grilled corn with chili-lime butter, Cotija, and herbs

After our previous grill became a home to stray rodents I decided we had two options: burn the BBQ immediately in protest, or take it to the dump. After Patrick calmly told me that incinerating our propane gas grill would not be the wisest idea, he loaded it up and took it to the nearest dump (husband of the year award for that alone). We finally purchased another grill and have thoroughly enjoyed it this summer; I’ve especially relished proving that grilling is not solely a “man’s job.” Master Mistress of the grill?


I remember the first time I ate elotes, or grilled Mexican street corn. I was not actually in Mexico, but on Capitol Hill (of Seattle) with a friend, and we randomly ordered elotes to go with our tacos, not really knowing what to expect (other than corn, obviously). I have been set on making and replicating them ever since, and recently I feel like grilled street corn is making a resurgence, at least in our corner of the world. I’ve developed my own version of elotes, very similar to what you might have made or tried yourself, but instead of spiced mayonnaise, I’ve created what I call a “butter rub.” It’s basically a spice rub mixed with softened butter. I never always sneak tiny bites of it.


This corn recipe is so easy- after a quick 10 minutes on the grill, slather the corn with the spiced butter, add generous amounts of Cotija cheese and herbs… and watch out. This could become your favorite way to enjoy fresh, end of summer corn on the cob. I’ve since run out of corn but am spreading the leftover spiced butter on pretty much anything I can get my hands on (i.e. avocado toast, grilled asparagus, scrambled eggs).


makes 4 ears of corn

4 ears of corn
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
grated Cotija cheese (roughly 4 ounces)
equal parts basil, cilantro, and chives (see instructions below for amounts)

Prepare your toppings:
Stir the softened butter, lime zest, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, smoked paprika, and sea salt together in a small bowl with a fork. Once well combined, set the butter aside in your refrigerator. Grate the Cotija cheese into a small bowl and set aside. Chop your herbs: roughly equal parts basil, cilantro, and chives. I always chop more herbs than I’ll need for the corn so I have extras for other meals, but if you don’t want leftovers you only need a couple chopped tablespoons of each herb.

Prepare your corn:
Remove the corn husks completely, OR fold them back and tie like in the photos above (if you fold the husks like I did, trim the ends so they don’t dangle through the grill into the flame). I used kitchen twine to tie the husks together, then wrapped one husk “leaf” around the twine to hide it.

Grill the cobs on high heat, around 400 – 425F, for 10 min total (5 min on each side). Serve warm, and spread with generous amounts of chili-lime butter, sprinkle on Cotija and herbs.

2 thoughts on “grilled corn with chili-lime butter, Cotija, and herbs

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