If you’re wondering what elote is, there’s a pretty simple answer says chef, food writer, and registered dietician Kristen Carli: "Elote is Mexican street corn," she says. The word is pronounced "eh-LO-tay," and anyone in the know will tell you that elote is the name for the delicious and delightfully messy treat you can find sold on street corners all over Mexico and across much of America where there’s a strong ex-pat community.

Elote is usually thought of as an on-the-go snack, but it’s also a great component of a larger meal. "This pairs well with any Mexican dish" says Carli, adding: "I served it with green chili chicken taquitos and bean dip." A benefit of serving "street corn" in the comfort of your own home? The sink, soap, and hand towels are close at hand when the meal is over.

Whether you are making your super simple elote to accompany a fine spread of dishes served for dinner or as tasty evening snack, you only need ten minutes for prep and ten for the cooking, so let’s not spend a minute more before we get on with this classic street food favorite.

Gather your ingredients for this super simple elote

You don’t need much to make amazing, super simple elote. That makes sense because street corn is typically prepared in a small stall out on the streets or sidewalks. This recipe calls for corn on the cob, olive oil, sour cream, mayonnaise, Tajín seasoning, lime juice, and queso fresco or cotija cheese.

The portions used here are for four ears of corn, but for the record, this is one recipe where you can slather it on thick rather than measuring precisely. Also, in case you were wondering, Tajín seasoning, which you can order online, is a blend of chili peppers, salt, and lime, and it’s delicious.

Prep the mayo mixture for your super simple elote

In a small bowl, mix together a third of a cup of sour cream, a third of a cup of mayonnaise, and a quarter of a cup of Tajín (making sure you reserve a little bit extra for later). Stir these all together well, and then set the creamy mixture aside.

Now is also a good time to go ahead and juice the lime for your super simple elote. And if you haven’t yet, shuck the corn if you bought it in the husk, or give it a rinse and a pat dry if you bought it with the husks already removed.

Cook the corn in oil to make this super simple elote

One reason this super simple elote is so tasty is because of that delicious creamy stuff you slather all over it. The other reason? It’s fried to a light char in olive oil. To cook the husked corn, heat up a large skillet and add a generous tablespoon of oil.

Add all the corn cobs (assuming you can fit them all at once), and let them sizzle and fry, rotating occasionally, cooking the corn for about ten minutes. Allow the corn to cook through until all kernels are a bit tender and many spots get some char, then remove the cobs from the pan.

Brush on the mayo mixture, sprinkle the spice, and enjoy this super simple elote

Once the ears of corn are done cooking in the oil, give them just a minute or two to cool slightly. Next, brush each corn cob with lime juice, and then brush each with the mayo mixture, laying it on good and thick.

Top each ear with queso fresco, which should adhere to the mayo and sour cream dressing, and then toss on a sprinkle of Tajín. Repeat with all corn cobs and then serve ASAP, because as Carli says: "Unfortunately, these do not save well." But no real worries there, you probably won’t have leftovers anyway.

Whether you are making your super simple elote to accompany a spread of dishes served for dinner or as tasty snack, you only need twenty minutes to make it.

  • 4 ears of corn on the cob
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Tajín seasoning
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup queso fresco or cotija cheese
  1. In a bowl, mix together sour cream, mayonnaise, and Tajín. Set aside.
  2. Heat up a large skillet and add the oil, then add the corn on the cob and rotate occasionally, cooking for about 10 minutes in all. Allow corn to cook through and get some char, then remove from pan.
  3. Brush each corn cob with lime juice, then brush with mayo mixture.
  4. Top with queso fresco and a sprinkle of Tajín and serve immediately.