Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad will be your new go-to for summer potlucks! Loaded with vegetables like grilled corn and smothered in a sour cream, mayonnaise, and chipotle creamy dressing, this tastes just like Mexican street food in pasta form! Perfect for making ahead and sharing.
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Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
Corn is one of my all-time favorite seasonal summer foods. I love to grill it, adding it to any dish that I can when it’s easily available at the market! Grilling the corn on the cob makes it a little smoky, and it adds delightful bursts of sweetness to every bite.
This Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad is so extremely flavorful! Packed with veggies and then smothered in a Street Corn-style salad dressing, it tastes like the real deal but with added pasta. It’s hearty, slightly easier to eat than corn on the cob, and perfect for cookouts and potlucks.
What’s in Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad?
- Pasta: My go-to for most pasta salads is elbow macaroni because it holds the salad dressing really well, however, my other favorite kinds of pasta to use are bow tie noodles, rotini, or cavatappi.
- Cheese: Cojita cheese is a Mexican cheese that you can find in most US supermarkets. If you can’t find it some good substitutions are parmesan, romano, feta, or queso fresco.
- Vegetables: I loaded this salad up with a rainbow of vegetables! We have red bell pepper (any color will work!), red onion, green onion, and corn. The corn is fresh corn on the cob, however, if it’s out of season you can use thawed frozen corn instead.
- Oil: Oil is brushed onto the corn before grilling. Neutral-tasting oils like olive oil or avocado oil are great healthy options.
Pasta Salad Dressing:
- Sour cream & mayonnaise: This salad dressing is creamy and tangy thanks to the base ingredients: mayonnaise and sour cream! Feel free to swap Greek yogurt for the sour cream to lighten this dish.
- Seasoning: The Street Corn Pasta Salad dressing is seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. It tastes amazing! You can adjust any of the seasonings to your own preferences if desired.
- Chipotle Chili Powder: My secret weapon, chipotle chili powder is both spicy and smoky. Mexican Street Corn has smokiness in it thanks to the grilled corn, so I add in a little of this seasoning to emphasize the smokiness and bring in some heat at the same time! If you can’t find chipotle chili powder, regular chili powder with a dash of smoked paprika is a great substitute. If your not a fan of too much spice add this to taste.
- Lime: Finally, lime brings everything together! It’s citrusy and tart, and the perfect acidic balance to the other ingredients.
How to make Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
1. Begin by boiling the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
2. While the pasta is cooking rub the outside of the husked corn with oil and preheat the grill to 400 degrees. Grill the corn for 15 minutes rotating every 5 minutes or so. Cook until corn is tender and has a nice char. Remove from the grill and allow the corn to cool before cutting the corn off of the cobb.
3. Prepare the bell pepper, red onion, and green onion by dicing and slicing them on a cutting board.
4. Whip up the pasta salad dressing by adding all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside until you are ready to toss the salad together.
5. Add the boiled pasta, corn, cojita cheese, bell pepper, red onion, and green onion to a large bowl. Pour in the dressing and toss to combine.
Store This Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. A point to note: if you make this in advance, double the sauce. The pasta will soak the salad dressing up overnight in the fridge. You can also add half of the dressing the night before and the other half right before serving!
Tips for Success
- This is a great recipe to make ahead! The flavors develop beautifully overnight and it always tastes better the next day!
- If you are going to make this Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad ahead of time, I recommend adding double the salad dressing as the pasta will soak it up in the fridge.
- If corn is out of season, frozen corn will be fine! Just make sure it is thawed and drained before mixing it into the pasta salad.
- If you’re not a huge onion fan add 1/4 cup of red onion instead of half or skip it altogether.
- Make this gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free pasta!
what to serve with mexican street corn pasta salad
Can I put frozen corn in a pasta salad?
Yes, frozen corn is fine to add to a pasta salad, however, I do recommend thawing it first to remove any excess water. Watery pasta salad will affect the flavor and just doesn’t taste as good.
What is Mexican Street Corn made of?
Mexican Street Corn, also known as Elote, is commonly made by street vendors in Mexico. It is grilled corn on the cob that gets smothered in sour cream (or Mexican crema) & mayonnaise, garlic, cilantro, chipotle chili powder, lime, and cojita cheese. If you ever see it at a Mexican restaurant or in Mexico you have to try it. It’s SO delicious!
More Corn Recipes to try
- Creamed Corn
- Chipotle Corn Salsa
- Corn Muffins
- Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salad
- Confetti Creamed Corn
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup cotija cheese
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup green onion, sliced
- 4 small ears of corn, husked, (if using large pieces of corn do 3)
- olive oil for brushing corn
- Boil pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking rub the outside of the husked corn with oil. Preheat grill to 400 degrees. Grill corn for 15 minutes rotating every 5 minutes or so. Cook until corn is tender and has a nice char. Remove from the grill and allow the corn to cool before cutting the corn off of the cobb.
- Add the boiled pasta, corn, cojita cheese, bell pepper, red onion and green onion to a large bowl. Pour in dressing and toss to combine.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside until you are ready to toss the salad together.