This Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad recipe is easy to make, creamy and delicious, perfect for summer potlucks and backyard BBQ’s!
Using simple ingredients like bacon, cheddar, tomatoes and onions this pasta salad is super simple! The ingredients are tossed together with rotini pasta and then mixed with a tangy homemade ranch dressing. It’s a cold, colorful, and delightfully delicious go-to summer salad that is perfect for any occasion.
Easy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
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Easy Pasta Salad!
- 5 ingredients, dressing, and a bowl is all it takes to get this delish summer salad on any picnic or potluck table! It’s a winner with the kids, too!
- Pasta salads are best when they’re made ahead of time to allow the flavors to mingle. Simply make and take!
- Add cooked chicken, turkey, or bay shrimp to create a delicious entree salad! Tuck it into a pita pocket or wrap for an energizing workday lunch!
What Goes in Pasta Salad?
PASTA: Rotini pasta is a hearty pasta with a large surface area that catches all the dressing. Choose other larger style noodles like penne, bowtie, and large shells that the dressing can cling to. Make it extra hearty by using cheese-filled tortellini.
MEAT: Everything is always better with bacon! But bay shrimp, diced or shredded chicken, and even turkey can turn this salad into a light and quick main dish!
VEGETABLES: Green onions and tomatoes are colorful and healthy additions. Experiment with green peas, chopped broccolini, diced zucchini, summer squash, or sundried tomatoes.
CHEESE: Cheddar cheese is a winner in any salad! But be adventurous and try feta, bleu cheese crumbles, parmesan, or small cubes of Swiss cheese.
DRESSING: Packets of ranch dressing mix are so handy to have around! Or try a DIY homemade dressing mix.
How to make this Easy Pasta Salad
A pasta salad is so easy to toss together and makes a delicious and filling side dish.
- Cook, drain, and cool pasta.
- Place pasta in a large bowl with bacon, cheddar, green onions, and tomatoes.
- Whisk dressing ingredients together (as per the recipe below).
- Pour dressing over pasta salad ingredients.
- Mix thoroughly and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Bacon ranch pasta salad is perfect served alongside crockpot ribs, spatchcock chicken, or some pulled pork sliders. Why not make a batch of this easy sweet tea for a refreshing and delicious way to wash it all down.
Tips and Time Savers
For best results, cook pasta ‘al dente’ and drain. Add pasta to a large bowl of ice water. This will stop the cooking process and keep the pasta extra firm.
Keep leftover bacon ranch pasta salad covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Stir before serving and refresh it with fresh pasta and veggies, if desired. It’s not recommended to freeze pasta because it will become mushy when thawed.
More Pasta Favorites
- Creamy One Pot Pasta – simple one pot meal!
- Cheesy Chicken Stuffed Shells – perfectly cheesy.
- Cajun Chicken Alfredo – delicious flavor.
- Cajun Shrimp Pasta – just 5 minute prep.
- Bow Tie Pasta Salad– so quick and easy!
Easy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces rotini pasta cooked and drained
- ½ pounds bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 green onions sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon ranch dressing mix
- Place drained pasta into a large bowl. Add bacon, cheddar, green onions and tomatoes.
- Mix dressing ingredients and pour over ingredients in the large bowl.
- Mix until fully combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Cook pasta ‘al dente’, drain and rinse with cold water, or add it to an ice bath, to stop the cooking process and keep the pasta extra firm.
- Refrigerate leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
If serving outside in the heat of the day, or even room temperature, place serving bowl over a second bowl with ice in it to keep salad cool. Stir frequently.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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This meal looks delicious! What a great way to get a good meal on the table without all the work! #client