Mexican Street Corn

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Mexican street corn, aka elotes, is easy to make and bursting with incredible flavor. Coated with mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, queso fresco, and spices, this copycat street corn recipe is the ultimate side dish to accompany all your favorite meals.

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The first time I tried one of Mexico’s most iconic street food dishes, it was love at first bite. The combination of sweet, smoky, tangy, and spicy flavors melted in my mouth in a symphony of deliciousness and I was instantly hooked.

Mexican street corn is just that tasty. Lucky for us all, it’s incredibly easy to remake at home.

When I took that initial bite into my first-ever elotes (the official name for Mexican street corn) I never would have guessed that mayonnaise was a key ingredient. After all, mayonnaise and I have never been the best of friends. This dish may have changed that for me (at least a little) because it was so darn good that I didn’t care what it was made with. Nothing could have changed my mind about elotes.

This dreamy dish starts with fresh ears of corn that are grilled to perfection, then brushed with a mixture of mayonnaise, sour cream, and spices.

The corn is topped with a sprinkle of queso fresco, chili powder, and fresh lime juice, then served on a platter. It’s beyond easy to whip up and insanely delicious. Get ready to fall in love.

Serve it with some Steak Tacos, Salmon Tostadas, or Black Bean and Zucchini Tacos for an easy, healthy meal.

Mexican corn on the cob served street style with mayo, lime juice, chili powder, and cheese.

What You’ll Need

Here is a breakdown of the basic ingredients you’ll need to make this Mexican street corn recipe.

  • Fresh Corn: When corn is in season, I always opt for fresh ears of corn for the best flavor.
  • Mayonnaise: It might sound crazy, but just trust me on this. Mayonnaise is essential to getting that rich and tangy flavor that melts right in your mouth.
  • Sour Cream: While traditional Mexican elotes are made with Mexican crema, I usually just use sour cream from the grocery store because it’s easier to find.
  • Spices: You’ll need salt, pepper, and garlic powder to mix into the mayo mixture, as well as chili powder or Tajin to sprinkle on top for a smoky flavor.
  • Lime Juice: Fresh lime juice adds a beautiful citrus flavor that brightens up the whole dish and completes it.
  • Queso Fresco: You can use crumbled queso fresco or cotija to enhance the flavor profile and add a deeper depth of richness to the corn. If you can’t find either of these, you could try using feta cheese instead.

Recipe Tips and Variations

Here are some of my favorite recipe tips and ways to switch up this dish:

  • For added flavor and a beautiful pop of color, garnish this dish with lime wedges and fresh chopped herbs. Cilantro, parsley, and chives would all work great.
  • If corn isn’t in season where you live, you can make a skillet version of Mexican street corn using canned or frozen corn instead.
  • Want to turn this dish into a salad? Follow this recipe for my Healthy Mexican Street Corn Salad and enjoy an equally delicious summer dish.
  • If you want to make this dish a little spicier, add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the mayonnaise mixture before brushing it onto the corn. Tajin or chili piquín is also a popular addition.
  • You can make vegan Mexican street corn by omitting the sour cream and queso fresco and using veganaise in place of mayonnaise.
  • Make sure to let the grilled corn cool for a few minutes before coating it with your mixture, as it will be very hot straight off the grill.

Grilled corn on the cob with lime juice, mayo, and cheese in a dish being held by a hand.

What to Serve with Mexican Street Corn

You can serve elotes with any of your favorite Tex-Mex or Mexican dishes. Because I choose to grill my corn, I love serving this dish with grilled meats and veggies to keep things nice and easy.

This is a dish that’s most often served during the summer months, so I typically pair it with other bright and flavorful dishes. Not sure what to cook up?

Here are some of my favorite dishes to serve with Mexican street corn:

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you can find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this Mexican street corn recipe:

In my experience, fresh sweet corn works best for elotes. This is the type of corn that is used in the traditional Mexican street corn that you’ll find up and down the streets of Mexico—and for good reason. That being said, canned and frozen corn work just fine in a pinch if you still want to enjoy this delicious Mexican corn recipe without fresh corn.

No. Queso fresco is much milder in flavor and less salty than cotija cheese. It also tends to be softer and creamier, while cotija is usually drier and more firm. While they definitely have distinct differences, cotija cheese and queso fresco are often used interchangeably in recipes like elotes.

When you’re at the grocery store digging through ears of corn, look for the ones with bright green husks that are tightly wrapped against the cob. The tassels should be brown and sticky to the touch, and the cob itself should feel slightly damp.

The Recipe
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Mexican Street Corn

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  • 4 ears corn
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp light sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup queso fresco
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (or chili piquin or Tajin)
  • 1 lime

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Cook the corn on the cob until just tender. In my opinion the best way to cook corn for this recipe is to grill it. To grill the corn, remove the husks and silk. Place on the grill and close the lid. Turn every 5 minutes or so until cooked and beginning to char in places.

Corn on the cob cooking on a grill pan.

In a bowl mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Spread a thin layer on the mayo mixture on each ear of corn.

Mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl.

Top with queso fresco and a sprinkle of chili powder. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top.

Lime juice being squeezed over Mexican street corn.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 piece corn
Amount Per Serving
Calories 201
Calories from Fat 78
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 485mg
Total Carbohydrate 30g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 10g
Protein 7g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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