Elote (Mexican Corn)

by | Aug 3, 2011 | Mexican/Tex-Mex, Sauces & Dips, Sides, Snacks & Appetizers, Vegetables | 6 comments

Living in the southwest taught me to really appreciate Mexican food.  So many tasty dishes, prepared with fresh ingredients.  One of my last weekend getaways before moving back to Toronto was to Sedona Arizona, the land of red rock, and home of Elote Cafe, a southwestern restaurant serving up classic Mexican with a twist.  No reservations + delicious food = 3.5 hour wait.  Luckily the bar was open and they gave away free spicy popcorn.

fresh corn in husks

Elote is a Mexican street food where the corn on the cob is slathered in mayo, and seasoned with some variation of lime, chili, cheese.  At Elote Cafe, they serve it with cut kernels in a bowl and crispy corn tortillas chips for scooping.  The servings were so huge that we barely touched our also gigantic entrees.  Elote also sells a cookbook with their signature recipes which we bought and chef Jeff Smedstad kindly signed for us. You can buy in here.

elote ingredients close up

The base of this dip is mayo – a condiment that, generally speaking, grosses me out.  The only exception is tartar sauce and my aunt’s chicken salad sandwiches.  Weird right?  But anyhow, I used a vegan mayo for this so it’s great for those who are vegan, allergic to eggs, or grossed out by regular mayo.  The parmesan cheese and chopped coriander are for garnish and completely optional.  I’ve served elote both with and without and nobody notices, mainly because they’re too busy dipping their corn chips into the corn dip (dare I say it’s ‘corn porn’).

cutting corn on board
cut corn close up

Nothing beats sweet fresh summer corn but in the cold winter months, canned or frozen corn kernels will do just fine.  You can also grill the corn instead of boiling it which is how elote is classically served.  I’m BBQ-less so boiling it was my MO for the elote.

elote mayo in pan close up
elote in pan w corn

What I love about this dish is that you just throw the ingredients in a pan and warm everything up.  So easy to prepare ahead and reheat or make in a pinch when guests show up.  And it’s a total crowd-pleaser.  Best served with cold sangrias, margaritas, caipirinhas, and Coronas.

elote close up in white bowl


Elote (Mexican Corn)

Elote is a Mexican street food where the corn on the cob is slathered in mayo, and seasoned with some variation of lime, chili, cheese. At Elote Cafe, they serve it with cut kernels in a bowl and crispy corn tortillas chips for scooping. The servings were so huge that we barely touched our also gigantic entrees.
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: corn, dairy-free, egg-free, fast, gluten-free, nut-free, sauces & dips, soy-free, spicy, tortilla, vegetables, yeast-free
Servings: 4 as an appetizer
Author: ness


  • 4 ears of corn (or 2 cups frozen or canned corn kernals)
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo
  • 1 Tbsp Mexican style hot sauce (Cholula, Tapatio, Tobasco)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp chicken stock (use vegetable stock for vegan/vegetarian version)
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese (optional, omit for vegan version)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander (optional, for garnish)
  • ground chili (to taste)
  • crispy corn tortillas for dipping


  • Boil ears of corn for about 5 minutes or until tender. Holding the ear of corn vertically over a bowl or cutting board, run a knife down the sides, cutting off the kernals. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat mayo, hot sauce, lime juice, salt, sugar, pepper, and stock on medium heat. When mixture starts to boil, add corn and heat through. Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle with chili powder. Add coriander and parmesan if using. Serve with crispy tortilla chips.
Adapted from Elote Cafe Cookbook

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  1. Amanda

    I just made this. Excellent recipe! I didn’t have any parm or anything close to cotija cheese, but it was SO good without!! My husband, toddler and I loved having it for lunch along with a grilled mushroom, red onion and black bean burrito, which tasted great dipped in the juices from your elote dish. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Ness

      Thanks Amanda! So glad you liked it! I love this recipe too and actually like it better without cheese.

  2. Little

    Just a tip, if you have the right ingredients you’ll get the desired results. Without using ingredients from marketas, that supply Cotijas and creme, you will never know what true elote is supposed to taste like. Not so surprisingly, AZ is not the ideal conditions to embrace true ethnicity, so, pick up the right ingredients, also sprinkle some tejin on there and the cotija should not be left out. Ever. Ever.

    • Ness

      Thanks for the tip. If you think AZ is not ideal for true Mexican flavours, well Canada is even tougher! Cotija and tejin are pretty tough to find, even in big multicultural cities like Toronto. My version of elote offers a more ingredient accessible albeit less authentic version. But to those who can get these ingredients, please take note 😉

  3. Emily

    I definitely recommend using less hot sauce, or adding it to taste. I just made this and all I can taste is tobasco sauce.

  4. Allison

    My husband and were in Sedona a few months ago and went to Elote and loved the Elote. It was recommended by another guest also waiting for two hours 🙂 and she was so right. Can’t wait to try your version!



  1. Feliz Cinco de Mayo! - […] We made FreshNess’s awesome, creamy Elote –> Get the recipe from FreshNess’s awesome blog. […]

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