Mexican Street Corn Salad (Elote)

by Hong Diep
Elote Salad 13

Mexican Street Corn Salad (Elote)

Elote salad is a side dish you’ll want to eat again and again! Creamy, tangy, sweet, and salty with a little kick. This Mexican inspired street corn salad is made with simple ingredients and comes together in 15 minutes!

If you love corn or even if you don’t love corn… you’ll love this corn salad! It’s so easy to make and is the perfect side dish with any meal!

This recipe is inspired by elote and not authentic but it’s dang good or shall I say beyond good! I could eat an entire bowl!

Elote is usually served on the cob but this deconstructed version is a little less messy and tastes just as delicious. Plus, you’re less likely to get corn stuck in your teeth!

I’ll show you two ways I like to make it: on the grill and sautéed on the stovetop. Both grilled and stovetop versions taste amazing, it’s hard to choose! I love the grilled version for an extra smoky flavor but equally love the sautéed version when I’m not already breaking out the grill.

This is the perfect side dish for Mexican inspired meals or any summer barbeque.


Use fresh corn on the cob if possible. Canned or frozen corn can be used if you’re in a pinch but fresh corn tastes best and has a better tender crisp texture!

I made this recipe with mayonnaise and sour cream since it’s more accessible. If you have access to Mexican crema, feel free to use it instead of sour cream.


  1. Cook the corn.
    • Grilled Version: Brush corn with melted butter and grill on medium heat until the corn is charred on all sides.
    • Stovetop Version: Cut off the corn kernels. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and melt the butter. Add corn and sauté for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly browned.
  2. Let the corn cool slightly (then cut off the corn kernels, if grilled). Place the corn in a mixing bowl.
  1. Prepare the dressing by combining sour cream, mayo, lime juice, cumin, paprika, chili powder, black pepper and cilantro.
  2. Add the dressing to the corn mixture and toss in onions and cotija cheese. Serve warm.


What is elote?

Elote is a popular Mexican street food made with roasted or boiled corn on the cob, mayo and/or crema, chili powder, lime juice and cotija cheese. The Spanish word elote means corn.

What are esquites?

Esquites are similar to elotes but the corn is served off the cob and in a cup. This deconstructed street corn salad is more like esquites.

What is cotija cheese?

Cotija is a salty, crumbly Mexican cheese made from cow’s milk. It originated from Cotija, in the Mexican state of Michoacán. Cotija cheese can be found in major grocery stores.

What would be a good cotija cheese substitute?

If you can’t find cotija cheese, try queso fresco. Grated parmesan and feta might work but the flavor will be different. I haven’t experimented with these cheeses so let me know if you give it a try.

Can I use canned or frozen corn?

This salad is so good you’ll probably want to eat it all year round… In my opinion, the texture of fresh corn makes a difference in this recipe, but if it’s not available, I recommend frozen corn over canned corn for a better texture and taste. Add the frozen corn directly to the skillet and sauté with butter.

Can I make this a day ahead?

This salad can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. It can be served chilled but I highly recommend serving it warm. Heat it up in the microwave until just warm and top it off with extra cilantro and cotija to freshen it up.

How long can I store corn salad?

Elote salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. I do not recommend freezing as the creamy dressing may break.

What can I serve with street corn salad?

Serve this with any Mexican inspired meal like carnitas tacos or as a side dish at a BBQ!

Mexican Street Corn Salad (Elote)


  • 4 ears corn
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup red onion minced
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese crumbled
  • 3 tbsp sour cream or crema
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne optional
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 2 tbsp lime juice about 1 lime


  • Grilled: Brush the corn with melted butter and grill on medium heat for 8-10 minutes until all sides are slightly charred. Cut off the kernels and place the corn in a mixing bowl.
  • Stovetop: Cut off the corn kernels. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and melt the butter. Add the corn and sauté for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly browned. Turn off the heat.
  • Combine the dressing ingredients and add it to the corn along with onions and cotija cheese. Serve warm.


  • I highly recommend using fresh corn for a crisp texture.
  • The cotija cheese is salty, season with salt to taste.
  • Cut the corn by holding it at the stalk vertically. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off. 
  • Use a shallow bowl or baking sheet to catch the kernels.


Calories: 82kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 205mg, Potassium: 43mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 154IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1mg

You may also like

Leave a Comment