Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links.

This simple and delicious Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad recipe is a creamy, flavorful pasta dish you will love. Crispy bacon, juicy chicken, parmesan, tomatoes and more tossed in an easy to whip up Ranch dressing. A great side dish or make it a meal!

Chicken bacon ranch pasta salad in white serving dish topped with parmesan and fresh parsley.
Save this recipe!
Enter your email and I’ll send it to you, plus get new recipes from me regularly!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

I LIVE for pasta salads. Once the warmer seasons hit, there is almost always a pasta salad in the fridge. It’s the perfect dish!

When it comes to the summer BBQ, I am always in charge of making a pasta salad–one taste of this one, my tortellini caprese salad or tomato basil pasta salad and you will know exactly why! And this cajun potato salad for a fun pairing at the BBQ!

Skip the boring boxed pasta salad mix and whip up this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad recipe for an epic side dish!

Make sure to check out our other favorite salad recipes as well!

Why You Will Love This Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad:

  • It’s so easy to make! Grab a rotisserie chicken and a handful of other ingredients and toss this pasta salad together in just 30 minutes. Lots of basic, simple ingredients and tons of flavor from such a simple dish.
  • Classic ranch dressing flavor makes it a show stopper. Making what I call a homemade-ish creamy ranch dressing is what seals the deal on this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad. The ranch seasoning packets are game changers!
  • It can be a meal or a side. The perfect side dish for the BBQ or potluck dinner or have it as a main dish. Your choice when making this delicious pasta salad! This recipe will be a winner at every family gathering for sure!
  • Great to meal prep. You can make this pasta salad and then eat off of it through the week. A great make ahead dish.
  • So simple to vary and adapt. Plenty of add-ins to make the most of this dish. You can use gluten free pasta , and make other substitutions so it works for you and your dietary needs!

Ingredients and Substitutions:

  • pasta: any short pasta will work wonderfully–rotini, bowtie, shells, etc. I really love cavatappi and find it to be a gorgeous pasta shape, but use your favorite type of pasta or what you have on hand. Use a gluten free pasta or whole grain as desired.
  • chicken: this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad is my favorite way to use leftover rotisserie chicken, or really any leftover chicken I have in the fridge. Grilled chicken will work well–use what you have on hand! You could use some crispy chicken or chicken tenders as well if that sounds good to you!
  • bacon: a nice thick cut bacon is great, the kind that has chew and is crispy at the same time. I would avoid bacon bits or pre-cooked bacon if possible and cook it up fresh.
  • tomatoes: grape or cherry tomatoes are our preference
  • onion: a touch of red onion goes a long way. If you want more green color, sliced green onions are great as well.
  • parmesan: shaved parmesan is what the recipe calls for and what I prefer. Shredded is great as well. You could use grated parmesan but I don’t like the texture in this pasta salad of grated.
  • mayonnaise: real mayo is preferred over a Miracle Whip or the like, but you could use it if that is what you have.
  • sour cream: I prefer the full fat for the most flavor but you could use a light or reduced fat sour cream if preferred. I have not made this recipe with greek yogurt, but it could surely be substituted for the sour cream as well!
  • milk: whole milk for the most flavor but any other milk will work as well.
  • ranch seasoning: I always have the Hidden Valley ranch dressing seasoning packets on hand. You could use the store brand as well. Another option would be to make your own ranch seasoning.
  • pepper: freshly cracked black pepper
  • fresh parsley: add to the pasta salad and on top for garnish
  • optional additions: I love adding some extra green to this recipe. I will toss in a handful or two of baby spinach or sometimes a cup of green peas. Diced bell peppers are delicious as well. Great ways to add color and vary the flavor, but are all optional.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Prepare the pasta according to box instructions. When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss with cold water to help cool it off.
  • While the pasta cooks, I typically oven bake my bacon for about 15-20 minutes at 400°F until crispy. You can cook your bacon using your favorite method!Place it on a paper towel to absorb excess grease before chopping/crumbling.
  • Whisk together the ranch dressing ingredients in a small bowl, adding more milk to thin the dressing slightly if desired.
  • You want the ranch dressing to be similar to the thickness of what you get in a bottle, but it will work at a slightly thicker consistency in the chicken ranch pasta salad as well. Your preference is fine!
  • Add the cooled, cooked pasta, sliced tomatoes, onion, parmesan, bacon, parsley and pepper to a large mixing bowl. Pour about 2/3 of the ranch dressing over the ingredients and toss well to coat evenly.
  • Reserve remaining dressing for just prior to serving if waiting to serve several hours later or next day. If serving just after chilled, then add remaining dressing as desired.
  • Chill until ready to serve, tossing once more before serving and adding in more of the dressing to taste. Garnish with more chopped parsley and shaved parmesan.

Recipe Tips:

  • Cook your pasta al dente. Don’t overcook pasta when making this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad. When making pasta salad in general, overcooked pasta will become mushy. You want the pasta to hold up well. The dressing will hold onto the pasta well.
  • Don’t make the pasta salad too far in advance. You don’t want to make this pasta salad any more than 24 hours before you plan on serving it. You risk the veggies getting too soggy and the dressing becoming too absorbed into the pasta. I like making it the morning of the day I plan on serving it if making it ahead of time.
  • Salt to your liking. I did not add salt to the ingredients list for this recipe. The salt from the bacon, chicken and dressing may be enough. If it’s not for you, add to taste once the pasta salad is ready.

Storage:

This pasta salad is best within 3 days, but I have pushed it to 4 days. Ideally, 3 is safest due to the meat.

Keep leftover pasta salad in an airtight container and toss with any leftover dressing to moisten it up. I like to let the pasta salad sit out about 10-15 minutes before serving.

White bowl with Chicken bacon ranch pasta salad with wood spoon and linen beside it.

Optional Add-Ins:

While I love this chicken bacon pasta salad as is, it’s also fun to change things up a bit. Try some of these:

  • capers
  • sliced black olives
  • diced bell pepper
  • chickpeas or another bean
  • fresh mozzarella balls
  • chopped artichoke hearts

Other Salad Recipes:

Dish with chicken bacon pasta salad topped with chopped parsley.

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for all the latest!

Tap stars to rate!
5 from 2 votes

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

This simple and delicious Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad recipe is a creamy, flavorful pasta dish you will love. Crispy bacon, juicy chicken, parmesan, tomatoes and more tossed in an easy to whip up Ranch dressing. A great side dish or make it a meal!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients 

  • 16 oz short pasta, uncooked
  • 8-10 slices thick cut bacon , cooked and cut/crumbled
  • 2 c chicken, shredded or cubed
  • 10 ounce tomatoes, quartered
  • 2-3 T chopped parsley
  • 1/4 c thin sliced onion
  • 1 c shredded parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

For the Ranch Dressing:

  • 1/2 c mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • c whole milk plus up to 1/3 c or more as desired
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning
  • optional: 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley and dill
Save this recipe!
Enter your email and I’ll send it to you, plus get new recipes from me regularly!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Instructions 

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. When ready, drain and rinse with cool water to allow to cool off. You can toss in a touch of olive oil if desired and set aside.
  • Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and adjust the thickness as desired by adding a bit more milk to thin to desired thickness.
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss with about 2/3 of the dressing. Chill for about 30 minutes or until ready to serve. Adjust the amount of dressing, adding more as needed just before serving, and tossing and then garnish with chopped more parsley and extra parmesan.

Notes

  • Cook your pasta al dente. Don’t overcook pasta when making this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad. When making pasta salad in general, overcooked pasta will become mushy. You want the pasta to hold up well. The dressing will hold onto the pasta well.
  • Don’t make the pasta salad too far in advance. You don’t want to make this pasta salad any more than 24 hours before you plan on serving it. You risk the veggies getting too soggy and the dressing becoming too absorbed into the pasta. I like making it the morning of the day I plan on serving it if making it ahead of time.
  • Salt to your liking. I did not add salt to the ingredients list for this recipe. The salt from the bacon, chicken and dressing may be enough. If it’s not for you, add to taste once the pasta salad is ready.

Nutrition

Calories: 345kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 48mg, Sodium: 579mg, Potassium: 323mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 361IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 135mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have a question?Leave a comment below!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating