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Elote Corn and Chicken Quesadillas with Cotija Cheese

This easy chicken quesadilla recipe is grilled "elote" style, like traditional Mexican street corn. It's a great option for your summer grill!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 quesadillas


  • 3 ears corn shucked
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Ancho chili powder or regular chili powder
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice from about 1/2 a lime
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup finely crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1 cup finely shredded cheddar or jack cheese
  • 12 corn tortillas


  1. Heat a charcoal grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. When the grill is hot, cook the corn, rotating occasionally, until cooked through and charred in spots on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Set aside.
  2. Place the chicken on a work surface. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and chili powder. Grill over medium-high heat, for 5 minutes on each side, rotating 90 degrees halfway through cooking to get a nice crosshatch. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes.
  3. While the corn and chicken are resting, make the sauce: in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, garlic, 1 tablespoon lime juice, cilantro, 1/4 cup cotija cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. Reserve half of the sauce in a small serving bowl.
  4. Cut the corn off the cob and add to the bowl with the remaining sauce. Finely dice the chicken and add to the corn. Toss until well-combined.
  5. To assemble the quesadillas, arrange the tortillas on a clean work surface. (To make them more pliable, you may want to wrap them in a dish towel and microwave for 20 seconds, or wrap them in foil and heat on the grill while you’re prepping the cooked corn and chicken). Arrange a thin layer of the chicken mixture on one half of the tortillas. Resist the urge to overstuff! You don’t want them to break. Top with a tablespoon of cheddar cheese and fold the tortillas in half.
  6. Grill the tortillas until crispy and charred, about 2 minutes per side, rotating 90 degrees halfway through to get a nice crosshatch. Cut in half and serve alongside the remaining sauce, and cotija cheese.

Recipe Notes

If you're using an outdoor grill and find that those pesky corn kernels and chicken chunks keep falling out through the grates, try wrapping each individual quesadilla in foil and grilling them in its packaging. Using an indoor grill pan it's easier to nudge the filling back into its shell without losing the whole thing.