Mexican Grilled Corn

If you're going to tamper with an ear of corn, you'd better make it good.

Serving Size: 8

Mexican Grilled Corn / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /
There is nothing better than an ear of simply steamed or grilled fresh corn in the late summer.

Except for this.

Mexican Grilled Corn / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

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.

Mexican Grilled Corn / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

But first, Mexican Grilled Corn, known as Elotes.  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.  Ears of corn are first grilled up, then slathered with a spicy, creamy, cheese mayonnaise mixture, and sprinkled with a bit more cheese.  And if you hit the right kind of summer street fair right here in New York City, you will probably come across Mexican Street Corn right here in our northern metropolis.

Mexican Grilled Corn / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

If you can find Mexican crèma, use that instead of the sour cream.  If you can’t find cotija (a dry, crumbly Mexican cow’s milk cheese), 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 ithe corn a final sprinkle of chili powder or regular paprika.  Be resourceful; you don’t want to miss you on this summer joy.

Mexican Grilled Corn / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

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.

Mexican Grilled Corn / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

Mexican Grilled Corn


  • 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

1. Preheat the grill to medium high.

2. In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, 3 tablespoons of the cheese, garlic, and chili powder. Transfer to a plate.

3. 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.

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