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This Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad is loaded with roasted corn, Cotija and cheddar, creamy dressing and jalapeños for a kick of heat.
Today I’m combining two loves: my family’s love for Mexican street corn and my love for pasta salad. These two loves come together in one delicious new pasta salad recipe with creamy dressing, unique flavor and a hint of spice.
This is a new side dish you can bring to a potluck or picnic. You can also serve it as a Meatless Monday main dish along with a pita bread and some fresh fruit. If there’s one new pasta salad to try this summer, this is it ⬇️
About this Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad Recipe:
Flavor: The dressing and pasta are both mild, but the flavor comes in with the tangy lime and Tajín, which pairs with with the heat from the jalapeño pepper.
Texture: Tender pasta and roasted corn coated with a smooth & creamy mayonnaise based dressing. This salad has just a slight “crunch” thanks to the pepper and corn, but is otherwise easy to eat!
What is Mexican Street Corn?
Elote is the same food as Mexican Street Corn. “Elote” translates to “corn cob”, so it’s obvious how this Mexican favorite got its name. It is also sometimes called “crazy corn”. It’s roasted corn, coated with a mayo/sour cream mixture and then dusted with Tajín and Cotija cheese.
We had elotes when we visited Mexico over 12 years ago. And since then I’ve loved visiting authentic Mexican restaurants in many different cities and trying it there.
What pasta is best for pasta salad?
I love trying fun pasta shapes like Gemelli, Cavatappi and this new shape, Trotolle. Although rotini or fusilli are traditional pasta salad shapes, I like different shapes for different salads, depending on the other ingredients in the salad.
Because this Mexican street corn salad has small pieces of corn and jalapeño, a chose a larger pasta shape to give the salad a little bulk. And the creamy dressing along with the cheese coats every bit of the outside of the Trotolle, giving it an amazingly creamy texture.
Roasted Corn. If you can grill the corn or make oven roasted corn, definitely use it for the added flavor. Frozen corn will work in a pinch! Grilled corn is my favorite.
Mayo. Use mayo, not Miracle Whip.
Sour cream. Or use a homemade Mexican crema in place of the sour cream.
Jalapeños. They add flavor and spice, but you could use poblano or a bell pepper if you don’t like spicy foods.
Cotija and cheddar cheese. Cotija is the cheese that is traditionally on Mexican street corn. It has a salty flavor, so really adds to the flavor profile of this salad.
Tajín. If you can find this spice mix in the store, make it at home. It has a chili lime (along with salt) flavor that you’ll love.
How to Make Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
Prepare the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Although I normally want al dente pasta, with pasta salad, I cook it just slightly longer so that it doesn’t get hard once it is in the fridge. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place the cooled, drained pasta in a large bowl.
Cut the corn. Cut the corn off of each of the cobs. Add the corn kernels to the cooked pasta.
Add in the other salad ingredients. Add in the diced red onion and jalapeño pepper. Then add in ½ cup of each of the two cheeses. Toss all this together in the bowl.
Make the dressing. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the mayo, sour cream, lime juice and Tajín. (Start with 1 teaspoon of Tajín and add more to taste.)
Mix the salad. Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and mix well to combine.
Garnish and chill. Top the salad with the remaining cheeses, additional Tajín and freshly snipped cilantro. Cover and chill until serving.
Make it a meal.
Honestly? I could eat this as a meal on its own. But if you’re looking for ideas of what to serve with it, try one of these:
Boil the pasta according to the package instructions in a large pot of salted water. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place the cooled, drained pasta in a large bowl.
Cut the corn off of each of the cobs. Add the corn to the pasta.
Add in the diced red onion and jalapeño pepper.
Then add in ½ cup of each of the two cheeses.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the mayo, sour cream, juice of 1 lime and Tajín. (Start with 1 teaspoon of Tajín and add more to taste.)
Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and mix well to combine.
Top the salad with the remaining cheeses, additional Tajín and freshly snipped cilantro.
Cover and chill until serving.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Zest the lime first if you’d like and add the zest to the dressing as well. It adds just a touch more tangy lime flavor.Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.The calories shown are based on the recipe serving 10, with 1 serving being 1/10 of the salad. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**