Inspired by delicious street-style elotes, these grilled spiced Mexican corn nachos are topped with a blend of cheeses and jalapeño crema. Perfect for a fun appetizer or casual snacking.
The classic Mexican street snack of smoky corn-on-the-cob slathered with creamy cheese and condiments – or elotes – is absolutely delicious.
Elotes are incredibly popular, and for good reason.
Next to straight-up chips and salsa, this snack has flavor, crunch and gooey cheese, times ten.
After we stopped at a farmstand the other day and loaded up on summer sweet corn, I had so many ears that I was looking for a way to use them up.
Enter corn nachos!
What could be a better topping for warm, cheesy corn tortilla chips than more corn, in grilled, spicy form?
If you happen to be firing up the grill for dinner, it’s easy to throw some corn on too.
On a hot grill, the ears reach perfect char pretty quickly.
And if they’re not devoured right away, slice off the corn kernels and use them to make these nachos a day or two later.
Grilling the corn adds an authentic smoky flavor, but you can also get great flavor from corn by roasting it in a hot oven.
If you’ve ever tried traditional elotes from a street vendor or food truck, you know they’re covered with a good amount of mayonnaise along with cheese.
I was going for simplicity with this recipe, so I seasoned the nachos to focus on the spices and melted cheese and less on a heavier sauce (which makes the nachos kind of soggy).
Instead of mayo, these nachos are drizzled with a tangy crema, a simple combo of sour cream, green chilies and lime juice.
The layers of seasoned spiced corn, cheese and tangy crema make these nachos crazy good!
How to make the best Mexican corn nachos:
Here’s how to make perfectly crunchy and totally delicious nachos:
- Get a bag of tortilla chips that are on the thicker side — they’ll hold up better with toppings.
- And make sure the bag has more whole chips than crushed broken ones!
- Layer the chips in one layer in your pan. That way each chip will stay crisp and cheesy at the same time.
- For easy clean-up, line your baking pan with a piece of foil or parchment paper.
- If it’s not corn on the cob season and you want to make these nachos, use a bag of frozen corn instead: Toss with the oil and spices and roast at 450 degrees until the corn browns, about 12 minutes.
Mexican Street-Style Nachos with Sweet Corn
- 3 ears white or bicolor sweet corn, shucked
- Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (45 g) each ground cumin, oregano and smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 8-10 ounce (250 g) bag tortilla chips
- 2 cups (226 g) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup crumbled Cotija cheese or feta cheese
- 3 green onions, white and light green parts sliced
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup (115 g) sour cream
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lime juice
- 1 chopped jalapeño pepper
- Salt to taste
- Sliced jalapeño
- Prepared salsa
- Chili powder or paprika
- Prepare a charcoal grill or gas grill for medium-high heat grilling. Alternatively, heat oven to 450 (225C) degrees.
- Combine the cumin, oregano, paprika, cayenne in a small bowl. Brush the corn with olive oil and sprinkle the spice blend over the corn, rolling the ears around to coat.
- Grill the corn until charred on all sides (about 5 minutes total) or place the ears on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown, 12 – 15 minutes. Cool, then slice the kernels from the cob.
- Put the chips in a large rimmed baking dish or sheet in one layer. Sprinkle the cheeses, corn and green onions over the chips. Place the pan on the grill and close the top or place in the oven. Cook until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes.
- Stir the crema ingredients together. Drizzle over the nachos along with the cilantro and serve warm with optional garnishes.