This Mexican Grilled Corn aka elote is the perfect summer grilling recipe. Fresh corn smothered in creamy mayo, smokey spices, and salty cotija cheese!
Trevor and I both grew up in Iowa so we know just a little bit about corn. Well, actually, we don’t know that much. Just that it’s absolutely DELICIOUS. 😉
Growing up we both ate a lot of corn on the cob. But, funnily enough, neither of our families ever grilled it. It was boiled and usually smothered in butter and pepper.
Well, folks, today I have grilled corn on the cob in the form of Mexican grilled corn…and it’s SO GOOD!
What is mexican grilled corn?
Mexican grilled corn, also known as Mexican street corn or “elote” is a popular street food dish made up of grilled corn on the cob slathered in mayo, sour cream, cotija cheese, spices, and lime juice.
- Mayonnaise and Butter – the base of the butter mixture. The most delicious melty and creamy coating for the corn.
- Lime Juice – gives a tanginess and brightness to balance out the smokey spices.
- Chili Powder, Smoked Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Garlic Powder, and Cumin – the perfect blend of spices to achieve those Mexican inspired flavors.
- Corn on the Cob – the fresher the better!
- Cotija Cheese – adds a sharp, salty flavor and creamy texture!
- Cilantro – brightens the dish and brings all the flavors together.
- Salt – enhances the flavors of the cheese and butter.
How to make
Summer sides don’t get any easier than this. Just mix, lather, and grill!
- Mix together mayonnaise, butter, lime juice, and spices in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Slather half the butter on cleaned/husked corn.
- Wrap each piece of corn in a sheet of foil and seal completely.
- Preheat your grill to medium/medium-high heat (about 450ºF) and cook the corn for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Unwrap corn and brush with the remaining butter. Top with cotija and cilantro then serve and enjoy!
How to pick the best corn on the cob
When it comes to corn on the cob, the fresher it is the better. Look for ears of corn with golden silk. If there are any black spots on the silk, it won’t be good much longer.
You can also check to see if the corn is good by smelling it and pressing it. It should smell slightly sweet and be firm – not mushy.
How to shuck corn
Shucking and cleaning corn is super easy! Simply separate the husks at the top and pull them down the corn cob. Rip them off at the bottom then remove any excess silks still attached to the cob.
Then, be sure to clean and dry the corn before proceeding with the recipe. That’s it! Easy and ready to go!
Do you have to soak corn before grilling it?
Some recipes recommend soaking the corn before grilling it to give it more moisture. This may also help reduce flare ups. However, I find this step to be unnecessary—especially when I wrap the corn in foil (which helps seam the corn and keep the moisture in) before grilling.
Do you need to wrap the corn in foil?
Some people like to grill their corn directly on the grill. So if you’d rather take that route it will work just fine!
However, I find that wrapping the corn in the foil first helps keep the corn moist, tender, and prevents burning. Bonus: you still get some of that awesome char that everyone loves from grilling!
What to serve with mexican grilled corn
I love to serve this corn recipe as a part of a larger, Mexican-inspired summer meal. Here are some of my favorite recipes to pair it with!
- Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
- Easy Mexican Quinoa Salad
- Mexican Turkey Burgers
- Chicken Fajitas
- Chips and Salsa (of course) 😉
How to store
Store leftover corn in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days then simply microwave or bake to reheat.
Mexican Grilled Corn
Equipment for this recipe
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 4 ears corn on the cob husked and cleaned
- cotija cheese freshly grated
- Cilantro finely chopped
- salt to taste
- Mix together the butter ingredients in a medium sized bowl until well combined. Divide evenly into two bowls.
- Set aside.
- Using half of the butter, slather it on the cleaned/husked corn.
- Wrap each piece of corn in a sheet of foil. Make sure the foil is completely sealed.
- Preheat grill to medium - medium high heat (about 450 degrees F).
- Grill for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the corn is tender, flipping halfway through.
- Remove from heat.
- Let sit for about 5 minutes to cool slightly.
- Carefully unwrap each cob of corn and brush on the other half of the butter.
- Top with freshly grated cotija and cilantro.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.
This post was originally published June 29, 2015 and has been updated to provide more detailed content.