Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad


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Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad is packed with flavor, texture and color! While our favorite Italian pasta salad recipe is often served as a side, this hearty dish eats like a meal!

Loaded with chicken, pasta, bacon and veggies this dish is tossed in a rich ranch mayo dressing for the perfect meal to satisfy a crowd.

Chicken pasta salad mixed and garnished with green onions and dill.

This chicken pasta salad is an easy way to stretch any leftover baked chicken breast or you can use rotisserie chicken or leftover roast chicken! You can serve it as a main dish, or as a side at a potluck (and it makes great lunches throughout the week).

What Goes in Pasta Salad

When making a cold pasta salad you can add in as many or as little ingredients are you want. A classic version will always start with a pasta base, meat, veggies and cheese.

  • Pasta: tri-color penne or rotini pasta but of course any medium pasta will work
  • Meat: diced cooked chicken, crumbled bacon… use leftover turkey or ham instead
  • Veggies: opt for a variety of colors and textures to make a pretty and flavorful pasta salad
  • Flavors: get a flavor boost from cheese, onions, fresh herbs or even add sliced olives (black or green)

You can use regular pasta, substitute cheeses according to your preference, and add in what you have on hand. Try some chopped red, yellow and orange bell pepper for a fresh flavor and crunch.

Overview of chicken pasta salad ingredients in a glass bowl.

Chicken Pasta Salad Dressing

For the tastiest pasta salad dressing, I create a delicious and easy ranch style dressing. Making chicken pasta salad with mayo makes it rich and creamy. The addition of fresh herbs adds extra flavor!

Overview of chicken pasta salad ingredients and dressing on top, in a glass bowl before being mixed.

How to Make Chicken Pasta Salad

Chicken ranch pasta salad comes together quickly, once you’ve prepped your veggies and shredded the cheeses. Just follow these steps:

  1. Cook the pasta al dente, drain and rinse.
  2. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl, and mix in the dressing.
  3. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour.

Before serving, sprinkle with fresh chopped green onion and extra bacon.

Close up of chicken ranch pasta salad garnished with green onions and dill.

Can You Freeze It?

Unfortunately, chicken bacon ranch pasta salad is not a good candidate for the freezer. Too many of the ingredients just don’t hold up well. Mayonnaise separates, sour cream turns grainy and watery and fresh tomatoes turn to icky mush. But don’t worry. Everyone loves chicken pasta salad, and you probably won’t have to worry about leftovers!

Like most cold pasta salad recipes, this hold in the refrigerator for about three days, so if you need to make it in advance, plan accordingly.

Popular Pasta Salads

5 from 1 vote
Review Recipe

Ranch Chicken Pasta Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
This pasta salad is packed with flavor and color! Rotini pasta, diced chicken, and a homemade ranch dressing make this tasty side dish!

Ingredients

  • 12 oz tri-color rotini pasta cooked and cooled
  • 2 cups chicken cooked and diced
  • 6 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese diced
  • 3 green onions sliced
  • fresh parsley and dill for garnish optional
Dressing
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 package ranch dressing mix
  • 1/3 cup milk

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Instructions

  1. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing.
  3. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with green onions and serve.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 447, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 42mg, Sodium: 345mg, Potassium: 233mg, Carbohydrates: 34g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Protein: 12g, Vitamin A: 465%, Vitamin C: 3.5%, Calcium: 145%, Iron: 0.9%

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

Keyword ranch chicken pasta salad
Serve this ranch chicken pasta salad as a main dish when feeding a crowd! Leftover rotisserie chicken, rotini, and a creamy homemade ranch dressing made with mayo and sour cream make the perfect dish. #spendwithpennies #ranchchickenpastasalad #pastasaladrecipe #sidedish #leftoverchicken
Serve this ranch chicken pasta salad as a main dish when feeding a crowd! Leftover rotisserie chicken, rotini, and a creamy homemade ranch dressing made with mayo and sour cream make the perfect dish. #spendwithpennies #ranchchickenpastasalad #pastasaladrecipe #sidedish #leftoverchicken
Serve this ranch chicken pasta salad as a main dish when feeding a crowd! Leftover rotisserie chicken, rotini, and a creamy homemade ranch dressing made with mayo and sour cream make the perfect dish. #spendwithpennies #ranchchickenpastasalad #pastasaladrecipe #sidedish #leftoverchicken

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Holly

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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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