I don’t know if there’s a tastier way to enjoy corn on the cob then Elote grilled corn, smothered in a creamy mayo sauce and topped with chili powder, cheese and lime. This popular Mexican snack makes a great side dish for summer BBQ’s and potlucks.
If you’d rather enjoy corn cut off the cob, don’t miss my esquites recipe, or try this Corn Salad.
I’m lucky enough to admit that my first experience with Elote was in Puebla, Mexico while living there during a school internship, and it quickly became my favorite snack whenever we were exploring the streets of the city.
This was one Mexican recipe I refused to leave the country without!
What is Elote?
The world “elote” means “corn cob” in Spanish, and Mexican Elote is grilled corn on the cob slathered in a mayo cream sauce and garnished with chili powder, cheese and lime. Elotes (and esquites) are as commonly sold from street carts in Mexico as hot dogs are in Manhatten. At least that’s what I experienced while living in Puebla, Mexico!
How to make Elote:
1. Cook the corn: You can cook the corn cobs on the stove, on a grill, or in the instant pot. For the stove, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the ears of corn and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
2. (Optional step, if corn was cooked on stovetop or instant pot): Spread melted butter over the cooked corn and grill until slightly charred on all sides.
3. Mix the mayonnaise and Mexican crema together, then spread a thin layer over the cooked corn cobs.
4. Sprinkle generously with cotija cheese and then desired amount of chili powder. Serve garnished with cilantro and a lime wedge on the side, for squeezing on top.
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:
To make-ahead: Cook the corn, allow to cool and store covered in the fridge. Prepare the topping ingredients and store in the fridge. When ready to assemble, brush the corn with melted butter and grill over medium-high heat just until charred. Spread with toppings.
To freeze corn: Blanch the corn on the cob for a few minutes in boiling water. Remove and allow to cool before storing a freezer safe container for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Brush the corn with melted butter and grill over medium-high heat just until charred. Spread with toppings.
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- 4 ears corn* , husked
- 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons Mexican crema , or sour cream
- ½ cup freshly grated cotija cheese , or queso fresco*
- Chili powder or tajin , to taste
- 1 lime , quartered
- Chopped cilantro , for garnish, optional
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the ears of corn and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (or cook them in the instant pot).
(Optional step): Brush corn with melted butter and grill corn on medium heat until slightly charred.
Mix the mayonnaise and Mexican crema together and spread a thin layer all around the corn ears.
Sprinkle generously with cotija cheese and then desired amount of chili powder. Serve garnished with cilantro, and with a lime wedge on the side for squeezing on top.
Cheese: Cotija cheese is traditional, but if you can’t find it, substitute finely grated parmesan cheese.
Pro tip: if using fresh husked corn, leave stem end attached as something to hold on to while eating. Otherwise stick a long wooden skewer into the end of the corn before grilling or coating, to make them easier to hold and eat.
Esquites: If you like your corn cut from the cob, try making Esquites instead (Mexican corn served in a cup).
Have you tried this recipe? Rate and comment below!
Nutritional calculation is not perfectly accurate, as you may not use all of the mayo/crema sauce or cheese, depending on preference.
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