Grilled Mexican Street Corn

There is nothing better than an ear of simply steamed or grilled fresh corn in the late summer.

Except for this.

Mexican Grilled Corn on a plate

A bold, possibly controversial statement.  And I’m not planning to give upon plain old corn on the cob any time soon.  However what I am planning to do, for the remaining corn months of the year (that’s a real thing, you know, the corn months), is to rotate unadorned cooked ears of corn with these embellished ears of corn from day to day week to week.  This will continue until the air gets nippy and the leaves turn orange and drop from the trees.   And then I will think about fresh corn for the next 10 months.

rolling Mexican corn in the mayo mixture on a plate

What is Mexican Corn (or Elotes)

But first, Mexican Grilled Corn, known as Elotes.  This is also called Mexican Street Corn, because In Mexico you can buy this on the street from vendors much in the way you can get a hot dog or soft pretzel here in New York City. 

sprinkling Mexican Grilled Corn with cheese

This is what I’ve been told and honestly it’s one of the reasons Mexico is climbing higher on my bucket list (I went a long time ago, but somehow no one seemed to be be selling corn where I was, which I now feel bad about).  The sellers/cooks grill up ears of corn, then slather them with a spicy, creamy, cheese mayonnaise mixture, and sprinkle over a bit more cheese. 

In the meantime, if we hit the right kind of summer street fair right here in New York City, we will probably come across Mexican Street Corn right here in our northern metropolis.  That, and this recipe, is tiding me over until I get the real deal in its home country.

squeezing lime over grilled Mexican corn

Ingredient Substitutions for Elotes

If you can find Mexican crèma, use that instead of the 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.  And 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 you 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 and the chili powder provide enough saltiness and heat.  Add it if you wish.

Mexican Grilled Corn on a plate with lime wedges

There is nothing better than an ear of simply steamed or grilled fresh corn in the late summer. Except for Mexican Grilled Corn.

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What to Serve with Mexican Grilled Corn:

Grilled Corn with cheese and limes

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Mexican Grilled Corn

If you’re going to tamper with an ear of corn, you’d better make it good.
Yield: 8 People
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes



  • 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
  • Smoked paprika optional and additional lime wedges to garnish


  • Preheat the grill to medium high.
  • In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, 3 tablespoons of the 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.

Nutrition Information

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

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  1. 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!

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