Elotes: Everything about authentic Mexican corn on the cob

Enjoy Mexican corn on the cob at any time. Get to know what it tastes like, find recipes, and more info on this most Mexican way to enjoy grilled corn.

Elotes: Everything about authentic Mexican corn on the cob
Mexican street corn. Image: Wikipedia Commons

If you are from the United States or Canada, you probably don't know the elote. It is the same meal you know as Mexican corn on the cob. It is a very popular food in Mexico and is not typically found in restaurants. You will not typically find elote in supermarkets. You can typically find it on the streets of Mexico. Elote is Mexican street food.

In Mexico, corn on the cob is called "elote" when it is still in the plant that produced it (both mature and immature), or when it was recently harvested and the grains still retain their natural moisture. In the Southern Cone, the term for corn is choclo. In Venezuela, it is called "jojoto". The ear of corn without kernels is called "olote".

Elote is the ear of corn. In the United States, it is typical to eat corn with butter and salt. But in Mexico, it is common to eat it with more extravagant ingredients such as mayonnaise, chili, cheese, lemon, and more. Many Mexicans are obsessed with elote. Why? Because elote is delicious!

Some people want to eat elote, but they don't like to eat with their hands. These people prefer to eat 'esquites'. Esquite is another typical Mexican food. Esquites are grains of corn. It is typical to eat esquites with mayonnaise, chile, cheese, and also lemon. When you eat elote, the grains are on the cob. When you eat esquites, the grains are on a plate. Corn on the cob is popular street food.

Properties and benefits of corn

One of the most used elements in Mexican gastronomy is corn. According to Mexican Biodiversity, of the 220 corn breeds that have been identified in Latin America, 64 are found in Mexico. Whether it is served with other vegetables, impaled, in esquite, or a tortilla, corn is one of the most consumed foods in Mexico. But do you know the benefits of corn and all that it brings to the body?


Corn is a source of antioxidants that fight free radicals and cellular aging.


Rich in fiber and carbohydrates, corn is satiating and helps control our appetite.

Good for the brain

Rich in folic acid and other vitamins, corn is an ally of various brain functions.

It takes care of our cardiovascular health

The vitamin B1 contained in corn decreases homocysteine and therefore also reduces the risk of a cardiovascular attack.

Indicated for pregnant women

Rich in folic acid, it is highly recommended for pregnant and nursing women.

Avoids the risk of high blood pressure

According to scientific studies, regular corn consumption may help reduce the risk of high blood sugar and hypertension.

May prevent cancer

This food could reduce the risk of cancer since it contains flavonoids, which, among other things, protect against lung and oral cancers.

Provides energy

Because 70% of its weight is starch, it brings strength and vitality to the body. However, this same characteristic is what makes it necessary to moderate its consumption because abusing it could make you gain a few extra kilos.

Ideal for athletes

The contribution of the corn of 9 essential amino acids. Special food for the growth stages in children, babies, and for athletes or people with a lot of physical activity.

Suitable for coeliacs

Another benefit is that it can be included in diets for coeliacs. For people who tend to avoid gluten, corn is a food that can be consumed without problems compared to other cereals such as wheat, oats, rye, or barley.

Good for skin health

Corn is also a good source of vitamin A, thiamine, and vitamin B6; characteristics that help care for skin and hair.

Mexican street corn recipe

Street corn is usually cooked and served everywhere in Mexico and parts of the United States, such as in the states of Florida, California, and Texas. It is a simple dish to prepare, anyone can do it.


3/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon of chili powder

6 small corn, peeled

1/3 cup crumbled cotija cheese

6 lime wedges


Warm up the grill. Pour the sour cream, mayonnaise, coriander, garlic, lime juice, and chili powder into a small bowl.

Grill corn, covered, on medium heat or charcoal for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender and slightly toasted, turning occasionally to grill all sides.

Pour the sour cream mixture over the corn and sprinkle with the cheese. Serve with lime wedges and additional chili powder, if desired.

Corn. Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay

This is the only way to know if a corncob has worms

It is very normal to find out that there are pests in corn crops (they are in every crop), but suddenly they can reach the place where you buy your vegetables. How do you choose good, worm-free corncobs?

Worms are the most common pest in corn and they take over the root, stem, and kernels. Farmers do their job and try to eliminate pests, but some may escape. Choosing good corn has its joke, but choosing those that don't have worms is much easier. The reality is that this pest leaves irreparable damage. It is enough to observe very well before acquiring them.

The trail is impossible to hide; the worms start by eating the tip of the corn, leaving it black and half dead. Then they eat some grains and can damage even the bone of the corn. When corn is in bad condition you can notice it, you just have to remove some of its leaves to discover it, if it has no tip or it has a strange appearance, you have to avoid them! Even if there are no worms in sight, they have probably been around.

What if the corn has been eaten by worms, but they are not there anymore?

This can happen and the corn may have been left with worm droppings, which are responsible for producing microorganisms that spoil the corn. In the rainy season, this problem becomes much more serious.

Once the worms are inside the ear, they make way for other types of insects and worms. Similarly, when the worms have entered the corn kernels they leave a hole where water can easily filter out and spoil it quickly.

Choosing good corn is simple, just look at the grains and the tip, if they are in bad condition, have strange black color and the tip seems to be bitten, let's leave it aside and keep looking! This way you will be able to enjoy delicious Mexican corn on the cob without fear of anything.

Recipe of grilled Mexican corn on the cob with lime cream, cotija cheese & coriander

Corn is a very adaptable food. You can enjoy it steamed or grilled and it goes perfectly with sweet or savory recipes. Roasted corn reminds me of my vacation in Mexico when I visited my family. On the little plates, you could see the food carts with all kinds of typical dishes, such as tacos, tamales, raspas, and, obviously, grilled Mexican corn on the cob!


6 ears of corncob, without husk

2 teaspoons of olive oil

1 cup of Mexican cream or sour cream

Juice of 1 lime

1/3 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup grated cotija cheese

1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped


Preheat the oven to medium temperature for 10 to 12 minutes. Brush the corn with olive oil and set it aside until the grill is warm.

In a small bowl, mix the cream (sour or Mexican), lime juice, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well until creamy. Salt test. Cover and keep cold until ready to use.

Bake the corn for 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from oven and let cool a bit. Spread the cotija cheese in a flat dish and leave it aside. Brush the corn with lime cream, roll it in the cotija cheese, and season with coriander. Serve immediately.

Roasted corn
Roasted corn in Mexico. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Learn how to cook whole corn cobs

Mexican corn on the cob is grilled and is regularly found in the street food stalls and street fairs in Oaxaca, Mexico. This flavorful cob is prepared by grilling the corn and adding mayonnaise, cheese, chili powder, and a squeeze of lemon. The traditional recipe says that the corn is covered with mayonnaise and sometimes with cream, and finally it is sprinkled with grated cheese, chili, lemon juice, and chopped coriander.

What do you need?

4 ears of corn cob with everything and leaves

1 teaspoon of sal½ teaspoon of sugar (optional if you want them a little sweet)



Place water, calculating that it covers the corn you want to cook, salt, and sugar in a deep pan, stir, and heat over medium heat. Cut the ends of the corn, remove only 2 or 3 leaves that cover it and the ends. Put the corn in the water, this must surpass them and let it cook at the medium fire from 50 to 75 minutes approximately.

Check that the corn is well cooked by inserting a fork in the corn grains and these are soft. If not, let them cook a little more. Take the corn out of the water, remove the leaves, and clean it. Enjoy as you like. Don't you feel like having Mexican corn on the cob with mayonnaise, cheese, and spicy chile?


According to the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Mexican Gastronomy, the "elote" is defined as tender corn cob, which has multiple uses in Mexican cuisine: it is usually peeled and cut into pieces to add to beef broths, stews, and moles de olla, among other stews. It is also sliced lengthwise to obtain the grains that are used in multiple ways: they can be added to white rice, Mexican rice, or gardening, and are part of several vegetable soups, different broths, esquites, and atoles. The ground grains are used to prepare corn tamales and corn cake. Cooked and roasted corn is sold on the streets of Mexico and is very popular. Also known as new corn.

Grilled corn (Elote asado)

A raw, peeled lot that is roasted on a grill placed in a charcoal-fed stove; should be turned constantly until it is a dark brown or blackish color; it is eaten alone or with lemon, salt, and chili powder. It is very appreciated in Mexico City and other areas in the center of the country.

Elote camahua

The name was given to the very ripe corn in Guerrero, which is firmer than the common fresh corn. It is a corn that is beginning to become drier, without having lost all its moisture. Some specialties of the state are prepared with it and it is sought for its particular flavor, it is indispensable to prepare the bean pozole and for a variety of Tlaxcala called tlaxcalecamahuas. Also known as chamagua corn or sazón corn

The common and traditional way of eating corn. From region to region the techniques change slightly, usually, they are cooked in water with everything and leaves and a little salt; in the center of the country tequesquite is added to the water; in other cases bicarbonate of soda or branches of pericón. Any of these three elements serve to make the grain bigger and juicier.

Elote cocido

It is easy to know when tequesquite is used, since the grain becomes very yellow, which is how they are sold in markets, parks, and other public areas. They can be eaten alone or with salt, lemon juice, and piquín chile, a form in which they have been tasted for many years; nevertheless, another more recent version exists in which the corn is spread with mayonnaise or cream and sprinkled with grated cheese and piquín chile powder. For some this combination is delicious; others think it is a way to spoil the corn.

Calories from Mexican corn on the cob

According to the Mexican Food Equivalent System, 1 and a half pieces of white cooked corn contributes 70 calories, while yellow cooked corn contributes 71 calories; practically, there is no significant difference between one and the other. If we consider that the average of calories suggested for the Mexican population goes from 1500 calories and up to 2000 calories per day, cooked corn would not contribute with a great amount of energy, however, the increase of calories in the corn arises when preparing it.

Mayonnaise or cream. A spoonful of mayonnaise or cream would add 50 to 75 calories to the corn, with little nutritional quality.

Cheese. The cheese would contribute from 70 to 80 calories, depending on the cheese. If you like yellow cheeses, these will contribute more calories than those that are white.

It is necessary to consider that cooked corn is a natural food and of nutritious quality that when preparing it, it will have ingredients of poor nutritious quality that contribute more calories. The key is in moderation, choosing quality foods, and knowing how to integrate or adjust the food to your daily calorie requirements, according to your age, height, physical activity, and gender, among others.

You can include boiled corn every day, but the consumption of prepared corn should be moderated; this means that ingredients such as mayonnaise or cream should be consumed occasionally and not habitually. The calories of the prepared corn are around 290 in total. Mexican corn on the cob is a great food that besides taking away the hunger is delicious and can accompany you during the day. Just thinking about it makes you want to eat one. It fulfills the purpose of leaving the person who eats it satisfied, making it an ideal and basic Mexican street food.

Sources: Quericavida, El comercio, Cocinavital, Cocinadelirante, Cmujer, Laroussecocina, Lasillarota