Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

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Learn the secrets to authentic Mexican Street Corn (elote), a simple, delicious snack made with just 5 key ingredients: Corn, lime, mayonnaise, Parm, and Tajin. This is exactly how the street vendors make it, and now you can too.

Four cobs of Mexican Street Corn on a paper on a cutting board surrounded by limes.


 

Elote is a traditional Mexican street snack, eaten on the go. The cob is left whole or served on a stick. It’s very similar to chaskas or esquites, a corn salad where the kernels are taken off the cob and dressed in a similar sauce. 

And the “sauce” is easy as can be: Fresh lime juice, some mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, and Tajin (a chili powder with salt and lime flavors).

You are probably eager to use a proper Mexican cheese such as cotjia on your elote, but Parmesan cheese in the green shaker can is closest to what they use.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Mexican Street Corn.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Parmesan: Look for the grated Parm in the green shaker can. This might sound inauthentic, but it is closest to what street vendors actually use in the non-touristy parts of Mexico. Or, substitute Cotjia cheese or feta cheese.
  • Tajin seasoning: Tajin is a mild chili powder with a bright lime flavor that tastes great on Elote. Or, try regular chili powder, ancho chile powder, or even cayenne pepper (if you love the heat).

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to boil. Add corn and boil until bright yellow and tender, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly, then skewer with sticks if desired.
Corn on the cob on skewers, set on a baking sheet.
  1. Rub an ear of corn with half a lime.
A lime being rubbed on a corn cob to make Mexican street corn.
  1. Then coat with 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (a spatula works well).
Corn on the cob on skewers, set on a baking sheet.
  1. Coat with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and season with Tajin or chile powder to taste (I like about 1 teaspoon Tajin).
Corn on the cob on skewers, set on a baking sheet.
  1. Repeat with remaining ears of corn.
Ears of Mexican Street Corn on a board.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 4 tasty ears of corn. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Grilling: To grill the corn instead of boiling it, leave it in the husk. Preheat a grill over medium-high and clean and oil grilling grate. Place corn over direct heat and cook, rotating occasionally, until cooked through and charred in spots on all sides, about 8 minutes total.
  • Extra corn: Have extra frozen corn on hand? Put it to use in Mexican Corn Salad (aka esquites), an appetizer made with mayonnaise, lime juice, Parmesan cheese, and chili powder. You eat with Doritos! So good. Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili and Corn Chowder are two amazing, hearty soups that also use frozen corn. Or try Corn Salad with a flavorful chipotle-honey-lime dressing.
Ears of Mexican Street Corn in a dish.

Recipe FAQs

Do you grill Mexican street corn?

You certainly can, but many purveyors simply boil the corn to keep things simple. The flavor is still delicious and authentic. To grill the corn, leave the husk on and cook over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes, rotating occasionally.

Does Mexican street corn contain sour cream?

Some recipes use a mixture of mayonnaise and sour cream for Elote. However, because street vendors in Mexican rarely have adequate refrigeration in their food carts, they typically skip the sour cream and use just mayonnaise.

More Mexican recipes

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Ears of Mexican Street Corn in a dish.

Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

Learn the secrets to authentic Mexican Street Corn (elote), a simple, delicious snack made with just 5 key ingredients: Corn, lime, mayonnaise, Parm, and Tajin.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 257
5 from 4 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to boil. Add corn and boil until bright yellow and tender, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly, then skewer with sticks if desired.
  • Rub an ear of corn with half a lime, then coat with 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (a spatula works well).
  • Coat with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and season with Tajin or chile powder to taste (I like about 1 teaspoon Tajin). Repeat with remaining ears of corn.

Notes

  1. Parmesan: Look for the grated Parm in the green shaker can. This might sound inauthentic, but it is closest to what street vendors actually use in the non-touristy parts of Mexico. Or, substitute Cotjia cheese or feta cheese.
  2. Tajin seasoning: Tajin is a mild chili powder with a bright lime flavor that tastes great on Elote. Or, try regular chili powder, ancho chile powder, or even cayenne pepper (if you love the heat).
  3. Yield: This recipe makes 4 tasty ears of corn. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
  4. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  5. Grilling: To grill the corn instead of boiling it, leave it in the husk. Preheat a grill over medium-high and clean and oil grilling grate. Place corn over direct heat and cook, rotating occasionally, until cooked through and charred in spots on all sides, about 8 minutes total.

Nutrition

Calories: 257kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 6gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 328mgPotassium: 308mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 496IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 120mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. VERY yummy! It was so good, we made another batch right after!! We added lime in the sauce, and that gave it a little flavor. Will definitely make again! :)5 stars