Elotes (Grilled Mexican Street Food) Recipe

[Photograph and video: Vicky Wasik]

The classic Mexican street food of corn on the cob charred on the grill, then slathered in a spicy and creamy chili-, garlic-, and Cotija cheese–spiked sauce. For a version of elotes that you can eat with a spoon, check out our recipe for esquites.

Why It Works

  • Grilling shucked ears of corn directly over very hot coals brings out the corn’s nutty flavor and chars the kernels slightly.
  • A blend of garlic, cilantro, chili powder, mayo, and Cotija cheese in the sauce, plus a final squeeze of lime, makes the corn sweet, salty, savory, nutty, creamy, and tart all at once.
  • Yield:Serves 4
  • Active time:30 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes
  • Rated: 5
  • Ingredients

    • 1/4 cup (60ml) mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup (60ml) sour cream or Mexican crema
    • 1/2 cup (110g) finely crumbled Cotija or feta cheese, plus more for serving
    • 1/2 teaspoon ancho or guajillo chili powder, plus more for serving
    • 1 medium clove garlic, finely minced (about 1 teaspoon)
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
    • 4 ears shucked corn
    • 1 lime, cut into wedges


    1. 1.

      Light 1 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals evenly over half of coal grate. Alternatively, set half the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.

    2. 2.

      While coals heat, combine mayonnaise, sour cream or crema, cheese, chili powder, garlic, and cilantro in a large bowl. Stir until homogeneous and set aside.

    3. 3.

      When grill is hot, place corn directly over hot side of grill and cook, rotating occasionally, until cooked through and charred in spots on all sides, about 8 minutes total.

    4. 4.

      Transfer corn to bowl with cheese mixture and use a large spoon to evenly coat corn on all sides with mixture. Sprinkle with extra cheese and chili powder and serve immediately with lime wedges.

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