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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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.
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.
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 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!
Baked Mexican Corn
- 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)
- 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.
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.