Stovetop Elotes (Mexican Street Corn)

A few weeks ago, a friend told me about this amazing way to eat corn on the cob.

At first, I was only half listening…unlike most people, I don’t get too excited when ears of corn start to overflow from farmer’s stands or grocery store aisles. It’s just corn.

But, as she told me about this corn, my ears perked up. You put mayonnaise on corn? What? (You know how I always like things that sound too weird to be true…)

I got just curious enough to buy a few ears and let them sit in the fridge for a week. But my grill is not currently at my house. And it’s always raining anyway. And mayonnaise on corn can’t be doing anyone any nutritional favors.

Finally, mostly in an effort not to waste the corn I had already bought, I decided to “grill” my corn on a cast-iron pan on the stovetop. As I licked the spoon after stirring together what turned out to be the. most. delicious! sauce in the whole entire world, I knew I would never be satisfied with corn any other way.

Make this corn. There are no more excuses. You must make elotes.

The beauty of this corn is that it really is easy to make!

All you really need to do is make a delicious sauce and cook the corn.

Corn + Mayo Sauce

The sauce may sound a bit suspect, but I promise it is incredible. It’s a little salty and a little smoky and a little spicy and a little tangy, the perfect complement to the starchy sweet corn. I made the mistake of licking the spoon right after I stirred it together…and I almost just gobbled up the sauce by itself. That would have been totally ridiculous, but it was that good.

So stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, ancho chile powder (I did actually go buy ancho powder for this one, and I’m glad I did! The spice level is milder and the flavor is rich and smoky), and finely crumbled feta cheese. You could also use cotija cheese, which is similarly crumbly, but I had a bunch of feta on hand waiting to be eaten. Fridge for the win.

Chop up a bunch of cilantro and toss that in as well. If you are cilantro averse, here is what I advise: stir in a pinch or two of finely ground coriander (which, I’m told, does not have the same bad taste for the cilantro-haters) and then just a few leaves of chopped parsley for color. Parsley could be weird and grassy and overpowering, so don’t go wild with the parsley; it is not actually a very good substitute for cilantro. IMHO.

Char Marks

Now for the corn! You can totally grill your corn, if your grill isn’t missing and the skies aren’t dumping buckets upon you. But if you can’t imagine life without this corn for one more day, stovetop “grilling” works, too! I don’t have a grill pate for my stove, so I went with a big cast-iron pan. The goal, really, is to let the corn get a little smoky and a little charred.

I lightly buttered my cast iron and then threw the corn on and turned it every few minutes. It took about 15 minutes to get the ears nice and blackened in spots, and the kitchen was a bit smoky when all was said and done, but hey…that’s why I have windows, right?

Most Delicious Corn in the World

Slather the hot ears with the mayo sauce. Sprinkle a little extra feta and cilantro over the top. Squeeze a lime over them for a little extra tang.

Drool a little. Then force yourself to share!

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5 from 2 votes

Stovetop Elotes (Mexican Street Corn)

lightly adapted from Serious Eats
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword cookout, corn, saucy, tangy
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4-6 ears sweet corn, shucked
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup cup finely crumbled feta or cotija plus extra
  • ½ tsp. ancho chile powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. finely minced fresh cilantro, plus extra
  • 1 lime


  • Heat a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat.* Grease as needed with butter.
  • Place the ears of corn on the pan to cook. Turn the ears every 2–3 minutes until they are tender and charred in places all the way around, about 15 minutes total.
  • Meanwhile, stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, chile powder, garlic, and cilantro.
  • When the ears are smoky and cooked through, remove them from the grill pan. Immediately slather with the cheesy sauce.
  • Sprinkle with a little extra cheese and cilantro, and drizzle with lime juice. Serve hot.


*Of course, the corn may be grilled as well, ideally over charcoal flames!


  1. One year ago: Pico de Gallo
  2. Two years ago: French Macarons, Italian Method
  3. Three years ago: Ginger Scones
  4. Four years ago: Brown Sugar Shortbread

4 comments to “Stovetop Elotes (Mexican Street Corn)”

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  1. Sarah@WellDined - August 6, 2015 Reply

    This is definitely my favorite way to eat grilled corn! I do mayo, chili powder, seasoning salt, and cotija. YUM.

  2. Lee - September 1, 2022 Reply

    5 stars
    Definitely trying this over the weekend – – love your stovetop solution!!!

  3. Ann - June 13, 2023 Reply

    5 stars
    I was happy to see a recipe for preparing this on the stove top. I purchased a “Street Corn Kit” from the grocery store, but I don’t own a grill. The kit somewhat mimicked your recipe… it came with the mayo and sour cream already combined, and a packet of “everything bagel seasoning”, cojita cheese, and a lime. I added some chipotle chili powder to the seasoning mix. As to the stove-top cooking, I heated up the cast-iron as instructed. However, while the pan was heating up, I placed and covered the corn on a plate and microwaved for 1 minute per ear (4 ears = 4 minutes). As soon the nuking was complete, I threw the butter into the hot pan and added the corn. Only had to grill and turn about 3 or 4 minutes. Got those burn spots as noted in the recipe. Slathered on the mix, and then the cheese and lime. It was absolutely delicious.

  4. Wendi - July 21, 2023 Reply

    Oops. Your recipe is leaves out the cheese in the description of how to mix the sauce. You might want to fix that.

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