Cool, creamy, with a bit of crunch and a hit of spiciness, this colorful Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad recipe with a creamy chile lime dressing has all the flavors of traditional Mexican Street Corn served up as the perfect cookout, tailgate and BBQ side dish!
A new favorite pasta salad recipe? I dare say, it is! I can’t wait for you to try this out-of-this-world tasty street corn salad! With crumbly cotija cheese, cool cilantro, golden sautéed corn, crisp red onions, and the bite of fresh jalapenos all topped with an easy sour cream/mayo based chile lime dressing, this salad is the perfect partner for burgers, tacos, BBQ chicken and even by itself as a light lunch!
What is Mexican Street Corn?
Corn on the cob, or elote, is a popular street food in Mexico. Sold by street vendors, the corn is grilled, drizzled with a creamy mayo/sour cream sauce and topped with chile powder, lime and crumbled cheese and served on a stick for eating on the go!
Ingredients for Street Corn Pasta Salad with Chile Lime Dressing
- rotini pasta
- golden kernel corn
- cotija cheese (or feta)
- red onion
Creamy Chile Lime Dressing Ingredients
- sour cream
- real mayonnaise
- lime juice
- chili powder
- ground cumin
- salt & black pepper
- ground cayenne pepper
How to Make Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
Boil Pasta. In a large pot of generously salted water, boil pasta just to al dente. Drain and let cool.
Sautee Corn. While pasta is boiling, heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Drain corn and add to hot skillet. Corn should sizzle a little and possibly pop. Sautee corn until brown and a little seared. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Make Salad. When pasta and corn are cooled, combine in a large bowl with chopped cilantro, diced onion, diced jalapeno peppers and 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese.
Make Dressing. Whisk together dressing ingredients, drizzle about ½-2/3 over salad and toss. Save the rest of dressing for leftovers since the pasta will soak up the dressing and need refreshing.
Tips for Making the Best Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
- Make sure you generously salt the water for boiling the pasta. This seasons the pasta (& its your only chance!) as it cooks, absorbs some water and softens. Unseasoned pasta makes for an overall bland pasta salad.
- Only cook the pasta until it is al dente, or still a little firm. This helps your pasta retain its taste, texture and shape and saves your salad from being mushy.
- Don’t skip the sautéing the corn! This adds loads of flavor to the corn and brings out its the sweetness. It also keeps the flavors of this pasta salad recipe truer to grilled or fried street corn.
Add Ins & Variations
- This Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad recipe can get a little spicy, especially as it sits. At my house, that’s a good thing. But you can regulate how spicy your salad gets by adding more or less jalapenos, substituting the jalapenos with green bell peppers and lessening the amount of or omitting the cayenne pepper.
- Add a little chopped bacon for deep smoky flavor. Black beans are also a great addition.
- Instead of canned corn, use about 3 cups frozen corn. You could also buy canned or frozen fire roasted corn if you were in a pinch and didn’t want to sautee your own. For the perfect summer corn salad, grill 3-4 ears of fresh sweet corn to make this recipe.
Other Pasta Salad Recipes You’ll Love!
- Waldorf Chicken Pasta Salad
- Bacon Tomato Pasta Salad
- Taco Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
- Southern Macaroni Salad
- Tuscan Tortellini Pasta Salad
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
- 16 oz rotini pasta
- 2 (15 oz) can golden kernel corn
- 1 cup cotija cheese (Mexican crumbling cheese), or feta
- ⅔ cups chopped cilantro
- 1 small/ medium red onion, diced
- 1.5 large fresh jalapenos, deseeded, deveined & diced (about ⅓ cup)
- olive oil
Creamy Chile Lime Dressing
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup real mayonnaise
- 3-4 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon cumin, heaping
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- In a large pot of generously salted water, boil pasta just to al dente. Drain and let cool.
- While pasta is boiling, heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Drain corn and add to hot skillet. Corn should sizzle a little and possibly pop. Sautee corn until brown and a little seared. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- When pasta and corn are cooled, combine in a large bowl with chopped cilantro, diced onion, diced jalapeno peppers and 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese.
- Whisk together dressing ingredients, drizzle about ½-2/3 over salad and toss. Save the rest of dressing for leftovers since the pasta will soak up the dressing and need refreshing.