Elote Mexican-Style Street Corn Recipe

I am a lucky girl. I have the good fortune of living in a Mexican neighborhood bordering the 3rd largest city in the U.S. And you know what that means– lots of amazing Mexican street food! One of my favorites, hands down, is elote. It is, in my humble opinion, the best way to enjoy corn on the cob. Plus, if you’ve ever seen the movie Nacho Libre, you know that elote doubles as an effective eye-gouging weapon.

If, by now, the drool hasn’t started accumulating on your chin, maybe you haven’t tasted this authentic Mexican snack. Elote is corn on the cob that is slathered with mayonnaise and butter, then rolled in cotija cheese (which looks a lot like grated Parmesan, but tastes a bit different). It is then sprinkled with a salt and spicy ground chile mixture, then often squirted with lime juice.

There are a million different variations, and the corn is sometimes grilled instead of boiled. You’ll find some food stands will cut the kernels of corn from the cob, scoop them into a cup, followed by your other elote fixin’s. This method is referred to as en vaso. I have seen many a Chicago street vendor, squirt Parkay onto the mayo before dipping it in the cheese. But since, to me, that stuff more of a science experiment than it is actual food, I used real butter in my recipe.

Trust me, once you give elote a try, you will change the way you look at corn on the cob. And if you’re already an elote-holic (say that 5 times fast), you can relax knowing that your next fix can be easily prepared in your kitchen.

elote corn with spices and lime


Elote Mexican Style Corn Recipe
Serves 4
Deliciously "elote" Mexican style corn recipe that truly can make your mouth water.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
  1. 4 ears sweet corn in the husk
  2. 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese (crumbled feta or grated Parmesan will work as a substitution if you must)
  3. 1 tablespoon ground cayenne or more to taste
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  6. 1/4 cup butter, melted
  7. 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
  8. 1 pair of heavy duty rubber gloves
  9. 4 short corn skewers
  1. Boil the corn: Cut the silks from the ends of the sweet corn and place in a large stock pot. Cover with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt, and place over high heat. Bring the water to a boil and cook the corn for 5 minutes. Using a pair of tongs or your handy rubber gloves, pull the corn from the hot liquid and transfer to a baking sheet. Remove the water from heat and reserve.
  2. Shuck the Cobs: Allow the corn to sit until it is cool enough to remove the husks, about 20 minutes. While the corn is cooling, sprinkle the cheese onto a plate, then combine the cayenne and salt in a small bowl or shaker. When the corn is cool, you have 2 choices. You can remove the husks and ram a corn skewer into the bottom of your boiled corn or the husks can be peeled back and used as a handle. The choice is yours and yours only.
  3. Dress Your Elote: Spread an even amount of mayo onto each cob, then drizzle on the melted butter with a spoon. Roll the slathered corn in the cheese, then sprinkle with the chile-salt mixture. Repeat the process with the remaining corn. Squeeze a lime wedge onto each cob, if desired, then dig in.
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Since I was a little girl, I've been all about food. As a 7 year old, my first half-baked attempt at chocolate cake was comprised of scrambled eggs and chocolate milk powder microwaved, then topped off with Red Hots. I've come a long way since then. I've been lucky enough to get to work in restaurants for 10 years and graduate from one of the best culinary schools in the country. At the moment I'm enjoying working with a killer food photographer while doing freelance food styling and writing. I'm always excited thinking about what my next culinary adventure will bring. Who knows, maybe I'll revisit that chocolate cake with Red Hots.
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Easy Elote Mexican-Style Street Corn
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