Pasta Salad is a must for the summer and this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad is a must make! Creamy pasta salad with chicken, bacon, and veggies is the perfect side dish to make this summer! This tasty pasta salad is a total crowd pleaser and perfect for a weeknight dinner or a summer potluck!
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe
Summertime in our house means meals on the grill. Just about every night we are grilling and to make my life easier I always make a bunch of side dishes, including cold pasta salads that keep well in the fridge so we can enjoy them with our main dishes all week long.
I like to stick with simple ingredients when cooking during the summer to leave as much time for summer fun as I can. This delicious pasta salad is made with chicken, crispy bacon, veggies, and creamy ranch dressing mixed with tender pasta.
This cold pasta salad recipe is one that my whole family loves and one that we have often in our meal rotation during the summer months. This easy ranch pasta salad is great to enjoy the day you make it but is also a great recipe to make when you are meal prepping and is great to enjoy the next day and a few days after. Many times I will catch the kids grabbing a bowl of this creamy ranch pasta salad with chicken and bacon for lunch when we have it in the fridge.
If you are looking for an amazing pasta salad to bring to a BBQ, potluck dinner, or a family gatherings this easy pasta salad recipe is an excellent choice. No matter what the main dish is, if it is on the grill it will pair perfectly with this ranch chicken pasta salad.
Cold Pasta Salad Recipes
- Blt Pasta Salad
- Italian pasta salad
- Chickpea Pasta Salad
- Pasta salad with tuna
- Egg Salad Macaroni Salad
- Sundried tomato pasta salad
- Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad
Variations of this recipe
Add more veggies. If you want to add more veggies you totally can. red onion, red peppers, bell peppers, raw broccoli, and grape tomatoes are all great options for adding more veggies.
Use fresh chicken. If you don’t like canned chicken you can use baked chicken or a rotisserie chicken instead.
Use homemade ranch dressing. I use store bought ranch like Hidden Valley Ranch dressing but if you want to use homemade ranch dressing you can.
Add cheese. You can add chunks of cheese or shredded cheese, my kids love it when I add chunks of cheddar cheese.
Tips for Making Ranch Pasta Salad
Don’t overcook the pasta. It is important to not overcook the pasta. Cook just until al dente and then drain them and then cool the pasta while in the strainer with cold water until all of the pasta is cooled. This will prevent a soggy pasta salad.
Cool the pasta completely. Overcooking pasta will give you a mushy pasta salad, and so will pasta that is not cooled all the way. As soon as they are done cooking you want to shock the pasta with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Let pasta salad sit before serving. You can serve this pasta salad immediately after making it however I find pasta salad is best when it has time to sit in the fridge and all of the flavors are able to mix together. Letting the pasta salad sit for a few hours before serving results in a more flavorful and delicious Ranch chicken pasta salad!
Chop the veggies (and meat) small. Pasta salad is best when the veggies and meat if you are adding any are chopped small. This gives more veggies and more flavor in each bite of this pasta salad with ranch Dressing.
What to Serve with Pasta Salad
When you are making an easy pasta salad, you want the rest of your meal to be easy to make to. Here are some of my favorite easy summer recipes that I make to go along with it. Check out some of our favorite things to grill along with this pasta side dish!
- Steak Kebab
- Hot Dogs
- BBQ Chicken
- Lemon Garlic Chicken Kabobs
- Grilled Steak with Butter
- Pesto Chicken Kabobs
- Lemon garlic Shrimp Skewers
- Hawaiian Burgers
- Pizza Burgers
- Koren BBQ Chicken Wings
What is the best pasta to use for pasta salad?
The main ingredient for this easy macaroni salad is pasta and a shortcut of pasta like fusilli, penne, bow tie, elbow macaroni, rotini pasta or farfalle works best. You can use any type of pasta including whole wheat pasta, chickpea pasta, or any other legume-based pasta you like.
Can you make pasta salad ahead of time?
So this is one of my FAVORITE things about pasta salads, aside from the fact that my whole family loves them. I can make a pasta salad and double or triple the recipe and have it as a side dish for dinners for a few nights. My kids also love eating pasta salad for lunch, so I like to make pasta salad and keep it in the fridge for them to have an easy lunch.
How Long will Pasta Salad Keep in the Fridge?
As long as you store leftover pasta salad properly, a pasta salad made with ranch dressing for 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Be sure to store it in an airtight container, like the rubbermaid containers after you have served it for dinner or if you are making it ahead of time.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Ingredients
- Uncooked pasta. You can use any small pasta when making this recipe.
- Creamy Ranch salad dressing. I prefer to use Hidden Valley Ranch but you can use your favorite brand or homemade.
- Shredded carrots. Use a cheese shredder to shred large carrots into small pieces or take a shortcut and buy them pre-shredded at the store.
- Peas. I use frozen and then defrost them and pour them in but you can also use canned peas or fresh peas.
- Seasonings. I add these at the end and add salt and black pepper to taste.
- Canned Chunk White Chicken. You can also use fresh cooked chicken or a rotisserie chicken.
- Cooked bacon. Cook chicken your preferred method, oven, stove top, or air fryer bacon.
How to Make Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Cook the bacon and set it aside. While bacon is cooking cook the pasta.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Once cooked drain the pasta, and then run cold water over the pasta to cool it down.
Open the canned chicken and drain the water from the can and pour it into the pot with the cooked pasta.
Add in the carrots, peas, salt, pepper, and ranch and mix well.
Pour the finished pasta salad into a large mixing bowl.
Put in the fridge for 2-3 hours to chill.
Side dishes to go with Easy Pasta Salad
- Microwave Sweet Potato
- Grilled Green Beans
- Grilled Corn on the Cob
- Garlic Green Beans with Bacon
- Easy Fruit Salad
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Cook the bacon and set it aside. While bacon is cooking cook the pasta.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Once cooked drain the pasta, and then run cold water over the pasta to cool it down.
- Open the canned chicken and drain the water from the can and pour it into the pot with the cooked pasta.
- Add in the carrots, peas, salt, pepper, and ranch and mix well.
- Pour the finished pasta salad into a large mixing bowl.
- Put in the fridge for 2-3 hours to chill.