Grilled Corn on the Cob – Elotes!

Grilled Corn on the Cob Recipe Video (scroll down for recipe)

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GUYS. I learned how to make grilled corn on the cob, Mexican-style I mean. The kind, you know, it’s smoky and grilled and cheesy and creamy and lime juicey and salty and a little spicy and just pretty much the ONLY way to eat corn-on-the-cob, amiright? Truth is, though, there’s a good chance you know not of what I speak about and that the idea of putting cheese and mayo on grilled corn on the cob makes your tummy turn over … in its grave. Because you’re dead. And I am to blame for making you so grossed out.

But it’s not like that.

Elotes as we call it around here in Texas — as well as Mexico and all over Latin America, yes — is believed to be the the world’s finest fresh sweet corn preparation known to man or even to the aliens that may have populated the earth since the decades when the Maya ruled. In Spanish, an elote is an ear of corn. Typically, those ears of corn are roasted and served this way, with a generous coating of a creamy lime sauce, topped with cotija cheese, and sprinkled liberally with Tajín which is a Mexican seasoned salt comprised of chilies, salt, and dehydrated lime juice. In lieu of Tajín, make your own mixture of chili powder and salt and add an extra squeeze of lime to your elote. Elote en vaso is the same roasted corn, that has been sliced from its cob and piled into a cup with the sauce, cheese, and chili poured all over the top. It’s easier to eat, for sure, but not as fun. Eating corn right off the cob has always been and will always be my favorite way to eat corn and not just because I get to make typewriter noises while I eat it.

For the sauce, you can use either mayonnaise or Mexican crema, which is thin soured cream, similar to creme fraiche, but pourable. Crema is what is used in Mexico. Mayonnaise is probably more common in central Texas. Either way you want to play it.

A couple weeks ago, my friend Carlos (you may remember him from the vegetarian enchiladas banderas recipe!) came over and showed us how he learned to grill corn in Guadalajara. So good! I think he was a little disappointed that I had mayo instead of crema, but he never showed it. The corn was dope anyway. Thanks, Carlos!

Grilled Corn on the Cob (Elotes) Recipe

grilled corn on the cobs


Grilled Corn on the Cob – Elotes!

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3.5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 1x


  • 8 ears of corn
  • 1/2 cup crema or mayonnaise
  • 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup cotija
  • Tajín or chili powder
  • Salt


  1. Soak the corn, husks and all, in water for 30 minutes to an hour while you prepare your grill. You’ll want a medium-hot grill (350-400ºF) set up for direct heat cooking.
  2. Mix the crema or mayonnaise in a small bowl with the lime juice, a tablespoon of the cotija, and a little salt. Refrigerate.
  3. Grill the corn for 10 minutes on each side, turn once.
  4. Remove (replace the grill cover to keep the heat in) and quickly strip away most of the husks. Leave one or two layers of corn husk and don’t worry about the corn silk. That comes off later.
  5. Place the near-naked ears back on the grill for 5 more minutes on each side.
  6. Now husk completely. The silk should fall away easily.
  7. Brush the corn with the creamy lime sauce, sprinkle with cheese and chili powder or Tajín and serve hot. It’s even delicious at room temperature, so don’t worry too much about serving time.

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For the only other grilling episode we’ve ever done, check out the post on how to make tacos al pastor. SEE! My terrible haircut circa 2010! HEAR! How incredibly awkward I used to be on camera! WATCH! As I stand outside in 100 degree heat over a smoky hell pit! (And that is why we have only ever done 2 grilling episodes, ever. I complain a lot.)

grilled corn on the cob


  1. andy on July 16, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    cotija is not even close to parmesian, closer to feta

    • Hilah on July 17, 2013 at 9:39 am

      Hey Andy!
      Dry cotija is very similar to finely crumbled Parmesan, though crumbled feta would probably work as a substitute in this particular recipe, as well.

  2. Kelsey | thumb in plum on July 16, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    My hubby just made this and it was delish! I do not usually like mayo but I will eat this for the rest of my life which probably won’t be long if I eat it as often as I’d like…

    • Hilah on July 17, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Hahaha! Hi, Kelsey! That made me crack up! Glad you liked it. 🙂

  3. Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat on July 17, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Yum elotes are my favorite way to eat corn ever!! Loving the new website, Hilah!

    • Hilah on July 17, 2013 at 2:33 pm

      They are my fave, too. For REAL. Thanks for stopping by the new site, Amy!

  4. Sylvia on July 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Where are all your recipes? I can’t seem to find them…all I see are videos. Btw, I know everyone thinks you look like Phoebe from “Friends”….but I’d like to add another to the mix:…”Gwenoth Paltrow”.

    • Hilah on July 17, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Hi Sylvia! The recipes are just below the video, if you scroll down a little. Thanks for visiting! 🙂

  5. Nurivan Galvan on November 18, 2013 at 8:53 am

    hey tere once again ok here is the thing usually there are three ways that you can find “elotes” in mexico city streets the traditional is exactly as you do this recipe but instead of grilled conr is cooked in hot water or (boiled) with epazote and other fresh herbs acording to the cheese (by the way the you are right dry cotija is close in intensity to parmesan) the most common used is “fresh cheese” or “panela” (queso fresco) which taste like fresh salty mozarella but the texture is a little bit harder enough to crubm it easily, the chili powder is “chile piquin” and you can use sour cream as well as mayo, ok the grilled ones you can do exactly what you did but once you peel the corn let it in the grill till all grains get dark golden brown ( if you hear some grains explode during the grill time is normal) then rub while you squeeze a half mexican lemon over all the cob then add salt and chili powder ovr the cob and enjoy, the third way are loose grains called esquites but there is large to explain……… hoooo and by the way i can recomend that you can stick the cobs (like corn dogs) this way is easily to handle for cover them and eat them

    • Hilah on November 18, 2013 at 9:55 am

      Hi Nurivan!
      Great idea to poke a skewer into the corn to make it easier to eat and cook on the grill. I will do that next time. Thanks for sharing the other ways to do elotes. 🙂

  6. Mary on November 29, 2018 at 3:43 am

    Oh i love corn

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