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Vegan Elote

This Vegan Elote, or Grilled Street Corn, is a fully loaded, delicious summer side! Fresh corn is lightly charred and topped with tangy cheese, chili, cayenne, fresh cilantro, and bright lime juice. A perfect farmer’s market meal! Vegan option included.

feta cheese on a three pieces of grilled corn

Another farmer’s market classic for today: grilled corn on the cob, inspired by elote! Full of fresh summer ingredients, this dish is a hearty side dish that will be welcome at any BBQ or summer dinner table.

What is Elote (Mexican Grilled Street Corn)?

A delicious way to enjoy summer corn, elote is grilled and covered in salt, chili powder, butter, cotija cheese, mayo/crema, lime juice, and cilantro. The word elote evolved from the Nahuatl word elotitutl. This translates to “tender cob” . Corn has been a staple ingredient in many Latin American cultures for centuries.

It’s important to note that I am just beginning to learn more about traditional Mexican cuisine, and this is far from an authentic recipe. I am fortunate enough to live very close to Mexico and be surrounded by high-quality, traditional Mexican food. I am really enjoying learning about the culture and created this recipe out of ingredients I tend to have around my kitchen. I encourage you to visit Latinx restaurants in your area to learn more about this diverse and delicious cuisine!

Love grilling? Be sure to try these recipes next:

Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Grilled Cabbage

Grilled Veggie Sub

Grilled Quinoa Burgers

How do I Make Street Corn?

There are a variety of methods that I’ve seen for effectively grilling corn. Some people choose to keep the corn in husk, which can help steam the kernels. For the sake of my readers who do not have access to a grill (and because my apartment grills are closed #COVID), I’m including a method for making this right on the stovetop. It won’t have the same smokiness you get from a gas or charcoal grill, but some hot spices help this.

The speed at which your corn cooks will really depend on which method you choose (grill or stovetop). I recommend looking for indicators of doneness (like charring) as opposed to relying on a specific number of minutes. You don’t want your cobs to turn totally black, but you also don’t want raw kernels.

hand squeezing lime over three cobs of corn

I hope you enjoy this street corn recipe! I recommend serving with Salted Watermelon Margaritas. Please let me know in the comments or on Instagram if you give this recipe a try!

Looking for more ways to enjoy corn this summer? Try this!

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close up of grilled corn

Vegan Elote

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  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cobs 1x


This Grilled Street Corn is a fully loaded, delicious summer side! Fresh corn is lightly charred and topped with tangy cheese, chili, cayenne, fresh cilantro, and bright lime juice. A perfect farmer’s market meal! Vegan option included.


Units Scale
  • 4 ears of fresh corn, shucked and cleaned
  • 4 TBS vegan butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup vegan feta or cotija (Violife sells a vegan feta)
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 2 limes, sliced into wedges


  1. Preheat your grill, grill pan, or skillet to medium-high. Once hot , place the cleaned and shucked ears of corn down and cook, rotating on each side until slightly charred. If you’re using a full grill it could take as little as 7 minutes. A pan will make this process slower, so be sure to budget about 20 minutes total. You don’t want to corn to be burned, but you’ll want a nice char (as pictured above). You may need to do this in two stages if you’re cooking all four cobs. Remove and set aside.
  2. Next, butter all sides of the corn. You can alternatively use mayonnaise (personal preference). Lay all four cobs on a tray and sprinkle with salt, pepper, chili powder, cayenne, and garlic powder, rotating to cover. Finish dish by sprinkling with cotija (or feta) cheese and fresh cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: dinner, Main Course
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Portrait of Emily Meyers, founder of Garlic Head

About the Author

Emily (Frigon) Meyers is the founder of Garlic Head, a plant-based recipe website for all eaters who want to easily, affordably, and sustainably incorporate more vegetables into their diets while saving time and money. She is a lifelong vegetarian and 10+ year vegan. Garlic Head does not focus on labels - it focuses on creating food that everyone can enjoy.

Emily earned a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University along with degrees in Economics, Spanish, and Global Sustainability from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been featured on numerous podcasts and websites including The Food Institute, VegNews, Buzzfeed, and the Boston Globe.

Meet Emily here.

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