This chicken bacon ranch pasta salad recipe takes a classic pasta salad to a new level. Tender chicken, crispy bacon, pasta and peas are tossed in a flavorful, creamy ranch dressing; and can be enjoyed as a side dish or main course.
After one bite of this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad, you will be coming back for seconds. It's packed with flavor and can easily be made ahead of time which makes it the perfect side dish for entertaining.
🤍Why you will love this recipe
- It's an easy cold pasta salad recipe with simple ingredients.
- Versatile! Serve this tasty pasta salad as a delicious side dish or main dish.
- 🤍Why you will love this recipe
- Here is what you will need
- How to make this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad recipe
- Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Make it healthier!
- Serving Suggestions
- How to make bacon ranch pasta salad ahead of time
- How to store leftovers
- Recipe variations
- You might also like these favorite recipes
- 📖 Recipe
Here is what you will need
This is an overview of the ingredients and steps to make this delicious pasta salad recipe; scroll down for a printable recipe card with exact measurements and detailed instructions.
This post may contain affiliate links. I earn a small commission if products are purchased through links at no additional charge to you.
- Shredded chicken breast
- Cooked bacon
- Cheddar cheese
- Sour cream
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Lemon juice
- Large mixing bowl
- Small bowl
How to make this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad recipe
Prepare the ingredients: Cook the bacon, chop the onions, shred the cheese and measure the sour cream, mayonnaise and herbs.
STEP 1: Cook the pasta according to the package directions rinse under cold water and drain it.
STEP 2: Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl while the pasta cooks.
STEP 3: Once the pasta is ready, place it with shredded chicken, bacon pieces, peas, and onions into a large bowl.
STEP 4: Add the dressing and gently toss the salad together.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Shredded chicken - I use shredded chicken breasts to make this recipe, you can use rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken.
You can also leave the chicken out in this pasta salad recipe.
Sour cream adds a delicious tangy flavor to the salad and can be replaced with an equal amount of mayonnaise or Greek yogurt.
Cheddar cheese - Feel free to substitute cheddar with another type of cheese, such as mozzarella, parmesan, feta or Monterey Jack.
Peas - I use frozen peas or fresh to make the salad, if you are not a fan of peas, you can leave them out.
Onion - Any variety of onions will work in this recipe. I prefer red onion for extra color, but white and green onions are also good choices.
Make it healthier!
- Replace sour cream with Greek yogurt for a protein boost
- Leave out the bacon or use half of the amount of bacon
- Use mayonnaise made with avocado or olive oil
Bacon ranch pasta salad tastes great as a side dish with grilled meat, or burgers.
How to make bacon ranch pasta salad ahead of time
This salad can be fully prepared with only half of the dressing 4 to 5 hours ahead of time and refrigerated. Just before serving, add the remaining dressing mixture and serve.
You can also prepare the ingredients (crumble the bacon, chop the onions, shred the chicken and cheese) and make the dressing. Store the components in separate containers for a day or two. When it's time to serve, cook the pasta, assemble the salad, and serve.
How to store leftovers
Leftover chicken bacon ranch pasta salad can be stored in the refrigerator 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.
If the salad seems dry after being stored, stir in a teaspoon or two of mayo or sour cream.
One of the great things about salads is how versatile they are. Here are some variations to inspire experimenting with this yummy pasta salad.
Vegetables - Add more vegetables such as diced bell peppers, chopped cherry tomatoes, broccoli or blanched asparagus.
Southwest Ranch Pasta Salad - Add a diced jalapeno pepper, black beans, corn and fresh cilantro.
Buffalo Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad - Toss the shredded chicken in buffalo sauce before adding it to the salad and mix in diced celery and crumbled blue cheese.
Italian Pasta Salad - Replace the cheddar cheese with mozzarella balls and replace the peas with chopped cherry tomatoes. Add chopped basil and oregano or Italian seasoning.
Vegetarian Ranch Pasta Salad - Leave out the chicken and replace the bacon crumbles with soy or tempeh bacon.
Gluten-Free Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad - Use your favorite gluten-free pasta to make this salad gluten-free.
- Don't overcook the pasta and rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking and prevent it from becoming mushy.
- Gradually add the dressing until it reaches a consistency that you like. Serve any extra sauce on the side.
- Refrigerate the salad for at least an before serving it which will allow for the flavors to blend together.
Since this is a cold pasta salad recipe made with mayonnaise, you should discard any salad that has been left at room temperature for more than two hours.
Short pasta with twists such as fusilli, rotini, and cavatappi are the best for pasta salads. They are easier to eat (because they are small) and they catch all of the dressing.
Yes, you can save a little bit of time and use bottled dressing, however, the homemade dressing tastes much more fresh.
You might also like these favorite recipes
Do You like this recipe?
Please comment and give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐star rating below!
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe
- 4 ounces Uncooked pasta (about 1 ½ cups)
- 4 ounces Shredded chicken breast
- ¼ cup Peas
- 2 slices Bacon cooked and crumbled
- 4 ounces Cheddar cheese Shredded
- ¼ cup Onion Minced
- ¼ cup Sour cream
- ¼ cup Mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Dried chives
- 1 teaspoon Dried dill
- 2 teaspoons Lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Onion powder
- Prepare the ingredients: cook 2 slices Bacon shred 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, chop ¼ cup Onion and thaw ¼ cup Peas.
- Cook 4 ounces Uncooked pasta according to the packge instructions, drain and rinse it under cold water.
- Make the dressing by combining ¼ cup Sour cream, ¼ cup Mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon Garlic powder, 1 teaspoon Dried chives, 1 teaspoon Dried dill, 2 teaspoons Lemon juice, ½ teaspoon Onion powder in a small bowl.
- Once the pasta is cooked, add it to a large bowl with the salad ingredients ( 4 ounces Shredded chicken breast, 2 slices Bacon crumbled, ¼ cup Onion, ¼ cup Peas and 4 ounces Cheddar cheese.
- Gently and gradually stir in the dressing to your desired consistency. S