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!
- 16 oz. rotini pasta
- olive oil for tossing pasta
- 2 (15 oz.) cans corn, drained
- 1/2 cup cotija or queso fresco cheese
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro + more for garnish
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- zest and juice of 2 limes
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- a couple pinches cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 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.
- In a medium bowl combine sour cream, mayo, lime zest and juice, garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and a couple large pinches of salt and pepper.
- Add pasta, corn, cotija, and cilantro to a large bowl.
- Pour most of the dressing over the pasta and 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. 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.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Mexican/American
Keywords: elote pasta salad, street corn pasta salad, Mexican pasta salad