Pack a little extra heat (and a lot more flavor) into your summer cookout with this easy to make Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad!  This easy pasta salad is sure to be the most popular dish at any get-together!

White bowl full of buffalo chicken pasta salad

‘Tis the season for cookouts.  For bonfires, outdoor parties, and easy throw-together-and-go pasta salads.  I’ve begun to suspect that the whole summer season is actually just one big excuse to get together outdoors and eat food.

And pasta salad may just be the glue that holds these cookouts together — I don’t think I’ve ever been to any summertime celebration where there wasn’t at least one chilled Tupperware container full of dressing-soaked noodles… and whatever your familial preferences were in terms of add-ins.

But while a classic Italian dressing-tossed pasta salad is good, sure, I think it’s time we spice things up a bit.  Your pasta salad and your cookout deserve to be amped up a notch or two, and that’s why I’ve finally perfected this recipe for buffalo chicken pasta salad.

Overhead shot of Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad in a white square bowl

With a heavy-handed pour of buffalo sauce (tempered by an equally heavy-handed serving of ranch dressing) this pasta salad is a feisty side dish that comes together in a matter of minutes — the longest part is boiling the pasta!

As with many pasta salads, this one can also be customized to best suit your tastes.  Feel free to toss in some garden veggies or celery, but be sure that you don’t leave any of the ingredients out!  There are two spoonfuls of mayonnaise stirred in with the buffalo/ranch sauce to maximize the creaminess of the dressing without making it too heavy, and the pasta does a wonderful job of soaking up the sauce for a flavorful kick of heat in each bite.

It also makes those nice cold cookout desserts (like this one, or this one) all the more appreciated.

White square bowl of Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

White bowl full of buffalo chicken pasta salad
5 from 24 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

Pack a little extra heat (and a lot more flavor) into your summer cookout with this easy to make Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad!
Prep Time 18 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Samantha
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  • 8 ounces rotini pasta
  • 1 ½ cups chicken shredded, I use a rotisserie chicken
  • cup red pepper chopped
  • cup celery chopped, optional
  • ½ cup buffalo sauce
  • ½ cup ranch dressing
  • 2 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 2 tablespoons scallions chopped


  • Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  • Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add chicken breast and red pepper and stir to combine.
  • In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and black pepper to make a sauce.
  • Pour sauce over pasta mixture and stir until well combined.
  • Stir in mozzarella cheese (it is best to add this while the pasta is still warm so that the cheese mostly melts).
  • Top with chives and serve*



*This pasta salad is delicious either served warm or chilled first in the refrigerator.
5 from 24 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 285 | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 812mg | Potassium: 168mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 315IU | Vitamin C: 8.6mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 0.7mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. Made this today & it’s really delicious! Great flavor & easy too! Am planning on making it a regular in my pasta salad rotations.5 stars

  2. I’ve made this a dozen times now, and it’s become the thing friends ask for when we have a potluck. Sometimes I use ranch, sometimes blue cheese; it depends on what I have in the fridge. (But if I use blue cheese, I use a little less because people that don’t like blue cheese REALLY don’t like blue cheese!)

    Since all the Walmart pasta boxes are 16oz, I usually make a double batch. I don’t measure the veggies or chicken, but I use:
    2 red peppers, diced
    Roughly an equal amount of diced celery
    2 cans of Walmart chicken

    There’s usually enough to take, and enough to have leftover for the next day. (If it lasts that long!)5 stars

  3. I made this (however, omitting the veggies for picky eaters) for a family gathering. It went over very well! Everyone loved it. We ate it cold but I heated up the leftovers for lunch the next day and it was even better. I will definitely keep this recipe and make it again and again. Hint: I baked chicken breast and shredded it up in my Ninja.5 stars

  4. What an awesome looking dish – this would be terrific to bring to a barbecue, or to share with friends at a potluck!

  5. Buffalo chicken is one of my favorite things in the world. This is calling my name!

  6. ranch + buffalo = HEAVEN! and then add pasta? forget it. This looks so good Holly! Somebody needs to throw a bbq stat so that I can bring this :)