This Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is going to be an instant hit at BBQs and picnics this summer! It’s loaded with chicken, bacon, cheese, olives, and coated with a delicious ranch dressing.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
I’m loving this week’s warmer temperatures, and it’s got me thinking ahead to summer picnics and backyard barbecues! If you’ve got sunshine and good times on the brain, let me introduce you to Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad, soon to be your new favorite side dish.
No warm-weather get-together is complete without a big bowl of pasta salad, and this version puts a tasty twist on a classic recipe. Featuring the winning combination of chicken, bacon, and ranch, this pasta salad is always a crowd favorite — I mean really, what’s not to love?!
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is loaded with bacon, chicken, olives, grape tomatoes, and cheese. But the ingredient that gives this dish its signature savoriness is a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix.
I love this recipe because it’s packed with mouthwatering flavors and tantalizing textures. Tender pasta, juicy chicken, crumbly bacon, fresh grated Parmesan, cubes of cheddar, and slices of olives and tomatoes are tossed in a creamy ranch sauce.
When it comes to serving big groups, I always try to make recipes that both kids and adult will love. Hungry friends and family members of all ages will be eager to dig right into this scrumptious side… after all, who doesn’t love ranch and bacon?!
And if there are any leftovers after serving — which, I have to admit, is unlikely — this pasta salad is also delicious the next day. I’ve been known to eat it as a meal by itself!
Trust me, there’s nothing better than savoring a heaping scoop of Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad alongside a piece of grilled chicken or a burger with all the fixin’s on a beautiful summer day. Whether you’re hosting a party or you’re a guest at someone else’s, this is the perfect recipe to serve or to bring to a potluck.
Summer is just around the corner, and it’s time to get the good times rolling! If you’re already planning your first barbecue and want to make an unforgettable side dish, Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is just what you’re looking for!
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Tips for Making this Pasta Salad Recipe:
- I like to cook my chicken and bacon ahead of time. It doesn’t need to be hot for the recipe and it saves time the day of which is great if you’re making this for a big gathering where you have other things you’ll need to do or when you just don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen.
- Run you pasta under cold water after cooking. I know there’s a lot of debate about rinsing your pasta, but this is important. By running cold water over the pasta you prevent it from further cooking and letting it get mushy. This also helps to cool that pasta down so that you can add it to the salad right away. You don’t want to add the dressing to hot pasta.
- Chicken, bacon, and ranch are the stars of the show here, so feel free to change the other ingredients as desired. You can use any kind of pasta you like and you can try different cheeses or add extra veggies if you want to.
- The longer this salad sits, the more flavor it will have. You can make this pasta salad up to 48 hours in advance. Store any leftovers in the fridge, consume within 4 days after making.
Pin this Pasta Salad Recipe for Later!
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- 2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded
- 16 ounces Cavatappi pasta
- 8 bacon strips cooked and chopped
- ounces cheddar cheese cubed
- 3-4 ounces black olives sliced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes sliced
- chives for garnish
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and place in the fridge.
- If you are not using precooked chicken and bacon, cook those as you normally would, either by baking or frying. Once cooked, shred or chop the chicken and chop the bacon.
- Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and run cold water over the pasta to stop it from cooking and to cool it down.
- Add all of the salad ingredients into a large salad bowl and mix in the dressing, tossing to combine. Garnish with chives and extra parmesan cheese if desired. Let chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours for best taste.