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Vegan Elote

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 ears 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Fresh, zesty, and delicious, this easy Vegan Elote is the perfect food to serve at a BBQ, potluck or side on your dinner table.


  • 4 ears of corn, husked and cleaned
  • 3 tablespoons vegan mayo, homemade or store bought
  • 2-3 limes
  • 1/4 cup vegan cotija cheese or vegan Parmesan (see note 1)
  • 1 tablespoon or more of Tajin or 1-2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, optional


  1. Husk corn: Start by husking and cleaning your corn of any stray corn silk. 
  2. Cook corn: Grill your corn however you like, or boil in a pot of salted water for 4-5 minutes. If you don’t have a grill, you could try cooking them on the flame of your gas range (that’s what we did, just turn with grill tongs), in a grill pan, or in a countertop griller like the Cuisinart 5-in-1 griddler (we have this and love it, we just thought there would be more char with the stovetop method).
  3. Prep vegan mayo: While the corn is grilling, squeeze half a lime into the vegan mayo. Mix, taste, and add more if you wish, but don’t water it down too much or it won’t be thick enough to stick to the elote.
  4. Make or measure out cheese topping: If you’re making my vegan cotija cheese recipe, make it now. Otherwise just get all your toppings ready.
  5. Chill out: When the corn is done, place it on a plate. Let it cool for a moment so it’s not super hot, but not totally cool either.
  6. Add vegan mayo to corn: Using a basting brush or just a spatula or spoon, spread the mayo mixture all around the corn, getting all sides thoroughly and placing back on the plate.
  7. Assemble vegan elote: Sprinkle a generous amount of the vegan cotija (or vegan Parmesan, nutritional yeast, or skip) on top of the vegan elote. Then add as much Tajin or chili powder as your heart tells you to, and finish with a bit of cilantro if you’d like. Enjoy immediately.
  8. Store: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days in the fridge, though I recommend storing each component separately for best results.


  • Note 1: Cotija is a dry, aged cheese, cotija is a traditional topping on elote. I couldn’t find a vegan one anywhere in my area so I made my own vegan cotija out of sunflower seeds and a couple spices. You’re welcome to do that, sub vegan Parmesan cheese (fine crumbles), use nutritional yeast instead, or just skip it. I do have an easy vegan Parmesan topping if you’d like.
  • Note 2: I believe traditionally chili powder is the authentic topping, though I know from research that many vendors of elote will actually use Tajin instead. Tajin is a delicious condiment spice made of chile peppers, lime, and salt. This spice is actually produced in Mexico by Empresas Tajin. There are varieties of this product based on how much spice you prefer. I used Tajin because I always have it on hand anyway -- it’s fantastic on tacos and fruit like mango, peaches, pineapple, apples, etc.!
  • Note 3: If you’re not a cilantro lover, feel free to not use it. I suggested above actually, if serving it to anyone who DOES like cilantro, just placing the chopped herb in a bowl and letting folks serve themselves.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Entree, Side
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Mexican, Street Food

Keywords: Vegan, Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Sugar-Free, Can Be Soy-Free, Vegan Elote