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How To Make Easy Mexican Macaroni Salad With Ham

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Are you a fan of Mexican flavors? Then look no further than the Easy Mexican Macaroni Salad With Ham! 


It is a delicious twist on a classic macaroni salad.

Packed with hearty ingredients and zesty Mexican flavors, this dish is a crowd pleaser perfect for any occasion, from picnics to Potlucks.

This recipe is super easy and only takes about 30 minutes to make!


So go ahead and try this popular side dish, it just might become your next favorite pasta salad!

Why I Love This Dish 

  • It’s Easy to Make. With minimal effort needed, this recipe is a perfect main dish for busy weeknights or fast lunches.
  • Loaded with ham, hearty black beans, sweet corn, bell peppers, and more, this One Meal Dish can be served as a main course or a great side dish on Taco Tuesday.
  • Serve this cold salad during the summer months at backyard barbeques. It’s The Perfect Salad to use leftover ham from a holiday dinner for a delicious side dish the next day!

Mexican Cold Pasta Salad Ingredients

There are six clear glass bowls with ingredients in them. One has chopped cooked ham in it, one has dry elbow pasta in it, one has drained canned black beans, one has mayonnaise, one has cooked corn kernels, and one has sour cream in it. There is a red bell pepper, some sprigs of fresh cilantro, a lime, three small tomatoes, one whole unpeeled yellow onion and three long green onions. There is also a small clear glass bowl with light brown dry seasoning in it. There are three very small clear glass bowls. One has ground black pepper, one has light yellow garlic powder, and the third one has dark yellow mustard in it. All the items are on a white marbled surface.

Make with the following ingredients

  • Elbow pasta
  • Splash of olive oil for cooking pasta
  • Canned red beans: black beans or kidney beans
  • Sweet corn: fresh corn off the cob or frozen corn can be used
  • Roma tomatoes: cherry tomatoes can be substituted
  • Red bell pepper: use your favorite bell pepper
  • Onion: you can use white, yellow, or red onion 
  • Diced ham: You can use sliced deli-style ham or leftover ham – optional
  • Fresh cilantro

Dressing Ingredients

  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour Cream or Mexican crema
  • Fresh lime juice and the zest of a lime
  • Spicy brown mustard
  • Garlic powder: fresh minced garlic cloves can be substituted
  • Taco seasoning: mild or spicy packet
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Optional Toppings

  • Sliced green onions
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sliced black olives
  • Finely chopped fresh cilantro 

Helpful Tools and Equipment

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Large pot
  • Strainer
  • Large bowl
  • Small bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large mixing spoon or rubber spatula

Easy Mexican Macaroni Salad

There is a green bowl with cooked elbow pasta, cooked corn kernels, black beans, chopped red bell pepper, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, and chopped cilantro mixed all together in a light brown creamy sauce. The bowl is on a yellow, red, and blue plaid cloth.

Step By Step Mexican Pasta Salad Recipe

  • Cook the pasta according to the packaging instructions – al dente.
  • Once cooked, rinse the pasta under cold water, drain, and cool to room temperature.
  • Cook the frozen corn according to the package, drain, and let cool.
  • Drain and rinse the red beans.
There is a rectangular wood board. There is a pile of chopped white onion, a pile of chopped red bell pepper, and a pile of chopped red tomatoes on the board. The board is on a white marbled surface.

While the noodles are cooking

  • Chop bell pepper, tomatoes, and onion.
There is a rectangular wood board. There is a pile of thinly sliced green onion and a pile of finely chopped green cilantro on the board. The board is on a white marbled surface.
  • ​Thinly slice green onions.
  • Finely chop the cilantro.
There is a small wood board with a green lime cut in half and a pile of the lime peel finely grated on the board. The board is on a white marbled surface.
  • Zest and juice lime.
There is a large clear glass bowl with cooked elbow pasta in it. There are two small clear glass bowls. One of the bowls has cooked corn kernels in it. The other bowl has black beans in it. In front of the bowls there is a rectangular wood board. There is a pile of chopped white onion, a pile of chopped red bell pepper, and a pile of chopped red tomatoes on the board. Items are on a white marbled surface.
  • Pour pasta into a large bowl.
There is a large clear glass bowl with cooked elbow pasta, cooked corn kernels, and black beans in it. The bowl is on a white marbled surface.
  • Add the corn and beans.
There is a large clear glass bowl with cooked elbow pasta, cooked corn kernels, black beans, chopped red bell pepper, chopped onion, and chopped tomatoes in it. The bowl is on a white marbled surface.
  • Add the chopped red peppers, tomatoes, and onion.
There is a large clear glass bowl with mayonnaise and sour cream in it. There is a gray rubber spatula resting in the bow. The bowl is on a white marbled surface.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise and sour cream.
There is a large clear glass bowl with mayonnaise, sour cream, a spoonful of brown mustard, the juice of a lime, and the zest of a lime in it. There is a gray rubber spatula resting in the bow. The bowl is on a white marbled surface.
  • Pour in the mustard, lime zest, and lime juice.
There is a large clear glass bowl with a creamy white sauce in it. There is a gray rubber spatula resting in the bowl. The bowl is on a white marbled surface.
  • Stir until the ingredients are combined.
  • Sprinkle in the dry seasonings.
There is a large clear glass bowl with a creamy light brown sauce in it. There is a gray rubber spatula resting in the bowl. The bowl is on a white marbled surface.
  • Thoroughly mix sauce until completely blended.
There is a large clear glass bowl with cooked elbow pasta, cooked corn kernels, black beans, chopped red bell pepper, chopped onion, and chopped tomatoes in it. There is a light brown creamy sauce poured over the top of the ingredients. There is a gray rubber spatula resting in the bowl. The bowl is on a white marbled surface.
  • Pour the sauce over the macaroni and chopped vegetables.
There is a large clear glass bowl with cooked elbow pasta, cooked corn kernels, black beans, chopped red bell pepper, chopped onion, and chopped tomatoes mixed all together in a light brown creamy sauce. There is a gray rubber spatula resting in the bowl. The bowl is on a white marbled surface.
  • Gently stir until all the noodles are coated with the sauce.
There is a large clear glass bowl with cooked elbow pasta, cooked corn kernels, black beans, chopped red bell pepper, chopped onion, and chopped tomatoes mixed all together in a light brown creamy sauce. There is a small pile of finely chopped green cilantro on top of the pasta salad. There is a gray rubber spatula resting in the bowl. The bowl is on a white marbled surface.
  • Optional: Toss in fresh cilantro.
There is a large clear glass bowl with cooked elbow pasta, cooked corn kernels, black beans, chopped red bell pepper, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, and chopped cilantro mixed all together in a light brown creamy sauce. There are small square pieces of ham on top of the pasta salad. There is a gray rubber spatula resting in the bowl. The bowl is on a white marbled surface.
  • If you want to mix diced ham, stir in a cup or so.
There is a large clear glass bowl with cooked elbow pasta, cooked corn kernels, black beans, chopped red bell pepper, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro , and small pieces of ham mixed all together in a light brown creamy sauce. There are thin slices of green onions on top of the pasta salad.There is a silver spoon resting in the bowl. The bowl is on a white marbled surface.
  • Before serving, sprinkle thinly sliced green onions over the top of the salad. – optional

See the recipe card below for complete measurements and full details.

Variations you can try in this Mexican-style Macaroni Salad With Ham Recipe

Vegetarian Option: Omit the ham and add extra ingredients like chickpeas for protein. You can also add more vegetables like zucchini, cauliflower, or broccoli.

Spicy Kick: If you like spicy food, add diced jalapenos or green chilies to the salad. You can also sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes into the dressing for an extra kick!

There is a large clear glass bowl with cooked elbow pasta, cooked corn kernels, black beans, chopped red bell pepper, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro , and small pieces of ham mixed all together in a light brown creamy sauce. There are thin slices of green onions on top of the pasta salad.There is a silver spoon resting in the bowl. The bowl is on a white marbled surface.

Top Tips For The Best Pasta Salad

  • This recipe will be ready for serving in under 30 minutes if you chop all the vegetables while the pasta is cooking!
  • Double the recipe for larger gatherings (10 to 12 servings)
  • Cook the pasta al dente. It will soak up the dressing and become softer as it rests. If it’s overcooked, it may become mushy and break up in the salad. 
  • If time allows make the dressing the day before or even a couple of hours ahead of time. This will let all the seasonings marinate together.
  • Just whip the creamy dressing into a mixing bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to use. 
  • Make a little extra dressing! It’s the best thing for drizzling over ground beef tacos and dipping crunchy celery and carrots in!

How To Store

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare this Mexican macaroni salad ahead of time. Simply store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Let the macaroni salad come to room temperature before serving.

Can I use different pasta shapes?

Absolutely! While elbow macaroni works well in this recipe, you can also use rotini pasta, penne, or any of your favorite pasta shapes.

Just remember, each shape will hold the dressing and ingredients differently, creating a new eating experience each time!

Can I substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream?

Yes, Greek yogurt can be substituted for sour cream in the Mexican macaroni salad recipe if you’re looking to make healthy recipes.

It will add a tangy flavor and creamy texture to the dressing.

There is a green bowl with cooked elbow pasta, cooked corn kernels, black beans, chopped red bell pepper, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, and chopped cilantro mixed all together in a light brown creamy sauce. There is a silver spoon resting in the bowl. In the background there is a lime cut in half. Items are on a white marbled surface.

Looking for more Mexican Recipes?

Check these tasty dishes out!

Easy Keto Ground Beef Taco Salad Casserole

Easy Mexican Cheesecake with Dulce De Leche

New Mexican Style Huevos Rancheros

Outback’s Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Rubio’s Grilled Gourmet Shrimp Tacos

Chuy’s Tex Mex Refried Beans

Three Easy Leftover Pork Carnitas Recipes

Torchy’s Tacos Queso Dip

Star Rating

If you liked this Mexican macaroni salad recipe, please leave a star rating below and let us know how it turned out by leaving a comment!

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

How To Make Easy Mexican Macaroni Salad With Ham

There is a white bowl with cooked elbow pasta, cooked corn kernels, black beans, chopped red bell pepper, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, and chopped cilantro mixed all together in a light brown creamy sauce. In the background there is a lime cut in half. Items are on a white marbled surface.

This is a delicious twist on a classic macaroni salad. Packed with hearty ingredients and zesty Mexican flavors, this recipe is super easy and ready in 30 minutes.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces of elbow pasta (uncooked)
  • Splash of olive oil for cooking pasta
  • 1 can of black beans or kidney beans (15.5 ounces)
  • 1 cup cooked corn - fresh corn off the cob or frozen corn
  • 2 Roma tomatoes - chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper or your favorite bell pepper - approximately 1/2 cup chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion - white, yellow, or red
  • 1 cup diced ham - sliced deli-style ham or leftover ham
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro - I find that cilantro can be an overpowering herb so feel free to load up on it or omit it altogether.
  • Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour Cream or Mexican crema
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons taco seasoning: mild or spicy packet
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional Toppings:
  • Sliced green onions
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sliced black olives
  • Finely chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta according to the packaging instructions - al dente. You can add a little pinch of salt or olive oil to the water. This helps the noodles not stick together while cooking.
  2. Once cooked, rinse the pasta under cold water and drain. 
  3. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Cook the frozen corn according to the package.
  5. Set aside to let cool to room temperature.
  6. Drain and rinse the red beans.
  7. While the noodles cook, prep the veggies, ham, and fresh herbs. 
  8. Zest and squeeze the lime juice into a small bowl.
  9. Transfer cooked macaroni to a large bowl.
  10. Add: corn, beans, and chopped vegetables.
  11. In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise and sour cream.
  12. Pour in the mustard, lime zest, lime juice and dry seasonings. Thoroughly mix sauce until completely blended.
  13. Pour the sauce over the macaroni and chopped vegetables and stir until all the noodles are coated with the sauce.
  14. Optional: Add in as little or as much fresh chopped cilantro as you like and give the salad a couple of good stirs. 
  15. If you want to mix diced ham, stir in a cup or so.
  16. Before serving, sprinkle thinly sliced green onions over the top of the salad - optional

Notes

Helpful Tools and Equipment

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Large pot
  • Strainer
  • Large bowl
  • Small bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large mixing spoon or rubber spatula

How To Store

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Top Tips For The Best Pasta Salad

  • This great recipe will be ready for serving in under 30 minutes if you chop all the vegetables while the pasta is cooking!
  • Double the recipe for larger gatherings (10 to 12 servings).
  • Cook the pasta al dente. It will soak up the dressing and become softer as it rests. If it's overcooked, it may become mushy and break up in the salad. 

  • If time allows make the dressing the day before or even a couple of hours ahead of time. This will let all the seasonings marinate together.
  • Just whip the creamy dressing into a mixing bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and keep it in the fridge until you're ready to use. 
  • Make a little extra dressing! It's the best thing for drizzling over ground beef tacos and dipping crunchy celery and carrots in!

Variations you can try in this Mexican-style Macaroni Salad With Ham Recipe

Vegetarian Option: Omit the ham and add extra ingredients like chickpeas for protein. You can also add more vegetables like zucchini, cauliflower, or broccoli.

Spicy Kick: If you like spicy food, add diced jalapenos or green chilies to the salad. You can also sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes into the dressing for an extra kick.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 498Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 803mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 7gSugar: 10gProtein: 23g

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