Elote: Mexican Street Corn

Elote, also called Mexican street corn, is one of Mexico’s most popular street foods. It is super delicious, with corn on the cob coated with a creamy and tangy sauce, sprinkled all over with crumbled Cotija cheese and freshly chopped cilantro. Have them as snacks between meals, a side dish to any Mexican-inspired meal, or as part of your cookout!
Delicious Elote pinit

About This Elote Recipe

Have you ever been to Mexico? If yes, I’m sure you’ve seen street vendors selling a variety of lip-smacking foods from their carts, including the super messy but delicious Elote.

Corn is a very simple and humble crop but has a deeply cultural and intrinsic value to the daily life of Mexicans. The people of Meso-America domesticated this crop from a type of grass called “teocintile” almost 10,000 years ago, and today, corn is grown all over the world.

Elote, meaning “an ear of corn” in Mexico, is a very popular street food that you can find all over the country. It is made with corn on the cob that is grilled or boiled, then brushed with lime juice, a creamy and tangy sauce, and sprinkled with crumbled Cotija cheese, chili powder, and freshly chopped cilantro.

In this recipe, I’ve boiled the corn and made a fantastic sauce with sour cream, mayonnaise, paprika, and garlic to slather on.

Elote can be a bit messy to eat, but every bite is the perfect combination of sweet and savory and tangy and spicy at the same time.

Easy to make and super delicious, this is the perfect appetizer or side dish for Mexican-inspired meals.

Delicious Elote

What You Need for This Elote Recipe

Delicious Elote Recipe Ingredients

Ingredient Notes

  • Corn: I have used fresh sweet corn on the cob.
  • Sour Cream & Mayonnaise: I like to use a mix of both as they amplify the flavors and form a creamy base for the sauce.
  • Seasonings: For a little bit of spiciness and smokiness, I’ve used chili powder, smoked paprika, and crushed garlic.
  • Lime: The lime juice and zest give a nice tangy flavor.
  • Cotija Cheese: It is a hard and salty Mexican cheese that crumbles like feta cheese. It has the perfect blend of texture and taste for this recipe.
  • Cilantro: Freshly chopped cilantro brings it all together and adds a fresh flavor.

Delicious Elote

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Sour Cream & Mayonnaise: You may substitute them with Mexican Crema, which is a little bit sourer and saltier and has a thinner consistency.
  • Cotija Cheese: I highly recommend using Cotija cheese, but if you can’t find it, you may substitute it with feta cheese or ricotta salata.

Delicious Elote


Can I do this recipe with frozen corn instead of fresh?

If fresh corn is not available, you may use frozen ears of corn, but it may not be as delicious.

How can I serve this recipe?

The traditional way to serve Elote is a little bit messy, but that’s the fun of it! However, you can also serve them on a wooden skewer or cut the corn into smaller chunks. Or you may even remove the corn kernels from the cob, mix in the sauce and cheese, and serve it in cups.

What can I serve with Elote?

You may serve Elote as an appetizer or snack, or for a complete meal, serve it up with pork or pollo asado (Mexican grilled chicken), fajitas, or tacos.

Elote: Mexican Street Corn

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 5 min Cook Time 30 min Total Time 35 mins


Elote, or Mexican street corn, is a traditional Mexican street food that is easy to make and super flavorful. Accompanied by a tangy, spicy sauce and a topping of cheese, it’s the perfect snack!

Yield: 4 servings


How To Make Elote Step By Step

  1. Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, chili powder, garlic, paprika, lime zest, and cilantro in a bowl. Set aside.

    Elote Step 1
  2. Pull down the husks from each ear of corn, but keep them still attached at the base of the stalk. Use a strip of husk to tie the folded back husks together for easy handling.

    Elote Step 2
  3. Remove the corn silk, boil the ears of corn for approximately 30 minutes or until the corn kernels are cooked through, then let them cool slightly.

    Elote Step 3
  4. Strain the water from the corn, and brush them all with the lime juice first, followed by the sour cream and mayonnaise sauce.

    Elote Step 4
  5. Sprinkle with Cotija cheese and chopped cilantro, and serve!

    Elote Step 5


  • The spicy level is mild, but you may add more or less chili powder as you wish.
  • Make sure you let the corn cool slightly before brushing them with the creamy sauce to avoid having a mess on your hands.