Apr 1, 2016

Spicy Charred Corn with Cilantro Aioli & Cotija (Elote)

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
This style of corn, elote, is traditionally served on the cob on a stick rubbed with a mayonnaise, chili powder and cotija mixture.

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Mexican street corn or elote is a specialty that can found all over LA. It’s served everywhere from trendy restaurants to street vendors. The corn is traditionally served on the cob on a stick rubbed with a mayonnaise, chili powder and cotija mixture. In this recipe the corn is rubbed in butter then charred and served with cilantro aioli and cotija cheese. Try serving the corn cut off the cob for easier (and cleaner) eating. I’m not the daintiest eater!

Spicy Charred Corn with Cilantro Aioli & Cotija (Elote)

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Corn – I love making the most of sweet summer corn picked up from local farm stands. When buying ears corn, look for a bright green husk that is tight around the corn. Feel the kernels through the husk, they should be plump. (I like to peel back a section of the husk to double check the kernels.) Look at the tassel (the strings at the top), it should be yellow or light brown – it should have a sweet smell.
  • Cotija – Cotija cheese is a type of hard, crumbly and salty Mexican cheese made from cows milk that has a consistency between feta and Parmesan. Locate it in the cheese sections at large markets such as Whole Foods or Hispanic markets.

How to Make Elote

  1. Make the cilantro paste. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, garlic, lime zest and lime juice. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the cilantro so that it forms a paste.
  2. Make the aioli. Whisk the cilantro paste into the mayonnaise, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Grill the corn. Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Pull the husks back gently and rub the corn on all sides with butter then season with salt. Grill the corn, rotating the corn every occasionally until the corn begins to char in places. Set the corn aside to cool slightly.
  4. Serve. Slather the charred corn all over with the cilantro aioli. Sprinkle the chili powder and cayenne over the corn followed by the cotija cheese. Serve warm with a side of lime wedges.

Tips for This Recipe

  • If you don’t have a grill, char the corn over a gas stove or under the oven broiler on high.
  • Make the aioli ahead of time to cut down on prep work.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these

Spicy Charred Corn with Cilantro Aioli & Queso Fresco  

Print Pin
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the corn:

  • 5 medium ears sweet corn
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • kosher salt, as needed

For the cilantro aioli:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • zest from 1 lime
  • juice from 1 lime
  • cup (packed) cilantro, chopped

To serve:

  • ¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • lime wedges, for serving

Instructions:

For the cilantro aioli:

  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, garlic, lime zest and lime juice. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the cilantro so that it forms a paste.
  • Whisk the cilantro paste into the mayonnaise, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the corn:

  • Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Pull the husks back gently and rub the corn on all sides with butter then season with salt.
  • Grill the corn for about 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the corn every occasionally until the corn begins to char in places. Set the corn aside to cool slightly.

To serve:

  • Slather the charred corn all over with the cilantro aioli. Sprinkle the chili powder and cayenne over the corn followed by the cotija cheese. Serve warm with a side of lime wedges.

Notes:

To serve the corn off the cob: once the corn is cool, stand the corn on its end and use a serrated knife to cut the kernels off the cob. Repeat with the remaining corn and discard the cobs. Gather all of the kernels in a medium mixing bowl and toss with the aioli and chili powder and top with the cotija. Serve with lime wedges.

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  1. 5 stars
    Served this recipe off the cob for a summer bbq and it was a real crowd pleaser! Came together quickly and easily. Love!

  2. This looks delicious! I am having a little Mexican Fiesta and I thought this would be a good side dish to offer to our guests. How many servings is your recipe for? Thanks in advance.