Grilled Corn with Queso Fresco and Lime-Tarragon Butter


This recipe is based on typical street food in Oaxaca, Mexico, where Michelle Bernstein once lived. The corn is typically smothered in mayonnaise, dipped in cheese and then covered with a spicy chile powder. Here, Bernstein adds a little melted butter for an American accent. She uses a powdered-sugar shaker to apply an even coating of the chile powder. More Grilled Vegetables

Grilled Corn with Queso Fresco and Lime-Tarragon Butter
Photo: © Quentin Bacon
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins


  • 6 ears of corn, unhusked

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons chile powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 pound queso fresco or mild feta, finely crumbled


  1. Soak the corn in a large bowl of water for 1 hour.

  2. Light a grill. On a large plate, blend the butter with the lime juice and tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Spread the butter in a 1/3-inch-thick layer in the center of the plate. In a small bowl, mix the chile powder and cinnamon. Grill the corn over moderately high heat, turning often, until the husks are evenly charred all over, about 25 minutes.

  3. Carefully peel back the corn husks but leave them attached to the cobs. Discard the corn silk and use the husks as a handle. Roll the corn in the softened butter, top with a thick layer of crumbled cheese and sprinkle with the chile powder mixture. Serve right away.

Make Ahead

The lime-tarragon butter can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.

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