Go Wild, Munch On Your Crazy Corn!

The Mexican way to wildly dress simply cooked corn drives me wild:

Crunchy sweet corn on a stick, brushed with butter and mayo, coated in tangy and salty crumbled queso fresco, sprinkled with chile powder, typically chile piquí­n, coarse salt and a liberal squeeze of lime juice…

It doesn’t matter if I am hungry. The mere site of a street food corn stand makes me stop dead in my tracks and zoom over for one. Like a wild woman. I need one. Well, the truth is one is not enough, ever.

In Mexico you find corn stands all over, in little towns and big cities. Locals know what day of the week and at what times they show up. If you are not from there, it takes a while to figure it out.

Crazy Corn 1
Last time we went to Chihuahua, after asking around for a while, we found the 3 Hermanos cart with Mauro in charge.

And does that man know how to dress that corn! He spoiled me and added an extra squeeze of lime juice.

Crazy Corn 2
Corn can be simmered in water, many times with fresh Epazote. Or it can be grilled on a griddle or comal. If the kernels are shaved off, then the dish is called Esquites. But the traditional trimmings are the same for all.

Yet, some people can get even wilder… You won’t believe this, when Mauro was dressing our corn, a pregnant lady asked for her Esquites with all the trimmings to be poured inside a bag of Doritos. Yes she did. But if you ask me, about to have a baby, she was entitled to whatever kind of craving she felt like…


Crazy Corn 3

Last week, thinking of the many things to do with summer corn for an appearance on the Today Show, I included Crazy Corn. But I opted for the grilled take, because as the corn chars, its natural sugar comes out and caramelizes, giving it an extra layer of rustic and sweet flavor.

Crazy Corn 4
Thanks to the most professional, talented and fabulous food prep styling team, that of the Today Show, the Mexican street style corn that Mexicans love so much, looked so beautiful on the set.

Crazy Corn 5
They had all the trimmings with alternatives and options. Different kinds of dried ground chiles: Ancho, Chipotle and a smoky mix. They also had the queso fresco and its seamless substitutes: Queso Cotija and its Mediterranean cousin, the Mild Feta.

Crazy Corn 6
Crazy Corn is Mexican street food at its best, and it happens to be perfect for summer barbecues.

Crazy Corn 7
Here goes one for you! Messy goodness, conveniently placed on a stick ready for you to munch on.


Crazy Corn


Recipe Yield

6 servings

Cooking time

10 minutes

Rate this recipe

5 from 2 votes


  • 6 ears of fresh corn husked and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • unsalted butter
  • mayonnaise
  • 1 cup crumbled cotija or queso fresco farmers cheese or a mild Feta
  • 3 limes halved to squeeze on top
  • Salt to taste
  • Dried ground chile piquin or a Mexican mix or to taste

To Prepare

  • Brush the ears of corn with a bit of oil. Place over a grill or grill pan, set over medium heat, and let the corn cook and char slightly, turning them every 3 minutes or until the corn is down, anywhere from 9 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat. Alternatively, you can simmer the corn in water until tender.
  • Let everyone decide what they want on their crazy corn. You can stick the corn on corn holders or a wooden stick.
  • The traditional way is to spread butter and a layer of mayonnaise. Then the corn is thoroughly "breaded" with the crumbled cheese, sprinkled with salt and ground chile and finally, drizzled with freshly squeezed lime juice.


34comments inGo Wild, Munch On Your Crazy Corn!

  1. Carol Aust I live in Kansas

    Apr 02

    A few years ago I was at the Idaho State Fair–Eastern I think. There was a food vendor that had a corn dish I have never been able to forget. They were off the a disposable dish with different flavors added to the corn. It was served hot with a spoon. I am trying t find out what that corn was…can you help me??

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 04

      Hey Carol, I am pretty sure you are talking about esquites, so delicious! Here is my recipe for you

  2. Kat Westrich

    Dec 07

    My son in law loves this corn so sent him your recipe ‼️🌽🌽🌽

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 09

      Thanks for sharing it Kat, hope he approves 😉

  3. Heather

    Nov 01

    I’ve made this for years! I use tajin seasoning though and skip the lime juice, as tajin has a strong limey flavor. My kiddos love it!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 03


  4. Karla M.

    Apr 27

    I love your show. Your love of Mexican cooking and your family is so inspiring. I am making Mexican street corn for a “40 Fiesta” party for my daughter’s 40th birthday. You make me want to do a foodie vacation trip to Mexico!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 27

      Aww thank you, Karla! I hope your daughter has an awesome birthday.

  5. Donna Green

    May 14

    This is my favorite way to eat corn. I love watching your show and getting great ideas for dinner

    1. Pati

      May 15

      Awesome! Thank you for tuning in, Donna.

  6. Betty Frazier

    Jul 17

    I love the recipes.

    1. Pati

      Jul 17

      Thank you, Betty!

  7. Betty Frazier

    Jul 17

    I really like Mexican food.

  8. suzanne

    Jul 17

    We were just talking about this!! I am so glad you posted this recipe!! I should have known that you would have had one! I should have looked in my book, now a staple in my house!! It has all of my old and now some new favorites. Even if it does not have them all I print off the ones from your website and keep them in your book. Keep up the great work Pati and keep my Comal hot!! Garcias from Alabama!!

    1. Pati

      Jul 17

      Hola Suzanne, Thank you for getting my book! I’ll keep the recipes coming…

  9. Someguy

    May 06

    After I spent a summer in Mexico, I searched in vain for the multicolored corn that I found being roasted on braziers made of old license plates all over….served with a squeeze of limone dipped in chili and salt. NO corn has even come close. Oh for some fresh corn like that!

    1. Pati

      May 06

      You have to go back!

  10. Sabas

    Sep 17

    hey pati,
    I always love a good elote, but I’m not sure if esquites has the same building blocks of flavor as this mexican delight. Do you have a recipe for it? typically referred to as corn in a cup.ha
    Thank you,

    1. Pati

      Sep 17

      Hola Sabas, My recipe for esquites is here:

  11. Alaina

    Jan 18

    I live in Santa Fe, on the outskirts of Mexico City. I have had the hardest time actually finding sweet corn in the supermarkets and at the open-air markets all over the city. What I have been able to find is very large ears of corn that cook up to be very tough (read: inedible) and have no sweetness. I was able to find sweet corn at Costco, but that feels like cheating! Since you said the street vendors all use sweet corn, can you give me a hint of how to find it from local vendors so I can make it for myself?!?! I’m also looking for amazing tomatoes, which have proven to be elusive. Do you have any idea where to go for those in DF??

    P.S. I attended one of your Mexican Table events at the Cultural Center in D.C. You’re amazing! Love your website, too.

    1. Pati

      Jan 18

      Hola Alaina,
      Thanks much for your lovely comment! Have you found any “Mercados sobre Ruedas”? Ask your neighbors. These are markets that show up in a specific neighborhood certain days of the week, like Farmer’s markets here. Also, the market in Prado Sur has awesome produce, have you checked it out?

  12. Greg

    Apr 29

    Elote = love!

  13. Maria

    Jul 19

    Hi Pati,
    I absolutely love your recipes, the beautiful pictures and the stories that go along with them. What a wonderful blog. I’m so inspired! I also blog about Mexican food recipes on I hope you take a moment to check it out! Have a great day! Maria

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 19

      Hi Maria, Thank you for your kind compliment. I can’t wait to explore your blog as well. I love sharing my passion for Mexican food and culture with you all, but I also love that I can continue learning from people like you!

  14. Judy Cavender

    Jul 16

    DWhere can I buy your cookbooks? I watched your show today for the first time. I like it…. Thanks.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 18

      Hi Judy, Thank you for inquiring about my cookbook. I’m actually working on it as we speak, and it will be out in 2012. You can subscribe to my email list if you’d like periodic updates!

  15. Shelley

    Jul 15

    I used to live in an apartment complex and this guy (we nicked name him the corn man)used to come thru and sell these corn on the cobb. I absolutely loved them. Thanks Pati. LOVE LOVE your show. Please dont stop, i have my dvr set to record any of your shows.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 18

      Hi Shelley, I like the nickname corn man. Thank you so much for your wonderful and kind words. And keep that dvr set to record the shows!

  16. Kathryn in Austin

    Jul 02

    Pati, Twenty girls and I will cook this at my Spanish Camp Amigas for girls! I KNOW they will LOVE it!

  17. Mary

    Jul 01

    Heading to Oaxaca on Wednesday. Won’t get in until late so elotes or esquites will have to wait until Thursday — unless I forget about cleaning and packing and make my own over the weekend. Ymmm!!

  18. Patita

    Jul 01

    the pictures of this corn as so reallike–i wish i corn grab a stick–looks delicious!

  19. Aviva Goldfarb

    Jul 01

    Mmmm, my loca boca is watering just thinking about the crazy corn!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 01

      Haha Aviva! I love your Spanish!

  20. GreengaGirl

    Jul 01

    This is just about my most favorite thing in the whole world. When I am in Mexico, I stalk these corn vendors. I get so upset if I cannot find one!

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