Elote Pasta Carbonara


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pasta and a spoon in a white bowl

This Elote Pasta Carbonara is a complete mash-up, featuring the flavors of Elote (Mexican Street Corn) in a creamy, saucy Italian-inspired pasta. The result is a fast and colorful pasta that is the stuff summer dreams are made of. 

I have a long time love of pasta carbonara. Even though I’ve learned that it’s easy to make this uber creamy Italian pasta dish at home – it takes little more than egg yolks, parmesan, and a topping of crispy guanciale (or bacon as is usually the case here) – I still can hardly resist it when I see it on a restaurant menu. Move over fancy steaks and elaborate lasagnas, nothing beats the rich, classic flavors of carbonara. 

But if you’re going to make this creamy Elote Pasta Carbonara at home, why not make it fun!? Which is why I took some liberties. Some major liberties. I took one of my favorite Mexican side dishes and folded it right into the pasta carbonara. And the result? Tender strands of pasta wrapped up in a sauce of savory Mexican cotija cheese, and speckled with sweet crisp bites of corn. On the plate it just makes sense. 

You’ll have to try it to see for yourself.

It’s worth highlighting that absolutely nothing in this ingredient list is terribly unusual. Though if you haven’t tried Tajin seasoning, you’re in for a real treat. Here are all the details.

sauteeing corn kernels in a skillet


  • Spaghetti – Can’t have pasta carbonara without the spaghetti. Any type will work.
  • Eggs + Egg Yolks – For super creamy sauce, use both 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks. Those extra yolks make for a sauce that tastes fantastically rich and has a beautiful, light gold color. 
  • Corn kernels – Frozen (and defrosted) corn work just fine here, but fresh corn sliced off the kernels puts it over the top!
  • Bacon – Bacon adds a rich, savory base for the pasta and is crumbled over top. Guanciale is traditional in carbonara, but bacon means this is 
  • Cotija Cheese – This savory, salty Mexican cheese is a great fit for this dish and becomes slightly creamier than the pecorino or parmesan that are classic in carbonara. If you just have parmesan, use it!
  • Tajin Seasoning – Totally optional but this seasoning gives the finished dish that classic elote flavor of chili and lime. See below for more on this flavorful spice.

stirring eggs in a white bowl with a whisk

What is Elote?

Elote is Mexican Street Corn made from grilled corn spread with creamy sauce and garnished with cotija cheese, chili powder, fresh lime juice, and cilantro. 

Smoky and salty with a touch of natural sweetness from the corn – I’m fairly certain that it’s one of my favorite foods. 

tajin and elote seasoning bottles

What is Tajin seasoning?

Tajin seasoning is basically everything you need to make Elote, minus the corn. It’s just chili powder, lime, and salt, but a little adds SO much bright, fresh flavor. In addition to Tajin seasoning, I keep the Trader Joe’s version “Everything But The Elote” around too. They’re very similar. 

Tajin seasoning became a pantry staple in our house back when we first started (and then never stopped) making Eloté-style Popcorn. I highly recommend putting some of your leftover Tajin into making that popcorn too.

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4.78 from 9 votes

Elote Pasta Carbonara

This flavorful pasta is a complete mash-up, featuring the flavors of Elote (Mexican Street Corn) in a creamy, saucy Italian-inspired pasta. The result is a fast and colorful summer-friendly pasta.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 4


  • Stockpot
  • Skillet
  • Mixing Bowl


  • 8 strips Bacon, chopped
  • 2 cups Corn Kernels (use fresh or frozen)
  • 12 oz Dried Spaghetti
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 2 large Egg Yolks
  • 1/2 cup grated Cotija Cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1 tsp Tajin Seasoning (sub chili powder)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Lime Wedges, for garnish


  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil.
  • While water is coming to a boil, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped bacon and cook until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Drain off all but a thin layer of bacon grease from the skillet.
  • Add corn to heated bacon grease and saute until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. If you’d like to get a bit of a char on the corn, keep cooking it until it turns golden brown in spots. Set aside.
  • By now the water should be boiling, so add spaghetti. Boil according to package directions. (Set a timer so that the pasta is al dente - tender but not overcooked.)
  • While pasta cooks, in a large mixing bowl whisk together eggs, egg yolks, cotija cheese, and Tajin.
  • Drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water.
  • Working quickly, add hot pasta to bowl with the egg mixture. Use tongs to toss the pasta in the eggs about 20 to 30 times. Let pasta rest for a minute and then toss again. If the sauce seems dry, add a small amount of the pasta water, tossing well again.
  • When the pasta is saucy and creamy, fold in corn and bacon, reserving a small amount if you'd like to use it as garnish.
  • Taste pasta and season with salt and pepper.
  • Divide pasta between bowls and top with any of the reserved corn, bacon, and / or cheese. Garnish with lime wedge. Sprinkle with some extra Tajin if you’d like. Serve immediately.


Calories: 676kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 231mg | Sodium: 700mg | Potassium: 445mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 392IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $6.00
Calories: 676
Keyword: easy pasta dinner, easy, weeknight-friendly, family friendly, pork, summer
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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