Mexican Street Corn – Grilled & Addictive

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Mexican street corn is the perfect side dish for summer grilling. This Mexican recipe is also known as an Elotes recipe. You’ll love the combination of sweet grilled corn on the cob, creamy sauce, salty queso fresco, and hot sauce with just a squeeze of lime.

grilled Mexican corn on the cob

Give this Mexican corn recipe a try during the summer to take full advantage of fresh sweet corn during corn season. This easy side dish will be one of your new favorite dishes.

In my high school days, I lived in San Diego. Summers always meant the beach. Sometimes we would drive down to Baja, Mexico, for the day, get tacos, and hang out on the beach. Long days of sun and salt water are a such fond memory. On one of these trips, I first experienced “border corn.”

The street vendors at the border crossing in Tijuana sell all sorts of things while you wait in line to cross the border back into California. There are a wide variety of goods available, from snacks and blankets to things like handcrafted necklaces. But, what I remember was the grilled Mexican ears of corn sold from little carts.

The Mexican street corn would come wrapped in paper, slathered with a creamy, tangy sauce, and then sprinkled with cheese and hot sauce. The salty Cotija cheese would be slightly melty, and the hot sauce spicy and vinegary. It’s a beautiful thing!

I was feeling a little homesick for my So Cal roots this year and thought that this 4th of July would be the perfect time to get nostalgic with my old favorite – border corn.

What You’ll Need

ingredients for making mexican street corn
  • Corn on the cob. Fresh corn on the cob. Husked or unhusked.
  • Mexican crema. You can find Mexican crema at most grocery stores. I always find it at Safeway if you are on the West Coast. If you can’t find it, you can substitute sour cream. 
  • Mayonnaise. Best foods or Hellman’s mayo is perfect for this recipe. 
  • Fresh lime juice. You’ll need lime juice for the spread and more for squeezing on top of the corn. 
  • Cotija cheese. Cotija cheese is a hard crumbly cheese with a salty flavor. If you can’t find Cotija, Parmesan cheese is a comparable substitute.
  • Cilantro. Fresh cilantro adds color and an herbaceous flavor to this grilled corn. 
  • New Mexico Chile Powder. Ground chili pepper adds a little bit of spice. Trader Joe’s also sells an Everything But The Elotes spice blend. (It’s great on popcorn!)
  • Hot sauce. I like to add hot sauce to my Mexican street corn. I usually use Tapatio brand. 

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Grill or roast the corn on the cob. You’ll want a subtle char on the corn, enhancing fresh corn’s sweetness.
  2. Make the mayonnaise mixture. Using a pastry brush, slather each corn cob with the mayonnaise mixture.
  3. Sprinkle with crumbled cotija cheese, fresh minced cilantro, and a sprinkle of chile powder.
  4. Add a squeeze of lime juice and a little hot sauce, if desired.


Grilling corn on the grill is super easy. The goal is to give the corn a nice roasted outside. You will want it a deep rich brown to black color. Charring corn on the grill gives it such a great flavor. It brings out the sweetness in the corn.

  1. Heat the grill to medium-high.
  2. Place the corn on the grill, close the lid and cook for about 20 minutes. Turn the corn every 5 minutes so that you’re able to char it on all sides. 
grilling corn on the cob directly on the grill


Grilling corn with the husks on gives the corn a flavor that I can’t describe. I like to serve corn like this if I’m cooking for a large crowd, and then I serve the toppings on the side. Everyone can peel and dress their cob of Mexican street corn.

corn on the cob being grilled with the husks on

How to Roast Corn On The Cob

  1. Preheat the oven to 400℉.
  2. Place the corn on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the corn every 5 minutes to ensure you are getting charred kernels on all sides of the corn.


This Elote Recipe can easily be turned into an Esquites Recipe (Mexican Corn Salad.)

Mexican corn salad is made with corn cut off the cob. Usually, the corn kernels are browned in butter on a heavy cast iron skillet. The charred, buttered corn is served in a cup with the same Mayonnaise sauce and crumbled cheese.



If you have leftover Mexican street corn, the best way to store it is by cutting the corn off the cob. If you’ve already dressed the corn with sauce and cheese, you can just toss it all together. You end up with an instant Mexican Street Corn Salad.

Store the corn salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. 

You don’t need to reheat this. It tastes delicious cold. 

FAQs and Expert Tips

What is the difference between Mexican crema and sour cream?

Crema is a Mexican version of creme fraiché. It has a slightly sour flavor and is thinner than American sour cream.

What is a good substitute for Mexican Crema?

Sour cream with a little lime juice added is a good substitute for Mexican Crema.

What cheese is used for Mexican Street Corn?

Cotija cheese is usually used in this recipe.

What is a good replacement for cotija cheese in a recipe?

Cotija cheese can also be difficult to find depending on where you live. There are a few kinds of cheese that you can use as a cotija cheese substitute. One choice is a pecorino or a parmesan Reggiano.

How to make Mexican street corn on the cob?

You can make a Mexican Street Corn Salad or a Mexican Street Corn Dip. Both are delicious and give you all the flavor of Mexican street corn with a lot less need for napkins.

corn on the cob with mexican crema dressing, cotija cheese and hot sauce

Other Summer Recipes That You’ll Love

What Goes With Mexican Street Corn

Check out my full collection of Mexican Recipes and find a few more favorites for Cinco de Mayo or your next backyard barbecue.

mexican street corn recipe

Mexican Street Corn

Mexican street corn is the perfect side dish for summer grilling. This Mexican recipe is also known as an Elotes recipe. You'll love the combination of sweet grilled corn on the cob, creamy sauce, salty queso fresco, and hot sauce with just a squeeze of lime.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6
Calories 64 kcal


  • 6 ears fresh corn on the cob


  • 2 tbsp Mexican crema, or sour cream
  • 2 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • Lime juice
  • 2 tbsp Cotija cheese, or parmesan
  • 2 tbsp Fresh cilantro
  • New Mexico chile powder
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt (affiliate link)
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 2 Limes, cut into wedges, for squeezing
  • 1 tsp Hot sauce, Tapatio or Cholula


  • Preheat the grill to medium-high. 
  • Place the corn on the grill. Close the grill. Grill the corn for about 20 minutes.
    6 ears fresh corn on the cob
  • Rotate the corn every 5 minutes to ensure even charring.
  • Mix the crema and mayonnaise together. Season with a little salt and pepper
    2 tbsp Mexican crema, 2 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • Slather corn with the crema mixture.
  • Sprinkle the grilled corn with cotija cheese, cilantro, salt, and pepper.
    Lime juice, 2 tbsp Cotija cheese, 2 tbsp Fresh cilantro, 1 tsp Kosher salt, 1 tsp Pepper
  • Optional: Add a sprinkle of red chili powder and/or hot sauce.
    New Mexico chile powder, 1 tsp Hot sauce
  • Add a squeeze of lime. 
    2 Limes

Laura’s Tips + Notes

Easy Substitutions: 
  • Crema. Use sour cream, add a squeeze of lime to thin it out, and a little bit of salt. 
  • Cotija Cheese. Pecorino or Parmesan Reggiano would be suitable stand-ins. 


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Calories: 64kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 522mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gCalcium: 43mgIron: 0.2mg
Keyword appetizer, corn, grilling, summer
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