Elote (Mexican Corn on the Cob)

CATEGORIES: Latin, Sara, Vegetables

I figured heck, why not extend garden week just one more day?! I know most of you probably don’t grow your own corn, but it’s peak season right now in farmers markets and grocery stores so here’s a great variation from your plain ‘ol corn on the cob. Elote is a classic street food in Mexico. It has lots of variations, but it generally involves a slathering of mayo (I know, sounds weird but trust me!), crumbled Mexican cheese, chili powder and fresh lime juice. This is my variation. I lighten things up (both calorie and taste wise) by mixing the mayo with some sour cream and then I add the spices right into that mixture instead of putting them all on separately. I also add some lime zest for an extra zing and a little cayenne for heat. If you’ve never tried Elote, you MUST! It’s super easy and ridiculously good.

Elote: Mexican Style Corn on the Cob
Recipe by Our Best Bites

4 ears corn
3 T mayo
2 T sour cream
1/4-1/2 t lime zest
1/2 t fresh lime juice
1/4 t cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 t chili powder
tiny pinch kosher salt
1 C crumbled Cotija Cheese* (use fresh parmesan or queso fresco if you can’t find Cotija)

*Cotija is similar to Parmesan cheese. It has awesome flavor and a great texture. You may have never noticed it before, but it’s available in most regular grocery stores. It’s often near the cream cheese/refrigerated cheeses. If for some reason you can’t find it at your store, a latin market is sure to have it. It’s worth looking around for if you need to. It usually comes in a hard, round block (shown below) and it crumbles easily.

Alrighty. Start by cooking your corn. I prefer grilled corn (surprise surprise!) because the extra smoky flavor and charred kernals (or husk) adds a lot to this ethnic dish, but any way you cook it will be just fine, so bust out the boiling water if you need to.

Click here for a full tutorial on grilling corn

While your corn is cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Start by using a fine-holed cheese grater to grate the Cotija and put it on a plate big enough to roll your corn cobs on.

Now whip up the spread. Mix the mayo and sour cream in a small bowl. Zest some of the lime zest in and then squeeze in the juice. Add the chili powder, cayenne, and salt.

Stir it all up and set aside. You can make this part ahead of time if you want to. Just store it covered, in the fridge.

Keep the spices out and a few extra lime wedges. When your corn is finished cooking and piping hot, use a spoon to spread on some sauce. Then roll it in the grated cheese.

If you want, sprinkle on a little extra chili powder on top and squeeze a lime wedge on before inhaling. Er, I mean eating.

And why take my word on how good this is when you can take his?

My little guy spent FORTY-FIVE minutes on this corn cob. And he screamed his head off when I took it away. A face like that doesn’t lie!


Make it a meal with some of this yummy stuff!

Lime-Chili Rubbed Steak
Taco Chicken
Best Fajitas Ever
Homemade Tortillas
Black Bean Soup
Quick and Easy Black Beans
Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Shredded Beef Taquitos


  1. Looks so good! Also, if you can't find Cojita, you can use Queso Fresco. It's not quite as tangy and flavorful, but it's easier to find and a little cheaper and it has the same texture.

  2. Yum, yum, yum! I LOVE elote–had it in Minneapolis with my Mexican peeps for 18 months. I thought the whole mayo thing was bizarre at first but it's not, it's delicious. And I don't even like mayonnaise! Thanks for the recipe. Gotta get me some corn.

  3. Good point about the queso fresco Kate, I should add that in the post.

    Lindsay- I didn't know you went to Minneapolis (ya know, because we're so tight I should know everything about you, right?? lol) that's awesome. I thought the mayo was weird at first too, but it's so yummy!

  4. Mmmm looks good! I saw Paula Deen slather corn in mayo once. I wasn't surprised (come on, it's Paula Deen!) but it's good to see that regular people do it, too 😉
    Love the pictures, too. I can imagine the meltdown that occurred when the corn was taken away…

  5. Ha ha – that's so cute. . .

    I love corn on the cob – I can't wait to try this!!!

    (hahaha – Brigham just laughed-screamed, "Mommy, look at that crazy kid!!")

  6. i tried this for the first time about a month ago at a friends house. I normally don't get into spreading fat on all my food (dangers of being a dietitian) but i'll try anything once…and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I'm excited to try it with lowfat condiments to see if it still works.

  7. Yummy! We had corn on the cob three days this week and I am ready for a different variation! If kids love it, than I definitely will make it!

  8. I'm going to miss garden week. I loved getting a new recipe each day. I've gotta admit, mayo on corn sounds strange, but I'll give it a try! I'm surprised your little guy will eat spicy stuff, or did you leave out the cayenne for his corn cob?

  9. Kira, it's actually not that spicy! When the cayenne is spread out at mellowed by the lime and sour cream and covered in cheese, the heat isn't too bad at all.

    Jaime- my little guy was 14 months in that pic; he's a total runt!

  10. I just found your blog (thanks to my sister for sharing) and I LOVE your recipes. It seems like everything you cook is something I want to eat 🙂 I'll be coming here a lot for fresh ideas, so keep them coming!

  11. I just made this and it is delicious. But, I had some problems rolling the cheese on. It would just slide off? Is it because the corn was buttered before grilled? Or was there too much sauce? I tried it a couple different ways and mainly we had to scoop the cheesy goop up and try to smash it on the bit of corn you were trying to eat. What happened?

  12. cusaks- If you had "cheesy goop" and it was sliding off, then yes- I'd say you definitely put on too much sauce! As you can see in the pictures it's just a thin layer and everything stays on just fine.

  13. I'm speechless. We made this a few days ago and it really is RIDICULOUSLY good. Thanks for the recipe! If you don't mind, I think I'm going to post it on my blog (with a link back to you fabulous ladies, of course)

    Your little guy up there inspired me to try it. (And to see if my two-year-old would eat corn on the cob. She loved it!)

  14. THANK YOU! I love corn on the cob, especially grilled. We didn't grill ours since we don't have a grill, but our corn- that wasn't quite as tasty as it should be with the regular butter, salt and pepper just really came to life with this delicious recipe. Mmm. Finger licking good. My husband had always wanted to try the corn from "Nacho Libre", I imagine this was it. We will be making this many many more times. Thanks again!

  15. My BF is mexican and they actually have carts here in SoCal where you can buy this delecacy. I have found it in other forms, such as simply corn kernals mixed with the ingredients listed and eaten with a spoon (my preferance since I don't enjoy getting messy while I eat… wierd I know).

    Other substitutions for the cheese is parmesan cheese. It give the tangy-ness that cotija does and can be found easier. Here though, we find it at our regular grocery store.

  16. Wow, just last night I was telling my DF that I wanted to find the recipe for the Elote from our favorite mexican restaurant…and here it is! WOO HOO! Thanks so much!

  17. Just when you think it just can’t get any better – there you go and up the ante into the sky! This blog is soooooooooo wonderful! And now I craving corn like crazy!!

  18. I know this is a weird question but my husband and kids all HATE mayo and sour cream. Are there any substitutions for those ingredients? Can it be made without them?

  19. We’ve made this several times and it is amazingly delicious. However, during these cold winter months I had a serious craving for this and there is no corn on the cob to be found. In desperation I mixed frozen corn with the sauce and sprinkled the cheese on top. It turned out really well! My husband was skeptical at first but went back for seconds later 🙂

  20. when you get it at a stand the use Tajin powder when it is on the cob and Tajin Liquid when it is in the cup. You can use Trechas too but its not as good. Its better sprinkled on top and not mixed w/mayo.

    Also to get it on good you take a butter knife and roll the cob with the mayo and it pushes it between the kernels.

  21. I know I’m totally late to the party, but this this is NACHO LIBRE Corn! Ha, ha. My family loves that movie and I’ve always said that I’ll have to make that kind of corn for my family. I just stumbled upon this recipe, perfect! You guys have the coolest recipes!

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