Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

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5 from 35 reviews

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! 


Units Scale


  • 16 oz. rotini pasta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 (10 oz.) bags frozen fire-roasted corn (cooked according to package directions) or 3 (15 oz.) cans of corn, drained
  • 1 cup crumbled Cotija or queso fresco cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro + more for garnish



1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper and set aside to cool to room temperature. Or pop in the fridge to speed up the cooling process. 

2. In a medium bowl combine sour cream, mayo, 2 tablespoons olive oil, chili powdergarlic powder, cayenne pepper, lime zest and juice, and a couple large pinches of salt and pepper. 

3. Add cooled pasta, corn, Cotija, and cilantro to a large bowl.

4. Pour most of the dressing over the pasta.

5.  Toss until everything is well coated.

6. Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with the remaining dressing, and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.



  • If you're making this pasta salad ahead of time, I recommend adding one extra step because the Cotija cheese is going to soak up a lot of the dressing as it sits. I recommend adding the Cotija cheese along with the dressing ingredients to a food processor or blender and combining them until everything is smooth and creamy. Add half the dressing initially and toss to coat the pasta, then add the remaining dressing just before serving. This should alleviate the pasta salad from drying out.
  • Moderately salt your 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 frozen 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!