Mexican Corn on the Cob (Elote)

Learn how to make Mexican Corn on the Cob, a street food called Elote. It’s grilled and has the most delicious topping all over it.

Learn how to make Mexican Corn on the Cob, a street food called Elote. It's grilled and has the most delicious topping all over it.

Elote is the name for a classic Mexican way of making corn on the cob. It’s really easy to make but the flavor is unbeatable. It’s creamy, cheesy, a bit sweet and a bit sour. A really perfect combination.

The Flavorful Spread that Goes on the Elote

First, you make a creamy spread for the corn cobs. Some people use straight mayonnaise as the base. Others mix mayonnaise with sour cream or Mexican crema. I opted for a mixture of mayonnaise and Greek yogurt because I wanted that bit of tang.

To that mayonnaise mixture, you add chili powder and garlic. You can optionally add chopped cilantro. I always do but I know that not everybody likes the distinctive flavor that it has. This spread is going to be critical to getting the cheese to stick to the corn. More on that in a bit!

How to Cook the Corn for Elote

Next up, you grill the corn. Shuck the corn cobs and put them on the grill over direct medium heat. Turn them every so often so that some kernels are nice and brown on all sides.

(If you don’t want to grill the corn, you can, of course, cook it another way. One quick way is to put 2 corn cobs on a microwave-safe dinner plate and microwave them. Here’s how I do it.

Getting the Cheese to Stick to the Corn

When the corn is cooked, spread it with the mayonnaise mixture. Spread it all over the entire cobs. This is important because of the next step.

This step. Right here. What you’re going to do is sprinkle the cobs with a crumbly cheese. It’s the mayonnaise mixture that gets the cheese to stick to the cobs. Brilliant, right?

What Kind of Cheese to Use on Elote

What kind of cheese do you use? Traditional Elote uses cotija cheese. My grocery store doesn’t sell it though, so I go with either feta or crumbly queso fresco. Crumble the cheese up very finely and then sprinkle it on the cobs, turning them so that the cheese ends up on all sides.

Finally, you squeeze a bit of lime onto the cobs, again turning them to get it on all sides.

Oh, wait. One more step. Eat!

To make it, the printable version of the instructions with ingredient amounts is below. Have a great day!


Mexican Corn on the Cob (Elote)

  • Author: Allie McDonald
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 4


Learn how to make Mexican Corn on the Cob, a street food called Elote. It’s grilled and has the most delicious topping all over it.


  • 1/4 cup whole milk Greek yogurt, sour cream or Mexican crema
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 4 shucked cobs of corn
  • 1/2 cup finely crumbled cotija cheese, feta cheese or queso fresco
  • 1/2 of a lime, cut into 4 wedges


  1. Preheat the grill for direct grilling over medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, chili powder, garlic and cilantro, if using.
  3. Shuck the corn and put the cobs on the grill.
  4. Cook, turning often, until the corn kernels are cooked and some of them have browned, 8-10 minutes. Remove from grill.
  5. Spread cobs all over with the mayonnaise mixture. Sprinkle all over with the cheese, turning cobs to get it all over. Squeeze one lime wedge over each cob, turning to get lime all over also. Serve!
This post originally appeared in August, 2016 and was revised and republished in July 2018.
Mexican Corn on the Cob (Elote)

5 responses to “Mexican Corn on the Cob (Elote)”

  1. Neena says:

    Just so there is no confusion, it is CO-TI-JA. The way you have spelled the cheese is a pretty vulgar word in Spanish. That aside, your recipe looks pretty tasty, never would have thought to use a thick plain yogurt. Thanks!

  2. Sharon says:

    What an interesting recipe! I’ve never heard of this but after reading your instructions, I need to try it! Feta cheese sounds like the perfect accompaniment!

  3. cakespy says:

    YASSSSSSSSSSS one of my favorite foods!

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