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Healthy Mexican Corn on the Grill

Mexican corn on the cob is a common Mexican street food that also goes by the name Elote. It’s a simply delicious way to enjoy corn as a side dish or snack.

Mexican corn in black cast iron pan with lime wedge

I absolutely love corn on the cob and had never tried this version of it until recently. Most definitely this is my new favorite way of all time to eat corn.

Normally, when I eat corn on the cob, I simply spritz it with lime juice and sprinkle a little sea salt on it. But not long ago, when we were having dinner, I decided to smear some of my low-fat vegan mayo recipe on an ear of corn, and it rocked my world.

mexican street corn on the cob with lime

I was so excited about it that I posted a picture on Facebook, and followers began to tell me about Mexican street corn and suggest other seasonings to add. That was the beginning of my new love affair with Elote.

I love this corn dish because it’s…

  • Fresh
  • Wholesome
  • Smokey
  • Zesty
  • Easy to make
  • Low-fat
  • Versatile
  • Delicious!

What is Mexican corn on the cob?

Traditional Mexican street corn–aka Elote– is basically corn on the cob that has been roasted over an open grill and then coated with mayonnaise, salt, chili powder along with other spices, a crumbly cheese called cotija, and lime juice.

Though I’ve never been to Mexico, I am told that vendors pushing wooden carts sell Elote as a snack, often skewered on a wooden stick, at state fairs, public beaches, sports stadiums, and such.

All I know for sure is that it’s delicious, and I had to find a way to make a healthier version of it without the fat-laden classic mayo and cheese.

mexican corn on the cob in white dish with lime

A full list of ingredients, measurements, instructions, and a print button can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

How to make Mexican street healthy

The best part about Elote is that it’s SO easy to make that anyone can do it. Simply cook the corn using any of four different methods, then coat with seasonings and spices. That’s really all there is to it!

No matter which cooking method you decide on, the first step will be to remove the husk and silks and wash the corn thoroughly. Once it’s prepped, decide on the cooking method preferred.

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Cooking method options include:

Traditional grilling – This is my preferred method. Grill corn on an open flame or grilling pan for 7-8 minutes, turning throughout the process to blister the corn on all sides. You’ll see in the video that I used my cast iron grilling pan indoors instead of on an outdoor grill. Either way works great.

Roasting – Place corn in roasting pan and cook in the oven at 500 degrees for approximately 10 minutes.

Boiling – Fill a large pot up with water and heat to boiling. Place prepared corn in the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.

Microwaving – There are a couple of options here. The husk can be left on for microwaving, and I highly recommend it because removing the husk and silks after being cooked is much simpler. Just make sure to let the corn cool first. If you decide to remove the husk before cooking–or you purchased the corn with husk already removed–simply wrap each ear in a damp paper towel before cooking. Either way, microwave for approximately 3 minutes.

Mexican corn seasonings

While the corn is cooking, whisk together dry ingredients that include nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Also, go ahead and chop up some fresh cilantro (or parsley). Set these to the side.

Once the corn is cooked and cooled, coat with a layer of low-fat vegan mayonnaise to keep this dish healthy and low in calories. My easy recipe for 5-minute Eggless Mayo is also included below.

Next, generously sprinkle each coated cob with the dry ingredients you just prepared, roll around in the chopped cilantro, and drizzle with fresh lime juice. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tips for making this recipe

If you want to make this dish even simpler, there is a Mexican seasoning called Tijin that is a mix of concentrated lime juice and spices that is fabulous on corn and other dishes. It could be used to replace all of the seasonings used here. Simply coat the corn in low-fat vegan mayo, sprinkle with Tijin, and add chopped fresh cilantro.

I am told often in the Food for Life classes I teach that many folks don’t like cilantro because it tastes like soap to them. There are reports that it’s actually a biological thing. Go figure! So, if cilantro makes you think of soap suds, maybe try replacing it with chopped parsley instead.

Roasting is the only cooking method that will give those charred black marks.

Any leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. I haven’t tried freezing it but think it would do just fine.

elote in cast iron pan

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Mexican corn in black cast iron pan with lime wedge

Healthy Mexican Corn on the Cob

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Mexican corn on the cob is a common Mexican street food that also goes by the name Elote. It's a simply delicious way to enjoy corn as a side dish or snack.

Ingredients

Corn Ingredients

  • 6 fresh ears of corn
  • ½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder (or more)
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro (or parsley)
  • Lime wedges

Low-Fat Mayonnaise Ingredients

  • 1 package silken tofu
  • 1 tablespoon less refined sweetener
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions

Mexican Corn on Cob

1. Remove husks and silk from corn and wash thoroughly.

2. Grill (7-8 minutes), roast (at 500 degrees for 10 minutes), boil (5 minutes), or microwave the corn (3 minutes). Detailed instructions included above.

3. While the corn is cooking, whisk together dry ingredients that include nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Also, go ahead and chop up some fresh cilantro. Set these to the side.

4. Once the corn is cooked and cooled, coat with a layer of low-fat vegan mayonnaise to keep this dish healthy and low in calories. Recipe below.

5. Next, generously sprinkle each coated cob with the dry ingredients you just prepared, roll around in the chopped cilantro, and drizzle with fresh lime juice. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Low-Fat Mayo Instructions

1. Place all mayonnaise ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.

Notes

Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 95Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2.5gProtein: 6g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Did you make this recipe?

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