This Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad recipe is packed with flavor, texture, and lots of goodness!
Loaded with chicken, pasta, bacon, and veggies this dish is tossed in an easy ranch mayo dressing for the perfect bite.
While our favorite Italian pasta salad is often served as a side, this hearty dish eats like a meal!
A Pasta Salad Entree
- This pasta salad turns a favorite side dish into a main dish with lots of great additions like chicken!
- Only 3 simple steps and 20 minutes of prep time.
- Chicken pasta salad is an easy way to stretch leftover chicken breasts or leftover roast chicken!
- Serve as a main dish or as a side (and it makes great lunches throughout the week).
- Best served cold, it’s a refreshing dish on a hot summer day.
What Goes in Pasta Salad
When making a cold pasta salad you can add in as many or as few ingredients as you’d like.
- Pasta – Use rigatoni, penne, shells, or rotini pasta. Really, any medium pasta shape will work.
- Chicken – Leftover diced cooked chicken or shredded chicken is perfect in this recipe. You can also bake chicken breast or use rotisserie chicken.
- Veggies – Opt for a variety of colors and textures to make this chicken pasta salad both pretty and flavorful. Try bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, or avocado.
- Flavor – Cubes of cheddar, green onions, bacon, and a quick and creamy dressing add lots of flavor.
Chicken Pasta Salad Dressing
For the tastiest pasta salad dressing, we love the super quick homemade ranch-style dressing in the notes. It’s rich and creamy with lots of fresh herb flavor.
Creamy: mayonnaise, sour cream, and milk. Swap the sour cream for greek Yogurt to lighten it up a bit!
- Swap chicken for leftover turkey or ham.
- Use your favorite cheeses like fresh mozzarella, pepper jack, or feta cheese.
- Sprinkle with herbs such as fresh basil, parsley, and dill.
- Other additions to try include sliced olives (black or green), a splash of lemon juice, or red onion
How to Make Chicken Pasta Salad
Chicken ranch pasta salad comes together quickly once the veggies are prepped and the cheese is shredded. Just follow these steps:
- Cook the pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water.
- Combine the salad ingredients and cooled pasta in a large bowl.
- Add dressing and toss well to combine. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Before serving, sprinkle with fresh chopped green onion and extra bacon and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Like most cold pasta salad recipes, this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad holds in the refrigerator for 3-4 days making it perfect for lunches.
This dish doesn’t freeze well.
Favorite Pasta Salad Recipes
Did you love this Chicken Pasta Salad? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces rigatoni or rotini, or penne
- 2 cups chicken cooked and diced
- 6 slices bacon cooked and crumbled, extra for garnish if desired
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1 cup cheddar cheese diced
- 3 green onions sliced, plus more for garnish
- fresh parsley and dill for garnish optional
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1 package ranch dressing mix* or see notes for a from scratch version
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water per the package directions. Drain well and run under cold water. Set aside.
- Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with green onions and serve.
- ½ teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons each fresh dill and parsley (or ½ teaspoon each dried)
- salt & pepper
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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