You can’t beat local corn! This summer, we were fortunate to be able to get a lot of delicious local corn from our farmstand down the road. During the summertime, we’ll go pick strawberries there. But I digress. My son went to culinary school and is now a kitchen manager at a local sushi restaurant and he decided that elote corn would be a perfect weekend cooking project!
Elote is a classic Mexican street corn recipe that combines saucy crema Mexicana with a kick of chile lime powder and cayenne pepper, lime juice, cotija cheese, and of course, cilantro! Elote is the perfect way to add a new punch to your summer sweet corn.
What is Elote?
Elote is a traditional Mexican street food dish, and it tastes just like summer! Elote is often served on skewers, but if you use cobs with long enough stocks then the skewer is built in! Sometimes a similar recipe is sold cut off the cob into cups with the same flavors, in which case it’s called esquites, but I think it’s more fun to eat it right off the cob. Elote makes a perfect summer snack and would be a huge hit at potlucks and neighborhood BBQs. Once you try it though, you might not want to share!
How to Make Elote
You can customize this elote corn recipe to fit your tastes. Like I’ve said before, this is another one of those recipes that everyone has their own spin on. Let’s start with the corn itself. Elote is traditionally grilled in the open, but you can also boil it, or roast it in the oven if necessary. Brush your corn with oil or butter if you’re roasting or grilling it to get a little bit of charring. Once the cobs have cooled, slather them with crema. The crema works to hold together all the other fixings and provides a delicious tang! After that, sprinkle or roll the corn in a mixture of cotija cheese, chile lime seasoning, cayenne pepper, and cilantro. Note that if you can’t find cotija, a similar salty, crumbly cheese like feta, Parmesan or queso fresco can work. However, I definitely recommend cotija—be sure to check your local market! From there, squeeze a little lime juice on and you’ve transformed your typical summer sweet corn into a classic Mexican dish!
Step by step photos:
- Gather all your ingredients and have them measured, chopped, shucked and ready to go. Preheat your grill and get it to about 500°F.
- Place each ear of corn on some aluminum foil and brush with melted butter.
- Roll the foil lengthwise and then fold up the ends.
- Place the foil covered ears on the middle of the grill. Close the lid and rotate them a quarter turn about every 4 minutes until you have grilled all sides.
- If you want a little more color or char on the ears, unwrap them and grill to your liking.
- If you have found crema Mexicana you can skip this step. As another option, I like to mix some mayonnaise and sour cream in a 50/50 mix to coat the ears.
- Here is a tip: If you have some throw away style wooden chop sticks, sharpen them in a pencil sharpener, cut them to length and insert into the end of each cob.
- Brush each ear with the crema or the mayo mix until well coated.
- Sprinkle each ear with the chile lime seasoning and then the cotija until well coated. If you do this on a baking tray you can roll the ears around to get them coated really well.
- Lastly coat the ears with the chopped cilantro and serve. ¡Buen provecho!
Frequently asked questions:
- How long can I store the corn on the cob or elote once it has been cooked? You can store in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
- How can I reheat the cooked corn on the cob? You can microwave on high for about 30 seconds to 1 minutes depending on your microwave until hot.
- Are there other ways to cook corn on the cob? Yes, I have listed below in the recipe two alternate cooking methods: boiling/steaming and microwave methods.
- Can I freeze the corn? Yes, but it is best to cut the kernels off the cob and freeze in airtight freezer bags. Frozen corn kernels will keep nicely for 10 to 12 months.
- Can I use another type of cheese if I cannot find cotija? Yes! Cotija is a dry, salty crumbly cheese when grated so this dish would work well with Parmesan, Romano, queso fresco or even some finely chopped feta.
If you want to make a meal of it, try some of my other favorite Latin dishes.
Authentic Mexican Pork Carnitas: Use them for tacos, tostadas, burritos, tamales, and even nachos.
Easy Chicken Enchiladas: A perfect meal for any night of the week.
Latin Style or Cuban Black Beans: So easy and they fill out a Latin meal night perfectly!
Elote - Mexican Style Corn on the Cob Recipe
Try this popular Mexican steet food at home. Elote is corn on the cob elevated to another level for sure and so easy to make!
Prepare the corn:
Preheat your grill to about 500°F.
Shuck each ear and place on aluminum foil.
Brush lightly with the melted butter. Roll the foil and fold up the ends.
Place the wrapped ear on the grill and turn them ¼ turn about every 4 minutes.
Optional: Remove each ear from the foil and grill to your desired level of brown or char on each ear. Rotate as you continue to grill.
Allow the ears to cool slightly. Tip: If you have disposable wooden chop sticks sharpen them in a pencil sharpener. Insert the stick into each ear and cut to your desired length.
Add the toppings:
Brush each ear with the crema Mexicana until well coated.
Sprinkle each ear with the chile lime seasoning and cotija cheese. I like to use a baking tray to roll each ear around to get them coated. Optional: Mix the cayenne pepper into the chile lime seasoning for a kick or heat!
Toss on the chopped cilantro and serve.
You can find Elote seasoning at Trader Joe's. Many stores also sell Tajin which is very similar to the chile lime seasoning.
Alternate methods for cooking corn on the cob.
Boiling and steaming method:
- Place about 2 inches of water in the bottom of a large pasta pot or Dutch oven and bring it to a boil covered.
- Once boiling, place the desired number of ears in the pot. Bring the water to a boil once again while covered.
- When the water boils again, time for 5 minutes and the ears will be done.
Microwave method, best for single ears:
- Wrap a single ear with two wraps of paper towel.
- Wet the paper towel while wrapped around the ear. Get it soaked well.
- Place the wrapped ear on a microwave safe plate or baking dish. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.
- Remove from the microwave and let it rest and slightly cool for about 2 minutes. Unwrap and serve.