Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

Grilled sweet corn is a summer staple, right? Kick it up a notch with my Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote)… After your corn is grilled, slather it with a zesty, creamy mixture of plain Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, cilantro, ancho, garlic, lime, and of course, cotija and more cilantro. It’s a bit more work, but so tasty, and definitely worth the effort!

Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote) on sticks on a cast iron tray garnished with chopped cilantro and crumbled cotija.

I’ve seen zero evidence of any nation on Earth other than Mexico even remotely having the slightest clue what Mexican food is about or even come close to reproducing it.

It is perhaps the most misunderstood country and cuisine on Earth.

~~ Anthony Bourdain

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Healthy Mexican Food

I agree. I was born and raised in southern California… My parents took us to Baja California (Mexico) as children, for trinkets and street food in Tijuana, and further south for the excellent fishing.

Even growing up in southern California, my perception of Mexican food was formed by the menus of popular (cheap) Mexican restaurants, and the American versions we cooked at home. Tacos, enchiladas, chile rellenos were heavy on fats and calories, and delicious. It wasn’t until years later when we “landed” in Las Cruces, New Mexico that I began to realize we had not understood the varied, wonderful, and healthy cuisine of Mexico.

I began to cook with Hatch green chile (New Mexico) and poblano, ancho, serrano, guajillo chiles (Mexico). I discovered the salty pleasure of a bit of cotija, and abandoned the familiar cheddar and jack cheeses I’d been accustomed to using. I even began cooking dishes without cheese… perish the thought!  😆 Mexican cuisine has so much to offer.

In my nearly 2 years in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley near the Gulf of Mexico, my burgeoning love of Mexican flavors and cooking are probably quite apparent here on Beyond Mere Sustenance?

🌽 What is Elote?

So, no more chasing rabbits… I promise. Elote is an antojito or snack. It is a popular Mexican street food, and why not? Grilled sweet corn on a stick with a glorious creamy sauce… what’s not to love?

A close up of 4 Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote) on sticks with limes and a squeezer.

In Mexico, the elote will probably be coated in crema and rolled in crumbled cotija. Crema is similar to sour cream or crème fraiche, and is fairly high in calories and fats. In experimenting, I found that a 50/50 ratio of olive oil mayonnaise and plain Greek yogurt worked really well, and Greek yogurt has about 15% of the calories. IMHO, the taste is comparable (delicious). To make the sauce/topping, simply whisk the yogurt, olive oil mayo, and remaining ingredients together.

📋 Ingredients Notes

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

  • plain Greek yogurt – If calories and fat are not an issue, by all means substitute Mexican crema or sour cream!
  • mayonnaise – I use olive oil mayonnaise, but the choice is yours.
  • cotija – Cotija is a crumbly Mexican cheese that works really well for elote. You can substitute another crumbly cheese, but it’s not ideal.
  • ground red chile powder – Ancho, chipotle, or New Mexico red chile powder are perfect. Please do not substitute generic “chili powder.” It’s a spice blend.
  • garlic
  • cilantro
  • fresh lime juice
  • 4 ears sweet corn

🔪 Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill – Heat a gas or charcoal grill to 400°.
  2. Prepare the corn – Husk the corn. Snap in two (if desired). Skewer (if desired). 
  3. Make the sauce – Whisk all sauce ingredients together. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.
  4. Grill the corn – Place the husked corn directly onto grill grates. Grill the corn for about 3 minutes, undisturbed, or until kernels begin to turn golden brown and look charred. Turn over and repeat. When all sides are browned, remove from the grill onto a plate. Remove the corn from the grill and cool 5 minutes.
  5. Finish the elote – Using a basting brush, generously “paint” the corn with the sauce. Garnish with additional crumbled cotija and chopped cilantro as desired.

NOTE: I husk the corn, snap them in two, and skewer them. Grill them on a preheated hot grill about 3 minutes per side for a total of about 15 minutes. You’ll want a few charred kernels! Sabroso!

💭 Tips

There is no dainty way to eat elote. I find that snapping the corn in half and putting them on a skewer makes them easier to grill and eat them.


Is elote good leftover?

I don’t think so. When I make elote, I allow 1 ear per person, and do not plan on leftovers. I do, however, occasionally grill extra corn for a black bean and corn salad in the next day or two.

What can I serve with elote?

Serve your Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote) with a Mexican-style pork chop like my Mexican Spiced Pork Chops With Salsa Verde and Cotija or Citrus Marinated Pork Chops with Hatch Green Chile. For a lighter option, try my Spicy Cilantro Lime Shrimp Skewers. For more main dishes with Mexican flare, check out my Mexican category.

Serve your Mexican-style meal with a glass of Spanish rosé. I am not a big fan of Mexican beers, but a Negro Modelo also pairs well. Today is the first day of spring… It’s time to heat up the grill!

Grilling Signature

Yield: 4 servings

Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

A creamy, yogurt and mayonnaise-based sauce with ancho, garlic, lime, cotija, and cilantro coats fresh, grilled sweet corn... A great side dish with a cumin-rubbed and grilled chicken breast or pork chop!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes



  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cotija (more for garnish), crumbled
  • 2 teaspoons ancho or chipotle chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (I like roasted garlic), minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (more for garnish), finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • several grinds sea salt, to taste

Grilled Corn

  • 4 ears sweet corn
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Husk the corn. Snap in two (if desired). Skewer (if desired). Make the sauce.
  2. Whisk all sauce ingredients together. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Grill until some kernels are charred, turning to cook on all sides - about 15 minutes total. 
  4. Remove the corn from the grill and cool 5 minutes.
  5. Using a basting brush, generously "paint" the corn with the sauce. Garnish with additional crumbled cotija and chopped cilantro.
  6. Enjoy!


In calculating the calories, I used 1 medium (about 7") ear of corn per person (2 halves) at 100 calories per ear. I added 50 calories for the sauce, rather than 1/4 of the entire batch. The amount you brush on will determine the actual calories in your corn. As always, this information is from MyFitnessPal, and approximate.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150

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    1. Yes! My Dad just told me he had street corn in Japan whenever he was there, and sent me a recipe for one he thought was similar. I can’t wait to try it with different flavor combinations!