Mexican corn is also known as elotes or Mexican street corn, but whatever you call it, it’s delicious! Charred grilled corn is tossed with a creamy, spicy sauce, cotija cheese, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Depending on where you live, it’s almost that time of year when corn starts popping up at local farmstands and farmer’s markets. There’s nothing better than fresh sweet corn, and while no one will turn down simple corn-on-the-cob slathered with butter or corn pasta, if you’re craving something different, Mexican corn is just the ticket!
(For more Tex-Mex flavor, try my Loaded Mexican Cauliflower Rice too!)
Easy Mexican Corn Recipe
Mexican corn is a popular street food in Mexico, and it’s easy to see why. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, savory, spicy, and rich. The key to great Mexican corn is to char the corn on the grill or stovetop until it’s nice and blackened in spots. This adds a smoky flavor that really takes the dish to the next level.
Once the corn is cooked, it’s coated with a mayo-based sauce that contains cotija cheese, spices, and lime juice. The sauce is spread evenly over the corn and it’s garnished with more crumbled cotija cheese and chopped cilantro.
The only downside of traditional Mexican street corn is that it can be a bit of a mess! So instead of serving it on the cob, I like to remove the kernels, then toss them with all those delicious toppings. It’s just as good, but a lot neater to eat! (Plus, if your kids have braces, they’ll be able to enjoy it too!)
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Fresh corn on the cob – Remove the husks and cornsilk.
- Vegetable oil
- Mayonnaise – Use any variety you like or have on hand.
- Sour cream
- Juice of 1 lime – If you’d like, you can add some of the lime zest to the corn, too.
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper – You can use more or less, adjusting according to your preferences.
- Cotija cheese – If you can’t find this at your grocery store, grated Parmesan or crumbled feta cheese will work as a substitute.
How to Make Mexican Corn
Preheat your grill to high heat and brush the corn with vegetable oil.
2. Cook the Corn
Place the corn on the grill and cook it until it’s slightly charred, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and set on a plate to cool.
3. Remove the Kernels
Use a chef’s knife or corn zipper to remove the kernels from the cob. Place them in a large mixing bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients to the large bowl and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Mexican Corn
Leftover Mexican corn can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to eat it, simply reheat it in the microwave or stovetop over low heat until warmed through.
You can also enjoy leftovers cold, kind of like a Mexican corn salad!
What to Serve With Mexican Corn
Serve it with some rice, beans, and grilled chicken for a complete weeknight meal, or if you’re making it for a party, set it alongside other popular party dishes like Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, and Waldorf Salad. It’s also a tasty topping for burgers!
Mexican street corn is named for the fact that it’s often sold by street vendors in Mexico, where it’s called elotes. The corn is grilled or roasted and then covered in a creamy, cheesy sauce flavored with chili powder, lime juice, and cotija cheese. It’s usually served on the cob, but you can also find it served in a cup or bowl.
To make Mexican corn on the cob, start by grilling or roasting the corn until it’s nice and charred. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and instead of removing the kernels, simply slather the sauce directly onto the ears of corn.
If you want to make Mexican corn from a can, start by draining and rinsing the corn. Once it’s dry, it can be tossed with the sauce ingredients. It won’t be as flavorful since it’s not grilled, but when fresh corn isn’t in season, you can make it this way. Frozen corn will work, too!
Yes, you can make Mexican corn without mayo by using all sour cream instead of 2 tablespoons of sour cream and 2 tablespoons of mayo.
More Recipes with Corn
- 5 ears fresh corn on the cob husked
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ cup cotija cheese
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- Preheat the grill to high heat. Brush the corn with vegetable oil and grill until slightly charred, about 3 minutes per side. Remove and let cool. Once cool, cut off the kernels and place into a large mixing bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients to the corn and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.