Proust may have moved to near tears by a madeleine. Some of us feel that exact same way about our first Mexican-style street corn experience. Although it’s not anything emotional or childhood-related, it’s simply that we’re haunted by the juxtaposition of smoky and sweet, crisp and creamy, salty and tangy. Good luck getting this recipe outta your mind once you’ve had a taste.–David Leite

Mexican-Style Street Corn FAQs

What is Mexican street corn?

Grilled corn on the cob is a popular street food known as elote, and is sold by street vendors throughout Mexico. It often comes slathered with a lime mayonnaise or creamy sauce and sprinkled with cheese and cilantro.

What should I serve with this grilled corn?

Since this is a great summer grilling food, we’d highly recommend grilling something alongside, such as these grilled scallop kabobs or spicy honey-lime chicken. Round out the meal with a simple salad.

I don’t have a grill. Can I make this on the stove?

Sure. You won’t get the same charring effect, but you can boil or microwave your corn cobs in step 3 for a few extra minutes until fully tender, then slather with the mayo and top with the cheese and cilantro.

What’s the difference between cotija and feta cheese?

Cotija is a dry cow’s milk cheese that is made in Mexico, and is the best choice for this recipe.

Feta is a brined sheep’s milk cheese that comes from Greece. It will work as a substitute in this recipe, but keep in mind that it is a bit saltier and brinier than cotija, so you may want to adjust the salt and lime in your mayonnaise accordingly.

My corn came without a husk. What should I do?

That’s ok. Proceed with the recipe as directed, and before putting the corn cobs on the grill, stick a soaked wooden skewer through the cob to use as a handle for eating. Or skip the handle entirely and have plenty of napkins at the ready.

Three ears of grilled Mexican-style street corn slathered with lime mayo and sprinkled with cilantro, cheese, hot sauce.

Elote ~ Mexican-Style Street Corn

5 / 2 votes
For this Mexican-style street corn, or elote, sweet corn is grilled, slathered with lime mayonnaise, and sprinkled with cheese, cilantro, and hot sauce. The corn husks make for a nifty eating handle.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories218 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time35 minutes


Make the lime mayo

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest, preferably organic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make the street corn

  • 4 ears sweet corn, husks on
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija or feta cheese
  • Mexican-style hot sauce, such as Cholula or Tapatío, for serving


Make the lime mayo

  • In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lime zest, and lime juice and season with salt and pepper. (You can cover and refrigerate the lime mayo for up to 3 days.)

Make the street corn

  • Preheat the grill.
  • To husk the corn:
    Boiling Method: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn, still in their husks, and cook until just tender when pinched with tongs, 5 to 8 minutes. If the corn is bobbing up out of the water, place a heatproof plate on top to keep them submerged. Using tongs, transfer the corn to a platter and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes, then pull back the husks and remove the silk. Tie the husks together with kitchen string to create a handle to use when eating.
    Microwave Method: Microwave the corn in their husks for a couple of minutes. Using tongs, transfer the corn to a platter and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes, then pull back the husks and remove the silk. Tie the husks together with kitchen string to create a handle to use when eating.
  • Brush the corn with olive oil. Grill over high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred in spots, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the corn to a platter. Slather the corn with some of the lime mayo (you'll have leftover lime mayo, which ain't a bad thing) and sprinkle with the cilantro and cheese. Serve right away with hot sauce.
Just Cook It! Cookbook

Adapted From

Just Cook It!

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 218 kcalCarbohydrates: 1 gProtein: 2 gFat: 23 gSaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 5 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 20 mgSodium: 283 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2018 Justin Chapple. Photo © 2018 David Malosh. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Fresh off the grill and loaded with flavor, this Mexican-style street corn knows how to make an entrance! This looks great on a platter and I loved how the husk handle kept my hands cleaner. Can’t wait to serve this again at the next grill-out!

Don’t skimp on the lime, salt, or hot sauce here. I was actually so excited to eat the first corn of the season that I completely forgot the hot sauce. The corn was good.

Then the next day I ate the remaining half an ear with some red hot sauce from a Mexican taco spot I love and OHMYGOD was that a huge bump in flavor and deliciousness. I want to mix some of that and some of the cilantro into the mayo so it melts into every nook and cranny of the hot corn and then add more of both.

I tried both the boiling and microwave methods and thought both worked well. The microwave was faster and had less cleanup, which is always a perk.

I made this corn last weekend and it’s still fresh in my mind. I’ve thought about it multiple times. My dad, who can be rather particular, loved it and insisted we serve it for guests at our next grill-out. Score!

This decked-out Mexican-style street corn was delicious. The combination of buttery mayo with the right amount of tang from the lime made the slathered ears of corn delectable but not too rich.

Some may enjoy the additional tang of vinegary hot sauce, though I think I would have liked just a sprinkle of cayenne and chili powder instead to add complexity to the overall flavor. Overall, a tasty elote recipe that’s easy enough so I can make it all summer long.

What a fun addition to my summer cooking repertoire! My kids and I loved the tangy acidic kick of this corn on the cob.

To save time or in the winter months, I think the recipe would be fabulous with cooked frozen corn and a couple of scoops of the lime mayo and a handful of the toppers.

I am so thrilled to learn the “new-to-me” technique of easily shucking the corn on the cob with either the boiling or microwave method. Personally, I prefer the microwave method but both work just fine!

A very close cousin to Mexican eloté, this is a great way to prepare fresh corn on the cob. All of the flavors meld perfectly, so the lime, cilantro, cheese, and hot sauce come through in every bite.

The tied-back husks make a nice “handle” for eating the corn and help avoid getting the lime-mayo on your hands. Boiling the corn in their husks does make them easier to clean.

Everything goes better with cheese and, surprisingly to me, that includes corn. This Mexican-style street corn was easy to make and produced an attractive side dish for a variety of main courses. It did make me wish for a handy food truck, but I can’t have everything.

The method of boiling the corn with the husks on was successful in removing the silk; however, to me it worked about the same as the microwave method. The advantage of microwaving the corn is that you do not have to wait for the water to boil. When in a hurry, perhaps because you mistimed the main dish (who, me?!), it’s easier to toss it in the microwave.

With corn growing all around me at this time this is a recipe I will be returning to.

This was as good as any Mexican-style corn that I have eaten in any restaurant. The corn cooking technique was a good one and this method worked well to remove the silk. The lime mayo was tasty and easy to prepare long before dinner was on the table. The timing for boiling the corn as well as the timing to char the corn was perfect.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. I am planning a Cinco De Mayo large party. Has anyone done this with the corn cut off the cobs? It would be so much easier to serve this for a crowd if it were cut off.

    1. Linda, we haven’t, but I think it would be easy. Simply grill the corn, cut the kernel from the cobs, and dress the corn as stated in the recipe.