Learn how to make Mexican Street Corn at home – it’s the perfect corn on the cob recipe for the summer! And bonus: it’s so easy to make! You can grill it or make it in the oven with a garlic mayo, lime juice, cotija cheese, and chili powder for a little heat. Serve it for a barbecue party or enjoy them as a snack!

Mexican street corn on plate with lime wedges

Corn on the cob ♥

Today we’re making Elotes or essentially, Mexican street corn.

Hello golden corn kernels of flavor!

We’ll roast the corn first, brush it with creamy garlic sauce, drizzle with lime juice, and finally, sprinkle with cotija cheese and cilantro. You’re most definitely my favorite thing about summer. 

In the spring and summertime, I live for corn recipes

Growing up in corn country, aka Illinois, one of our summer activities was to grill corn, squirt it with lemon juice and rub it with salt and chili powder. It’s how my mom always had it back home, and it’s how I like my corn till this day.

Nowadays, I will jazz it up and add a little bit of Mexican crema, mayonnaise or sour cream in the mix as well. Living in Texas means we have the best Mexican street food at our fingertips, so Elotes and esquites are sold on almost every street corner via a street vendor or a mom and pop Mexican snack shop.

If you haven’t heard of Mexican street corn or elotes before, allow me to explain. Mexican street corn is corn on the cob, but loaded with flavor. Seriously. It’s a party in your mouth! The corn is rubbed down with a creamy mayo then rolled around in cotija cheese (or feta if you can’t find cotija), sprinkled with cilantro and chili powder and healthy squeeze of lime juice. Is your mouth salivating? Because I know mine definitely is.

There are probably a million different ways to make Mexican corn. And I’m sure every family has their favorite street corn a little differently.

And so the summer corn tradition continues!

elotes on plate topped with cotija, cilantro, and chili powder

Ingredients for Mexican Corn

  • Fresh Sweet Corn: For this recipe, you’ll want to grab fresh sweet corn from the grocery store. Be sure to store the corn in the fridge until you’re ready to grill or bake it in the oven. I like to leave the husk on if I’m making this in the oven, but you can remove the husk if you want grill marks.
  • Mayonnaise: Use your favorite brand of mayonnaise for this recipe. It is a substitute for Mexican crema that is readily available in all grocery stores.
  • Garlic Powder: I like to add a dash of this to the mayonnaise mixture to give it a bit of flavor, however, you can omit this from the recipe if you’d like.
  • Cotija Cheese: Cotija cheese is an aged Mexican cheese made from cow milk. It is similar to a young feta cheese. I have seen parmesan cheese used as a decent substitute for cotija cheese if you cannot find it in your area.
  • Cilantro: Chopped cilantro adds both color and flavor. Feel free to omit this from the recipe if you aren’t a fan.
  • Chili Powder: You can use Tajin, chipotle chili powder, ancho chili powder or even a dash of cayenne pepper if you’d like. Keep in mind that cayenne will had quite the kick so you may want to go easy on it. You can also use mild chili powder.
  • Lime Wedges: You can use lime wedges to give it a bit of an acidic pop. You can also add lime zest to the mayonnaise with garlic powder first for more added lime flavor!

Tips for success! Bought cotija cheese and looking for other ways to use it? Make Blackened Shrimp Tacos, Sheet Pan Street Corn Nachos, Mexican Rice and Corn Salad, and Hearty Chicken Posole.

corn on sheet pan with husk

How to Make Mexican Street Corn Recipe:

  1. Baking the corn. If you plan on making this indoors as a side dish for dinner, then preheat your oven ahead of time. You can leave the husk on and as long as you don’t turn the heat up on the oven, you can cook the corn in the husk. Place the corn directly on the wire rack in the oven an let it roast for 35-45 minutes or until the sweet kernels are tender.
  2. Roast the corn. In the summer time, I love throwing the corn on the grill. Leave the husk on or remove it together pretty grill marks.
  3. Make the garlic mayo. In a bowl, stir together the garlic powder and the mayonnaise. You can also add lime zest to the mayonnaise with garlic powder first for more added lime flavor! I’ve even seen melted butter being added to the mix! Then brush this mixture on the corn.
  4. Roll it around in flavor. In a shallow bowl or dish, add the cotija cheese, cilantro, and chili powder. Roll the cooked corn in these ingredients so that they pick up on all that flavor! Then serve with lime wedges to squeeze on top!
baked corn with husk peeled back

Variations on this recipe

  • Add Hot Cheetos! It’s very common to get Mexican side dishes topped with crushed up hot Cheetos! So feel free to brush with mayo and then roll the corn around in pulse hot Cheetos for a tangy, spicy twist!
  • Prefer to serve this for a party? Why not make a dip version of this!
  • Not a fan of mayonnaise? Skip the mayo and brush the hot corn with melted butter instead.
  • Need a side dish friendly version? Make a Mexican corn salad.
  • Want to serve this all over tortilla chips? Make my street corn nachos!
prepared Elotes on sheet pan

FAQs about this recipe

What is the difference between elote and Mexican Street Corn?

They are one and the same thing!

What is elote made of?

Elote, also known and Mexican street corn is a popular street food in Mexico. It starts with boiled or roasted corn, brushed with mayo and sprinkled with cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, and chili powder.

What does Elote mean?

The word ‘elote’ means ‘corn’ in Spanish.

What is the difference between elote and esquites?​​​

Elote is roasted corn on the cob, and esquites is shaved corn kernels served a cup or bowl topped with your favorite toppings.

How do you store leftover elote?

I like to store leftovers shaved off the cob in an airtight container. I’ll keep them in the fridge and enjoy them as esquites on day two!

Mexican street corn topped with cotija, cilantro, and mayo

Yield: serves 5

Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

The perfect corn on the cob recipe for this summer! Mexican street corn is so easy to make at home. Corn that can be grilled or made in the oven with a garlic mayo, lime juice, cotija cheese, and chili powder for a little heat. Serve it for a barbecue party or enjoy them as a snack!

Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)


  • 5 ears sweet corn
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • ½-1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or ancho (see notes)
  • Limes, quartered


  1. BAKE: If you are going to bake the corn, leave the husks on. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the corn covered in husks and bake directly on the oven rack and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the corn is tender and juicy.
  2. OR GRILL: If you are going to grill the corn, you can leave the corn husks on or take them off for some pretty grill marks. I typically bake the corn for 30 minute and then peel back the corn and toss it on the stove or the grill for a few mintues to char up a little.
  3. SAUCE: In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder with the mayonnaise and whisk.
  4. COMBINE: Place the cotija cheese in a shallow baking dish or a plate. When the corn is done, remove husks and brush the corn with the garlic mayonnaise.
  5. ROLL: Roll in the cotija cheese and sprinkle with cilantro and chili powder. Serve with the lime wedges to squeeze over the corn. Enjoy!


  • LESS SPICY: If you do not want that much heat, replace the chipotle chili powder with smoked paprika.
  • This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled by making more corn as needed.

*The original recipe was for 3 servings and as of 4/2024 it has been updated to 5 serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 201Total Fat: 13gCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 3gProtein: 5g

The nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is just an estimate. To get the most accurate information, please input the ingredients you've used into a nutrition calculator.

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