Mexican Street Corn Nachos

This recipe uses frozen corn kernels. You can of course use corn from grilled corn on the cob. Usually I don't have any leftover corn when I grill corn, and if I do grill it, I want to eat it right then and there, on the cob.

Mexican crema is a lot like runny sour cream. I don't usually have it around, so I usually use diluted sour cream when a recipe like this one calls for crema. But if you have crema, use it!

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Assembly time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound frozen corn (about 3 cups), still frozen
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 14 ounce bag low salt tortilla chips
  • 1 pound Monterey jack cheese, grated (do not buy pre-grated, it won't melt properly)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (can sub crumbled feta)
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (can use regular chili powder or smoked paprika)
  • 2 tablespoons of Mexican crema or 2 Tbsp sour cream that have been slightly diluted with water
  • 1/2 lime, sliced into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


1 Sear the corn, then mix with mayo: Heat oil on high heat in a large, cast iron pan. When the oil is almost smoking hot, add half of the frozen corn (not defrosted) to the pan. Spread it out in the pan and let sear.

Stir occasionally, until most of the corn kernels have browned a little on at least one side. You'll know the corn is ready when some of the kernels start "popping".

Remove the corn from the pan to a bowl, and repeat with the remaining frozen corn kernels.

Mix the corn with the mayonnaise and set aside.

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2 Toast tortilla chips: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the tortilla chips out on a large sheet pan and place in the oven for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.


3 Make cheese sauce: While the tortilla chips are toasting, make the cheese sauce. Set up a double boiler with an inch of water in the lower pan.

If you don't have a double boiler, place an inch of water in a small saucepan and place a metal bowl over it so that steam from the boiling water below heats the bottom of the bowl. Do not let the bowl touch the water.

Place the grated monterey jack cheese in the top pan or bowl of the double boiler. Mix with the cornstarch. Pour in the cream and milk (can use half and half if you want). Add the minced garlic.

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Heat the water in the double boiler to a boil. Let the cheese gently melt, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is smooth.

4 Assemble nachos: Once the tortilla chips are lightly browned, remove them from the oven. Transfer to a large serving platter.

Pour the cheese sauce over the chips. Sprinkle the top with the toasted corn. Sprinkle with cotija cheese crumbles. Sprinkle with chipotle chili powder. Drizzle with the crema or diluted sour cream. Sprinkle with cilantro.

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Sprinkle with a little lime juice and serve immediately with lime wedges.

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  • Amelia Martinez

    Loved these! I had this for dinner at Senor Burrito restaurant and it was delicious. Thanks for sharing!


  • Pattie

    How did I make to 54 years old without this in my life??? We make it weekly!!


  • Kelly

    We had this for supper tonight. It was the bomb. I added chicken taco meat for protein.


  • Kelly K

    I mean seriously, this recipe is ridiculous. You’ve combined my favorite things in the world – nachos and (street) corn. I wish my Mom would have known about this growing up in Iowa, but who am I fooling… we just don’t eat like this in Iowa.


  • Julie

    What a great idea to to stop chips getting soggy! Will be trying this Sunday, thank you!!

  • Melanie

    Loved these! Thank you! I modified a bit (mainly because I had already planned on using another cheese sauce recipe before I found yours). These were a hit and I’ll make them again.

  • Pattie

    This was AWESOME. I’ve already made it twice and will be having it again on Sunday. Just incredible!


  • adriana

    what kind of cream should be added into the cheese?

    • Elise Bauer

      I use heavy whipping cream because that’s what I have on hand. But since you are adding both cream and milk, you could use half and half for both, or light cream and milk.

      • adriana

        Thank You so much Elise!! They were boooomb! Cant wait to make them again,


  • Jason

    Great recipe Elise! Thanks for all you do, SR is my go-to. A question about the cheese sauce. Will the cheese sauce retain its consistency if I make ahead the night before?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jason,
      Good question. I know if you let the cheese sauce cool down all the way it will firm up and not be pourable. I haven’t tried reheating it though.

  • Kristen

    Thanks for the tip about searing the corn in a cast iron skillet–it had so much flavor! These were the best elotes I’ve ever made. Great recipe :)

  • Carol

    Hi Elise,
    I have been reading your blog for a long, long time & have used a lot of your recipes with great results. But had big problem with the nachos…my cheese sauce (did in a double boiler) used 1/2 & 1/2 and weighted out Monterey Jack, was nice and smooth but so thin we ended up with very tasty but soggy!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Carol, hmm, sounds like you could have used a bit more cornstarch, or cheese. Every brand of cheese is different, so it helps to adjust.

      • Carol

        Thanks Elise,
        I was thinking more cornstarch might do the trick…will try out on a rerun. We loved the seared corn…even better could use frozen. I save fresh for our annual summer corn on the cob fete!