Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

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A hearty dish that you can serve on the side or by itself, this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad is full of delicious fresh ingredients and flavors that will have you coming back for more.

So many classic flavors come together to create this tasty chicken bacon ranch pasta salad.  Tender chicken, spiral pasta, fresh crisp vegetables, and tangy cheese all drenched in a homemade ranch dressing make this a fantastic entree salad.

Pasta salads are all the rage for summer side dishes. A couple of options include BLT pasta salad and Italian pasta salad.


MORE SALAD RECIPES:
Dill Pickle Pasta Salad | Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad


Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad ingredients

You will need:

For the Salad

  • 12-ounce pack spiral pasta 
  • 3 cups of chopped cooked chicken 
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, sharp
  • 1 chopped tomato, or a handful of cherry tomatoes chopped in half
  • 6 pieces thick sliced bacon, diced and cooked well done
  • 1 zucchini, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1 recipe of Copycat Ranch Dressing (recipe below)

For the Ranch Dressing

  • 1 pack Ranch Dressing 
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

OR

  • 1 bottle of Ranch dressing

Pro Tip: You can use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store in this recipe instead of cooking your chicken breast in the oven. This is a great time saver.

Substitutions and Additions

Vegetables: Toss in onions, cucumber, green peppers, or any other veggies you like to add to your salad.

Hard-boiled eggs: Add another boost of protein with diced hard-boiled eggs.

Dressing: If you prefer, you can use bottled Ranch dressing instead of the packet.

Cheese: Any type of hard cheese would be excellent in this salad including, mozzarella cheese, Monterey Jack, or Colby-Jack cheese. Also, add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top.

Buttermilk: You can make your own buttermilk using whole or 2% milk and lemon juice or distilled vinegar.  For every 1 cup of milk, stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.

How to Make This Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe

STEP ONE: Make the Ranch dressing ahead by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

STEP TWO: Season the chicken with salt & pepper, drizzle with olive oil, then place in a baking dish. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 350°F until chicken reaches 165°F internal temperature.

STEP THREE: Cook bacon pieces on med-low heat until crisp. Follow this link to find our recipe for oven-baked bacon or cook in a stovetop skillet.

PRO TIP: Start bacon pieces in a cold skillet to ensure that your bacon cooks evenly. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.

STEP FOUR: Cook pasta according to box directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Then place into a large mixing bowl to cool while preparing other ingredients.

PRO TIP: Rinsing the cooked pasta in cold water after draining is best when doing a cold pasta salad recipe. It stops the pasta from cooking, and it keeps the pasta loose for the salad.

STEP FIVE: Add chicken to the bowl of pasta. Then add the shredded zucchini, tomatoes, cooked bacon, and shredded cheddar.

STEP SIX: Pour the ranch dressing over the salad ingredients. 

STEP SEVEN: Mix salad together until well combined.

STEP EIGHT: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours before serving.

PRO TIP: You need a large bowl to mix everything together but then can transfer it to a serving dish after chilling.

How To Serve

Make up a big batch of this chicken bacon cheddar ranch pasta salad to go alongside grilled chicken, hamburgers, and corn on the cob.

Serve with our iced tea, raspberry iced tea, sweet peach iced tea, or our southern strawberry sweet tea on the side.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store the salad in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. You can add a bit more ranch dressing when serving leftovers.

IN THE FREEZER: We don’t recommend freezing this salad.

This cold bacon ranch pasta salad packs in so much flavor. A rainbow of colors and ingredients mingle together for this yummy pasta salad that will be a hit at the next potluck.

FAQ

Can I freeze pasta salad?

Pasta salad would not freeze well. It is best to make it fresh within a couple of days of serving it.

Can I use bottled Ranch dressing instead of the package of the mix?

You can substitute the dry mix for a bottle of Ranch dressing in this recipe.

What type of pasta is best in pasta salad?

Any bite-sized pasta works well in pasta salad. Penne, bowties, or rotini are all excellent choices.

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Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

A hearty dish that you can serve on the side or by itself, this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad is full of delicious fresh ingredients and flavors that will have you coming back for more.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Servings: 7

Calories: 811kcal

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Ingredients

Salad

  • 12 ounce spiral pasta I used Wacky Pack Veggie Spiral Pack
  • 3 cups rotisserie chicken chopped
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 tomato chopped (or a handful of cherry tomatoes chopped in half)
  • 6 pieces thick-sliced bacon diced and cooked well done
  • 1 zucchini shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1 recipe of Copycat Ranch Dressing recipe below

Copycat Ranch Dressing

  • 1 pack Ranch Dressing the original recipe called for 1 teaspoon dry Ranch dressing Buttermilk Recipe
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  • Make Ranch dressing ahead by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

  • Season chicken with salt & pepper, drizzle with olive oil, then place in a baking dish. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes until chicken reaches 165* internal temperature.

  • Cook bacon pieces on medium-low heat until crisp.

  • Cook pasta according to box directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Then place into a large mixing bowl to cool while preparing other ingredients.

  • Add chicken to the bowl of pasta. Then add the shredded zucchini, tomatoes, cooked bacon, shredded cheddar, and ranch dressing. Mix everything to combine.

  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 811kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 151mg | Sodium: 911mg | Potassium: 346mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 475IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 168mg | Iron: 1mg





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