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Mexican Street Corn is char-grilled corn on the cob, slathered in a fantastic creamy, zesty topping.
Tired of the same, plain corn on the cob? Wake up your taste buds with this delicious Mexican Street Corn! Also called elote (which is Spanish for corn cob), this recipe is easy and delicious – and the perfect addition to any summer dinner menu.
A creamy and tangy topping is slathered over grilled corn on the cob, then topped with crumbled Cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. It’s super easy to make – and your dinner guests will love it!
Why you’ll love Mexican Street Corn
- It’s easy to prepare. Mix up the creamy topping in advance. Then spread it over cooked corn just before serving
- So much flavor! The garlicky, crema topping and the salty cheese is a fantastic flavor combination that complements the sweet corn so perfectly.
Key ingredients and Substitutions
- Fresh, husked corn on the cob – Choose the freshest corn you can find. Look for ears of corn that have light green outer husks, and light brown tips on the silk.
- Mexican crema – Follow this recipe to make your own. Or, some supermarkets sell crema near the sour cream in the dairy aisle. If you can’t find it, sour cream can be substituted.
- Cotija cheese – This is a dry, aged, crumbly cow’s milk cheese with a mild, salty flavor that is similar to feta without the briny taste. It’s sold at many supermarkets these days in the specialty cheese section. If you can’t find it, feel free to use some well-drained feta cheese, or even Parmesan cheese. Also a fresh farmer’s cheese could also work well.
- Mayonnaise – A good-quality mayonnaise (we prefer Hellman’s) adds body and tang to the topping.
- Fresh cilantro – Every Mexican dish needs a sprinkle of fresh cilantro on top! (If you are one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes like soap, you can leave it off of course.)
- Fresh garlic – Add a kick of flavor to the topping with finely minced or grated fresh garlic.
- Fresh lime – You’ll mix both lime juice and zest into the creamy topping, and the fresh citrus adds bright, complementary flavor to the topping.
- Hot Pepper (optional) – If you’d like to add a touch of heat to your Mexican Street Corn, sprinkle some ground hot pepper on top before serving. This can be a ground chili powder, Serrano pepper, or cayenne.
Chef’s Tip –
While you can make Mexican Street Corn with corn cooked in any method, grilled corn that is slightly charred is traditional. The flavors of the grilled corn are also fantastic!
How do I make Mexican Street Corn?
- Husk the corn, then coat with a light oil such as grapeseed oil.
- Mix all the topping ingredients and set aside. (This step can be done ahead of time. Chill in the refrigerator if made ahead.)
- Grill the corn over high heat until tender and cooked through – about 12 minutes. Ideally, you want some char on the kernels which adds great flavor and intensifies the sweetness of the corn.
- Remove the cooked corn to a platter.
- Brush the topping on each grilled ear of corn.
- Sprinkle additional Cotija cheese and chopped cilantro over the wet topping. If you’d like some extra spice, sprinkle with hot pepper.
Frequently asked Questions
- Can I make this recipe ahead of time? You can mix up the topping ahead of time, but grill the corn just before serving.
- How do I store any leftovers? In an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
- How do I reheat leftovers? Gently warm the corn in the microwave. If you have any of the toppings leftover, feel free to add more.
- Can I cut the kernels off and make a Mexican Street Corn Salad? Absolutely! Click here for an easy method to cut kernels off an ear of corn (this method works for both cooked and uncooked corn) – then mix the kernels with some of the topping ingredients to create a salad.
You might like these other corn recipes:
- Boiled Corn on the Cob
- Mexican Sweet Corn Cake
- Grilled Corn and Jalapeño Salad
- Scallop Corn Chowder
- Sweet Corn Gelato
6 fresh ears of corn, husked
Grapeseed oil, to coat the corn before grilling
3/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped and packed
1/3 cup Mexican Crema, see homemade recipe here or use sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1–2 limes depending on size)
1 tablespoon lime zest (about 1–2 limes depending on size)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Additional crumbled Cotija cheese and chopped cilantro, as garnish
Optional hot pepper powder (chili, serrano, cayenne, etc.), to sprinkle on as garnish
Heat grill to high heat.
Husk the corn and drizzle on the oil over a sheet tray. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk Cotija cheese, cilantro, crema, mayonnaise, garlic, lime juice, lime zest and sea salt. Set aside.
Once the grill is hot, lay the oiled ears in the same direction as the grill grates so they stay put as you cook and turn. Grill for three minutes per side, turning a quarter turn each time, total 12 minutes. Some of the kernels will char.
Remove to a platter and spoon and brush on the topping.
Sprinkle on additional crumbled Cotija cheese and chopped cilantro and optional hot pepper powder and serve.
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