Grilled Mexican Street Corn

5 from 2 votes

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Grilled corn is rolled in a creamy paprika- and lime-spiked sauce and sprinkled with crumbly cojita cheese — one of the best things that could ever happen to an ear of corn!

Mexican Grilled Corn on white plate with lime wedges.

While corn lovers agree that, in general, there is nothing better than an ear of simply steamed or grilled fresh sweet corn, Grilled Mexican Street Corn, or elotes, challenges that notion! It’s an amazing way to take your grilled corn to another level, with its creamy sauce spiked with lime and paprika, dusted with crumby cojita cheese. This is the perfect thing to make when you are grilling up a simple dinner like chicken breasts, salmon, or Mexican Ribeye Steaks.

Also, don’t miss out on Grilled Corn Salad!

Elotes on a plate with limes.

Grilled corn is rolled in a creamy paprika-and-lime spiked sauce and sprinkled with crumbly cojita cheese – one of the best things that could ever happen to an ear of corn!

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What Is Mexican Corn (or Elotes)?

Mexican street corn, or elotes in Spanish, is so named because, in Mexico, you can buy it on the street from vendors, much like you can get a hot dog or soft pretzel here in New York City. 

The sellers/cooks grill up ears of corn, then slather them with a creamy cheesy mayonnaise-based sauce flavored with lime juice and paprika, and then the whole thing is sprinkled with a bit more dry crumbly cheese. In NYC, at some of the better street fairs, you can actually come across Mexican Street Corn right here in our northern metropolis.

Woman sprinkling Grilled Mexican Street Corn with cheese.

Mexican Street Corn Ingredients

  • Sweet corn – If you can buy it directly from. farmer, all the better!
  • Mayonnaise – I like Hellman’s.
  • Sour cream – Adds more tanginess and creaminess to the sauce.
  • Cotija cheese – A crumby Mexican cheese.
  • Ancho chili powder –If you can’t find pure ancho chile powder, you can use a chili powder blend or another powdered single chile such as chipotle.
  • Butter – For brushing the corn as it grills.
  • Lime – Adds zinginess to the mayo-based sauce. Serve with some lime wedges for those who want to add a bit more juice.
  • Smoked paprika – You can use regular paprika if you prefer.

Variations

  • If you can find Mexican crèma, use that instead of sour cream.
  • Instead of cotija (a dry, crumbly Mexican cow’s milk cheese), you could use a combination of feta and Parmesan.
  • If you don’t have smoked paprika, skip it, or give the corn a final sprinkle of chili powder or regular paprika. Be resourceful; you don’t want to miss out on this summer joy.
  • Add minced fresh cilantro to the mix, if cilantro is your thing. Notice there is no salt or pepper; the cheese provides enough saltiness. Add it if you wish.
Mexican Grilled Corn on plate with lime wedges.

How to Make Mexican Street Corn

  1. Make the sauce: Preheat the grill to medium-high. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, 3 tablespoons of cheese, garlic, and chili powder. Transfer the mixture to a plate.
  2. Grill the corn: Brush the corn with the melted butter. Grill the corn for 8 minutes, until it is nicely browned in spots.
Grilling fresh sweet corn.
  1. Coat the corn with sauce: Roll the corn in the mayo mixture, and place on a serving platter.
Rolling grilled corn in mayo mixture.
  1. Serve: Squeeze the lime over the corn, sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of cheese, then sprinkle with smoked paprika if desired. Add the lime wedges, and serve immediately.
Squeezing lime and sprinkling Parmesan over Grilled Mexican Street Corn.

What to Serve With Mexican Grilled Corn

Grilled Mexican Street Corn on a plate with lime wedges.

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5 from 2 votes

Grilled Mexican Street Corn

Grilled corn is rolled in a creamy paprika- and lime-spiked sauce and sprinkled with crumbly cojita cheese — one of the best things that could ever happen to an ear of corn!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 8 People
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Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream or Mexican crema
  • ¼ cup cotija cheese (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ancho or chipotle chili powder
  • 8 ears shucked corn
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1 lime (halved; additional lime wedges to garnish)
  • Smoked paprika (optional)

Instructions 

  • Heat the grill to medium-high.
  • In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, 3 tablespoons of cheese, garlic, and chili powder. Transfer to a plate.
  • Brush the corn with the melted butter. Grill the corn for 8 minutes, until it is nicely browned in spots. Roll the corn in the mayo mixture, and place on a serving platter. Squeeze the lime over the corn, sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of cheese, then sprinkle with smoked paprika if desired. Add the lime wedges, and serve immediately.

Notes

  • If you can find Mexican crèma, use that instead of sour cream.
  • Instead of cotija (a dry, crumbly Mexican cow’s milk cheese), you could use a combination of feta and Parmesan.
  • If you can’t find pure ancho chili powder, it’s ok to use a chili powder blend.
  • If you don’t have smoked paprika, skip it, or give the corn a final sprinkle of chili powder or regular paprika. Be resourceful; you don’t want to miss out on this summer joy.
  • Add minced fresh cilantro to the mix, if cilantro is your thing. Notice there is no salt or pepper; the cheese provides enough saltiness. Add it if you wish.

Nutrition

Calories: 164kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium: 127mg, Potassium: 256mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 375IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 37mg, Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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4 Comments

  1. Lizz says:

    How many calories in one piece of corn with everything on it?

    1. Katie Workman says:

      I’m so sorry – I don’t have a program for nutritional analysis!

  2. Krista Matheson says:

    Oh my. I totally agree with you that if you mess with corn, it better be good. Well, all I can say is WOW. I made corn twice this week and made it this way both times. This is now one of my fav recipes of yours. And I love a lot of your recipes:). The enchiladas in your book are amazing too. Thank you!

    1. Katie Workman says:

      thank you so much! I have to make this this coming weekend…..maybe as the main course! ;)