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Elote Grilled Mexican Corn Salad

126 Reviews

Every summer we enjoy plenty of grilled sweet corn, but this Elote Grilled Mexican Corn Salad is above and beyond with it’s crema sauce, salty cotija cheese and that spicy seasoning!

A glass bowl full of grilled corn, red onions, cilantro, crema, cotija cheese and lime juice which makes the best elote mexican grilled corn salad

Our post on the Secret to the Best Grilled Corn on the Cob has been going absolutely nuts this summer, so if you haven’t made it yet I really hope you will. This Elote Grilled Mexican Corn Salad should also be on your list. It’s juicy grilled corn that’s been cut off of the cob and tossed with Mexican Crema, spices and crumbled cotija cheese along with fresh lime juice and cilantro. Good mercy it’s good!! Don’t worry, I’m going to explain all of those ingredients, read on!

Where to Find Elote

Every summer Cade and I visit Rexburg, Idaho. My parents have relocated there where they enjoy a home that fits our big family’s needs, an incredible, huge yard and just as big garden. It is so peaceful to head to Idaho and spend time with my parents. If we time it right, we get to enjoy a small farmers’ market where the food trucks also gather, including one for Elote.

We’ve discovered that many farmers’ markets around the country also bring in Elote, or Mexican Corn. Look one up by you, or you can make our’s at home, Mexican Street Corn – Elote. But first, Elote Grilled Mexican Corn Salad!!


A glass bowl full of grilled corn, red onions, cilantro, crema, cotija cheese and lime juice which makes the best elote mexican grilled corn salad

What is Elote Corn?

Elote is a Mexican Corn on the Cob that you are totally missing out on if you haven’t tried it yet.  It’s usually a corn on a cob that’s served on a stick so that it’s easier to eat. It’s a corn on the cob that’s been kicked up a notch with a dressing or spread, spices and cheese. Elote corn is considered a snack or occasionally a side dish.

Let’s go over the basic questions before we move on.

  • What is Elote Made out of?

Corn, mayonnaise or butter, chihuahua cheese, parmesan or cotija cheese, chili powder, cilantro, lime and salt are combined to make a can’t-get-enough snack.

  • What Cheese for Elote?

What cheese should you use for Elote Mexican Grilled corn? Oh boy, this is a tricky question because to be honest, even if there’s one that’s usually used, Chihuahua cheese or Cotija Cheese, not everywhere sells it. We most often use Cotija cheese because  it’s available in all Utah stores, but if you can’t find either we recommend parmesan cheese in the can or fresh parmesan, or even a mild Feta.

  • What is the Dressing on Elote?

Elote Mexican Corn is usually coated in crema, sour cream, mayonnaise or butter. It’s all personal preference or whatever the vendor has chosen to do. Often a mixture of sour cream and mayonnaise is used instead of just one or the other. Whichever you try will

  • What Does Elote Taste Like?

Elote tastes like really buttery grilled corn with a dash of spice from the chili powder and that creamy, salty cheese. It’s literally a mouthwatering corn on the cob.

  • Where Does Elote Come From?

Elote comes mostly from Northeastern Mexico, but corn itself has come from many places like Honduras etc.

A glass bowl full of grilled corn, red onions, cilantro, crema, cotija cheese and lime juice which makes the best elote mexican grilled corn salad

What is Elote Mexican Grilled Corn Salad?

Elote Mexican Grilled Corn Salad is an easy to eat version of Mexican Street Corn. You’ll make it just the same, but add some red onion, cilantro, lime juice and toss it all together in a bowl instead of eating it on the cob. Elote Grilled Mexican Corn Salad is a great salad to take to a potluck or bbq.

read more: Looking for easy potluck sides? Try our BBQ Baked Beans as well!

What is Mexican Crema?

Alright, now what is Mexican Crema?

Crema is the Mexican version of French crème fraîche, a little bit tangy and creamy. Both Crema and Creme Fraiche are slightly soured and thickened cream, milder and less thick than American sour cream as it’s a thin cream instead.
The flavor is a lot more mild in my opinion and a touch buttery when served on grilled corn. 

What is Cotija Cheese?

Cotija Cheese is a Hispanic-style cheese that was named after the town of Cotija in the Mexican state of Michoacán. It is a hard, crumbly cheese is made mostly from cow’s milk. It is white, fresh and salty so as to resemble feta cheese, but it does not taste exactly the same.

  • What is a substitute for Cotija Cheese?

As mentioned above, parmesan, a mild feta, and chihuahua cheese are all acceptable substitutes for cotija cheese. I would personally sample them, which many stores with a gourmet cheese section will let you do before you purchase it. Start with cotija and snack on something in between samples to cleanse the palate.

A glass bowl full of grilled corn, red onions, cilantro, crema, cotija cheese and lime juice which makes the best elote mexican grilled corn salad

How to Make Elote with Frozen Corn

If you can’t get your hands on fresh corn on the cob, don’t panic. You can use frozen corn instead of fresh corn.

  • How to Make Elote Mexican Corn Salad with Frozen Corn

Start by placing the frozen corn in a skillet that has been heated to medium high along with a drizzle of oil. Do not worry about defrosting the corn first, just add it to the skillet.

Stir occasionally until it begins to char slightly and remove from the heat.

Proceed with the recipe as normal!

And yes, we really do this all winter long when we can’t get corn on the cob, so it does totally work. 🙂

Mexican Side Dish RECIPES

Looking for more Mexican Side Dish recipes like this Elote Grilled Mexican Corn Salad?

More CORN RECIPES You Are Sure to Love:


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Elote Grilled Mexican Corn Salad

A glass bowl full of grilled corn, red onions, cilantro, crema, cotija cheese and lime juice which makes the best elote mexican grilled corn salad

Elote Grilled Mexican Corn Salad

4.57 from 126 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Every summer we enjoy plenty of grilled sweet corn, but this Elote Grilled Mexican Corn Salad is above and beyond with it's crema sauce, salty cotija cheese and that spicy seasoning!


  • 6 Ears of Corn husked
  • 1/3 Cup Crema *see note for substitution
  • Tablespoons  Lime Juice fresh is best
  • 1/2  Teaspoon  Ground Cumin
  • 3/4  Teaspoons  Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/4  Teaspoon  Black Pepper
  • 1/4  Teaspoon Salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Crumbled Cotija Cheese
  • 1/2 Red Onion Minced
  • 1/3-1/2 Bunch Cilantro chopped


  • Heat a grill to medium heat. Add the corn, turning occasionally until slightly charred on each side.
  • Remove from the grill and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • Holding the corn by the small end, cut off all of the kernels.
  • Place the kernels in a big bowl and add all remaining ingredients.
  • Fold gently with a rubber spatula, seasoning with additional salt as needed.
  • Serve slightly warm, room temperature or cold.


Crema is like a Mexican sour cream, and is found usually by the meat department with Hispanic items or the cheese. If you can't find it, you can substitute 3 tablespoons sour cream and 5 tablespoons mayonnaise. 
Nutrition Facts
Elote Grilled Mexican Corn Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 /2 cup)
Calories 157 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 21mg7%
Sodium 307mg13%
Carbohydrates 20g7%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 5g10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A glass bowl full of grilled corn, red onions, cilantro, crema, cotija cheese and lime juice which makes the best elote mexican grilled corn salad

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About the authors

Cheney Family

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

Leave a comment


  • I added one fresh grilled jalapeño and jackpot! Of course diced and seeds removed.

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    • Yum! That sounds incredible!

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  • Will this be good made ahead and then reheated to serve warm?

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    • It is much better fresh. If you can’t eat it fresh, I would recommend just eating it at room temperature or cold.

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  • Fantastic for a crowd! We had 90 folks for a “chipotle style” buffet dinner. This fit in very nice.
    Only substitution were bottled lime juice & frozen corn. Served it cold & it went over very well. When I tasted it still warm, immediately after making it, I though ” It’s ok, but nothing spectacular.” They next day however, after all the flavors melded – the red onion, lime and cotija cheese flavors had brightened up. It was really amazing! I will definitely be making this again!

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    • Oh! and yes, – 5 Stars!

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      • Yay! Thank you!!

    • Hi Penny! Yes, this salad tastes even better the next day in my opinion! So glad it was a hit for your party!

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  • Absolutely delicious! I used a vegan mayonnaise as I can’t eat eggs and didn’t have any crema on hand and it turned out fabulously. Will definitely make again.

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    • Thanks for the great tip! So glad you enjoyed it!

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  • The Mexican Sweet Corn Salad recipe
    Is ASTOUNDING a must try recipe even if you’ve never tried any recipe before

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    • THANK YOU Brian!! We sure love it!

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  • I’m guessing I won’t get a reply in time, but I’m making this now and it seems like the sauce is going to be awfully runny. Like a vinaigrette. Is it supposed to be like that or should it be creamier?

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    • Hey Shelly! I’m so sorry I didn’t see this earlier! Yes, it should be a little creamier. Did you use the Mexican Crema? It will be about the same creaminess as that. How did it taste?

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  • Delish

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    • Thank you!

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  • Just made this to serve today at my brother and his wife birthday party with leftover cilantro sauce and the crema sub and frozen corn. I made it last minute so the subs were necessary. Superb. “That can’t be healthy” my husband said haha. If it’s this good with frozen roasted corn I can’t wait to try it true to the recipe! Thank you for sharing? 5*

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    • Yay!! Thank you for your feedback!! We sure love this salad in our house!

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    • How much frozen corn did you use to sub the 6 ears?

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      • Hi Katie! Of course it is going to vary depending on the size of your corn cobs, but one cob generally equals about 3/4 cup. You’ll want about 4.5 – 5 cups of frozen corn for this recipe. Enjoy!

  • I LOVE elote, and I LOVE all the detail you go into explaining it so people can really understand how fantastic it is! Around my house everyone loves it so much, my teenage daughters refer to cute boys as “elotes” as a code.

    Thanks for posting this recipe, it’s the most comprehensive and authentic I’ve seen. I’m going to try it out tonight to accompany my slow cooker carnitas for Taco Tuesday.

    • Reply
    • Yessssss! How was it? And I love it! I’m going to have to tell my teenager about the code word!

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  • Made this using frozen corn and it was great. I added a diced orange bell pepper and used a shallot instead of red onion. I appreciate the sub for crema because I didn’t want to go to the store for 1 ingredient when I had sour cream & mayo in the fridge. Thanks for the recipe! My hubby loved it!

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    • Thank you for the feedback Areena! It sure is a yummy salad! Glad it was a hit for your family!

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  • This salad is amazing!!! Got fresh ohio sweet corn from Farmer’s market yesterday. So delicious and a great side dish. The dressing would even be good on a salad.

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    • Isn’t it so dang good?! We just can’t get enough of it this summer! Thanks for the feedback!

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  • I just made it this for our party later. It is so delicious!!  I can’t stop thinking about it now, and cannot wait to eat it later and get all the compliments!  Thank you for sharing this. 

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    • Thanks Lisa!! I hope you are digging into it soon!

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  • About how many servings does this recipe yield

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    • Hi Aidan! About 6 servings. Enjoy!

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  • I just made this recipe with fresh corn that I sliced off the cobb before cooking it in a cast-iron pan. Holy smokes!  It is delicious.  

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    • Yesssss!! Isn’t is so dang good?! So happy you enjoyed it!

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  • My new favorite side dish. This is so delicious!! You have to make this people!

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    • You’ve made our day Chantel!! Thank you!

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  • How much frozen corn equals 6 cobs?

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    • On average, one cob of corn yields 3/4 cup of corn. So you would want about 4 1/2 cups of corn. Great question!

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  • Served this for a Memorial Day BBQ and it was a huge hit! I did the sour cream / mayo substitution because I couldn’t find crema. We’ll be making this again (and I passed on the recipe to our guests)! 

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    • Yahoo! We love hearing that! Glad it was a hit! Thanks, Liz!

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  • If using frozen corn how much should you use?

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    • Great questions! 4-5 cups for this recipe

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  • Your Elote Corn recipe is sooo delicious 😋 

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    • Thank you, Reese!!

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  • This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try this with grilled corn…that would add so much flavor!

    • Reply

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