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.
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.
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.
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:
- Slow Cooker Jalapeno Chicken Tacos – I love pairing elotes with some fresh and flavorful tacos like these spicy chicken tacos.
- One Pot Cajun Chicken Burrito Bowls – If you like burrito bowls, you’re going to love this flavor-packed recipe with all your favorite toppings.
- Citrus Marinated Carne Asada – This juicy beef flavored with lime juice, orange juice, and fresh cilantro is bursting with flavor in every bite.
- Black Bean Tacos – If you’re looking for another easy main dish to pair with your street corn, these tasty bean tacos are delish.
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.
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)
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* 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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