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Smoked Elote Mexican Street Corn

Smoked elote, a twist on traditional Mexican street corn, is a game-changer when it comes to sides or snacks. By infusing the sweetness of corn with a smoky flavor, this dish becomes an ideal accompaniment to grilled proteins. Whether you’re firing up the grill for burgers, hot dogs, or steak, smoked elote is sure to be a hit. Its versatility also makes it a great match for a variety of meals, from hearty chili and its toppings, to a bowl of creamy Mexican rice pudding for dessert. The recipe itself is surprisingly simple, requiring just a few ingredients like lime juice, chilli lime powder, herbs, and cheese. And the best part? It’s perfect for outdoor gatherings, making it an excellent addition to any cookout or picnic.

Why You’ll Like This

The unmistakable flavor of elote recipes is a true delight for anyone who loves Mexican cuisine. The harmonious blend of sweet corn, crumbled cheese, lime, chile powder, and herbs creates a culinary experience that’s hard to resist. As the perfect accompaniment to summer gatherings, whether it’s Cinco de Mayo or a backyard BBQ featuring smoked steaks on your Traeger grill or pellet smoker, this classic Mexican street food is a must-have side dish that’s sure to please. And the best part? It’s incredibly easy to prepare! Simply season the corn, smoke and char it on the grill, then finish it off with a sprinkle of crumbled Cotija cheese – voila, a delicious elote recipe that’s as authentic as it is tasty.

How to Make Elote, or Smoked Mexican Street Corn

To create this mouthwatering street corn recipe, follow these steps: First, prepare your ears of fresh corn by soaking them in a mixture of water and lime juice, along with wooden skewers if you’re using those. Next, remove the silks from the corn and leave the husks intact. Then, mix together butter, lime juice, garlic, salt, oregano, and chilli-lime seasoning to create the creamy, spicy seasoning. Apply this mixture evenly over the corn kernels by brushing it onto each ear of corn. Close the husks back up, securing them with twine or kitchen string if needed. Now, it’s time to smoke the corn – place it in a smoker for about an hour before removing and discarding the husks. Finally, brush the ears of corn with butter, add a layer of mayonnaise, roll in shredded cheese, chilli-lime seasoning (Tajin), and cilantro, serving the dish hot. If desired, garnish with fresh lime wedges for added flavor and visual appeal.

Substitutions and Variations

While this BBQ side dish excels as is, with its harmonious blend of creamy mayo, tangy lime juice, spicy chilli, and soft cheese, there’s room for creative experimentation. Feel free to substitute Cotija with feta or omit the fresh cilantro if it’s not your thing. To elevate the flavor further, consider swapping the mayo for Mexican crema or adding liquid smoke for a smoky essence that complements gas grill-cooked corn. If you prefer an alternative heat source, smoked paprika or chili powder can be used in place of the original chilli lime seasoning.

Storage Instructions

When it comes to storing this delicious corn dish, timing is everything. For optimal results, it’s best consumed immediately after preparation. However, if you do need to store leftovers, they will keep for a maximum of three days. If you’re looking to repurpose the kernels in another recipe, feel free to slice them off and use as needed. As for freezing, corn freezes well, but be sure to omit the mayo and cheese mixture before doing so. Reheating is also an option – simply warm it up in the microwave or oven.

Mexican Corn Elotes FAQs

If you’re looking for alternatives to mayonnaise when making elotes, consider substituting it with crema Mexicana (a thick mixture of buttermilk and heavy cream) or sour cream. This will help the cheese and cilantro adhere to the corn. Both options provide a similar creamy texture to traditional mayonnaise.

If you don’t have access to a grill or prefer not to use it, there are alternative cooking methods for elotes. One option is to cook the corn in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35 minutes. Alternatively, you can boil the corn for 10 minutes in simmering water. These methods produce similar results without requiring outdoor equipment.

Smoked Mexican Street Corn Recipe

Smoked Elote – Mexican Street Corn

Indulge your taste buds in the vibrant flavors of Mexico with this delectable smoked elote recipe. A perfect accompaniment to any grilled protein, this classic street corn dish will transport you south of the border. With a mere 15 minutes spent on prep and an hour invested in cooking time, you’ll be enjoying this flavorful treat in just under two hours. This recipe yields six generous servings, ideal for sharing with friends or savoring as a satisfying meal.


Soak corn husks in water for 1 hour and preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the skewers by soaking them in a separate glass of water if using wooden ones. For each ear of corn, slice off about an inch from the top and insert a soaked skewer. Peel back the husk to expose the corn and remove any silk that may still be attached. Melt butter with lime juice, garlic powder, salt, oregano, and chili lime seasoning, then brush it onto the corn and close the husks over the kernels. Secure the husks with kitchen twine to prevent them from opening during smoking. Place the remaining melted butter in a baking tin and add it to the smoker alongside the corn. Smoke everything for 1 hour before removing the corn and butter from the heat. After that, remove and discard the husks, letting the butter and corn cool slightly for about 5-8 minutes. To assemble the final dish, mix cotija cheese with chili lime seasoning and chopped cilantro on a plate or cookie sheet. Brush the cooled corn with the remaining butter, then spread a thick layer of mayonnaise over its surface. Roll each ear in the cheesy mixture, pressing gently to ensure it adheres to the corn.