Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

Even if you’ve never been to Mexico, hopefully you’ve heard of or tried Mexican street corn. Bought fresh and hot from street carts, this dish is traditionally corn on the cob that’s been charred to perfection, coated in Mexican crema and then topped off with cotija cheese crumbles and cilantro. While we love any iteration of this, turning Mexican street corn into a more filling side dish (or main course, if that’s what you’re feeling) is super easy when you introduce pasta in the mix. Here’s our take on Mexican street corn pasta salad….

Penne pasta, plenty of corn (which can be fresh or frozen), jalapeño, bacon and cotija cheese make up the crux of this pasta salad – yum! – and then it gets coated in a citrusy, spicy, creamy mayo/sour cream dressing that’ll have you completely hooked after one bite. You guys, this stuff is so tasty as it is, but if you want to take it to the next level, definitely char or brown your corn before tossing everything together, it really does make a big difference in flavor.

This street corn pasta salad has everything you could want: sweetness from the corn, saltiness from the bacon, creaminess from the dressing, brightness from the lime juice and spiciness from the jalapeño, chili and cayenne pepper. Plus, with the addition of the pasta it turns into a more filling choice that’s perfect for cookouts or weeknight dinners. Trust us on this one, this is definitely going to earn its spot in your recipe rotation.

Street Corn Pasta Salad

20 minutes to prepare serves 6-8


  • Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Salad:
  • 2 cups cooked penne pasta
  • 2 (12 oz.) bags frozen corn, thawed and drained, browned and charred slightly
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese or queso fresco, cubed
  • 8 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Heat canola oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat and brown corn until dark and golden. 5-8 minutes.
  2. Prepare dressing by whisking together mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, lime zest and juice, chili powder and cayenne, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, charred corn, green onion, jalapeño, cilantro, bacon and cotija, then pour dressing on top and toss together to combine.
  4. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Lemon Blossoms