This simple Mexican corn is baked directly on the oven rack and then smothered in a mix of cotija cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, and lime.

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3 Mexican street corn garnished with cilantro, smoked paprika, and lime wedges.

About Baked Mexican Corn

A summer stable and food truck favorite, Mexican street corn (also called Elotes) is the tasty combination of a creamy sauce, delicious cheeses, the classic combination of cilantro and lime, and the delicate crunch of corn on the cob.

Plus, this simple side dish (or appetizer or snack!) is baked in the oven, meaning that you can enjoy a classic Elote all year long.

What is Mexican street corn?

As the same implies, this is a dish you commonly find at food carts on the streets of Mexico, but this ever-popular food can also be found in the coastal or southwestern areas of the United States. The name “elote” comes from the Spanish word for “corn cob,” which has lead to it being an interchangeable name for this delicious corn on the cob upgrade.

How long is Mexican good for?

Once prepared, you can store these Elotes in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three to five days.

Can you freeze Mexican corn?

Bad news here, guys – I can’t recommend freezing this dish once prepared. The creamy sauce will separate from freezing and thawing, making the texture undesirable to eat.

However, if you have an abundance of corn on hand, you could freeze that by itself, both before or after cooking. You can store corn on the cob in a sealed container or freezer bag for up to 12 months.

Top down view of baked Mexican street corn.

What cheese should you use?

Fans of Elotes know that there are specific ingredients for making classic Mexican street corn, but there are some substitutions you can use if you’re having trouble locating the classics.

For example, Mexican street corn is typically made with queso fresco or cotija cheese. However, there have been times when my local grocery store was out (or simply wasn’t carrying) either of these cheeses, so I learned that feta cheese can work in a pinch. I know each cheese has its own unique flavor profile, but there is a “similar enough” taste and texture that will still get the job done when all the ingredients are mixed. Plus, you never know – there’s always a chance you might like one of these cheeses better for your Elotes.

So when making your own Mexican corn, search for queso fresco first. If you can’t find queso fresco, then look for cotija cheese. And then if queso fresco and cotija cheese are nowhere to be found, grab some feta cheese. You’re bound to find at least one of the three.

Can you boil the corn instead?

This recipe is written for baking the corn (still in its husks) directly on the oven rack. I personally like this method because it strikes a tasty balance between baking and grilling, but this method takes about 40-45 minutes. That’s a decent chunk of time, especially if the Mexican corn will only be served as a side dish.

But, I do have good news – you could always boil the corn instead, which takes a fraction of the time.

For the best guide on boiling corn, I highly recommend this one: Tips and Tricks for Boiling Corn. I’ve used it as a reference more times than I can count.

Close up of a piece of corn smothered in sauce with lime wedges.

Notes & tips for baked Mexican corn

  • One of my favorite parts about this recipe is that the corn is baked, not grilled, meaning that you can make whip this recipe up no matter what the weather is like outside. And better yet, the corn is baked directly on the oven rack, so there’s not even a lot of cleanup. Be sure to check out the recipe video to see how it’s done!
  • Smoked paprika was used in this recipe, and though it’s not very traditional, I always seem to have it on hand and it’s a great complimenting flavor to this recipe. But if you’re not a fan of smoked paprika, one reader suggested using chile tajin instead.
  • I garnished this Mexican corn with smoked paprika, but using chili powder or simply more cheese (queso fresco, cotija, or feta) is also common.

More great recipes with veggies

How to make baked Mexican corn

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – Place the corn (still in husks) directly on the oven rack.

Step 2 – Bake!

Step 3 – While the corn bakes, whisk together the following ingredients in a small bowl: mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, cotija cheese, and lime juice.

Step 4 – Remove corn from husks, then smother the corn with sauce. Garnish with more cilantro, smoked paprika (optional), and drizzle with more lime juice.

Step 5 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

3 Mexican street corn garnished with cilantro, smoked paprika, and lime wedges.
4.35 from 26 votes

Baked Mexican Corn

15 mins prep + 40 mins cook
180 kcal
Yields: 4 servings
This simple Mexican corn is baked directly on the oven rack and then smothered in a mix of cotija cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, and lime.

Ingredients 

  • 4 ears corn, still in husks
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese, (or queso fresco or feta cheese) crumbled, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika, or chili powder, for garnish (optional)
  • limes, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place corn, still in their husks, directly on the middle oven rack. Cook until corn is tender and heated through, about 40-45 minutes. (Note: If you’d rather not put the corn directly on the rack, you can also cook it on a baking sheet for the same amount of time).
  • While corn cooks, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, and cotija cheese in a small bowl and mix until combined and mostly smooth.
  • When corn has cooked, peel down and discard husks. Using a spatula, spread a generous helping of the sour cream mixture over all sides of the corn. Place corn on a serving plate and drizzle with lime juice. Finish by sprinkling smoked paprika and more fresh cilantro on top.
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 217mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 676IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 1mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy

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Recipe Rating




16 comments

    • Brittney M.
    • 5 stars

    I made this recipe last night. I don’t have a grill so I boiled them then stuck it under the broiler just to get that little char. I also added some crumbled queso fresco to the sauce & did the grated cotija on top..if you’re not a fan of garlic definitely use less than what recipe calls for.. But it was a HUGE success!! Everyone in the house loved it 😍 not only was it delicious but it looked beautiful as well..wish I could post a pic on here ! 10/10 will make again!

      • Brittney M.

      And I used Tajin for the topping, I suggest anyone making it use that instead 😃

    • Mandy
    • 5 stars

    I’ve made this in small batches before, and I’m planning on doing it for 50 for my son’s graduation party. Since not everyone is familiar with elote, I’m planning to provide an assortment of toppings. I’ll be making them in the oven since the grill will be taken up with burgers, hot dogs and sausages.

    • LILLIAN THOMAS
    • 5 stars

    I did this for the first time and it was great. I omitted the lime due to an allergy and use more garlic. Mmmm good!

    • Lorie

    This is the most Anglicized version I’ve ever seen…. paprika and feta? You should rename it, because this is not elote…

      • Liz

      I mean, it clearly said she used feta because her grocery store didn’t carry Cotija and she added the paprika because she liked the flavor combo, but stay mad I guess… 🤷🏼‍♀️

    • Erin F
    • 5 stars

    This was DELISH! I didn’t have smoked paprika, but regular paprika worked fine, and we look forward to having this regularly!

    • Simone
    • 4 stars

    let me tell you something: Because of your recipe, I like corn on the cob again. Cooking it right in the oven maintains the flavor better than boiling it. I had no idea I could cook it that way. And the mayo/sour cream sauce goes with other things too (like potatoes!). Thanks so much for this. I made these twice this week.

    • Monica

    Hi Chrisy,

    It is nice to see someone post one of our delicious street snacks.
    And I like you give a a twist of your style.
    However just to clarify, we don’t put cream in the corn. We put them mayonnaise, then the cheese which is queso fresco… As you I think the feta gives a similar taste than the queso fresco.
    For last I don’t think the paprika would give the same flavor but it is possible the guajillo powder. You know find in the Mexican markets “chile tajin” that will give a unique and authentic flavor.
    For last also… Yes some places grill the corn but the original vendors boil the corn, that will give a tender to the corn.
    I will definitely give it try to your recipe.
    Monica

    • Shannon

    Do you remove the silks ?

    • Hey Shannon! After the corn is baked in the oven, yes, the husks and silks are removed.

    • Sabrina
    • 5 stars

    I’ve never had corn like this before! What an interesting combination of flavors!

    • adriana
    • 5 stars

    A childhood favorite as I am from Mexico. Yoru version look delectable, nice flavors going on =)

    • Michelle | A Dish of Daily Life
    • 5 stars

    Just looking at your pictures is making me really hungry! I’m still waiting for fresh corn at the farmer’s market but you know what I’ll be making when we get it!

    • Heather Kinnaird

    I have yet to try street corn, but this sounds absolutely delicious!!

    • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
    • 5 stars

    O such a classic and SO delicious!

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