|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 19g||24%|
|Saturated Fat 6g||29%|
|Total Carbohydrate 20g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||9%|
|Total Sugars 5g|
|Vitamin C 10mg||48%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Elote (eh-LOH-teh), also known as Mexican street corn, is salty, sweet, crunchy, and creamy in every bite. It hits all the right flavor notes, especially hot off the grill in the summer months when fresh corn is at its peak and abundantly available at every market. It's a popular street food in Mexico and can be served as a snack or side dish.
For a dish that has so many layers of flavor, the recipe is quite simple. Roast corn still in the husks to keep them moist—this is best done on the grill, but you can use the oven, too. Give them a quick char, then roll the ears of corn in a garlicky lime crema and crumbly, perfectly salty cotija cheese. A sprinkle of fresh cilantro and chili powder is the finishing touch.
Elote can be prepared using a pre-made spice mix called Tajín seasoning, which includes ground red chiles, sea salt, and dehydrated lime juice. This recipe calls for chili powder, but by all means, if you have Tajín, use it. Just cut back on the salt, as it's already in the blend.
Whip up a batch of elote as a fun summertime snack or appetizer or serve alongside tacos, carne asada, or your favorite barbecue fare.
“I adore corn on the cob, and when I’m not eating it buttered and salted, I’m preparing it as elote. This recipe is so easy and so delicious. I have to confess that I ate two pieces. Such great flavors with so little effort. Exactly my type of recipe.” —Diana Andrews
8 ears sweet corn, preferably in the husk, silks trimmed
1/2 cup sour cream or crema
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 medium lime, juiced
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt (less if using Tajin)
1 cup crumbled cotija cheese
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons chili powder, or Tajin
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients and preheat a grill to medium heat. (For an oven option, see variations below.)
Grill the corn in its husk until sweet and tender, about 15 minutes, turning once or twice during cooking. Let cool a few minutes then husk the corn.
Char the corn directly on the hot grill for extra flavor and color, about 3 minutes, rotating a few times.
In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, and lime juice.
Using a Microplane or a garlic press, grate the garlic into the mixture. Add the salt and whisk to combine.
Spread the mayo mixture onto a flat plate. Crumble the cotija cheese on a separate flat plate.
Roll the corn in the mayo mixture to completely coat the ear. You can use corn on the cob holders to help you roll them; tongs will also work.
Roll the coated ear of corn in the crumbled cheese and set aside on a platter. Repeat with the remaining ears.
Top the corn with chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of chili powder, or Tajin. Serve immediately.
When shopping for corn on the cob, look for bright green, firm ears with fresh-looking silks. If possible, peel back the top of the husk slightly to inspect the kernels—they should be plump, not shriveled. Store in a bag in the fridge and use as soon as possible.
- If you don't have grill access, the corn can be roasted in the oven. Place the corn cobs directly on the oven rack in a 350 F oven and allow to roast until husks are dried out and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Husk and broil for more color if needed, about 3 minutes, turning once or twice. Proceed with the recipe as written.
- Instead of cotija cheese, try a mixture of 3/4 cup of crumbled queso fresco and 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese.
How to Store
- This is one of those dishes that's really best eaten warm right on the cob. However, if you have leftovers, you can keep them wrapped in foil or in a covered container for up to 3 days and then reheat in the oven, wrapped, at 350 F for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Otherwise, cut the kernels, sour cream mixture, and seasoning off the cob and store in a covered container for 2 to 3 days. Serve the leftovers as esquites.
What's the Difference Between Elote and Esquites?
The dish esquites is similar to elote, but the roasted corn is served completely off the cob instead of on it. Esquites and elote are both highly addictive snacky street foods in Mexico; esquites is often served in a cup and eaten with a fork or a spoon. This preparation is best warm, but it's also delicious served cold.
Is Cotija Cheese the Same as Queso Fresco?
Queso fresco and cotija cheese are fresh Mexican cheeses that are both super crumbly. Queso fresco has a milder, lightly tangy, and salty taste, while cotija is sometimes called the Parmesan of Mexico, with a saltier, more pungent flavor.