A spicy taste of Mexican street corn, ready in 15 minutes

Among the many wonders of Sedona are the spectacular red rocks and vortexes. There’s also Cafe Elote, an award-winning local restaurant that draws devoted fans from around the world for its fresh, modern interpretations of traditional Mexican cuisine.

I didn’t quite get to savor the joy of Elote Cafe and its namesake street corn when I was in Sedona recently. In fact, I couldn’t get near it, because reservations had been sold out for six weeks.

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However, I spent my evenings downstairs in my own hotel drinking spicy margaritas while eating the spicy version of elote from their kitchen. It was perfection, as only a meal made of corn, picked up by more corn can be.

At home, I can make a weeknight version of this dish, thanks to Chef Elote Jeff Smedstad’s own recipe and Food52’s brilliant trick of roasting a bag of regular supermarket frozen corn. It’s not the same as a night under the stars in Arizona, but it absolutely livens up a dreary spring evening. Although technically an appetizer, I serve this elote with a large, simple salad and call it dinner. A shot of tequila in a grapefruit soda is an effortless prelude.


Recipe: Elote of the week
Inspired by Elote Cafe and Food52


  • 1 bag 12 oz frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon (or more!) hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1⁄4 cup Cotija cheese
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish
  • corn chips


  1. Preheat grill. Spread the corn on a baking sheet. Grill, stirring once or twice, for 8 to 10 minutes. The corn should be just golden.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the broth in a skillet over medium heat. Add mayonnaise, lime juice, sugar and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add corn, stirring until evenly combined and warmed through.
  4. Serve garnished with Cotija and cilantro, plus plenty of fries to scoop.

Cook’s Notes

No Cotija? Try crumbled feta or ricotta salata.

If you don’t have limes on hand, fresh lemon juice works great.

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