Elote Corn (Mexican Street Corn Recipe!)

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This Mexican Street Corn Recipe has a spicy twist! Instead of the usual tangy, creamy sauce, we’re slathering each corn on the cob in a homemade spicy mayo. That, plus the charred corn kernels, adds plenty of smoky heat to each bite. Perfect as a snack, side dish, or party appetizer!

Titled Image: Elote Mexican Street Corn


Mexican Street Corn Recipe

You won’t get very far on the streets of Mexico without being offered some version of this tasty dish! 

Plump, sweet corn is slathered in a creamy, tangy sauce and rolled in crumbled, salty cheese.

With a sprinkle of chili powder and cilantro, plus a squeeze of fresh lime, elotes have a little bit of everything for a flavor explosion in your mouth!

There are so many ways to make corn on the cob, but you’ll want to use your grill for this recipe.

Lightly charred kernels add a hint of smokiness to the dish in the best way.

Next, try this copycat Panera chowder — it has the same spicy, sweet, and smoky flavors as this Mexican street corn recipe, perfect for winter months!

ingredients for elote mexican street corn

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Corn on the Cob – Nothing beats the flavor of freshly shucked ears of corn! I like to stock up in the summer when it’s on sale and freeze some for the colder months.

    You can also use frozen corn if needed — no need to thaw first.
  • Salt – You’ll need quite a bit for soaking the ears of corn, plus a little extra for the spicy mayo.
  • Mayonnaise – The creamy base for our spicy mayo sauce.

    Mexican crema is the best substitute, but sour cream or Greek yogurt will work in a pinch — though, the flavor will be a bit more tangy!
  • Limes – Juice a few limes for the mayo mixture, then slice a few more into wedges to serve with Mexican street corn on the cob.
  • Chipotle in Adobo – These are peppers soaked in a spicy red sauce that come in a can.

    You can toss a pepper in whole if using a food processor, otherwise you’ll need to mince it by hand.
  • Sriracha – A spicy chili sauce that adds a delicious sweet heat to this elote corn recipe.

    If you don’t have any on hand, just add some of the adobo from the canned chipotle.
  • Cheese – Cotija is a salty, crumbly cheese — the classic choice for Mexican street corn on the cob! Queso Fresco or feta cheese are great substitutes.
closeup of grilled corn on the cob

Tips and Tricks to Make Perfect Elote Street Corn

  • Don’t skip the salt water soak!

This accomplished two things: loosens up any corn silk (the stringy bits) that get stuck in the kernels and flavors the corn.

Let the corn soak for at least 30 minutes, but don’t leave it for longer than 8 hours or it will be super salty and super mushy.

Go ahead and run your hands over each piece so remove any stray silks. No need to rinse in clean water before grilling, though!

  • Get those kernels nice and charred.

Doing so adds a smoky flavor to elote street corn to balance the sweet, spicy, and salty flavors going on!

Be sure to turn the corn often so it chars evenly on all sides as it cooks through.

You should still be able to see that bright yellow color with speckles of black all over. More than that and your corn on the cob will taste burnt.

  • Adjust the heat level of the spicy mayo.

I’m using a base of all mayonnaise, but substituting some with crema or sour cream will help cool things down. 

You can also reduce the amount of sriracha or leave it out entirely. If you still want the flavor but not as much heat, mix in a little sugar or honey!

Prep Ahead

  • Soak ears of corn
  • Make spicy mayo
  • Preheat grill

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Outdoor or Countertop Grill 
  • 4 Quart Stock Pot – Great for soups, roasts, frying, and more! This is a staple in my kitchen.
  • Mixing Bowls – I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
  • Citrus Juicer – This gets every last drop out, which makes juicing limes so much easier.
  • Basting Brush – Useful for everything from greasing pans to basting food.
grilled corn on a plate with toppings and sauce to the side

Serving Suggestions 

Enjoy Mexican street corn on the cob, or slice off the kernels before tossing with the spicy mayo, cheese, and other toppings — also known as esquites. I like to serve mine with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.

Need a portable option? Slide a wooden skewer down the center of the cob and let people wander where they’d like!

It’s a great option for outdoor parties and barbecues, and that’s usually how it’s served from street vendors.

Speaking of barbecues, this Mexican street corn recipe would be so tasty with juicy barbacoa or carnitas. The only thing else you’ll need is a margarita in your hand!

Storing and Reheating Mexican Street Corn on the Cob

If you know you’ll have leftovers, only add spicy mayo and cheese to what you’ll be eating. The corn and toppings need to be stored separately.

Cooked corn on the cob will keep for 5-7 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer, wrapped well in plastic or foil. Warm in the microwave, oven, or air fryer.

Store the spicy mayo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Do not freeze!

Elote Corn Recipe FAQ

What if I don’t have a grill?

You can make this Mexican street corn recipe without a grill by using your stovetop instead! 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil (not the same pot of salt water for soaking) and boil the corn for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, drain and pat dry.

Heat a large skillet on the stove with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the ears of corn and cook while turning frequently, until charred on all sides. Work in batches as needed.

Or use your oven! Brush corn on the cob with oil, wrap in foil, and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 425°F.

Can I double this elote corn recipe?

Absolutely! Scale it up as much as needed depending on how many servings you need.

I do recommend making the sauce in no more than a double batch, just to ensure everything is well blended. If you need more, mix up two batches and then combine them into one.

What’s the difference between elote and street corn?

Elote translates to “corn cob” in Spanish, but Mexican elote is also the name for the popular street food of grilled or boiled corn on the cob slathered in sauce and topped with cheese, chili powder, and lime.

Street corn can also be known as esquites, which is the same dish but the kernels are sliced off the cob and served in a cup instead.

closeup of stacked elote mexican street corn on a serving tray

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3 ears of elote mexican street corn with lime wedges

3 ears of elote mexican corn on a serving tray

Elote Corn (Mexican Street Corn Recipe!)

Donna Elick
This Mexican Street Corn Recipe combines charred corn on the cob with spicy mayo for a unique blend of smoky, sweet, and spicy flavors!
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Method Grill
Servings 4


  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 cup very hot water
  • 1/2 gallon ice cold water
  • 4 ears fresh corn on the cob, shucked
  • lime wedges, optional
  • chopped cilantro, optional

Spicy Mayo:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo sauce, minced (mince if you’re not using a food processor)
  • 1/2 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cotija, Queso Fresco or feta cheese, crumbled


  • Dissolve the salt in the hot water in a large bowl or pot. Add the cold water and corn. Let the corn soak for at least 1/2 hour, but no longer than 8 hours. (Weigh the corn down with a plate so it doesn’t bob up out of the water).
  • Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (I heated mine to 400 degrees F).
  • While the grill is heating, make your spicy mayo. Place the mayonnaise, lime juice, chipotle in adobo sauce, sriracha, paprika and salt in a small bowl and stir. For an even creamier spicy may, place the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  • Pat the corn dry and grill, turning often, until lightly charred on all sides and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Put the corn in a shallow dish and use a pastry brush to coat each ear with the mayonnaise mixture.
  • Roll or sprinkle the ears with crumbled cheese.
  • Garnish generously with chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges on the side, optional.
  • Enjoy!


Serving: 1 | Calories: 369cal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 7542mg | Sugar: 6g | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Elote Mexican Street Corn - PIN

Originally published March 2024

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