Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad has all the great flavors of elotes packed into a salad! This salad is filled with corn, red onion, cilantro, lots of cotija cheese, lime juice and chili powder!
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad Recipe
I have always loved Mexican Street Corn so I knew I had to make a pasta salad version of the dish! The great part about a pasta salad is that you can make it ahead, serve a crowd and not worry about messy fingers eating corn on the cob at a get together!
The beautiful colors of this salad make it a perfect addition to a summer BBQ, holiday get together, game night or movie night! You can make this salad with fresh, frozen or canned corn so it is a great year round recipe!
What is Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad?
Mexican street corn pasta salad is a twist on two classic dishes – street corn and pasta salad. Mexican street corn, or elotes, is grilled corn on the cob that is brushed with a mix of either crema, sour cream, mayonnaise, or yogurt. It is then topped with chili powder, cotija cheese and cilantro.
This pasta salad features all the classic ingredients of elotes, plus a few extras! You can use any pasta you like but I recommend using a pasta that has twists so all the dressing and ingredients sticks to the pasta, for example, scoobi doo, fusilli, or rotini.
There are lots of fresh vegetables in the salad – corn, red onions, jalapeno, red pepper, and green onion. The dressing is a healthier version using Greek yogurt (or a mix of mayonnaise and sour cream) that is seasoned with chili powder, cumin, salt, and lime juice. Lots of cotija cheese is mixed into the salad along with cilantro. It is a fresh, colorful and flavorful pasta salad you are sure to love.
What to Serve with Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
Street corn pasta salad is a great side dish for your Taco Tuesday dinner!
What is in Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad?
Street Corn Pasta Salad Ingredients
- Corn – I love making this salad in the summer and using farm fresh corn on the cob that is grilled until lightly charred. However, you can make this salad any day of the year with fresh or frozen corn.
- Pasta – use your favorite pasta. I like a twisty pasta so all the dressing and vegetables get stuck in the twists! For example, scoobi doo, fusilli, rotini or macaroni.
- Red Pepper – adds a pop of red color to this salad.
- Red Onion – my favorite onion for salads and commonly used in Mexican cooking. Don’t worry about the raw onion flavor, the lime juice in the dressing cuts down the raw onion flavor and lightly pickles the onion.
- Cotija Cheese – an irresistible crumbly Mexican cheese. You can also use feta cheese instead.
- Green Onion – I always keep green onions growing in my garden and window sill! Did you know that you can simply place your store bought green onion stems (the white parts with the roots) in a glass of water and keep them on your window sill and they will regrow?!
- Cilantro – if you don’t like cilantro you can use fresh parsley instead. It adds a fresh flavor and color to the salad.
- Jalapeno, optional – jalapenos are a milder pepper but if you prefer to have no spice in the salad you can omit the jalapenos.
- Greek Yogurt – traditionally Mexican street corn is made with Mexican crema, mayonnaise and/or sour cream. However, for a healthier salad recipe I use Greek yogurt. You can also use Icelandic skyr or mayo and sour cream.
- Lime Juice – adds the perfect amount of freshness and tang to the salad dressing. If you are using yogurt for the dressing the lime juice also helps cut down the yogurt flavor so it tastes like mayo/sour cream instead, but so much healthier!
- Cumin – this earthy spice is a staple in Mexican cooking.
- Chili Powder – a classic topping for street corn that adds a bit of spice and smoky flavor to the dressing.
How to Make Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
Full Printable Recipe at Bottom of Page
1 Optional: In a cast iron pan or regular frying pan on medium heat sauté the frozen or canned corn until lightly charred, approximately 5 minutes. A cast iron pan will provide the best char, or spread the corn out on a baking tray and broil in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until lightly charred. Set aside to cool. Or, brush the corn cobs with oil and grill for 2-3 minutes per side, or until lightly charred. Allow to cool and then slice the kernels off the cobs.
2 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta of choice according to package instructions until cooked al dente. Drain and set aside.
3 In a large bowl, add in the cooled corn, cooked pasta, green onions, cilantro, red onion, red pepper, jalapeno and cheese.
4 In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients.
5 Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until evenly combined.
Serve with additional chili powder sprinkled on top, chopped cilantro, and cotija or feta cheese. Enjoy!
Meal Prep Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
If you are looking for a way to change up your regular packed school or work lunch game this is the perfect recipe for you! This salad tastes even better the next day after the flavors have time to develop.
Store the salad in air tight containers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days (be sure to check the best before date on your yogurt and cheese and adjust accordingly). Pack as a main course or serve as a side with Chicken Enchiladas, Tex Mex Egg Rolls, or your favorite tacos!
Tips for the Best Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
- Corn – you can use fresh, frozen or canned corn for this recipe
- Fresh Corn – cook the corn stove top in a pot of boiling water, or grill it until lightly charred. Then slice the kernels off the cob.
- Frozen Corn – allow the corn to thaw at room temperature while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Then drain the corn well. Or, rinse the corn in a strainer for 2-3 minutes or until thawed and drain well. You can then char the corn kernels in a cast iron pan or frying pan to get a nice char on the kernels.
- Canned Corn – drain the corn well to avoid excess water in the salad. You can char the corn in a cast iron pan or frying pan to get a char on the kernels for added flavor and color in the salad.
- Pasta – I recommend using a pasta that has twist and turns to it, like fusilli, rotini or scoobi doo. This way the dressing and vegetables in the salad will stick to the pasta. Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. The pasta will soften when coated in the dressing and stored in the fridge.
- Dressing – trust me when I say that you will not taste the Greek yogurt flavor in this dressing! The lime juice, chili powder and cumin cut down the yogurt flavor and you are left with a perfectly creamy and healthy salad dressing. If you prefer not to use Greek yogurt, I have included measurements for a mayonnaise and sour cream based dressing in the recipe as well.
FAQs Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
Store the pasta salad in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days (check the best before date of your yogurt and cheese and adjust accordingly). As the pasta sits in the fridge the pasta will absorb the dressing. You can stir in an additional spoon of yogurt and a splash of lime juice just before serving.
Yes! This pasta salad is even better the next day when the flavors have had time to develop. This is a healthy recipe for meal prep lunches!
Yes! This pasta salad is healthy. It is packed with healthy vegetables and made with a light Greek yogurt dressing that is also high in protein.
This street corn pasta salad recipe is vegetarian. For a vegan street corn pasta salad, for the dressing use coconut yogurt and instead of cotija cheese use vegan feta cheese.
For a gluten free street corn pasta salad, follow the recipe as usual but use a gluten free pasta.
Looking for More Easy Pasta Salads?
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission.
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
- 4 cups corn, fresh, frozen or canned drained
- 1 1/2 cup dried pasta, of choice
- 1/4 cup cilantro, or parsley, chopped
- 4 green onions, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup cotija cheese, or feta, crumbled
- 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 small jalapeno, seeds removed, finely diced, optional
- 6 tbsp Greek yogurt, or 3 tbsp mayonnaise and 3 tbsp sour cream
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Chili Powder, optional
- Cilantro, or parsley
- Cotija cheese, or feta cheese crumbled
- Optional: In a cast iron pan or regular frying pan on medium heat sauté the frozen or canned corn until lightly charred, approximately 5 minutes. A cast iron pan will provide the best char, or spread the corn out on a baking tray and broil in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until lightly charred. Set aside to cool. Or, brush the corn cobs with oil and grill for 2-3 minutes per side, or until lightly charred. Allow to cool and then slice the kernels off the cobs.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta of choice according to package instructions until cooked al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add in the cooled corn, cooked pasta, green onions, cilantro, red onion, red pepper, jalapeno and cheese.
- In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until evenly combined.
- Serve with additional chili powder sprinkled on top, chopped cilantro, and cotija or feta cheese. Enjoy!