Elote (Mexican Grilled Corn) Three Ways

July 3, 2013Katie
Elote three ways

Elote is just the Mexican way of saying “corn on the cob” and is also commonly known as a Mexican street food sold from carts and stands along the road, especially in the evening hours.

Mexican corn on the cob however, is served a little differently, (and deliciously) than our traditional American corn on the cob. Along with its partner, Esquites, which is basically the same only the corn is cut off the cob and mixed in a bowl.  Both are served up with Mexican crema or mayonnaise and lime wedges, chili powder, and crumbly cheese. Today, I’m serving up Elote and/or Esquites in three ways! It is the best of maize, served with flavors that hit and tingle every area of the taste buds including tangy, sweet, spicy and oh MAN, it’s salty goodness is addictive.

Warning! You may never go back to regular corn on the cob again.

There, you’ve been warned.

Try it straight up at your next cookout.
Elote Mexican Street Corn 1

Try it Esquites style as a Elote Salad. This way is a little less messy to eat for some folks.

Elote salad final.jpg

Or, just for fun, try it as a summer appetizer at your next Mexican fiesta in the form of Elote Shooters.

Elote shooters

To start off for all three recipes, you’re going to need some good sweet corn on the cob.

corn on the cob

Melt two tablespoons of butter in a cup in the microwave and brush them all over with it.

buttered corn

Many recipes I’ve seen for Elote calls for peeling back the husks, removing the corn silk, pulling the husks back over the corn, soaking the corn for 30 minutes and then grilling it in the husks.

I say nonsense!  This basically steams the corn in its husks, which may keep it a bit moister inside, but doesn’t fully allow the corn to char and roast the way we like it at home.

Plus it saves MUCHO amounts of time.

We just peel the husks and silk off, butter it, and toss it on the grill.

roasted grilled corn

Then we turn it occasionally, until it gets nice char marks on it.  All together I’d say we cook it about 10 minutes over medium low flames.

grilled corn

ELOTE RECIPE: To make Elote on the cob, it’s simple.  If you prefer simple and messy, this is the recipe for you!

IF, you can find this …Mexican Crema….

mexican crema

By ALL all means, feel free to use it. Crema is the Mexican version of Crème fraîche, and is delicious.  We have it here in Oklahoma in many of our stores near the cheese or sour cream and it’s almost interchangeable with either sour cream or Crème fraîche.  If you can’t find it, use plain ol’ mayonnaise.

Slather it on the corn like you would butter.

spread mayonnaise on Elote

Sprinkle it with some grated Cotija or Parmesan cheese, which you’ll see explained later on.  Better yet, just grate some into a shallow dish or platter and roll the corn in it.

grated Cotija

Sprinkle on some cayenne pepper. Be careful if you don’t like tons of heat! Top it off with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice and that’s it for Elote!

Elote Mexican Street Corn

ESQUITES OR MEXICAN CORN SALAD:  To make Esquites, or Mexican Grilled Corn salad, you start out the same way. Grill your corn and while it’s cooking, you can start on your sauce.

Use one whole cup of the Mexican crema for the sauce or if you can’t find it…no worries,  just do the following…

Take a one cup measuring cup and fill it halfway with mayonnaise.  Then fill it the rest of the way with Greek yogurt.  Dump it into a large bowl and add in 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Also grab a lime and zest about 2 teaspoons of zest right in and then squeeze in about a tablespoon of the lime juice.  Whisk it all up to make a tangy and spicy sauce.

Elote sauce

By now your corn should be nicely charred and wonderful.

Photo Jun 30, 4 57 11 AM

Pile it all on a platter and take it inside to cool for just a few minutes, just so you can handle it without burning your fingers. OR,  you can hold onto it with a towel or folded paper towel.

The trick to cutting corn easily off the cob is to use a bundt pan.  I almost never use my bundt pan, so it makes me feel like there is a reason I let it take up so much space in my cupboard.

Stand the ear of corn on end and poke one end into the hole in the middle of the pan.

Cut corn bundt pan

Just take a sharp knife and slice it down the cob, as CLOSE to the cob as you can get without actually cutting chunks of the cob off, because, hey man, NO ONE likes to bite into the cob!  The corn will fall into the bundt pan nicely.  Do the same for the remaining 7 ears of corn. Then dump the whole bundt pan into your sauce.

bundt pan corn on the cob

Chop up a good bunch of cilantro – when chopped it should be about 1/4 cup.

Elote cilantro

Dig down deep in the bowl with a spoon and mix the sauce in real well.

Mix Elote salad

Then spoon it into a nice (sort of flat) bowl.

Elote salad

The two-fold reasons for this are #1 – You want each bite of salad to have toppings of cheese, cayenne and cilantro on it…and #2 It looks prettier that way!

Now, again, IF you can find it, take a block of this goodness:

Cotija cheese

This is Cotija cheese and it is a salty crumbly cheese that is great for finishing Mexican dishes. But again, NO WORRIES, if you can’t find it.  Substitute something like Parmesan or even Ricotta Salata instead.  Grate it up finely right over the bowl of corn salad.

Cotija cheese

Add a light sprinkling of cayenne pepper.

cayenne elote

Then top it with some cilantro and surround it with lime slices for anyone wanting an extra squeeze of tartness.

Elote salad

ESQUITES OR MEXICAN CORN SALAD SHOOTERS:  The third way  to use Elote is pretty much the same as the salad version.  After you get the corn and cilantro mixed with the sauce, simply spoon it into some pretty shot glasses.

Elote shots

Grate some Cotija or Parmesan.

cotija cheese grate

And sprinkle the top, just like you did the salad with the cheese.

cotija cheese

Top with cayenne and cilantro and maybe a few cute sprigs of chives.

Elote shooters 6.jpg

Aren’t these cute for a Mexican Fiesta?

Elote shooters 4.jpg

You could just put out a tray full of them. I think they’re lovely.

Elote shooters

Either way you make this recipe, it’s sure to please! Try it out this summer!


Elote (Mexican Grilled Corn) Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 8
For the Sauce:
  • ½ cup mayo or 1 c. Mexican Crema
  • ½ c. Greek yogurt (don't use if using Crema)
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 t. lime zest
  • 1 T. lime juice
  • ½ t. salt
Other Ingredients:
  • 8 ears fresh sweet corn
  • 2 T. melted butter
  • ½ -1 c. Cotija cheese, grated (can substitute parmesan)
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cilantro, chopped, plus 1 T. for garnish
For the sauce:
  1. Mix all together with whisk until creamy.
For the Salad:
  1. Brush corn with melted butter and grill over medium low flame on outdoor grill, turning often until corn has charred kernels, about 10 minutes. Remove to platter and let cool a bit.
  2. Using a bundt pan, put one end of corn in center hole and using sharp knife, cut downward on corn as close to the cob as you can get without cutting actualy cob. Corn will fall into bundt pan bowl.
  3. Dump corn into sauce bowl. Add cilantro and mix well. Remove to a pretty bowl (flatter bowls look better and allow cheese to cover each serving).
  4. Grate Cotija or Parmesan cheese evenly over top of salad
  5. Sprinkle ¼ t. cayenne lightly over top.
  6. Sprinkle 1 T. of cilantro over top.
  7. Serve with additional lime wedges

Check out these other great dishes bloggers are making with corn for Food Network’s Summerfest!

Jeanette’s Healthy LivingMexican Corn Salad “Esquites”
Virtually HomemadeGrilled Corn with Ancho Chili Butter and Fresh Lime
Domesticate MeCampfire Chicken Packets with Zucchini, Corn and Cherry Tomatoes
Dishin & DishesElote (Mexican Grilled Corn) Three Ways
Feed Me PhoebeCorn on the Cob with Sriracha Lime Butter
Taste With The EyesHello Summer Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885Fresh Corn, Roasted Tomato and Pickled Garlic Pizza with Cornmeal Crust
Red or Green?Corn & Green Chile Corn Muffins
Made by MichelleRoasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa
Blue Apron BlogSummer Succotash with Cod and Pickled Grapes
DevourFour Grilled Corn Favorites
The Heritage CookFresh Corn and Tomato Salad
The Sensitive EpicureCilantro Rice with Corn, Black Beans and Avocados
Pinch My SaltGrilled Corn Guacamole
Daily*DishinManchego Lime Roasted Corn
WeeliciousCorn Salsa
FN DishOff the Cob Salads

how to make elote



  • Marie at the Lazy W

    July 3, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Good grief. I haven't had any food yet today. My mouth is WATERING reading this. Mexican crema is officially on my weekend shopping list, Katie!! Planning to try all of this,. YUM thank you! Pinned it.
  • Jeanette

    July 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Love esquites - it's like having a party in your mouth! Beautiful photos - fun eats on the cob.
  • Katelyn

    July 12, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Is the salad best served hot or cold? Sounds delicious either way!
    1. DishinandDishes

      July 13, 2013 at 9:04 am

      Katelyn I like it warm !! You could absolutely do cold though.

Don't be afraid to comment! I LOVE to hear from my readers!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Post Next Post
%d bloggers like this: