grilled Mexican Corn)

How to make elote

The main skill in how to make elote is grilling corn. There are lots of different methods for how to grill corn, but we’ve discovered what we think is the best way. Here, you’ll peel back the corn husks and tying them with twine to make a built-in handle for eating the corn. Move over, little plastic corn pokey thingies. This new organic handle is summer’s hot new trick!

Here’s how to grill corn and make elote (for the exact quantities, scroll down to the recipe below!):

  • Preheat a grill to medium high heat.
  • Shuck the corn by peeling down the outside layers one at a time and keeping them attached, facing downwards away from the cob. When you’ve finished, use kitchen twine or string to tie the leaves together (see the photos). Rub the corn with neutral oil.
  • Add the corn to the grill and grill for about 12 to 15 minutes, until blackened, turning often.
  • Mix up the sauce: sour cream, mayonnaise, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, feta cheese or queso fresco, and salt.
  • When the corn is done use a spoon to spread on the sauce. Enjoy, using the husk as a handle for easy eating!
Shucked corn

A note on shucking the corn

It does take a bit of time to husk the corn but keep husk on, instead of pulling it right off as you would with normal grilled corn. But be patient! It’s worth it in the end. It took Alex and I about 15 minutes to husk all of the corn and then tie down the husk with kitchen twine.

When you’re shucking it, it’s important to start with the outer-most leaf and pull down one leaf at a time, gradually working your way around the corn. I noticed that when I’d pull down the leaves, sometimes they’d crack a little at the bottom. That’s completely ok: just keep pulling the remaining leaves — it doesn’t have to be perfect!

How to serve it!

We’re assuming if you ended up here, you already have some idea on how you’d like to serve this elote! Alex and I last served this Mexican grilled corn on a menu that included Shrimp Tacos and Lime Daiquiris. We ate it on our patio with a dear friend, and it truly could not have hit the spot more. Here are a few more ideas on main dishes, side dishes, and drinks that would compliment elote:

Elote | Mexican grilled corn

What to do with corn on the cob?

It’s sweet corn season! We got a big bag of corn from our local farmer’s market to make this elote recipe. But we have a few cobs left! If you’re also left with some corn on the cob, here are a few more recipes to use it:

This elote recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

Print
Elote recipe (Mexican Street Corn)

Elote (Mexican Street Corn)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 MINUTES
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x

Description

Elote is classic Mexican street corn, grilled and slathered in a irresistible sauce. This recipe has an added bonus: built-in handles for easy eating!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 8 ears corn
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (grapeseed, vegetable, sunflower — or substitute olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese or queso fresco
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill to medium high.
  2. Shuck the corn by peeling down the outside layers one at a time and keeping them attached, facing downwards away from the cob. When you’ve finished, use kitchen twine or string to tie the leaves together (see the photos).
  3. Use your hands to rub oil on each corn cob evenly, then place them on a baking sheet.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, feta or queso fresco (crumbling any large chunks into smaller chunks with your fingers), chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and kosher salt in small bowl.
  5. Place the corn on the grill and cook until it begins to blacken, then turn. Cook about 12 to 15 minutes total, until blackened on all sides.
  6. Place the corn back on the baking sheet and use a spoon to coat it with cheese mixture. Garnish with a squeeze of lime and torn cilantro leaves. Serve immediately, using the tied husks as a handle for easy eating.

  • Category: Side
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Elote, Elote Recipe, Mexican Street Corn, Grilled Corn, Grilled Corn Recipe, How to Grill Corn

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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