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Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad [+ Video]

33 Reviews

Bow tie pasta loaded up with avocados, peppers, cotija cheese, grilled corn and that creamy crema dressing makes for one killer Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad you won’t want to miss out on.

A close up photo of a bow tie pasta salad with avocados, peppers, grilled corn, cilantro, and cotija cheese making up an Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad

Does pasta salad ever get old? And does it seem like pasta salad is totally trendy right now? It’s all over pinterest and this Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad is going to be as well. There’s just something about grilled corn and those smoky seasonings, but then you throw in carbs in the form of pasta and I’m totally all in.

There are some really important questions we answer in our Easy Bacon Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad recipe, so if you haven’t ever checked out that post, just hop over there really quick and read up on the secret to pasta salad so it isn’t bland and why you shouldn’t serve it one particular way.

Pasta salad always seems so easy to make, and it totally is, but there are a few things that people do wrong and it totally makes for a bland, soggy or even dry pasta salad. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve been there. You’re all excited, go to dig in and are totally disappointed.

How to Avoid Bland Pasta Salad

With Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad you can skip the bland bus entirely if you do three things:

  1. Pick corn that is ripe and sweet
  2. Do the same for your avocados and make sure they are large and not small
  3. Overcook the pasta (see that Easy Bacon Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad recipe I linked to above)

The corn is the most important add in for our pasta salad as it’s an Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad so it must be chosen well and cooked to perfection. Usually a farmers’ market has better corn than your grocery store but unless you live in an area with fantastic farmers’ markets you may need to stick with the store. We’ve got a few ideas to help though.

A close up photo of a bow tie pasta salad with avocados, peppers, grilled corn, cilantro, and cotija cheese making up an Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad

What’s the Difference Between White Corn and Yellow Corn?

Actually, there really isn’t much difference at all between white corn and yellow corn. Both are considered to be sweet corn, though there are people who argue that one is sweeter than the other. Color just really doesn’t matter when you really look at it. We love yellow because colorful food actually makes a difference in your brain, so you may see those bright yellow kernels and feel more drawn to the yellow and enjoy it more.

Why Does Corn Have Dents in it?

If you’ve husked your corn and it has dents in it it’s called Dent corn and has already dried out. No amount of butter or boiling will fix that. Actually, dent corn is still used though. It’s used to make tortillas and chips!

How to Choose Good Corn on the Cob

Ahhh yes, corn is starting to arrive in grocery stores and everyone is standing around the barrel, peeling back the husks to pick a good corn on the cob. That always bothers me a stitch as it doesn’t seem like good etiquette.

Is there a way to know how to choose good corn on the cob without peeking?

Yes there is! In fact we go into full detail in our post, THE SECRET TO THE BEST GRILLED CORN ON THE COB. It might even be life changing for you. Just sayin’.

photo of a bow tie pasta salad with avocados, peppers, grilled corn, cilantro, and cotija cheese making up an Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad

How to Pick a Good Avocado

Hi, I’m Carrian and I’m obsessed with avocados. 🙂

I’m also totally judging you at the store if you’re palming all of the avocados. It’s the only thing I’ll judge you on, so go ahead and wear your pajamas to the grocery store or play your Britney Spears from 2001.

Palming avocados leads to bruising for the next customer so here’s how to pick a ripe avocado.

  1. Look at the color– A ripe avocado is darker in color than an underripe. So if you’re wanting to use the avocado right away look for a very dark avocado. If you want one in a few days choose an avocado that is more green.
  2. Firmness– Place your thumb at one end and your pointer finger at the other end and gently press. A ripe avocado will yield slightly to the pressure while an unripe avocado will not.
  3. Look for Indentations– An avocado that has indentations has been bruised or is far past ripe and is black inside.
  4. Pull out the stem– If you push the stem off is it brown or green underneath? Brown is generally overripe while green to green brown is ripe.

How to Store Avocados

There are a few different ways to store avocados depending on needs.

  • Avocados ready to eat– Store avocados on the counter, out of direct sunlight but not in a closed pantry or cupboard.
  • How to Ripen Avocados- If your avocado needs to ripen, store in a paper bag out of direct sunlight so it doesn’t over ripen too quickly, unless you need it to hurry up.
  • Storing Ripe Avocados– If your avocado is ripe but you want it to last, store it in the refrigerator.
  • How to Store Avocado That Has Been Cut – If you’ve cut your avocado, save the peels and pit, put the avocado back together as if it’s whole and store in an airtight bag in the refrigerator.

Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad

This elote Mexican corn pasta salad was created after making our Elote Mexican Grilled Corn Salad, our favorite summer side with corn.

It’s a delicious combination of pasta, dressing, cheese, fresh veggies and of course, sweet grilled corn.

We talk about each of the ingredients, what they are, substitutions and where to buy things in our Elote Mexican Grilled Corn Salad, so if you need answers head there.

We know you and your guests will be chowing down on this delicious summer side dish recipe, and good news, it’s still yummy the next day and the next!

How Long will Pasta Salad Keep for

You can store this pasta salad for up to 3 days, though it’s best eaten the day of. But I happen to love pasta salad the next day for lunch, so I’m just sayin’, hiding some in the fridge for later isn’t a bad idea.

Pasta Salad RECIPES

Looking for more Pasta Salad recipes like this Elote Grilled Mexican Corn Pasta Salad? We always are too as we love a good pasta salad, so make sure you try:

More CORN RECIPES You Are Sure to Love:


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A close up photo of a bow tie pasta salad with avocados, peppers, grilled corn, cilantro, and cotija cheese making up an Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad

Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad

3.55 from 33 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Bow tie pasta loaded up with avocados, peppers, cotija cheese, grilled corn and that creamy crema dressing makes for one killer Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad you won't want to miss out on.


  • 6 Ears Corn husked
  • 2/3 Cup Crema *see note for substitution
  • Tablespoons  Lime Juice fresh is best
  • Teaspoon  Ground Cumin
  • 3/4  Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
  • 1/4  Teaspoon  Black Pepper
  • 1/2  Teaspoon Salt plus more to taste
  • 3/4 Cup Cotija Cheese crumbled
  • 1/2 Red Onion minced
  • 1/2 Bunch Cilantro chopped
  • 8 ounces Pasta, bowtie, half a box, cooked and drained *see note
  • 2 Avocados peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 Bell Peppers large red, chopped


  • Prepare your pasta salad by starting with your grilled corn.
  • Heat a grill to medium heat. Add the corn, turning occasionally until slightly charred on each side.
  • Remove from the grill and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • Holding the corn by the small end, cut off all of the kernels.
  • Place the kernels in a big bowl to cool.
  • Heat a pot of water over medium high heat. Once boiling, add salt and pasta. Cook until just over done. NOT al dente, you want to cook past that point so that the pasta will not absorb the dressing, but instead coat the pasta.
  • Drain the pasta well and run under cold water in a colandar, tossing with your fingers occasionally to cool it completely.
  • Add pasta to the corn bowl along will all other ingredients.
  • Fold gently with a rubber spatula, seasoning with additional salt as needed. (Seasoning is key!)
  • Serve slightly warm, room temperature or cold.


Make sure that you just over cook the pasta so that it won't absorb the dressing. Mayonnaise can be used a substitute for crema.
Nutrition Facts
Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 192 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 10mg3%
Sodium 253mg11%
Potassium 322mg9%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 861IU17%
Vitamin C 30mg36%
Calcium 73mg7%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A close up photo of a bow tie pasta salad with avocados, peppers, grilled corn, cilantro, and cotija cheese making up an Elote Mexican Corn Pasta Salad


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About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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Recipe Rating


  • I used radiatore, we love that for pasta salad and mac n cheese, it holds the sauce better. And I did 1.5 times the recipe and we thought that coated it perfectly. So good! None of us could stop eating it!

    • Reply
    • Yay! Love to hear this!! So glad you enjoyed it!

      • Reply
  • This looks amazing! I would love to try this for a bbq I’m going to, the only question I have is where can I find Crema? I’ve never seen it in my local
    Stores and I can’t find a recipe here either. Can’t wait to try this! “Oh sweet basil” is my go-to for easy delicious recipes. 

    • Reply
    • Ignore my question! I just found the answer in another comment! Can’t wait to share this with everyone 🙂

      • Reply
      • Yay! Thanks Kathleen! Enjoy!

  • How many servings does this recipe serve

    • Reply
    • There are 10 servings in this recipe.

      • Reply
  • Requested to join 5/01//2019. Received notification on 5/02/2019 via of FB you wish to ask me questions. Unable to find said questions anywhere, please advise.
    Thanks, Joe

    • Reply
    • Sorry about that Joe! We were at a conference all weekend and just not getting caught up on everything. I’ll go add you to our FB group now! Thanks for joining us!!

      • Reply
  • We have a Cinco de Mayo party every year and this is definitely going on the menu! Thank you for sharing!

    Side note…. avocado and guacamole stay fresh if you put a thin coat of water over the top making sure no air can get to it. Seal in  an airtight container and put in fridge. When needed, simply drain off the water ( in the case of the guacamole) and give it a stir! Stays nice and green!

    • Reply
    • Yay! Enjoy this salad! And than you for the tips on the avocado and guacamole! That is great advice to pass on!

      • Reply
  • nice salad, new set of ingredients, at least to me, so thank you, Cotija cheese especially

    • Reply
    • You will love it Sabrina!!

      • Reply
  • Sorry if I missed this in the post–what is CREMA?

    • Reply
    • C rema is Mexican sour cream and has added flavorings in it…….it’s delicious and I buy in now much more than bland sour cream! I love it! Most grocery stores carry it in the fridge section, but a Hispanic store always has creme. Cheaper too! Hope this helps🤗

      • Reply

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