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Air Fryer Mexican Street Corn

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Air fried Mexican street corn is perfect for summer meals and outdoor barbeques. Made with fresh corn on the cob, mayonnaise and coated with seasonings and cheese it’s sure to become a favorite dish.

Guests love it because every ear is packed full of flavor. And I love it because it’s an easy side dish to prepare, especially when made in the air fryer.

Vegetables like artichokes and potatoes cook up beautifully in the air fryer and you don’t have to heat up the kitchen (bonus!).

three ears of air fried Mexican street corn on the husk on a white plate

When Summer is in full swing, there’s nothing better than fresh corn on the cob. If you happen to have your own garden or are a CSA member, you may find yourself with an abundance of corn and looking for different ways to cook it. 

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Traditionally Mexican street corn (elote) calls for cotija cheese. This authentic Mexican cheese is naturally salty and is typically made from cow’s milk. It has a stronger flavor but can also be used in a variety of recipes like tacos, soups, and homemade guacamole. 

I’ve noticed many variations on the traditional elite recipe. Seems like everyone likes to put their own spin on Mexican street corn.

It’s also a popular county fair food, served on a stick and dripping with butter. Vendors typically offer a variety of condiments and spices so you can add your favorites. 

labeled ingredients to make air fryer mexican street corn

Ingredients Needed

  • corn on the cob – yellow or white
  • olive oil
  • minced garlic
  • salt
  • mayonnaise
  • Parmesan cheese
  • cayenne pepper
  • fresh cilantro

How to Make Air Fryer Mexican Street Corn 

Microwave the corn on the cob in the husk for 5 minutes, while the air fryer preheats to 350 degrees F. 

collage of photos showing corn being prepped to go in the air fryer

Using a sharp knife, cut a half-inch off of each corn cob at the bottom. Hold the corn at the top with an oven mitt and squeeze the ear from the husk. 

Brush each ear with oil and garlic, then sprinkle with salt. 

Air fry for 12 minutes or until the corn starts to look golden. 

mayo, cheese, and spices being added to the air fried corn cobs

Spread some mayo on each ear and roll in parmesan cheese. 

Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and freshly chopped cilantro. 

Tips for Making

  • Cheese: Instead of Parmesan you can also use Cotija, Queso Fresco, or grated Romano.
  • Don’t overload the air fryer basket. Cook in batches if needed. 
  • If you have a small air fryer cut the corn cobs in half to make them fit.
  • Make sure you use a sharp knife when cutting the bottoms off the ears of corn.
  • Substitute sour cream or Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise if desired. 
  • Instead of cayenne pepper, you can sprinkle on chili seasoning. 
  • You can also use this recipe to make grilled or baked Mexican corn.
  • To make things less messy, prepare half corn cobs which are easier to handle when serving with a main course meal. 
holding a skewer of mexican street corn covered in cheese and parsley

Common FAQs 

Can I Use Frozen Corn on the Cob?

We don’t recommend using frozen corn – it tends to be mushy and watery.

Can You Make Mexican Street Corn in the Air Fryer Ahead of Time? 

This side dish is best when it’s served fresh from the air fryer. However, if you need to prepare in advance you can precook the corn in the microwave and store it in the fridge. Then finish cooking it as directed and add the toppings just before you are ready to serve. 

Why is it called Mexican street corn?

It’s actually a really popular street food in Mexico. But most of the time, vendors are grilling it and leaving the husk on almost like a handle for the bottom or it’s served on a skewer.

What kind of corn is best for elote?

Try to find sweet corn. Even though there are many varieties, the natural sweetness helps to balance out all of the flavors. 

What does elote taste like?

It’s a flavor bomb of sweet and savory and will literally be your go-to summer side dish! The sweetness comes from the corn itself and the mayo and seasoning bring in the comfort food vibes. 

How to serve Mexican street corn?

I’ve used wooden skewers or corn holders when serving this dish.

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three ears of mexican street corn on a plate with text overlay

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three ears of air fried mexican street corn on a white plate in the husk

Air Fryer Mexican Street Corn

Air fried Mexican street corn is perfect for summer meals and outdoor barbeques. Made with fresh corn on the cob, mayonnaise and coated with seasonings and cheese it's sure to become a favorite dish.
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Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 287kcal
Author: Lori @ I Heart Air Frying

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ears fresh corn on the cob yellow or white
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 pinches Kosher salt 1 per ear
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat air fryer to 350°F.
  • While the air fryer is preheating, microwave the corn in the husk for 5 minutes.
  • Using a sharp knife, chop off ½” from the bottom of the ears of corn. Hold the corn at the top with an oven mitt and carefully squeeze the ear of corn out of the husk.
  • Brush corn with oil and garlic. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on each ear.
  • Cook at 350°F for 12 minutes or until the color starts to brighten (corn will start to look yellow/ gold in color).
  • Remove corn from air fryer. Brush with mayonnaise and roll in Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and chopped cilantro.
  • Serve immediately.

NOTES

  • For a more authentic flavor, substitute crumbled coteja or queso fresco cheese for the Parmesan.
  • You may need to cook in batches depending on the size of your air fryer basket.
  • Serve on a wooden skewer or with corn holders.
  • Best eaten immediately after cooking. If you need to cook ahead, store microwave-cooked corn in the refrigerator. When you are ready to serve, finish cooking in the air fryer and add toppings as directed.

Because every air fryer is different, we recommend checking your food at the halfway point and adjusting the cooking time if necessary.

Tried this recipe?Mention @IHeartAirFrying or tag #iheartairfrying!

NUTRITION

Serving: 1ear | Calories: 287kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 691mg | Potassium: 277mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 551IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 154mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.

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