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Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe

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.

a picture of chicken pasta ranch salad in a bowl

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.
a picture of the ingredients for chicken bacon ranch pasta salad

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.

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🛒Ingredients

  • Pasta
  • Shredded chicken breast
  • Cooked bacon
  • Peas
  • Onion
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour cream
  • Garlic powder
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Onion powder
  • Lemon juice

🥄Equipment

  • 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.

chicken pasta salad pasta cooked

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.

a picture of dressing in a small bowl
a picture of the salad ingredients in a bowl without the dressing.

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.

chicken pasta salad in a bowl mixed

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
an overhead view of pasta salad in a bowl

Serving Suggestions

Bacon ranch pasta salad tastes great as a side dish with grilled meat, or burgers.

It also makes a great main dish served with a garden salad or quinoa salad with arugula.

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.

chicken pasta salad on a plate

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.

Recipe variations

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.

💡Tips

  • 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.
How long can chicken bacon ranch pasta salad be left out room temperature?

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.

What is the best shape of pasta salad to use for pasta salad?

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.

Can I use bottled ranch dressing to make this salad?

Yes, you can save a little bit of time and use bottled dressing, however, the homemade dressing tastes much more fresh.

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chicken pasta salad on a plate

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe

Anne
A tasty pasta salad that is made with tender chicken, crispy bacon, pasta and peas tossed in a flavorful ranch dressing
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 5
Calories 349 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 ounces Uncooked pasta (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 ounces Shredded chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup Peas
  • 2 slices Bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 4 ounces Cheddar cheese Shredded
  • 1/4 cup Onion Minced
  • 1/4 cup Sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Dried chives
  • 1 teaspoon Dried dill
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion powder

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the ingredients: cook 2 slices Bacon shred 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, chop 1/4 cup Onion and thaw 1/4 cup Peas.
  • Cook 4 ounces Uncooked pasta according to the packge instructions, drain and rinse it under cold water.
  • Make the dressing by combining 1/4 cup Sour cream, 1/4 cup Mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon Garlic powder, 1 teaspoon Dried chives, 1 teaspoon Dried dill, 2 teaspoons Lemon juice, 1/2 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, 1/4 cup Onion, 1/4 cup Peas and 4 ounces Cheddar cheese.
  • Gently and gradually stir in the dressing to your desired consistency. S

Notes

If you are not serving this salad immediately, reserve a tablespoon or two of the dressing and serve it on the side.
Store leftover chicken bacon ranch pasta salad in an airtight container for up to three days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 349kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 17gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7.6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5.8g
Keyword Chicken bacon ranch pasta salad recipe
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