This Mexican grilled corn will steal the show at your next cookout! Fresh corn is smothered in a zesty sauce, grilled to perfection and served with a sprinkling of cilantro. You’ll want to make this flavor-packed side dish all summer long!
I’ve never been one for grilling, but I think that’s starting to change. My husband and I had to run out a few weeks ago when I had a cookout planned and at the last-minute discovered that our grill had totally rusted out. It was a cheapie grill we’d picked up at the supermarket a few years back, so I wasn’t super surprised or devastated.
Anyway, we decided to upgrade and get one of the fancier charcoal grills. So I’ve been pressuring myself to use it. I’ve made grilled tofu a handful of times, several grilled pizzas (the best way to make pizza, in my opinion), and lots of veggies. I think I’m in love with grilling!
This corn was one of the first dishes we made on our new grill, and let me tell you, I don’t think I can ever eat plain old boiled corn again.
What Goes Into Mexican Corn?
First off, a disclaimer: my version of Mexican corn is far from authentic. It’s vegan, for one thing, and I took some liberties with respect to the seasonings.
Traditional versions of Mexican corn (called elote) are made by slathering corn on the cob with a sauce that includes mayonnaise, butter, and chili powder, grilling it, and then serving it with a sprinkle of cheese.
I used vegan butter and vegan mayo, omitted the cheese, and added some cumin and lime juice for extra flavor.
Oh, and I gave it a nice sprinkling of fresh cilantro before serving!
How to Make Mexican Grilled Corn
If your corn husks are on the dry side, start by soaking your corn, husks and all, in water for about 15 to 30 minutes. If you’re not sure if they’re dry, soak them!
While your corn soaks, mix up your sauce by stirring everything together in a small bowl. You may need to soften up the butter a bit and use a whisk to get out the lumps!
Now husk your corn. Peel back the husks without removing them, then remove the corn silk. Next you’re going to grab that sauce and slather it all over your corn. Save about a third of it for serving.
Fold the husks back over to cover the corn. The husks are going to protect the corn from charring during grilling. Do your best to cover the corn, but don’t worry if there’s a gap between the leaves here and there — I tend to like a few charred spots.
Grill your corn for 15 minutes, and then gently peel back a bit of one of the husks to check the texture. When the kernels are tender, it’s done!
Let the corn cool until you can handle it, peel back the husks again, and serve with the reserved sauce for drizzling.
FAQ & Tips for Making Perfect Mexican Grilled Corn
- You can wrap your corn in foil instead of the husks if you prefer.
- Is this grilled corn gluten-free? It sure is!
- Where can I find vegan mayo? Most supermarkets sell it either in the natural foods section, or near the regular mayo. Look for brands like Just Mayo, Hellman’s Vegan, and Vegenaise.
- Where can I find vegan butter? It’s usually with the regular butter, in the refrigerated section. Look for brands like Earth Balance, Miyoko’s and Melt.
- Help! My husks are burning off the corn! What should I do? Move the corn further away from direct heat if you can, and next time consider soaking your corn first. Some burning is normal and will result in a bit of the corn charring. I consider this a good thing!
Mexican Grilled Corn
This Mexican grilled corn will steal the show at your next cookout! Fresh corn is smothered in a zesty sauce, grilled to perfection and served with a sprinkling of cilantro. You'll want to make this flavor-packed side dish all summer long!
- 4 ears fresh corn (in the husk)
- 1/4 cup vegan mayo
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Pinch cayenne pepper (or more, for extra heat)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- Salt and pepper
If your corn husks are on the dry side, soak them first. Fill a large container (such as stock pot, a baking dish, or two) with water.
Submerge the corn in the water and soak for 15 to 30 minutes.
While the corn soaks, stir the mayonnaise, butter, lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl.
When the corn has finished soaking, remove it from the water and gently blot dry with a towel.
Peel back the husk from each ear of corn without removing it.
Remove the silk from each ear of corn.
Brush half of the sauce over each ear of corn, then reclose the husk over the corn.
Heat a barbecue grill to medium high.
Place the ears of corn on the grill, away from direct heat.
Grill the corn for about 15 minutes, turning once, halfway through.
Gently peel back a section of one of the husks. If the corn kernels are tender, the corn is done.
Remove the corn from the grill and let it sit for a few minutes, until the husks are cool enough to handle.
Peel back the husks, sprinkle the corn with salt and pepper to taste, then with cilantro. Serve with the reserved sauce.