Mexican Corn On The Cob Elote: Recipes, Variations, and Best Places to Try

Elote, a staple in Mexican street food culture, traces its roots back to ancient Mesoamerican civilizations. Indigenous people cooked corn in various ways, leading to the modern-day version that’s sold on the streets of Mexico. Traditional Elote gained popularity for its simplicity and robust flavors, making it a beloved snack and side dish.

Ingredients and Variations

Classic Elote features a few key ingredients:

  • Fresh corn on the cob: roasted or boiled
  • Mayonnaise: adds a creamy texture
  • Cotija cheese: provides a tangy, salty flavor
  • Chili powder: delivers a spicy kick
  • Lime juice: enhances the overall taste
  • Sour cream instead of mayonnaise for a tangy twist
  • Parmesan cheese as a substitute for cotija
  • Adding hot sauce for extra heat
  • Using cilantro for added freshness

How to Make Mexican Corn On The Cob Elote

Essential Ingredients

To make Mexican Corn On The Cob Elote, gather these ingredients:

  1. Fresh Corn – Use 4 ears of corn, still in their husks for best flavor.
  2. Mayonnaise – 1/2 cup to create a creamy coating.
  3. Cotija Cheese – 1/2 cup, crumbled, for a salty punch.
  4. Chili Powder – 1 tablespoon for heat and color.
  5. Lime Juice – From 2 limes, for tanginess.
  6. Cilantro – A small bunch, chopped, for freshness.
  7. Salt – To taste, for seasoning.
  8. Butter – 2 tablespoons, melted, for extra richness.

Step-by-Step Cooking Guide

Follow these steps to prepare authentic Mexican Corn On The Cob Elote:

  1. Preheat Grill – Heat the grill to medium-high.
  2. Prep Corn – Pull back husks without removing them and remove silk from each ear of corn. Rewrap husks around corn.
  3. Grill Corn – Place corn on the grill. Cook for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally until kernels are tender and slightly charred.
  4. Prepare Coating – While corn grills, mix mayonnaise, lime juice, and salt in a bowl.
  5. Brush Corn – After grilling, pull husks back. Brush each ear with melted butter, followed by the mayonnaise mixture.
  6. Add Toppings – Sprinkle cotija cheese and chili powder over the corn. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
  7. Serve – Serve immediately with extra lime wedges on the side for additional tang.

Use fresh ingredients for the best results in this popular Mexican street food.

Health Benefits of Elote

Nutritional Value of Corn

Elote’s primary ingredient, corn, offers several nutritional benefits. One medium-sized ear of corn contains:

  • Calories: Around 90
  • Carbohydrates: Approximately 19g, providing energy
  • Dietary Fiber: Roughly 2g, aiding digestion
  • Protein: About 3g, supporting muscle repair
  • Fats: Less than 1g, keeping it low-fat

Corn is also rich in essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, which boosts immunity, and folate, promoting cell function and tissue growth. Its antioxidant properties help combat oxidative stress.

Healthy Toppings and Alternatives

Traditional elote toppings like mayonnaise and cotija cheese contribute flavor but can be high in calories and fat. For healthier alternatives:

  • Greek Yogurt: Replace mayonnaise with Greek yogurt to reduce fat and add protein.
  • Feta Cheese: Use crumbled feta instead of cotija to cut sodium levels.
  • Chili Lime Seasoning: Avoid butter by seasoning corn directly with chili lime powder for spice without added fat.
  • Cilantro and Lime Juice: Enhance flavor naturally without extra calories or fats.

Using fresh, wholesome toppings ensures you enjoy a nutritious and delicious treat.

Where to Find the Best Elote

Street Food Stalls

Street food stalls offer some of the best elote. Vendors prepare elote fresh and serve it steaming hot, topped with traditional toppings like mayo, cotija cheese, chili powder, and lime juice. In cities with large Mexican communities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston, you can explore various vendors. Often found near markets or popular streets, these stalls provide an authentic experience.

Markets like Mercado La Paloma in Los Angeles and Maxwell Street Market in Chicago are prime spots. Visit these locations to experience a diverse range of elote variations from different vendors. The freshness and local vibe make street food stalls a must-visit for elote lovers.

Restaurants and Food Festivals

Restaurants and food festivals elevate the elote experience. Many restaurants feature gourmet versions with unique twists. Restaurants such as Gracias Madre in Los Angeles and Xoco in Chicago showcase elote with creative toppings like truffle oil, smoked sea salt, or different cheese blends.

Food festivals dedicated to Mexican cuisine or broader food cultures often include elote. Events like the Taste of Mexico in Los Angeles and the National Elote Festival in Chicago highlight exceptional elote preparations. These festivals gather top vendors and chefs, allowing you to sample several elote styles in one place.


Elote is more than just a snack; it’s a cultural experience that brings the vibrant flavors of Mexico to your palate. Whether you’re making it at home with fresh ingredients or seeking out the best spots in your city, there’s no denying the delicious appeal of this street food favorite. With endless variations and creative toppings, elote offers something for everyone. So next time you’re in the mood for a flavorful treat, don’t hesitate to indulge in this Mexican delight. Enjoy the rich history and diverse tastes that make elote a beloved dish worldwide.

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