Grilled Mexican street corn is a recipe that’s been on my unofficial list of things to try for a LONG time. Sure I’ve seen a dozen Instagram videos of street carts rapidly covering an ear of corn in sauces, spices, and cheese. At a glance, it seems like overkill, but at first bite, you’ll be blown away at what a jazzed up piece of corn can deliver in terms of amazing flavor.
The best part is (like most of my recipes), Mexican street corn is really easy to make at home.
What Is Mexican Street Corn?
I’m sure like any classic recipe there are hundreds of variations of street corn. My recipe consists of buttered grilled corn on the cob that is finished with a coating of fresh lime juice, mayonnaise, a sprinkle of grated cotija cheese, and a pinch of chili powder and fresh cilantro.
It sounds like it could be an overly heavy snack or side, but if your toppings are kept light (like I do) it’s actually a light and refreshing take on basic grilled corn.
Grilling the Corn
The naked shucked corn is grilled right on the grill grates on medium-high heat. For best results, you want a decent char on the corn. Shoot for a little black without being burnt. Rotate every 3-4 minutes until all sides are evenly charred. It shouldn’t take longer than about 10-12 minutes to fully grill.
Use Room Temp Butter (Very Soft)
My biggest tip is to make sure your butter is soft and malleable enough to brush/spread on the corn during prep. Leave butter on the counter for 30 minutes and mash using a fork until creamy. This will allow you to spread butter in between the kernels. Don’t skimp on this step as it imparts flavor and helps tenderize.
I won’t lie, mayonnaise nearly turned me off from trying street corn entirely. I’m not a mayonnaise fan in general unless it’s used sparingly. Believe it or not, the mayo really serves as a glue-like agent for the cotija cheese without imparting much flavor. I honestly don’t think the street corn flavor and texture would be the same without it. You can also easily substitute for vegan mayo if needed.
Cotija cheese is a relativity mild crumbly cheese that’s sold in block form. It’s a really common cheese used in a lot of Mexican recipes. You’ll sometimes see cotija sprinkled on refried beans or tacos in Mexican restaurants.
You’ll want a fine, yet course grate for best results. Too large and it won’t really stick to the corn. You’re essentially dusting the corn in cheese.
Mexican-Inspired Recipes You’ll Love
- Stuffed poblano peppers
- Skillet flank steak fajitas
- Ground turkey stuffed peppers
- Authentic guacamole
- Pork carnitas tacos
- Sheet pan chicken fajitas
Buttered grilled corn finished with a coating of fresh lime juice, mayonnaise, a sprinkle of grated cotija cheese, and a pinch of chili powder and fresh cilantro.
- 5 ears of fresh corn
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1/2–3/4 cup finely grated cotija cheese (6-ounce block is more than enough)
- 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons softened butter (room temp)
- 2–3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- Chili powder, to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Remove butter from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking to soften. If you don’t have time, microwave in 5-second intervals until malleable. Do not melt. 10 total seconds should do.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat with the cover down. Clean the grates well before cooking.
- Shuck the corn and remove all hair etc. Brush each ear with butter until coated evenly all over. A decent coating is best. Season with salt and pepper all over.
- Place corn on the grill and grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Rotate 2-3 times until corn has a nice sear on all sides. Total cooking time is about 10-12 minutes. You want nicely charred without burning.
- Remove corn from grill and place on a baking sheet or large plate. Baste each ear with mayo using the same basting brush or rubber spatula. I like a thin layer of mayo that is just enough to cover. Drizzle all over with fresh lime juice. Sprinkle each ear of corn all over with cotija cheese. Dust with chili powder and top with chopped fresh cilantro and serve immediately.
- Serving Size: 1 ear
- Calories: 273
- Sugar: 5.6g
- Sodium: 604mg
- Fat: 14.8g
- Saturated Fat: 6.4g
- Carbohydrates: 31.2g
- Fiber: 4.2g
- Protein: 8.7g
- Cholesterol: 21mg
Keywords: how to make mexican street corn, mexican street corn