Bacon ranch pasta salad is a summertime salad that you’ll want to make again and again!
This pasta salad is a full meal deal! Bacon, cheese, chicken, and tomatoes are tossed in an easy creamy homemade ranch so good I could literally drink it!
Keep this recipe handy for picnics, potlucks, and those hot summer evenings when a cold pasta salad just hits the spot!
A Whole Meal in One Bowl
- This super easy salad can be a side dish but really it’s so hearty we enjoy it as main dish.
- This is a hearty meal that keeps in the fridge so it’s great for lunches throughout the week.
- Use leftover chicken and your favorite veggies to create your own version.
- The quick homemade ranch dressing is my favorite part of this recipe but you can sub it for bottled dressing if you’d like.
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Ingredients
PASTA: Choose medium-sized pasta with ridges or holes that the dressing can cling to. Best to use are shells, penne, rotini, and bowtie pasta.
BACON – Crispy bacon adds salty smoky flavor (isnt’t everything just a bit better with bacon?). Short on time? Use a package of pre-cooked bacon bits and microwave them for about 30 seconds to crisp!
CHEESE – Cubes of cheddar cheese are colorful and tasty! Bleu cheese crumbles, feta, and shaved parmesan are also good substitutes.
Pasta Salad Dressing
This easy creamy dressing is so good, I could literally eat it with a spoon!
It pulls the recipe together with fresh herbs. If you can’t get all fresh herbs, fresh dill really makes it amazing so I’d recommend trying to grab some at the store.
Greek yogurt can be used in place of sour cream for a tangier flavor and to lighten the recipe a little bit.
Switch it Up!
Add color, texture, and a boost of nutrition by adding in chopped celery, sliced black olives, red onions, green peas, asparagus, sundried tomatoes, or even thinly sliced radishes!
How to Make Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
This easy salad has so much flavor and it comes together in just a few easy steps!
- Prep dressing and set aside.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water.
- Toss all ingredients in a bowl and add dressing to taste. Chill for a bit to let the flavors blend.
Garnish with green onions and bacon, or avocado slices.
- Cook the pasta al dente in salted water. Rinsing under cold water helps stop the cooking so the pasta doesn’t get mushy.
- The homemade dressing in this recipe is so good, sub the herbs/seasonings with ranch seasoning or a packet of ranch mix if it’s what you have.
How to Store Leftovers
Leftover bacon ranch pasta salad will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Stir before serving.
More Pasta Salad Recipes
Did you love this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces medium pasta shells, rotini, penne
- 8 slices bacon
- 2 cups chicken cooked & chopped
- 2 green onions sliced, divided
- 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
- ½ cup cheddar cheese cut into ¼-inch cubes
- ½ avocado for garnish, optional
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons milk or as needed
- 2 teaspoons fresh chives or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 teaspoons fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 teaspoons fresh parsley or 1 ½ teaspoon dried
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- salt & black pepper to taste
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate to cool. If desired, whisk 1 tablespoon bacon grease into the dressing.
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
- Set aside 1 tablespoon of green onions and half of the bacon for garnish.
- Toss all ingredients in a large bowl except dressing. Add dressing to taste (there may be leftover dressing).
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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