I measure my life in two periods: before and after elote. You may know it by another name—Mexican street corn, etc.—but by any other name it is still…well, sweet. Really effing sweet, as in, excellent. I was predisposed to loving corn on the cob by my Midwestern upbringing, but not until I’d had it slathered in mayo, rolled in salty cotija cheese, and spiked with chili and lime did I understand its fullest potential. Corn on the cob is to summer as elote is to Hot Girl (or Boy) Summer.
Elote is a study in contrasting flavors and how they come together to achieve perfection in a single bite: sweet, salty, tangy, and spicy elements all working in harmony. Not to mention the ideal expression of how food can feel; not emotionally, I mean, how textures also work in contrast to create sensations that make a person long for the next bite, even mid-mouthful from the previous bite. The juicy bursts of individual corn kernels dancing with the richness of mayo, politely interrupted by cheese granules while you salivate from just the softest hint of lime…Did I mention that I really love elote?
And here’s the thing. Like other iconic foods such as pizza and cheeseburgers, elote can be transformed from a simple corn on the cob preparation to just about any other type of dish. Moreover, it really should be, so you can enjoy it nonstop while pretending what you crave is variety. Here are 11 elote recipes to help you get more of it in your life this season.
Here it is, in all of its traditional on-the-cob glory. Even from vendor to vendor there are slight variations to the dish, and all of them welcome: cayenne versus chili powder versus hot sauce; cotija or queso fresco; mayonnaise or butter. Scallions and cilantro are also sometimes invited to the dance. Here, a little garlic is added to the mix for an additional aromatic element. Get our Grilled Corn with Cayenne, Lime, and Cotija recipe.
Related Reading: 11 of Our Most Popular Sides for Summer Grilling & BBQ Season
What do you get when you take the elements of elote off of the cob, add some peppers for a nice touch, put it in a pastry shell, and bind it with a little egg? You get an excuse to have elote for breakfast. There’s an egg! Get the Mexican Street Corn Tart recipe.
Trader Joe’s made all of our dreams come true TWICE. First, with Everything but the Bagel Seasoning, and then, in an even more inspired move, IMHO, with Everything but the Elote Seasoning, making it easier than ever to turn anything into a Mexican corn flavor explosion. And here, just to one-up even themselves, Trader Joe’s offers an elote pancake recipe. Can I emphasize this enough? More elote for breakfast! Get the Elote Jalapeño Cornbread Pancakes recipe.
Trader Joe's Everything But The Elote Seasoning Blend, $8.09 from Amazon
I hereby turn my back on all other forms of hush puppies,* now that I know that these delightful little corn nuggets are achievable in elote form. (*This is likely false, but still, ELOTE HUSH PUPPIES amirite?) Get the Elote Fritters recipe.
A deviled egg is the perfect blank slate into which any manner of dish can be transformed, including, obviously, elote. A little red onion here is a nice, colorful touch, combining two of my favorite picnic foods into one. Get the Mexican Street Corn Deviled Eggs recipe.
Elote screams of barbecues, beaches, picnics, summer, and generally speaking, nice weather. But that’s no reason you can’t enjoy it on a cold or rainy day, especially when its remarkable flavors come together in comforting soup form. Get the Mexican Street Corn Soup recipe.
Purists may insist that elote belongs only on the cob, but this simple salad version, which just makes it all forkable, will surely be appreciated by your dentally challenged friends and family. Get the Elote Corn Salad recipe.
The word “casserole” always evokes something potlucky and wholesome. Here, it serves as an excuse to add sour cream to your elote, so you can be the judge as to whether that makes it more or less so. Get the Mexican Street Corn Casserole recipe.
Anything worth eating is worth eating in dip form, and in case I’ve been somehow remiss in delineating the worthiness of elote up to this point…no, that’s not possible. Here’s a way to enjoy elote with some tortilla chips for that outstanding corn on corn action. Get the Mexican Corn Dip recipe.
Born from an attempt to use up leftover elote from a barbecue (AS IF) this is as inspired a grilled cheese recipe as I have ever witnessed. Elote and chorizo and pepper jack…oh, my. Get the Mexican Corn Chorizo Grilled Cheese recipe.
Header image by Chowhound