Easy Eats

Grilled Elote Corn

A few weeks ago we went to a BBQ at a friend’s house and one of the things they served were these delicious ears of Grilled Mexican Corn with lots of cheese and herbs on them.

I’ve had street corn (sometimes called Elote Corn)  before in South America, but honestly, this was better.

Here’s a rough summary of the conversation I had with the party host.

Me: Wow. That corn is delicious. I ate all of it. Why is it so good?

Host: You don’t want to know.

Me: I really, really do. What’s the secret?

Host: Mayonnaise.

Me: Like… mayonnaise mayonnaise?

Host: Mayonnaise. That is all.

Me: Whatever. I’ll have one more.

So here it is for you. The way to make the best ear of corn you’ll eat this summer. I went ahead and made a quick batch of homemade mayo for my version which I think made it even better, but you can use whatever you have.

8 ears
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...


Grilled Elote Corn

Grilled Mexican Corn, also called street corn or Elote is a fantastic side dish for the summer. Grilled sweet corn topped with spices and crumbled cheese!


8 ears sweet corn, grilled
1 cup mayonnaise (homemade is best)
8 ounces cotija cheese
Chili powder
Fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper
Print Recipe  


I really recommend trying to make homemade mayo for this dish. It makes a world of difference and it’s not that hard. Follow my link in the ingredients to my homemade mayo recipe.

1) Grill corn in the husk over high heat for 10-12 minutes until the husks are really charred and the corn is steaming hot.

2) Let the corn cool briefly and then shuck the ears.

3) Rub each ear with a light layer of mayo (go light) and sprinkle each one generously with cotija cheese, chili powder, and fresh cilantro. Serve while warm!

Grilled Mexican Corn

The Mayonnaise

I realize that some of you may be doubting me on the whole mayonnaise thing. But think about it… what’s the most common condiment for corn? Probably butter, right?

Well, butter is mostly fat and mayonnaise is mostly fat. The nice thing about mayo is that it’s thick enough to really stick to the corn and then you can pile on toppings that stick to the corn also.

Making homemade mayo is not hard. I can whisk up a batch of it in, literally, two minutes. It starts with an egg yolk, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a small squirt of mustard.

For my full recipe and instructions, check out my homemade mayo post!

Making mayo

Mayo basics

Whisk all that together and then start very slowly whisking in the oil. To make sure I’m adding the oil slow enough, I just dip my whisk in the oil and then whisk it in so there are just a few drops of oil getting whisked in.

making mayo

Whisk whisk.

After a few times of doing that you can start drizzling in the oil in a slow stream.

Eventually, the mayo will thicken into a beautiful, creamy situation.

Season it well with salt and pepper and maybe a pinch of chili powder or cayenne pepper for this recipe.

homemade mayo

Mayo done!

Making the Corn

The nice thing about corn is that it comes in its cooking device. Just throw the ears on a hot grill and leave them until they are nicely charred. They’ll need to grill for at least 10-12 minutes.

Corn on the grill - Grilled Mexican Corn

Grilling corn!

Then you can just husk the corn when it comes off the grill and prepare your other toppings (the mayo and the cheese).

Grilled Mexican Corn fixings


Mayo Application

Here’s the thing that makes the mayo not gross. You want to use a super-thin layer of it. Just brush on a light coat of it. It should barely be noticeable in the final ear. It will just kind of make the corn glisten with deliciousness.

The secret ingredient to grilled elote corn.

Secret ingredient

Then you can sprinkle on your toppings like crumbled cheese, fresh cilantro, and chili powder.

So delicious.

Grilled Mexican Corn ~ Macheesmo

These were way good.

I ate two ears of Grilled Mexican Corn right away and probably could’ve handled a third.

I do not lie to you all.

I’m telling you… MAYONNAISE.

Do it and don’t look back.

14 comments on “Grilled Elote Corn

  1. I’m betting that whisking some fresh lime juice into the mayo wouldn’t be a bad thing. Maybe some fine chopped chilies. Creamy, acid, sweet and heat all included..

    1. Good call Scott! I always use lemon in my mayo, but that’s just out of habit. I think lime would be an awesome switch-up for this variety!

  2. one of our favorites in this category is crab spice and Parmesan. Also cutting it off the ear and stir frying with scallions, basil, shrimp, and butter. Simple but oh so yummy on a summer night when you don’t want a heavy meal. :)

  3. I make my corn like this all the time! (Though I skip the cilantro.) I’m obsessed with cotija cheese — makes an *amazing* breakfast burrito, too. So yummy. This is how the corn is served at this place in Ft. Greene — have you ever been to Habana Outpost, I think it’s called? Next time you’re in Brooklyn, if you want good mexican / cuban food… so good.

  4. This sound so wonderful, but I have question, what is Cotija cheese? I have never heard of that before.

  5. Looks awesome. I lived in Mexico for about 6 months, and road side vendors made this, only after grilling the corn, then cut all the kernels off, threw them in a Styrofoam cup, and added the mayo, spices and cheese in the cup, and mixed it up making kind of like a corn salad to be eaten with a fork or spoon. It was heavier on the Mayo than this is and it was super creamy. People would pull off the road, buy a few cups, and take on the road with them like a fast food stop. Mmmmmm.

  6. Yep, I had this every day during the month I spend in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It was made in the central plaza (El Jardin) by street vendors with carts. There the corn is husked and when you order it they just plunk an ear in hot water before putting on the mayo and cheese. I was afraid he water wasn’t hot enough to be safe, but ate it anyway. So good. And yes, elote just means corn. I get cotija cheese at Whole Foods or Mexican markets if you’re lucky enough to live near one of those. Feta will work but it’s not the same.

  7. My girlfriend and I eat Elote all the time during sweet corn season. Im pretty sure we have eaten just elote alone as a meal many many times..

  8. I love elote. The best I had was recently in Vegas at some dive we went to. Chris Lilly taught us that you can save a few calories by using non fat Greek yogurt in place of some of the mayo and you really couldn’t tell.

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