Mexican Corn on the Cob is becoming more and more popular with very good reason. It is a seriously tasty way of jazzing up sweet corn and is a popular street food in Mexico. So much so that it is often known as ‘street corn’ alongside it’s Spanish name of Elotes. Try it and you won’t go back to boring corn!
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I do love a good grilled corn on the cob, especially on the bbq. Actually its almost a given for me on the BBQ along with Griddled Courgettes and peppers! But every now and again it needs a little bit more than just butter and salt. Enter Mexican Street Corn!
Elotes (pronounced ay-lo-tays) as they’re properly known are a popular street snack in Mexico and across South America. The word elotes actually just refers to Corn on the Cob rather than how they’re dressed or coated. But over here in the UK we’re usually using it to mean the kind coated with Mexican inspired flavours.
My version uses cream cheese, hot sauce, spiced, spring onion and fresh coriander to evoke those Latin flavours. A little bit tangy and a little bit spicy, they really are very moreish. Please don’t be put off by the number of steps in the recipe. It really is just a simple case of layering up the flavours.
How to Serve Mexican Street Corn
I really prefer to eat my corn hot and fresh off the griddle or BBQ rather than cold.
I also like to pick them up and just chow down on them. The alternative is to stand a cob on its end and use a sharp knife to slice the kernels off the cob.
There is an argument to be made that it would be easier to do this before adding the toppings and making it like a warm salad in a pan. This is perfectly acceptable but please do griddle the corn whole first so you get that lovely charred flavour.
Make Elotes into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
As I mentioned, this tasty Mexican Corn on the Cob dish is a given at a BBQ. I love to serve them with my Griddled Steak and Griddled Courgettes. If I want to add a little more Mexican to my meal then I might consider serving a Classic Caesar Salad too.
Don’t forget to head over to my Feast Collection pages to find all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my recipe index to create your own awesome Feast!
Ingredients for Griddled Street Corn
Corn on the Cob
Here in the UK the most common way we find corn on the cob is fully prepared with husks removed, topped and tailed in vac packed bags.
Saying this I did see full fresh in-husk corn this autumn in the shops. Both versions work fine for this recipe and neither needs to be pre cooked. If you do buy the unprepared kind, you will need to remove the husks and stringy bits.
I have specified Habenero hot sauce in the recipe because this is what I keep in my cupboard and prefer. But you really can use whichever kind you prefer from sriracha to tobasco. Just be sensible about the amount you add vs how hot you like your food.
If you can get hold of smoked paprika, it really adds a brilliant depth to the finished flavour. If you only only have unsmoked then that is better than nothing!
Garlic salt is an absolute staple in my house but you can sub with a 50/50 mix of garlic powder and sea salt flakes.
Beautiful fresh coriander is going to give you the best and most Southern American flavour. Make sure to use the stalks as well as the leaves as they’re just a fresh and flavour packed.
If you are one of the people whose genetics mean that coriander tastes like soap (poor you), you could sub the coriander for parsley or leave off the fresh herbs all together.
If you don’t have a BBQ or griddle pan, the next best way to get beautifully charred corn is under a grill (broiler). You must keep an eye on in and keep turning the corn so you don’t end up with burnt rather than a little charred.
All of the toppings can be flexible. Once you understand the concept of the wet mix being glazed onto the corn and then used to glue on the toppings, you can mix it up as much as you want.
If you want a cheats method for the spice mix element, you could use a packet fajita, taco or Mexican spice mix instead. You could also use mayonnaise instead of the cream cheese.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
This Mexican Corn on the Cob recipe is naturally vegetarian and easy to adapt to be vegan.
So easy that you only need to make one substitution – the cream cheese. You could either use a vegan cream cheese alternative or vegan mayonnaise. There is a sriracha mayonnaise available which is vegan and that would also make an ideal sub for the whole cream cheese/hot sauce mix.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This recipe is free from egg, gluten and nuts.
Dairy Free: To make the recipe dairy free, follow my ideas above for making the vegan version of the dish.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Mexican Corn on the Cob
My best friend in the kitchen is my Cast Iron Griddle Pan. It means I can have that summer barbecue flavour all year round regardless of the weather. You don’t need to only eat stews in the winter you know!
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
You could make up the spice and cream cheese mixes ahead of time. You could even slice the spring onion and coriander although not too far in advance. But as for the cooking and dressing of the corn, this really is best done just before you want to eat.
Leftover Street Corn on the Cob
This is a bit of a tricky one as elotes do not reheat terribly well and I’m not that fond of chowing down into cold corn on the cob. Obviously the biggest way to minimise leftovers is to not go overboard with the amount you make in the first place.
But with the greatest intentions we do sometimes end up with them anyway, especially when cooking for a bigger group. So I have two suggestions. Firstly is to slice the corn off the cobs and mix it up. Serve as a cold side like you would Coleslaw or pasta salad.
Secondly, the best option is to scrape of the cream cheese and herbs/onion. Then reheat the corn either on a grill or in the microwave. You can either eat them as they are or dress them with fresh or the scraped off toppings depending on their condition.
Mexican Sweet Corn Tips
If you want to serve smaller portions, you can cut whole cobs in half or thirds. Do this carefully. Use a teatowel to hold the cob steady and a cleaver or sharp knife to make the cuts. Is is much easier to do this before cooking than after.
Don’t skip the stage where you coat the cobs with sauce and them put them back on the hob. This part really ensures that the flavours get into the corn and don’t just sit on top.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Mexican Corn on the Cob (Elotes)
- 80 g Cream Cheese
- 2 tbsp Habanero Hot Sauce
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- ½ tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- 1 tsp Garlic Salt
- 40 g Spring Onions (Scallions) - Roughly 20g each
- 10 g Fresh Coriander (Cilantro)
- 4 Corn on the Cob
- Spray Oil
- Put a griddle pan onto a medium heat to get smoking hot.
- Meanwhile mix 80g Cream Cheese and 2 tbsp Habanero Hot Sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Mix 1 tsp Smoked Paprika, ½ tsp Sea Salt Flakes and 1 tsp Garlic Salt in another small bowl. Set aside.
- Top and tail 40g Spring Onion and finely chop. You can use the white and the greens.
- Finely chop 10g Fresh Coriander and mix with the spring onion in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Spray 4 Corn on the Cob with a little Spray Oil. Gather the prepared toppings close by,
- Put the cobs onto the now hot griddle pan.
- Use tongs to keep turning the cobs until the are a little charred the whole way round.
- Use a pastry brush to coat the cobs with half the cream cheese mix.
- Keep turning the cobs until they are coated all the way round.
- Allow the cheese mix to char onto the cobs, again keep turning them to get the evenly cooked the whole way around. The pan will smoke and some of the cheese mix will catch on the pan. This is flavour and it’s ok.
- Take the cobs off the heat and coat them with the remaining cream cheese mix.
- Sprinkle on the spice mix. Again turn so they’re coated all the way round.
- Sprinkle on the onion/coriander mix. You know the drill, keep turning!
- Serve hot.