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!

close up of plated Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

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.
ingredients to make Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad with labels

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.

CHICKEN – Rotisserie, canned, or leftover chicken is perfect in this recipe! Make sure it’s boneless and skinless. Turkey is another great option.

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.

adding ingredients together for Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad dressing

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!

ingredients to make Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad and dressing in bowls before mixing

How to Make Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

This easy salad has so much flavor and it comes together in just a few easy steps!

  1. Prep dressing and set aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  3. 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.

Recipe Tips

  • 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.
adding sauce to Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

How to Store Leftovers

Leftover bacon ranch pasta salad will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Stir before serving.

Scoop into homemade pita bread or make a wrap for an energizing workday lunch! Serve with crostini, homemade naan, or breadsticks, and some refreshing lemon water or cucumber water.

More Pasta Salad Recipes

Did you love this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

close up of plated Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
5 from 35 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

A delicious combination of pasta, chicken, bacon, cheddar, avocado and homemade ranch dressing!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients  

  • 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

Dressing

  • cup mayonnaise
  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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).

Notes

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
5 from 35 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1g | Calories: 413 | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 344mg | Potassium: 361mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 512IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 1mg

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

Course Pasta, Salad
Cuisine American

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close up of plated Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad with avocado and a title
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad ingredient in bowls with writing
close up of Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad with writing
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad ingredients in a bowl and plated dish with writing

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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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Comments

  1. My husband is not a pasta salad guy, until I made this pasta salad. I had smoked some chicken breast, which added a whole other dimension to the salad. He loved it!!5 stars

  2. Do you think 1 cup of pasta is enough to feed 4 people? I just made a cup and a half and it is still pretty sparse. Will cook another cup (8oz) to add to it

    1. The recipe calls for 8 ounces of pasta, which is weight (pasta is sold by weight). 8 ounces of medium shells is approximately 3 cups of dry pasta shells. Hope that helps. Enjoy the recipe Nancy!

  3. My family loved this recipe…I added onion, then topped with lettuce when served. My husband is crazy about the dressing, as am I.

  4. I HAVE to make this! I really love that you provided a dressing recipe with seasonings instead of just using a ranch powder. Thanks!

  5. this sounds great!
    Quick question could you switch out the chicken for ham, salami or shrimp for a different taste.

  6. I have been searching for a recipe that is easy to make for a women’s luncheon. I already have the ingredients for this salad so I am anxious to make it tomorrow. It looks and sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing!