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Pastel de choclo con queso or pastel de humita savory corn cake

Pastel de choclo con queso or pastel de humita is a savory baked fresh corn and cheese cake or casserole dish from South America. In Ecuador this is the time of the year where everyone is making humitas with fresh corn.

Baked savory fresh corn cake with tomato and onion salsa

En Español

In case you aren’t familiar with them, humitas are savory steamed corn and cheese cakes. You could say that they are like tamales made with fresh corn, but be careful not to call them tamales or you might get some people very upset. Obviously, this time of the year, or any time during the winter/spring, is not the best time to find fresh corn with the full husks in the US, but I still crave a taste of humitas. As a result I decided to make a pastel de humita o choclo con queso.

This recipe uses the same ingredients as my mom’s humita recipe. However, instead of wrapping the humita mix in a corn husk and steaming them, I put the mix in a baking pan, with a layer of cheese in the middle-, and bake it.

Pastel de choclo or savory corn cake with tomato and onion salsa

Even during the summer months, when making humitas I’ve sometimes run out of corn husks and still have extra humita mix leftover, so I end up baking the leftovers. And yes, I’ll admit that I’ve also prepared this when I really wanted humitas, but was too lazy (or carishina) to deal with the whole humita wrapping process. This pastel de humita can be made with fresh corn, which can sometimes be found around this time of the year (but usually without the husks), but also with frozen corn.

Pastel de choclo con queso or pastel de humita

Pastel de choclo con queso or pastel de humita savory corn cake

Pastel de choclo con queso or pastel de humita is a savory baked fresh corn and cheese cake or casserole dish from South America.
4.81 from 46 votes
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Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Ecuadorian, Fusion, Latin, South American
Keyword: Cassava cheese bread, Corn, Fresh corn casserole, Humita, Pastel de humita, Savory cake, Savory corn cake
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 10 people


  • 6 cups of corn kernels from about 6-8 fresh ears of corn – can also use frozen corn kernels (defrost first)
  • 3 cups of grated or crumbled cheese mozzarella or a fresh farmers cheese, plus more for topping if desired
  • 1 cup diced white onions about ½ large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • About 1 cup corn meal
  • ¼ cup of heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt to taste


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • Place the corn kernels, 1 cup of cheese, diced onions, crushed garlic, corn meal, cream, eggs, and salt in the food processor, mix until the corn is pureed.
  • Pour half of the corn mix into a pre-greased rectangular oven mold.
  • Add a layer of cheese using the 2 cups of grated cheese. Add another layer with the rest of the corn mix.
  • Cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated oven for about 45 – 50 minutes. It can served directly as is. If you want the extra cheesy version, then add some more grated cheese on top and turn on the broiler until the cheese is melted and golden, about 5 minutes/
  • Serve warm with tomato and onion curtido, tree tomato hot sauce, and aji criollo.

I served this recently at a party and was trying to think about how to call in English. One of my friends said it reminded them of a corn quiche, which is ironic because I was about to call it a fresh corn casserole (to make it more relatable for my American friends, especially the ones from South). Anyway we had a discussion about it, and at the end it was decided that the South Americans would call it pastel de choclo or pastel de humita, the Mexicans would call it pastel de elote, and the Americans/Italians could call it the delicious cheesy corn dish; , though savory baked corn and cheese cake could also work.

Pastel de choclo con queso or cheesy fresh corn casserole

My Ecuadorian version of pastel de choclo or pastel de humita is not the same as the popular Chilean pastel de choclo. The traditional Chilean version has a meat filling and the corn mix is actually cooked before being baked. During the summer in Ecuador we made humitas at my mom’s place and I met a cool lady from Australia who joined us in the humita making get together. She had made the Chilean pastel de choclo before and loved the tomato onion salsa called pebre that they serve it with.

We coincidentally made some tomato and onion curtido that day, which is similar to pebre except that it doesn’t have spicy peppers or garlic, and it went great with the humitas. Just as with traditional humitas, you can also serve this with tree tomato or tamarillo hot sauce.

Tomato and onion curtido salsa 
Tree tomato or tamarillo aji hot sauce
Traditional corn humitas 

Step by step preparation photos for Pastel de choclo con queso or pastel de humita savory corn cake

Fresh corn for pastel de choclo
Use the food processor to blend the corn with 1 cup of cheese, the onion, eggs, cream and cornmeal
Mix until the corn is pureed
Put half of the corn mix in a rectangular oven mold and add layer of cheese
Add the rest of the corn mix
Bake covered with foil at 350F for about 45 minutes
The pastel de choclo can be served like this
For an extra cheesy version, add more cheese on top and turn on broiler for 5 minutes
Pastel de choclo or pastel de humita
Pastel de choclo corn cake with tomato and onion salsa
Pastel de choclo o humita
Pastel de choclo con queso


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  1. I love your recipes, and the pictures. I was searching for a tip if I decide to bake it one day before, should I bake it for 45 min and then reheat it again for 30 min covered? I don’t want it to be dry. Or should I prepare it and bake it tomorrow, just ready to put in the oven. I have two little ones and I knew this would take me hours because after a step I have to pause the process and do something else.. Thanks for your advice.

    1. Hi Maria Elena, You can either bake it now (without adding the cheese on top) and then reheat covered for about 25-30 minutes, add the top layer of cheese and broil for the last 5 minutes. Or you can also prepare it today, refrigerate it, and just bake tomorrow before serving. I’m preparing this dish for tomorrow also, and will probably just bake it today and reheat/broil the cheese on top before serving. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I’m wondering if Colombian food is similar to Ecuadorean food. My husband is Ecuadorean but my nephews wife is Colombian. I’m wanting to make food that would meet both sets of tastebuds.

    Thank you! Love your site!

    1. Hi Susan – There are definitely a lot of similarities, especially if you compare foods from regions that are similar (like Northern Ecuador and Southern Colombia). Or dishes that were originally introduced by the Spaniards back in the Colonial times. Sometimes a similar dish will have different names in each country and of course there are small differences- I’m sure that in Colombia (like in Ecuador) the dish preparation will also vary from one city/region/family to another. And of course, there are also dishes that are very unique to each country, but I do think that the flavor profiles and base ingredients are very similar. If you want a good source for Colombian recipes you can check out my friend Erica’s blog My Colombian Recipes.

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