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
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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.
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 delicious 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 extra heat!
TOPPINGS: Dress up buffalo chicken pasta salad with some sliced almonds, sliced black olives, jalapenos, or sundried tomatoes.
How To Make Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
With a little chopping, tossing, and mixing, this hearty salad is ready to eat!
- Cook pasta al dente, rinse, and set aside.
- Whisk together dressing ingredients (per the recipe below).
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pasta.
- Pour dressing over everything and toss until combined.
Garnish as desired and serve!
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 the 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, it’s a great way to stay ahead of meal prep when entertaining!
Other Hearty Salads To Try!
- Mandarin Chicken Salad – easy and delicious
- Shrimp Salad – fresh and delish
- Cheeseburger Salad – a complete meal in a bowl
- BLT Rotisserie Chicken Salad – salad or sandwich
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces rotini pasta
- 1 ½ cups shredded cooked chicken
- ⅓ cup red pepper chopped
- ⅓ cup celery chopped, optional
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons scallions chopped
- 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.
- 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.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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