Discover the Best Off-The-Cob Elote Recipe (Mexican Street Corn)

Elote is a Mexican street corn smothered a creamy, smoky mayo, spices, creating a a dish that is bold and tangy.

Discover the Best Off-The-Cob Elote Recipe (Mexican Street Corn)

Elote, or Mexican street corn, is a popular snack found throughout Mexico, known for its savory, tangy, and creamy flavor. 

Elote is traditionally served on the cob, smeared with a mixture of mayonnaise, chili powder, and cheese. Elote is a popular summer favorite and has become a favorite pairing for BBQ cooks. 

However, you can make elote off-the-cob. If you’re like me, you love corn but don’t love eating it on the cob. The off-the-cob version of elote delivers the same delicious taste as traditional but with a twist that makes it easier to eat and share. 

Additionally, cutting the corn off-the-cob gives more surface for the mayo mixture to cover.

Off-the-cob elote is perfect for gatherings, this recipe transforms the classic elote into a convenient and equally flavorful dish.

How to Make the Best Off-The-Cob Elote Recipe

There are some that would not consider this recipe as true to the street food you would find in Mexican street foods; but keep in mind that the goal is this dish is to share the flavors found in Mexican street food but with a twist. If you were eating this recipe on the go, serving it on a wooden skewer is perfect.

My suggestion is to give this method a try. If you prefer cooking elote on the cob, this recipe is versatile and easy to adapt.

Step-by-Step: Preparing Your Corn

To start, choose four ears of sweet corn, which will be the base of your off-the-cob elote. Preheat your grill to 350°F and prepare the corn by removing the husks. Lightly coat each ear with a neutral cooking oil to prevent sticking. Grill the corn over direct heat, turning regularly to ensure even cooking and avoid burning. Once the corn is nicely charred and cooked through, remove it from the grill and let it cool.

Creating the Perfect Elote Sauce

While your corn is cooling, it's time to mix up the magic elote sauce. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream (or crema), fresh lime juice, smoked paprika, ancho chile powder, and salt and pepper to taste. This creamy and tangy sauce is what gives the off-the-cob elote its signature flavor.

Combining Ingredients: Bringing Your Elote Together

Once the corn has cooled, cut the kernels off the cob. Mix these freshly grilled corn kernels with the elote sauce you prepared earlier. Refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Serve your off-the-cob elote in small bowls, garnishing with cotija cheese to taste and a generous sprinkle of finely chopped cilantro. This chilled dish is a refreshing and flavor-packed option for any occasion.

Elote on the cob recipe

This recipe is easily adaptable to serving the traditional way: on a skewer. To adapt this recipe, simply skip cutting the corn off the cob and smother the whole ear of corn with the mayo mixture before coating it with finely gated cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, and a splash of your favorite hot sauce.

Making Elote Your Own

Making elote to your preference is easy with a foundational recipe like this off-the-cob elote recipe. Here are some suggestions and fun experiments to adapt elote to your preference:

Mix up the cheese

This recipe uses cotija cheese. But a popular substitute is queso fresco.

Hot sauce on elote

I’m a sucker for hot sauce. I consume a bottle or two per month (yeah, I’m that person that puts hot sauce on everything). Topping elote with hot sauce is an amazing way to spice things up. Try it with Tapatio, Valentino, or Cholula.

Spice up the seasonings with Tajin

In addition to adding hot sauce, I love to throw some Tajin on my elote as well. Tajin is incredible. It is a simple yet brilliant combination of chili peppers, lime, and salt. It adds a fun citrus-pepper POP of flavor that plays with all of your taste buds.

Off the Cob Elote Ingredients

Ingredients for elote are easy to find and are generally available at most grocery stores.

  • 4 ears of sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder (optional: substitute chili powder)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

Instructions for Off the Cob Elote

  1. Preheat grill to 350°F.
  2. Remove corn husk and lightly rub a neutral cooking oil on the corn.
  3. Grill over direct heat, flipping regularly to avoid burning.
  4. Once evenly cooked, remove corn from the grill and let cool.
  5. Combine mayo, sour cream, lime juice, smoked paprika, ancho chile powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  6. Cut corn off the cob, let cool, then refrigerate with the mayo mixture for 30 minutes.
  7. Combine corn and mayo mixture.
  8. Serve the off-the-cob elote in small bowls.
  9. Add cotija cheese to taste and top with chopped cilantro.
  10. Serve chilled.

Frequently Asked Questions About Elote

I first tried elote in Mexico. As you can imagine, I had some reservations about making something that stood out to me as so amazing at home. I didn’t want to screw it up and I had a lot of questions. I tried to gather some of the questions I had and share them here.

How to Make Elote in a Cup with Canned Corn

For a quick and convenient version, you can use canned corn instead of fresh. Drain the corn and warm a neutral oil in a pan. Pan fry the corn until it begins to turn golden brown or until it's warmed through, then follow the same steps for mixing with the elote sauce and garnishing.

Sour Cream vs. Crema: What's Traditional?

While both sour cream and Mexican crema can be used, traditional elote often features crema, which is thinner and has a slightly tangy flavor. However, sour cream is a readily available and suitable substitute. You can find crema or sour cream at most grocery stores.

Which Cheese is Best for Elote: Cotija or Queso Fresco?

Cotija cheese is the traditional choice for elote, known for its salty flavor and crumbly texture. Queso fresco is a milder, softer alternative that can also be used based on availability or preference.

This off-the-cob elote recipe is sure to be a hit at your next gathering, offering all the flavors of traditional Mexican street corn with a unique, shareable twist. Enjoy experimenting with this versatile dish and making it your own!

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