5 Different Cheese for Elote 


Elote, which means “Corn on the cob,” is a staple in Mexican street food culture. Simply put, it is grilled or roasted sweet corn topped with a variety of flavorings. In its simplest form, a serving of elote features a cob of charred sweet corn covered with mayonnaise and a sprinkling of grated Mexican hard cheese and chili powder.

Recently, a few varieties have featured corn brushed with mayo, rolled in crumbled hard cheese, and then sprinkled with a cheese-infused whipping cream. Elote toppings also include a variety of savory mix-ins like cheese of a different type, salsas, herbs and saffron.

In this article, we are taking a good look at the types of cheese for elote you might use to add an extra layer of savory flavor and texture to elevate your dish.

Types Of Cheese For Elote

1. Cotija Cheese For Elote

Cotija is a Mexican cheese widely known for its strong flavor, crumbly texture and salty taste. It is so crumbly that it can be effectively ground and used for seasoning. In Mexico, it is used to garnish a wide assortment of dishes, and it is often served with lime juice, chili powder and mayonnaise as a topping for street corn (elote).

If you want to reduce the salt before using your Cotija cheese, immerse it in a bowl with cold water for five minutes, then Drain and use on foods. There are numerous substitutes for Cotija cheese for elote, including crumbled feta. The cheese is salty and has a similar consistency.

Cotija cheese is available in three states:

When it is fresh, it has a mild, milky flavor, when it is in a more mature state, it is firmer and saltier; and when it is used to finish a dish, it is fresco anejo. The purists claim that aged, saltier cheese is the best type of cheese for elote but fresh cheese is a delicious substitute.

Although it is not designed for melting, the moist corn and mayonnaise mixed close to the cheese tear off little clumps that nestle into the pockets of the corn. This can actually produce a gilding effect with the cheese.

2. Queso Fresco Cheese For Elote

cheese, pixabay, 630511_1280.jpg

Queso fresco is a soft, white cheese with a mild flavor and a crumbly consistency, having a lower salt content compared to queso blanco, which is a more aged alternative.

Queso fresco gets its name from its extremely fresh characteristics and is typically eaten without undergoing any aging process. This option has gained popularity as a garnish for Mexican dishes like Elote (flavored corn). The most recent queso fresco is usually prepared only a couple of hours before it is meant to be consumed. It used to be traditionally made with unpasteurized milk in earlier times.

Mexican cheeses such as queso fresco made from raw milk must undergo aging or pH level adjustments to meet FDA regulations, which aim to inhibit the proliferation of harmful bacteria. Because of stricter rules from the U.S. FDA banning raw milk for cheese production, finding authentic queso fresco is now harder for the public. Fresh cheese produced in the United States typically uses pasteurized milk and has a longer shelf life.

3. Parmesan Cheese For Elote

stravecchio parmesan, pexels, 3541_640.jpg

Whether from a street vendor or if you prepare it yourself, elote with parmesan cheese remains a powerful flavor burst that can be served alongside a variety of meals or just as a satisfying snack.

You can buy elote, or grilled Mexican street corn, from vendors in numerous local farmers’ markets in the warmer months. But it’s pretty simple to make a version for yourself at home. The grilled taste and mix of flavors in this recipe can turn almost anyone into a fan of a very likely new summer favorite.

Classic Elote is covered in a combination of mayonnaise, crema, or sour cream and then rolled in crumbled fresh Mexican cheese after grilling. Unless there is somebody who hates or is allergic to Parmesan cheese, you can eliminate the mayonnaise, crema, or sour cream and instead coat your grilled (or roasted) corn with a thin layer of good mayonnaise and then roll it in crumbled fresh or smoked Parmesan cheese.

The mayo can be thinned just a little with some lime juice or used by itself. A small amount of peppery chili heat from cayenne, chipotle chili powder, or smoked paprika may be added to the Parmesan cheese for a variation with smoky barbecue-type flavors.

4. Cheddar Cheese For Elote

Elote with cheddar cheese is made with champa (grains of young corn), margarine, crema tarentaise de casa, chopped chile, lemon slices, powders of cheddar cheese and salt.

The trick is to first grease the champa, then heat it up on the grill. When it is hot, add margarine, but do not spread it completely over the surface of the champa. Put some salt on top and add the chili powders over the champa. Turn on the stove until the chili cooks a little. A tip to enjoy the champa elote with drippy cheddar cheese is to eat it with a side of black beans.

The amount of cheddar cheese and mayonnaise added to the elote sauce will be adjustable according to individual tastes. After adding the mayonnaise and cheese for the first time, the taste can be adjusted according to the individual taste by decreasing the amount of mayonnaise and cheese.

Additionally, the flavor can be adjusted according to the taste or tolerance level of the individuals who will eat. When making the spice, the level of red pepper powder to be added to the spicy mayonnaise sauce should be adjusted according to the taste level chosen for a new dish.

5. Pepper Jack Cheese For Elote

Pepper Jack Cheese starts with Monterey Jack Cheese. But instead of just plain Monterey Jack cheese, Pepper Jack includes spicy bits of jalapeno pepper combined with garlic and dried onions, in addition to other spices such as salt, black pepper, red pepper, caraway and capers.

The result is a semi-soft cheese that is effortlessly sliced, has a buttery to oily dry texture, is off-white to creamy white in color with green and red jalapeno slices throughout, and features a spicy but smooth flavor when consumed.

The cheese is made from hot milk, causing its gluten to curd to a soft but sturdy form, and then subsequently washed and aged depending on the necessary need, which is typically for two months.

While this cheese can be placed on a platter to share and also used to melt or coat a treat, it is rarely used below its melted stage in other dishes. The colorful makeup of this little delight of cheese as a topping on so many treats makes it perfect for a chunky topping for the delicacy of grilled elote.

The idea of topping elote with Pepper Jack cheese was not just a question to explore or discover a different topping to elote based on a cheese that is not regularly served in Mexican dishes but to discover if the cheese, more noted for its melted form, could be seasoned and cut thick enough to become the sole dressing for the popular Mexican item.

What Are Elotes?

marieth diaz, pexels, 157462008-10735628.jpg

Elote is a favorite Mexican street food sold from carts, mainly in the afternoons and evenings in Mexico and also in South Texas. Elote is the name used in Mexico for specific varieties of maize ears, to which the rest of the world refers simply as young maize (or grass).

They are almost fully-grown ears of maize with succulent seeds that are still in the milk stage, i.e., soon after the appearance of the first flowers up to the stage where the kernels can be punctured with the thumbnail on the side opposite the seed.

Elotes are typically handpicked and roasted with their husks on. The roasted whole ear of maize, with some of the husk left attached to make a gripping handle, is served on a stick and garnished with condiments such as mayonnaise, grated cheese, chile and lemon lime juice. Some people just buy a bag of the roasted elotes and add their personal favorites.

Background Of Elote In Mexican Cuisine

The culinary history of elote is long, and the preparation and flavorings of elote have changed over time, serving as a model for how Mexican cuisine has advanced over centuries. For example, before the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the traditional preparation of elote featured boiling rather than grilling corn, and the corn had the consumer-friendly aspect of being de-kerneled.

Furthermore, the addition of mayo, cheese, and chili powder is a relatively recent development attributed to the opening of the first dairy farm in Mexico in the 1860s.

In a broader context, the use of cheese in Mexican food is a more recent addition following the introduction of European dairy products by the Spanish in the 17th century.

In particular, types of cheese used in more contemporary adaptations of traditional Mexican dishes have often been imported—or must be imported—due to the disparity between traditional cheese-making of pre-conquest Mexico and modern methods.


When it comes to choosing the perfect cheese for elote, the journey doesn’t end at knowing your options. The true magic lies in experimenting with these diverse cheese varieties to discover the unique flavor profiles they bring to your favorite corn on the cob. Remember, the best cheese for Elote is one that harmonizes with the sweet, grilled corn and the array of seasonings you love.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *