Elote Mexican Street Corn You Can Make It Easily!

What is elote? Elote (pronounced eh-loh-tay) is Mexican street corn. If you’ve had it, I bet you love it. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat! Elote tastes sweet and savory, tangy and spicy all at once. I love to make mine with for some smokiness, too.

Elote is made with corn on the cob, slathered with mayonnaise, seasoned with chili powder and fresh lime juice, sprinkled all over with salty Cotija cheese and cilantro. It’s messy to eat but worth every bite. Elote is the perfect summertime side dish for any Mexican-inspired meal.

In Mexico, means an ear of corn, and this recipe replicates a popular serving style sold by street vendors. I can’t claim that this elote recipe is quite authentic, but it brings me back to the elotes I enjoyed in Mexico City.

I’m dreaming of traveling throughout Mexico, sampling the cuisine region by region. Someday! For now, we’re making the most of dinner at home.

How to Make Elote

Elote is quite easy to make. Once your corn is cooked, you’re only five to ten minutes away from elotes! Here’s how to do it:

1) Grill your corn.

You could steam or boil your corn cobs instead, but like I’ve said, I love the flavor of grilled corn.

2) Prepare your sauce and sprinklings.

While the corn is cooking, you’ll mix together mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, optional cayenne (if you like heat) and salt. In another bowl, mix together grated Cotija cheese and cilantro.

3) Brush the corn with the mayo blend.

This is where things start getting messy. If you don’t have a pastry brush, you could probably get by with a butter knife.

4) Sprinkle the Cotija and cilantro mixture all over.

Place a plate under the corn to any cheese that doesn’t stick. You might need it.

5) Finish it off with a sprinkle of chili powder.

A final dusting of chili powder offers some much-needed color and a final boost of flavor. Enjoy!

Watch How to Make Elote

Elote Ingredient Notes

I absolutely love this recipe as written below, but please adjust it to suit your pantry and preferences.

Corn: The fresher, the better. In Mexico, you’ll find a wider variety of corn used for elotes. I’ve been making do with fresh sweet corn and have been quite pleased with the results. Grill the sweet corn, if you can, because the charred kernels seem closer in texture to the elotes I’ve bought in Mexico. Mayonnaise: Some elote recipes call for sour cream instead of mayonnaise, or a half-and-half mix of both. While I’m not the world’s biggest mayo fan, it was the clear winner in my taste tests. Mayonnaise seemed to amplify the other flavors, while sour cream seemed to dull them. If you’re interested in lightening up this side dish, however, you could use sour cream or even Greek yogurt. Chili powder: If you have a special chili powder on hand (like ancho, guajillo or chipotle), elote is a great place for it to shine. Or you could use Tajín for some extra-tangy flavor (it’s a Mexican spice blend of chili powder and lime). Spice level: If you’re sensitive to spice, choose a mild chili powder blend, and omit the cayenne. Cotija cheese: You can find Cotija cheese at well-stocked grocery stores (I buy mine at Whole Foods, near the goat cheese) or Mexican grocers. If you can’t find Cotija cheese, feta or Parmesan would be your next best bets. Cilantro: If you don’t like cilantro, skip it.

How to Serve Elote

Traditionally, elote is served on a wooden skewer. I’ve also enjoyed it without the skewer, as you see here. It’s inevitably a little messy either way.

For smaller serving sizes, slice the grilled corn cobs in half before turning them into elotes.

Or, use a knife to strip the corn kernels from the cob. Serve your corn in cups with the mayonnaise mixture and Cotijah blend on top. This variation is called or (“corn cup”). Check out my .

What to Serve with Elote

In Mexico, the street vendors that sell elote are known as , and the genre of foods they serve are called (“little cravings” in Spanish). These “little cravings” are treated as appetizers between meals, or as late-night snacks.

So, serve elote as a snack or appetizer, or as a side dish to any Mexican-inspired meal. It’s a great option for barbecues, too. Here are a few entrées that would go well with elote, or you can view all of my .

Burrito Bowls: or  Chilaquiles: or  Enchiladas:,  or Quesadillas: or  Tacos: or 

More Mexican-Inspired Side Dishes

Please let me know how your elote turns out in the comments. I really love hearing from you.

Elote (Mexican Street Corn)


Author: Cookie and Kate Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes Yield: 4 1x Category: Side dish Method: Grilled Cuisine: Mexican Diet: Vegetarian

4.9 from 10 reviews

Learn how to make elote with this simple recipe! We’ll top grilled corn on the cob with a tangy blend of mayonnaise, lime, chili powder, and finish it with a heavy sprinkle of Cotjia cheese and cilantro. Serve elote as a snack or appetizer, or as a side dish to any Mexican meal. Recipe yields 4 elotes; multiply as needed.



4 ears of ¼ cup mayonnaise 1 ½ teaspoons lime juice ½ teaspoon chili powder, plus more for sprinklingPinch of cayenne pepper (optional, for extra heat) ¼ teaspoon kosher salt or a pinch of fine salt 2 ounces (about ½ cup) finely grated Cotija cheese* 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro


While you’re grilling your corn, prepare the chili-mayo sauce and Cotija-cilantro blend. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, optional cayenne, and salt. Stir until combined. In a separate bowl, mix together the cheese and cilantro. Set both bowls aside.When your corn is ready to go, brush the mayonnaise mixture all over one ear of corn. Over a plate, sprinkle the Cotjia mixture liberally all over, turning the corn as necessary (it’s going to be a little messy, no way around it!). Place the finished cob on a separate serving plate. Repeat for the remaining corn, using the cheese in the bowl and the excess on the plate as needed.Sprinkle a pinch or two of additional chili powder lightly over the corn. Serve warm.


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