There are few things I love more than grabbing a cup or cob of street corn from the street carts of Mexico. Along with a taco, of course. Our recipe brings this comfort food classic straight to your kitchen. We use authentic ingredients like Cotija and crema, while still giving you some alternative options should you live somewhere you can’t find the right items. Whether you’re hosting a backyard BBQ or simply craving a flavorful side dish, this recipe is perfect for any occasion.

Take all the flavors of street corn and enjoy it as a soup with our popular Mexican Street Corn Soup.

Why Our Recipe

  • We use traditional Mexican ingredients like Cotija cheese and Mexican crema, for that authentic taste.
  • Cook your corn in the oven or over an open flame on the grill.
  • Spicy option for those who like to add a little heat.

A close view of three ears of Mexican street corn.

For those who love a bit of heat, we’ve included an option to drizzle Mexican hot sauce, adding an extra kick to each bite. The combination of creamy, cheesy, and spicy elements ensures a mouthwatering experience that’s sure to impress. Top it all off with freshly chopped cilantro for a corn-on-the-cob experience that will leave you licking your fingers clean.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients for Mexican Street Corn are laid out on a wooden board.
  • Corn: White corn is the traditional option for the authentic choice, but yellow corn and sweet corn will also work. Look for ears with bright green husks and plump kernels to ensure optimal flavor and juiciness.
  • Mayonnaise: Use a good quality mayonnaise for a creamy base that helps the other ingredients adhere to the corn.
  • Mexican Crema: If you can’t find Mexican crema, sour cream makes a suitable substitute.
  • Cotija Cheese: One of the important things to do is to grate your Cotija cheese rather than crumble it. This will give you the right texture and will work better with our mixture, ensuring even coverage and enhancing the overall taste.
  • Ancho Chili Powder: Adds a mild smokiness without being overwhelmingly spicy. Regular chili powder can work, but ancho gives you the most authentic flavor.
  • Hot Sauce: For the hot sauce, use a Mexican-style hot sauce like Cholula, Tapatio, or Valentina. I personally like adding the hot sauce as it adds both heat and flavor, but it’s optional.
  • Cilantro: Add cilantro for both color and flavor, if desired. If you’ve got the genetic aversion, feel free to replace it with parsley or leave it out altogether.

Elote vs Esquites

In Mexico, elote is the name for that irresistible Mexican street corn on the cob that’s grilled to perfection. If you want all that amazing flavor off the cob, try esquites—the same great ingredients, but served in a bowl with the kernels cut off the cob.

To turn this recipe into esquites start by grilling or roasting the corn as usual, then carefully cut the kernels off the cob and transfer them to a large bowl. Mix the corn with the same delicious ingredients and stir everything together until the kernels are well-coated. Serve warm in a bowl for serving, or in individual serving cups. Drizzle with Mexican hot sauce and sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro to garnish.

An ear of Mexican Street corn with other pieces in the background.

Make it Less of a Mess

Mexican street corn is a bit of a messy comfort food. While you can certainly enjoy it with your hands, using sticks or holders can be a good option for on-the-go or outdoor eating in particular.

Put it on a Stick: For wooden skewers, soaking them in water for 30 minutes before grilling prevents burning. Bamboo sticks, being slightly thicker, provide a better grip for larger ears of corn. Reusable metal or silicone skewers don’t require and soaking and can be used over and over again.

Corn Holders: Corn holders come in pairs and offer a comfortable, non-slip grip with stainless steel prongs for durability and often come in cute designs.

Cooking for a Crowd

Preparation: For larger crowds or making ahead for a party, prepare all of your corn ahead of time by wrapping it in aluminum foil and mixing your spread in a separate container. Refrigerate the spread until ready to serve and have bowls of cotija, cilantro, and bottles of hot sauce ready.

Cooking: The corn is easy to make in the oven or on the grill in large batches without increasing cooking time. Your only limit is the amount of space you have. The corn will stay warm in the foil for at least 1 hour.

Serving: It’s easiest to have your guests coat their own cobs and assemble with any additional toppings with the cotija, hot sauce, and cilantro.

Make it a feast with…