This creamy Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad is hearty and filling with incredible flavor!

Who doesn’t love a salad that does triple duty as a side dish, a main dish, and a filling for a sandwich or wrap? This is no ordinary chicken pasta salad because it’s dressed with a bright and creamy buffalo ranch sauce that clings to the chicken, pasta, and veggies and creates the perfect bite every time!

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad in a white serving bowl, garnished with green onion and parmesan cheese.

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

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Delish Pasta Salad!

  • A hearty, cold pasta salad with chicken is always a welcome addition to any picnic or potluck table. A little buffalo ranch sauce makes it a showstopper!
  • This easy recipe is a great one for making ahead. Simply cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.
  • Make it vegetarian and swap out the chicken for sautéed cubes of tofu or seitan.
  • It’s a delish side dish with crock pot ribs and some easy dinner rolls. 

Ingredients assembled to make Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad Ingredients

CHICKEN: This is a great recipe for leftover cooked chicken. Grilled chicken will add an especially smoky flavor, but cooked bacon pieces, fish, salmon, or shrimp are also really good additions. 

VEGGIES: Red bell peppers, celery, and scallions add both color and crunch to this salad. Try some chopped tomatoes, quartered Brussels sprouts, or broccoli and cauliflower florets for even more variation.

CHEESE: Mozzarella has a mild, milky flavor, but sharp cheddar, feta or bleu cheese crumbles are all acceptable variations in this dish!

PASTA: Choose a heavy, thick pasta such as rotini. It will help hold the dressing and stay firm in this salad. Bow tie, penne, and medium-sized shells will add a new look to this dish and still stay firm as well.

DRESSING: Choose the level of buffalo sauce to ranch dressing that fits your preference. For an uber-creamy dressing, stir in some sour cream or Greek yogurt with the dressing ingredients. A little Tabasco sauce gives this salad a little heat!

TOPPINGS: Dress up buffalo chicken pasta salad with some sliced almonds, sliced black olives, jalapenos, or sundried tomatoes.

ingredients for buffalo chicken pasta salad in a clear mixing bowl, without the dressing.

How To Make Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

A little chopping, tossing and mixing, and this hearty salad is ready to eat!

  1. Cook pasta al dente, rinse and set aside.
  2. Whisk together dressing ingredients (as per the recipe below).
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the pasta.
  4. Pour dressing over everything and toss until combined.
  5. Garnish as desired.

Storing Pasta Salad

Keep leftover buffalo chicken pasta salad in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Drain or stir before serving again.

For buffet service, place a bowl of pasta salad in a larger bowl or tray of crushed ice and stir frequently to keep it cold. Avoid freezing this salad as the veggies, pasta, and dressing will not thaw properly.

Tips For Success

Be sure to cook pasta only al dente for best texture. The pasta will absorb some of the sauce as it sits, so if it’s cooked too much it could become mushy.

Make this pasta salad ahead of time to allow all the flavors to combine. So it will taste even better the second day, plus it’s a great way to stay ahead of meal prep when entertaining!

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad in a white serving bowl

Other Hearty Salads To Try!

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad in a white serving bowl, garnished with green onion and parmesan cheese.
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Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

This buffalo pasta salad recipe made with chicken, vegetables, and a creamy sauce is an easy to make cold salad that is so delish!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author The Shortcut Kitchen

Equipment

Ingredients  

  • 8 ounces rotini pasta
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cooked chicken
  • cup red pepper chopped
  • cup celery chopped, optional
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons scallions chopped

Dressing

  • ½ cup buffalo sauce
  • ½ cup ranch dressing
  • 2 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain, rinse with cold water and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Add chicken, peppers, celery, mozzarella and scallions to the pasta.
  • Pour dressing over pasta mixture and toss together until well combined.

Notes

  • Cook pasta only al dente because it will absorb some of the sauce as it sits.
  • This chicken pasta salad will taste even better the second day so make it ahead of time, cover and refrigerate!
  • Refrigerate leftovers in a covered container for up to 4 days. Stir before serving.
  • If pasta salad must sit out at room temperature, place it in a larger bowl or tray filled with crushed ice and stir frequently to keep it chilled.
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 974mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 456IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 1mg

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

Course Lunch, Main Course, Pasta, Salad
Cuisine American

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Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad in a white serving bowl, with a title

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad in a white serving bowl, garnished with green onion and parmesan cheese, with a title.
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad in a white serving bowl, and ingredients to make the salad under the title

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