Recipe: Grilled Mexican Street Corn

In a nod to the elotes served by street vendors in Mexico, sweet corn is grilled until smoky and charred and then finished with crumbled cotija, cayenne and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If you’re looking for something with less mess, cut the corn off the cob after grilling and combine in a bowl with the cheese mixture for esquites — an off-the-cob version of elotes.

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  • 8 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup finely crumbled cotija cheese, divided
  • ½ serrano pepper, finely minced (optional)
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, minced, plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne or chipotle pepper
  • 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges


Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. On a sheet pan, toss the corn with oil then season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, half of the cotija cheese, serrano (if using), cilantro, lime zest and cayenne.

Place the corn on the hottest part of the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until deep golden brown and charred in places, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the corn from the grill and immediately use a brush or spoon to liberally coat each ear of corn with the cheese mixture before transferring to a platter. Garnish each cob with a sprinkle of the remaining cotija and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges on the side to squeeze over the top.

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