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This Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad is loaded with corn, cotija and a deliciously tangy, creamy dressing that is the stuff dreams are made of. It's quick and easy to throw together and is made up of mostly pantry ingredients that you've probably already got in your kitchen!
You'll Love This
- The flavors are out of this world. The creamy dressing has just the right amount of tangy, lime flavor with a subtle hint of spice. It's got enough mayo to give it some serious creaminess, but not so much that it feels heavy. Mix that with perfectly al dente pasta, corn, and fresh chopped cilantro and this is a side dish that dreams are made of!
- It consists of mainly pantry ingredients. This is one of those recipes where we pretty much have everything on hand at all times and can throw this salad together at a moment's notice! Canned corn, pasta, mayo, sour cream, lime, chili powder - the only thing we sometimes don't have is cotija cheese, in which case I'll substitute queso fresco or feta cheese instead!
- It's something new and different in the world of pasta salads. There is nothing wrong with a fun Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad Salad, Creamy Vegan Cucumber Pasta Salad, or a Cilantro Avocado Southwest Pasta Salad but this Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad is one of those dishes that your friends probably haven't had before. Which makes it even more fun to share!
Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and set aside to cool to room temperature. Or pop in the fridge to speed up the cooling process.
Mix until well combined.
Pour most of the dressing over the pasta.
Toss until everything is well coated.
Transfer to serving platter, drizzle with remaining dressing and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.
- Make sure you moderately salt the pasta water! Salting the pasta water is the first step in seasoning this dish and it's going to do a lot to boost the flavor of the pasta itself. I recommend adding 2-4 tablespoons of Kosher salt to the boiling water before adding the uncooked pasta. You want the pasta water to be as salty as the sea, literally. Once you start salting your pasta water, you will never stop, I promise.
- Cook the pasta just until al dente. Nothing ruins a pasta salad quicker than mushy, overcooked pasta. I like to cook the pasta for 1 minute less than the lowest recommended cooking time on the package directions. So if the package recommends 9-11 minutes, I start (carefully) tasting the pasta after 8 minutes and pull it off the heat and strain it as soon as it's al dente.
- If sweet corn is in season where you are, you can definitely use corn on the cob instead of canned corn! I'd recommend using about 2 cups total of freshly cut corn. There's no need to cook the corn before adding it to the pasta salad. Freshly cut, uncooked corn from the cob is one of life's greatest pleasures. OR if you have leftover grilled corn on the cob - cut it from the cob and use that!
- Feel free to add an extra can of corn or a can of black beans if you want to add more veggies to this dish! Sometimes I add extra corn AND black beans along with some thinly sliced kale to really bulk it up and make it more of a main dish salad.
- The dressing in this pasta salad will thicken as it sits. I would recommend dressing it just before serving, or if you'll be enjoying this pasta salad a few hours after you make it, feel free to add a splash of lime juice or even milk to loosen things up.
What is Mexican Street Corn
- Mexican Street Corn, also known as Elote, is corn on the cob covered in mayonnaise or Mexican crema, then sprinkled with Cotija cheese, chili powder, and fresh chopped cilantro. It's a popular street food in Mexico and is served with the husk still attached so you have something to hang onto while you eat.
- My street corn pasta salad recipe is in no way meant to be an authentic version. This is very much a Midwestern twist on a Mexican classic. I have used some of the same flavors of Mexican street corn and translated them into a quick and easy pasta salad.
- My intention is always to honor the origins of the recipes that I am recreating. And I sincerely mean no harm by using Mexican recipes as inspiration for the recipes you may see here on Midwest Foodie.
- If you are looking for a traditional Elote recipe, here is a delicious one that you should definitely try!
- Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Cilantro Avocado Southwest Pasta Salad
- Creamy Cucumber Pasta Salad
- Simple Tuna Pasta Salad
- Greek Chickpea Pasta Salad
- Tomato & Mozzarella Caprese Pasta Saad