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Grilled Mexican Corn with Chipotle Adobo Sauce

20 mins Cook
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Copy of NomNom Recipes 1 63

This Grilled Mexican Corn is visually intriguing and a bit messy to consume, but it unquestionably ranks as the most exceptional corn I’ve ever had. I don’t make such a statement lightly. Until just a few weeks ago, my top corn experience was at Momofuku in NYC, where I savored David Chang’s Corn with Bacon and Miso Butter. Following closely was the authentic Mexican Street Corn (Elotes) I had in LA.

Mexican Corn Grilled Mexican Corn with Chipotle Adobo Sauce

However, my corn hierarchy has been dramatically reshuffled, not just by one position, but by two, thanks to an unexpected discovery. I reside in the charming Northern Beaches area of Sydney, a place renowned for its stunning beaches, friendly locals, relaxed outdoor lifestyle, lush greenery, and numerous dog-friendly beaches—an ideal locale for my abnormally large golden retriever, Dozer, who adores swimming and chasing sand (yes, you read that right, sand, not balls).

Regrettably, the Northern Beaches don’t offer a wide array of ethnic cuisine options, despite my Aussie roots. With a hint of Japanese ancestry in my blood, I frequently crave a hearty Asian meal at least once a week. Consequently, I embark on a 30-minute drive to the nearest area teeming with Asian restaurants (for Sydney residents, that happens to be Chatswood) just to satisfy my dumpling, Dan Dan Noodles, or BBQ Duck cravings. I’ve even been known to travel a whopping 50 kilometers to Parramatta solely for a bowl of laksa. Yes, you could say I’m a bit eccentric when it comes to food.

Given this, I’ve learned to keep my dining-out expectations in check when staying local. So imagine my astonishment when I stumbled upon a Mexican restaurant called Mexicano in Narrabeen that not only delivered scrumptiously delicious fare on every front but also happens to be the best Mexican I’ve ever tasted in Sydney, a city still largely dominated by Tex Mex cuisine. Their margaritas are top-notch too, which is a significant plus in my book.

Yet the real standout at Mexicano was the corn. Yes, you heard me right. Me, the avid taco enthusiast, declaring a vegetable dish as the star of the show. That’s how exceptional it was. Char-grilled, generously slathered in chipotle mayo, and generously coated in parmesan cheese, this corn was so delectable that I could have easily devoured the entire plate, if not for the company of friends and the social etiquette that discourages such behavior (or so I’ve heard).

Determined to replicate this masterpiece at home, I consulted the menu’s description: “chargrilled corn with chipotle mayo, cheese, lime, and smoked spice.” It took a few tries to craft a sauce with robust enough flavors to complement the smoky char-grilled goodness without overpowering it, but I’m delighted with the result. I dare say it might even surpass the restaurant’s version! So, here’s the revised Corn Pecking Order:

  1. My homemade Grilled Mexican Corn with Chipotle Adobo Sauce (yes, this very recipe!).
  2. Mexicano’s (Narrabeen, Sydney) Char-Grilled Corn (which I successfully replicated).
  3. Momofuku David Chang’s Corn with Bacon and Miso Butter.
  4. Authentic Mexican Street Corn Elotes (the genuine, unadulterated Mexican corn experience).
Grilled Mexican Corn with Chipotle Adobo Sauce

Grilled Mexican Corn with Chipotle Adobo Sauce

This Grilled Mexican Corn is visually intriguing and a bit messy to consume, but it unquestionably ranks as the most exceptional corn I've ever had. I don't make such a statement lightly. Until just a few weeks ago, my top corn experience was at Momofuku in NYC, where I savored David Chang's Corn with Bacon and Miso Butter. Following closely was the authentic Mexican Street Corn (Elotes) I had in LA.
prep time
10 mins
cooking time
20 mins
total time
30 mins




  • 1 1/2 tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce (1 chipotle + sauce totalling 1 1/2 tbsp) (Note 4)

  • 1/4 cup whole egg mayonnaise (Note 1)

  • 1/4 cup sour cream

  • 1 tbsp lime juice

  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano flakes

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • Black pepper

  • CORN

  • 4 to 6 corn on the cob

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (Note 2)

  • 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder , chipotle powder or smoky paprika

  • Lime wedges , for serving


Place the Chipotle Adobo Mayo ingredients in a small food processor and blend until you achieve a smooth consistency (refer to Note 3).
Preheat the grill to high heat.
Grill the corn for approximately 8 minutes, or until it becomes charred all over and thoroughly cooked.
Begin by boiling a large pot of water.
Add the corn to the boiling water and let it cook for 10 minutes.
Drain the corn and allow it to steam dry in a colander for a few minutes.
Heat a skillet over high heat, adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Place the corn in the skillet and cook, turning it frequently, until it acquires a nice char on all sides.
Once the corn has cooked, allow it to cool slightly.
Place the freshly grated parmesan cheese in a shallow dish.
Use a pastry brush to generously coat each ear of corn with the Chipotle Adobo Mayo.
Roll the mayo-covered corn in the parmesan cheese to ensure it adheres well.
Sprinkle a pinch of ancho chili powder over the corn, and serve it with lime wedges on the side.


The use of whole egg mayonnaise is crucial for this recipe. Ordinary mayonnaise tends to be more vinegar-forward. You can easily find whole egg mayonnaise at most supermarkets, and there are numerous brands to choose from. Just check the label to ensure it specifies "whole egg." Japanese mayonnaise, such as Kewpie in a squeezy bottle, is also a suitable alternative. Opt for freshly grated parmesan cheese to achieve the perfect balance where a substantial amount adheres to the corn without overwhelming it with excessive saltiness. Pre-packaged grated parmesan can create a thick, overpowering layer, so if that's your only option, simply sprinkle it on instead of rolling the corn in it. If you lack a small food processor, you have a few alternatives. You can either double the recipe to accommodate a regular-sized food processor or blender, or you can manually transform the chipotle in adobo into a paste using a mortar and pestle. As a last resort, finely chop the chipotle and mix it thoroughly with the other ingredients. If you choose this method, consider adding an extra teaspoon of sauce, as some may be left on the cutting board or in the mortar and pestle. Chipotles in Adobo Sauce consist of dried chipotles immersed in a dark, flavorful sauce. They are typically sold in cans and can be found at Harris Farm Markets in Australia for approximately $3. Any leftover chipotles in adobo can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month. The quantity used in this recipe produces a moderately spicy sauce that won't overwhelm your taste buds. However, feel free to reduce the amount if you prefer milder heat. This recipe is an adaptation of the Grilled Corn on the Cob with Chipotle Mayonnaise Recipe featured in NYT Cooking. Despite its delectable taste, it's worth noting that this dish doesn't align with the notion of being a low-calorie option, as it boasts a more substantial calorie count than you might expect, totaling 138 calories per serving.
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