People all over Mexico are eating this delicious street corn – elote. I admit that I am one of those people. Elote proves to be one of my favorite snacks when I’m roaming the streets of Mexico City or any other region for that matter.

Elote, the Mexican-style corn-on-the-cob, leaves you wanting more with each bite. In contrast to corn traditions north of the border, Mexicans know how to turn corn into a party. Certainly, corn oozing with melted butter and a sprinkle of salt is always tasty. But, I want a fiesta of flavor. And that you will find eating an elote. Or two.

This is the perfect recipe because it uses just a few simple ingredients. Therefore, it is easy and affordable. Not to mention, these cobs look gorgeous too. All you need to transform your corn is mayonnaise, Mexican cheese (such as cotija or queso fresco), lime, salt and chili powder. Actually, there’s really no way to mess up this recipe and you can easily make substitutions. I’ve listed some suggestions in the recipe below.

Whether you are grilling in the backyard or throwing a Cinco de Mayo party, this corn recipe will leave your friends smiling. Probably with little bits of corn wedged in their teeth.

What You’ll Need

  • Corn on the Cob
  • Fresh Limes
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mexican Cheese (like Queso Cotija)
  • Chili Powder
  • Salt
  • Cilantro (optional for garnish)
Ingredients for Easy Elote
Ingredients for easy elote (Mexican steet corn) recipe

Cooking the Corn

In many parts of Mexico you’ll find large boiling pots filled with cooked corn cobs. And in other regions, you’ll find corn charring over small open fires. Anyway you make it, it’s good. But I prefer to grill my corn. Especially since we have sweeter corn in the fifty states, the grill really helps to caramelize the sugars and bring out the earthy sweetness of the corn. Additionally, the blistered kernels are quite beautiful.

To prepare your corn for grilling, gently pull back the husks and remove the strands of silk. Pull the husks back over the corn and submerge in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes. This helps to wash off debris and soaks the leaves so they don’t char as fast over the flame. Remove one leaf from each husk. Carefully choose the longest, prettiest leaf as you’ll save this to use as a tie for the cooked corn.

Leave the corn in the husks and cook on the grill with it covered for about 15 minutes – turning every few minutes. This helps steam the corn. Then, gently pull the husks all the way back to grill the kernels directly. This will caramelize this sugars wonderfully. Make sure to grill the corn evenly – occasionally rotating it over the fire until it’s charred on all sides. Boiling the corn is also an option that takes about the same amount of time and less attention.

Grilled Corn Cobs in Husks
Grilled corn cobs in husks
Grilled Corn-on-the-Cob
Grilled Corn-on-the-Cob

Serving Mexican-style corn

In Mexico, you’ll usually find the cobs rammed with a wood stick in the end. This becomes your handle before the toppings are added by the vendor. Sometimes served on a corn husk. But in Chiapas, a woman presented me with an elote and simply pulled the husk back. That became my handle. As I mentioned above, before cooking the corn, remove a leaf from each cob. You can tear the leaf lengthwise to be a long slender strip. This will be your tie.

Once your corn is done cooking, use the strip of leaf to tie back all the husks. This makes a beautiful presentation and a functional handle. Slather on the mayo, sprinkle on some cheese, give a squeeze of lime and a good pinch of chili powder and salt. Though, it’s not so authentic, chopped cilantro garnishes the corn with a lovely dark-green contrast.

Another option is to use half pieces of corn. In this case, before cooking, remove all the husks. Save some of the wide long husks and rinse them off. When the corn is ready, spread on the mayo and cheese. Serve the prepared cob on the corn husk with a pile of salt-chili mix and lime wedge. This allows your guest the chance to doctor it up on their own and makes an exciting experience for them.

Make an Elote Bar

You can make it even easier on yourself by setting up and elote bar. Arrange the cooked corn on a platter. Nearby, set the table with all the condiments. Decorate the table with corn husks or fresh cilantro. Your guests will love preparing their corn at the elote bar.

 

Corn with mayo, cheese, lime, chili and salt
Grilled corn with mayo, cheese, lime, chili and salt
Elotes made easy with this recipe
Elotes made easy with this recipe

 

Grilled Mexican-Style Corn-on-the-Cob
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5 from 1 vote

Easy Elote (Mexican-Sytle Street Corn-on-the-Cob)

Kick up your corn this summer, with this easy and affordable recipe for Mexican-style corn. There's no measurements, it's all about the method. So, there is no messing up this recipe. It's the perfect snack to bring to a party or outdoor grilling.
Course Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Author Xhico

Ingredients

  • Corn on the Cob Fresh with husks
  • Mayonaise
  • Mexican Cheese such as Queso Cotija
  • Limes to Juice
  • Chili Powder
  • Salt

Instructions

  • Cook the Corn. To prepare your corn for grilling, gently pull back the husks and remove the strands of silk. Pull the husks back over the corn and submerge in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes. This helps to wash off debris and soaks the leaves so they don't char as fast over the flame. Remove one leaf from each husk. Carefully choose the longest, prettiest leaf as you'll save this to use as a tie for the cooked corn.
    Leave the corn in the husks and cook on the grill with it covered for about 15 minutes – turning every few minutes. This helps steam the corn. Then, gently pull the husks all the way back to grill the kernels directly. This will caramelize this sugars wonderfully. Make sure to grill the corn evenly – occasionally rotating it over the fire until it's charred on all sides. Boiling the corn is also an option that takes about the same amount of time and less attention. * See boiling instructions in notes.
    Grilled Corn Cobs in Husks
  • Tie back the husks. Rinse the leaf you reserved. Tear it lengthwise into a thing strip. About a finger width. Once the corn is cooked, tie the husks back close to the base of the cob using this strip.
    Corn Husk Tie
  • Slather on the mayo, sprinkle on some cheese, give a squeeze of lime and a good pinch of chili powder and salt.
    Ingredients for Easy Elote

Notes

Here are some substitution suggestions:

Corn: Use frozen corn-on-the-cob. You can get it in pre-cut halves as well.
Boil: Boil your corn instead of grill. This requires less attention. Fill a large pot with water. Add a little salt. Bring water to boil. Add corn and boil for about 20 until tender. 
Cheese: Use any crumbly cheese with a dry texture. You can even use parmesan. Even the powdered stuff in a pinch.
Mayo: Instead of mayo, try sour cream or yogurt.