Golden-crisp corn on the cob, slathered in a smoky, tangy, and slightly spicy mayo sauce, sprinkled with crumbled cotija cheese, all made in your air fryer!
TAKE YOUR CORN ON THE COB UP A LEVEL
Get ready to try out this Air Fryer Mexican Street Corn recipe! It’s simple to make with ingredients you likely have on hand. Have a fiesta night in your own kitchen today and get ready to enjoy this delicious dish without having to hit the streets of Mexico! Even if you aren’t craving some yummy Mexican Street Corn on the cob, you can certainly use this recipe to make regular corn on the cob in the Air Fryer!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Mexican Street Corn is a cultural staple in many Latin American countries. It is the perfect example of a fusion between Mexican and other Latin American cultures, as it combines the traditional ingredients from each of these cultures in one delicious dish. The name comes from the popular practice of selling this dish on the street or in open air markets throughout Mexico and other parts of Latin America.
Elote is the Mexican term for corn on the cob and is usually boiled, grilled or roasted. It is served with a variety of toppings including mayonnaise, butter, chili powder, lime juice and cheese. Mexican Street Corn (or Esquites) is a dish of grilled sweet corn off the cob, mixed with mayonnaise, garlic salt, chili powder, lime juice and cotija cheese. The two dishes are extremely similar and many people use the terms interchangeably.
Usually this happens if you are overcrowding your Air Fryer basket. You have to make sure you aren’t letting your corn cobs get too close to each other. The Air Fryer needs the room in between the cobs of corn to circulate the hot air around to properly and evenly cook and crips the corn.
This can also happen if you try to use frozen corn on the cob instead of fresh ears of corn. Frozen cobs have more water and will often not get as crispy, so this is not something that I recommend.
To bring some authentic flavor to these Street Corn Cobs, we like to use Tajin seasoning. But you can use whatever you like. I also think ancho chili powder would be DELICIOUS.
Mexican Street Corn is easy to eat right off the cob when you are holding it. If you don’t want to get your hands messy, you can use bamboo skewers to poke in the ends and hold the cobs of corn that way.
Crema is Mexican sour cream. It is a little thinner in consistency, but it still has the same tangy flavor as the thicker sour cream most of us are familiar with. You can make your own by heating (on low heat) 1 cup heavy cream with 2 Tablespoons buttermilk. Stir in 1 tablespoon of lime juice and season with salt to taste.
If looking in the grocery store, check for it by the rest of the cheeses and sour cream, in the refrigerated section. Sometimes the Crema will be in a bottle near the other Mexican cheeses.
Cojita cheese is a white cheese that is salty and very crumbly. Since it’s so salty, we don’t typically need extra salt on the corn. You can swap this out for queso fresco or feta cheese if needed. When looking in the grocery store for it, check in the refrigerated cheese aisle (near the Crema) and you should find it.
In my opinion, the easiest way to shuck ears of corn is using the microwave method provided by America’s Test Kitchen.
This recipe was tested with a 5 qt basket Air Fryer, which is the most commonly purchased Air Fryer used in the U.S., so chances are you may have this size. If you have a different style/size Air Fryer, you may need to adjust the cooking time based on your own knowledge of your air fryer.
While you could make this ahead of time. I like the cobs of corn fresh from the Air Fryer so they’re hot, crispy, and all the flavors are all fresh.
Leftover corn cobs should be stored in an air tight container or ziplock bag and should be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can reheat them in the Air Fryer or oven. Just know that the sauce and spices will get cooked on a bit. I don’t recommend storing leftover corn with any of the toppings on.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- fresh corn
- mayonnaise (I like Duke’s or Hellman’s)
- sour cream
- chili powder
- ground cumin
- kosher salt
- cotija cheese
- Mexican crema
- freshly chopped cilantro
- Tajin seasoning (optional)
HOW TO MAKE AIR FRYER MEXICAN STREET CORN
First, prepare the ears of corn by shucking them and removing as much of the silks as possible. You may need to trim the ends of the corn so they will fit in the air fryer.
In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and sour cream. Set aside.
In a separate small bowl, mix together the chili powder and cumin and set aside. Crumble the cotija cheese on a plate or in a wide bowl with low sides and set aside. Preheat a 5-quart basket air fryer to 370°F. Brush each piece of corn with olive oil (or spray with olive oil) and place them into the air fryer basket.
Air fry for 15 minutes. Make sure to flip the corn halfway through cooking. Corn is ready when pierced with a fork and feels tender.
Remove from the air fryer and place on a plate then squeeze lime over each piece of corn
Allow to slightly cool and brush each corn on the cob with the mayonnaise mixture. Do your best to evenly coat as possible.
Then lightly roll the corn in the crumbled cotija cheese.
Next, evenly sprinkle the corn with the chili powder/cumin mixture.
Finally, drizzle the crema over top of each piece of corn and sprinkle with cilantro and a dash of tajin (optional)
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Air Fryer Mexican Street Corn
- First, prepare the 4 ears of fresh corn by shucking them and removing as much of the silks as possible. You may need to trim the ends of the corn so they will fit in the air fryer.
- In a small bowl, mix together 4 Tablespoons mayonnaise and 4 Tablespoons sour cream. Set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, mix together ¼ cup chili powder and 1 teaspoon ground cumin and set aside.
- Crumble 1 cup cotija cheese on a plate or in a wide bowl with low sides and set aside.
- Preheat a 5-quart basket air fryer to 370°F.
- Brush each piece of corn with olive oil (or spray with olive oil) and place them into the air fryer basket.
- Air fry for 15 minutes. Make sure to flip the corn halfway through cooking. Corn is ready when pierced with a fork and feels tender.
- Cut 1 lime into 4 wedges. Remove corn from the air fryer and place on a plate then squeeze one lime wedge over each piece of corn
- Allow to slightly cool and brush each corn on the cob with the mayonnaise mixture. Do your best to evenly coat as possible.
- Then lightly roll the corn in the crumbled cotija cheese.
- Next, evenly sprinkle the corn with the chili powder/cumin mixture.
- Finally, drizzle 1/4 cup Mexican crema evenly over all the pieces of corn and sprinkle with ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro and a dash of Tajin seasoning (optional). And serve!
- Look for cotija cheese and Mexican crema by the other refrigerated cheeses in the cold section of your grocery store. You can usually find the Mexican specialty items all grouped together.
- This was tested using a 5 quart basket Air Fryer.
- Don’t have cotija cheese? Use feta or queso fresco instead.
- If your corn ended up too brown, try using oil to prep instead of butter.
- You can still use this basic recipe to make corn on the cob in the air fryer without the additional toppings.
- I don’t recommend using frozen corn.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.