Unlock the Easiest Elotes: Microwave Corn Before Grilling for Perfect Results

    by Sidney Hunt
    Published: June 27, 2024 (3 weeks ago)

    Elotes, the beloved Mexican street food consisting of grilled corn slathered in mayonnaise, cheese, chili powder, and lime, has become a popular summer staple far beyond its origins. Traditionally grilled over an open flame, making elotes at home can sometimes be a lengthy process. However, a new trend is making waves in kitchens and backyards alike: microwaving the corn before grilling it.

    This innovative method has been embraced by home cooks and chefs for its simplicity and efficiency. By partially cooking the corn in the microwave first, you can reduce grilling time, ensure even cooking, and maintain the corn’s natural moisture and sweetness.

    The Microwave Magic

    Microwaving corn on the cob before grilling may seem unconventional, but it offers several advantages:

    1. Time-Saving: Microwaving significantly cuts down the grilling time, perfect for busy weeknights or impromptu cookouts.
    2. Even Cooking: The microwave ensures the corn cooks evenly, preventing undercooked kernels.
    3. Moisture Retention: The natural moisture of the corn is sealed in, resulting in juicier, more tender kernels.
    4. Ease of Preparation: Microwaving the corn softens the husks, making them easier to remove before grilling.

    Step-by-Step Guide to Easy Elotes

    Here’s how to master this method for the easiest, most delicious elotes:


    • 4 ears of corn, husks on
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese (or feta as a substitute)
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1 lime, cut into wedges
    • Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
    • Salt, to taste


    1. Microwave the Corn:
      • Place the corn, with husks still on, in the microwave.
      • Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes per ear of corn. For 4 ears, microwave in two batches.
      • Carefully remove the corn from the microwave using tongs or oven mitts, as it will be hot.
    2. Prepare the Corn for Grilling:
      • Allow the corn to cool slightly, then peel back the husks and remove the silk. Optionally, you can leave the husks attached at the base for a rustic handle.
    3. Grill the Corn:
      • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
      • Place the microwaved corn directly on the grill grates.
      • Grill for 5-7 minutes, turning occasionally, until the kernels are slightly charred and smoky.
    4. Assemble the Elotes:
      • While the corn is grilling, prepare your toppings.
      • Once grilled, brush each ear of corn generously with mayonnaise.
      • Sprinkle the cotija cheese evenly over the mayonnaise-coated corn.
      • Dust with chili powder and a pinch of salt.
      • Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top and garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.
    5. Serve and Enjoy:
      • Serve the elotes hot, with additional lime wedges on the side for extra zest.

    Why It Works

    Chef Ana Lopez, known for her modern takes on traditional Mexican cuisine, swears by this method. “Microwaving the corn first ensures it’s perfectly cooked through before it hits the grill,” she explains. “This way, you get the best of both worlds—tender, juicy corn with that irresistible smoky char from the grill.”

    Fans of this technique have praised its convenience and the consistency it brings to homemade elotes. “It’s a game-changer,” says home cook Maria Rodriguez. “I used to avoid making elotes because it took so long to grill the corn. Now, it’s a breeze, and they come out perfect every time.”

    As summer barbecues and outdoor gatherings continue, this microwave-and-grill method is poised to become a go-to technique for elote enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a cooking novice, this approach promises to deliver delicious, authentic elotes with minimal effort and maximum flavor.

    So, the next time you crave this classic Mexican treat, try microwaving your corn before grilling. It might just become your new favorite kitchen hack for the easiest, most delectable elotes ever.



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