Healthy Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes) brushed with chili lime oil & sprinkled with cotija cheese! A healthy, lighter version without the butter or mayo!
Does anything else say summer like grilled corn on the cob? This healthy, grilled Mexican street corn on the cob, also known as elotes, is brushed with a chili lime oil and topped with Mexican cotija cheese. It's a healthier and lighter twist on the traditional elotes recipe because we're skipping the butter and mayo. I promise it tastes just as good and flavorful but without the heaviness.
What is cotija cheese?
Cotija cheese is a hard cheese made from cow's milk and named after the town it's produced in. It's usually crumbled on top of tacos, burritos, or in this case Mexican street corn - elotes. The texture is similar to feta but tastes saltier.
The first time I had Mexican street corn was actually on a snowboarding trip if you can believe that. We were at a ski resort and the food options were between an overpriced hamburger or this little food vendor outside our lodge selling Mexican street corn of all things. I figured I'd try it since I never had it before and it was freaking delicious! Perfectly grilled corn on the cob smothered in butter and mayo and then covered with cotija cheese, chili powder, and a generous squeeze of lime juice.
You can see why it tasted so good but I can only eat heavy foods every once in a while before I start to feel sick, so I decided to come up with this lighter version that I can eat every week of the summer. Win!
What makes this healthy & light?
- flavorful garlic, chili lime olive oil
That's right! No butter or mayo. Instead, we're using a tasty garlic, chili lime olive oil to brush on the corn straight off the grill. It adds a smokey, zesty, garlicky flavor to the corn that pairs perfectly with fresh cilantro and cotija cheese.
How to Make Healthy Grilled Mexican Street Corn:
- Start with fresh corn on the cob.
- Heat your grill pan to medium high heat and rotate your corn about every 3 minutes
- Turn down the heat if the corn chars too quickly. It took me about 15 - 20 minutes for my corn to finish grilling.
- While the corn is grilling, make the chili lime oil and brush it on the corn after it's done grilling.
- Remove the corn from the grill pan and immediately brush on the chili lime oil. Sprinkle on the cotija cheese, extra chili powder, and garnish with cilantro leaves and lime wedges. Note: make sure to crumble the cheese really well so that it sticks to the corn. The bigger pieces will fall off since there's no mayo or butter for it to stick to.
I hope you make this healthy grilled Mexican street corn on the cob! Please share, rate, and comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
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Healthy Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes) with Chili Lime Oil and Cotija Cheese
- 4 ears of corn - on the cob
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil - or another high heat oil
- ½ cup cotija cheese - feta can be substituted
- 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ tablespoon smoked paprika
- ¼ tablespoon chili powder
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- ¼ cup cilantro
Grill the Corn
- Heat a grill pan over medium high heat and coat the pan with 1 Tablespoon of avocado oil. Brush the remaining 2 Tablespoons of avocado oil on the husked corn cobs.
- Grill the corn on the grill pan, turning every 3 minutes until the corn is charred and tender. About 15 - 20 minutes.
Make the Chili Lime Oil
- Meanwhile, cut one lime into wedges and set aside for serving. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic, and the juice of the other lime, roughly 2 tablespoons of lime juice. If you tend to like saltier food, season lightly with salt & pepper (keep in mind the cotija cheese will add more salt).
- When the corn is ready, brush the chili lime oil on each ear of corn and then sprinkle on top the cotija cheese, extra pinch of smoked paprika, and cilantro leaves. Serve with extra lime wedges.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.
I used feta as that was all I had, and what a delicious dish this was. Although only the side dish, I reckon this was really the star of the show! If you haven't tried this recipe yet, I highly recommend it. I can't wait to make it again!
Wow!!!! I must admit, I do not have a huge amount of experience with Elotes, and I had never cooked it before. I dined at my favourite Mexican restaurant recently, and I wanted to recreate something similar at home. I came across this recipe, and it appealed to me, being a bit healthier. And as I said at the start - wow!!!
It is so good, and just as good as what I enjoyed at the restaurant. So excited to be able to make this at home now!
Ohhhhh dang!!! I am in love with Mexican street corn!! This looks SO delicious, I can't wait to make it! And gorgeous photography as ALWAYS!
Thanks Katie! I'm obsessed with Mexican street corn too! If I could, I would put it in everything lol.
I love how you have lightened up a timeless classic! Can’t wait to try your version this summer!
Yay thanks Delaine! I hope you love it! 🙂
Love to have this on a rainy day. Best time of the year to snack on with family and friends indoors.
Thanks Veena! Yep rain or shine, this is always delicious! Tastes even better when snacking with friend and family. 🙂
Looks fabulous! Love the addition of cheese and lime (so tasty on so many foods - never thought to add it to corn on the cob). Thanks for the recipe and inspiration!
Thanks Sally! Cheese and lime don't seem like they'd go well together but they definitely do on corn! I hope you love this!
Love Mexican street corn! Very cool that it's "grilled" on a castiron pan too.
Thanks Nancy! I love using the grill pan. It makes clean up super easy and I can make grilled food all year round. 🙂
If I could rate this 1000 stars I would. SO delicious!
Hahaha thank you Gary!! That's the best compliment ever! 😀
This looks amazing. I love that used a grille pan for this. I can't wait for my family to try this.
Thank you Andrea! Yes I love using the grill pan for this too. Super easy clean up and I get to stand in an air conditioned kitchen instead of outside in the heat hehe.
What a great looking side dish for summer! Love the seasonings of paprika and chili powder; delicious!
Thank you Sara! Yes the lime chili oil goes so well with the corn!:)
I love this grilled corn upgrade! All the delicious toppings, perfect for cookouts or any night.
Thank you Sharon! Yes this is great anytime of the year! I hope you love it! 🙂
I can't wait to try this! My family loves corn, so I'm sure they will love this dish!
Thank you Krissy! I hope your family loves this! 🙂
Your pictures really show off your grilled mexican street corn. This recipe looks so fresh and delicious perfect for summer.
Thank you Kelly! I'm so glad the photos show how delicious this is! Hope you enjoy it!
It is time for a proper party because there is nothing better than grilled Mexican corn for it. Delicious, easy and soooo goood! 🙂
Thank you Elaine! Yes this is so perfect for a summer party! 😀