Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)

Grilled Mexican street corn or elotes is a classic Mexican street food. Lightly charred and then coated in a seasoned mayonnaise and sour cream or crema mixture and topped with cotija cheese. This is perfect anytime you want to fire up the grill. 

Normally I am not a story time kinda guy but the first time I had elotes was when I was in Austin at a food truck. I couldn’t get enough of it once I had it and would go back at least once a month to get it. Now I couldn’t get his recipe but I tried to make one that tasted as close to what I can remember from my monthly snack walking around downtown Austin. It is perfect side for any barbecue and really easy to make. 

In this recipe

There really isn’t much to the recipe and most of the ingredients are already in your pantry and refrigerator. 

Corn: you want to use fresh corn on the cob that hasn’t been shucked. This will ensure that you get the most flavorful and succulent corn. 

Mayonnaise: this is the base for the sauce that goes over the corn. 

Sour cream/Crema: this will add a bit of tartness to the sauce and will lighten up the sauce as well.

Lime zest: will add additional lime flavor to the sauce and if made ahead of time will intensify in the refrigerator. 

Ingredients for street corn on a wooden cutting board
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Choosing good corn

Grilling good corn is the key to recipe. There are a few things you want to keep in mind to choose the best ears. Firstly you don’t want to get corn that has already been husked. This keeps it from getting starchy and dry. The husk should be bright green and tightly wrapped. Avoid any with brown holes especially near the top since that will indicate worms and no one wants that. Finally you can look at the tassel at the top is should be damp and brown. If it is black and try then the ear is old. 

corn on the grill
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Charred corn on a grill
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Ingredients for street corn sauce in a bowl
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A bowl of mayonnaise mixture
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Grill it up

Once you are ready to grill you will only need a couple of minutes per side. While the corn is round so there really isn’t a side I am referring to the part directly facing the heat. You don’t want to wait very long in order to keep all of kernels from scorching. A few blackened kernels is good and is part of the reason this corn is so tasty. The color of the corn will become more rich and some of the kernels might burst. 

4 ears of street corn
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Making the street corn

There are a couple of ways to get the sauce onto the corn. You can insert a skewer into the middle of the cob and use a spatula or brush to apply the sauce. Another method is to place the sauce in a shallow dish and roll the corn in the sauce. You can also do my favorite and easiest method. Place the sauce in a squeeze bottle and squeeze the sauce on top of the corn. Flip the corn over to apply onto the other side. The sprinkle with cheese, cilantro, and additional paprika and chili powder. 

Ears of street corn on a white platter
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Looking for other bbq sides?

A platter of street corn
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Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)

Grilled corn on the cob with a seasoned sour cream and mayo spread topped with cotija cheese.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 ears of corn
Calories 157 kcal


  • Grill
  • Tongs
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Spatula
  • Skewer optional


  • 4 ears corn shucked, hairs removed
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup cotija cheese crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • ½ tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • hot sauce optional


  • Preheat the grill to about 375°F or 200°C.
  • Cook the corn rotating every couple of minutes to allow some of the kernels to start to char. About 8-10 minutes.
  • While the corn is cooking in a mixing bowl combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, lime zest, salt, pepper, chili powder, and paprika together. Stir until evenly mixed and set aside.
  • Once the corn is done you can insert a skewer into the cob. Using a spatula spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly over all of the ears of corn.
  • Top with the cotija cheese, cilantro, and any additional chili powder and paprika.


Serving: 1earCalories: 157kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 2gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 668mgPotassium: 91mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 448IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 84mgIron: 0.3mg
Nutrition Disclaimer*
Keyword Corn, Grilled, Street Food
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street corn Pinterest pin
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