Bacon/ Chicken/ Lunch/ Pasta/ Summer Lovin'

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

May 24, 2018 (Last Updated: March 3, 2020) by Chris Collins

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is the ULTIMATE summer pasta salad. So simple to make and absolutely bursting with flavour, after trying this recipe you won’t make pasta salad any other way!

pasta salad in large glass bowl on chopping board

The Ultimate Ranch Pasta Salad

Everybody needs a pasta salad recipe up their sleeve for entertaining purposes. Literally any BBQ, party or just food gathering, this is my go-to dish to bring. 

The heart and soul of this pasta salad is the dressing. Whilst it’s tempting to just use solely ranch dressing, I highly recommend adding a few more goodies in there just to spruce it up. Here’s what you’ll need:

Ranch Pasta Salad Dressing

  • Ranch Dressing
  • Sour Cream
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Lemon Juice
  • Salt & Black Pepper

I prefer a more creamy pasta salad sauce, and I believe this combo gives just the right amount of creaminess. I find that by using just straight ranch it’s just a bit too overpowering and heavy. A squeeze of lemon juice, a dollop of sour cream and some fresh parsley lighten things up perfectly.

Can I use ranch dip instead of ranch dressing?

Ranch dressing is far better suited for it’s thinner consistency. Depending on which brand you buy, I also find it slightly more tangy, as it’s often made with mayo. For this reason I find it better in a pasta salad context.

Ranch Dressing ingredients

Chicken Bacon Pasta Salad

Alrighty, we’ve got the spruced up ranch dressing, let’s talk pasta salad.

For me it’s a no brainer to combine a chicken and bacon pasta salad with the ranch dressing. It’s a marriage made in heaven – one of which I am not here to interfere with. Here’s what you’ll need for the whole sh’bang:

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • Pasta – Short cut, here I use spiral/corkscrew.
  • Ranch Dressing – As discussed.
  • Chicken – Cooked, cooled and chopped. Make sure it’s seasoned!
  • Bacon – Cooked, cooled and chopped. I prefer streaky bacon, but work to preference.
  • Cheddar – Diced into small cubes. I like a nice strong cheddar, but just use your favourite.
  • Celery – Adds a nice crunch, finely diced of course.
  • Spring/Green Onion – could sub finely diced red onion and/or chives.

Really important to have seasoned chicken, or it’ll taste bland and lower the tone of the whole thing. It’s one of the main ingredients so let it shine. You can also sub shredded/rotisserie chicken!

Top Tip – Ensure your bacon/chicken is completely cool before combining in the pasta salad. If they’re even slightly warm it runs the risk of turning the dressing greasy.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad ingredients

Can this be made in advance?

Absolutely! I recommend saving a dollop of the dressing before mixing together. The sauce tends to dry out/get soaked up the longer it rests, so I like to stir through a dollop just before serving. Just tightly cover and leave in the fridge until needed (2-3days, longer at your discretion).

If you like the combo of chicken bacon and pasta then definitely make sure you check out my Sweet Chilli Chicken Bacon Pasta! For similar recipes to bring along to pot lucks/BBQs check these out too:

Mega Salad Recipes

Alrighty, let’s tuck into this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad recipe shall we?!

close up shot of pasta salad in small glass bowl with large glass bowl blurred in background

How to make Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad (Full Recipe & Video)

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad with fresh parsley in a glass bowl

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is the ULTIMATE summer pasta salad. So simple to make and absolutely bursting with flavour, after trying this recipe you won't make pasta salad any other way!
5 from 4 votes
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Servings (click & slide): 8
Course: Salad / Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Calories per serving: 310kcal
Cost per serving: £1 / $1

Equipment:

  • Large Mixing/Serving Bowl & Spatula
  • Small Mixing Bowl (for dressing)
  • Frying Pan & Tongs (for chicken & bacon)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board

Ingredients (check list):

  • 9oz / 250g Short Cut Pasta

Sauce

  • 1 cup / 250ml Ranch Dressing
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml Sour Cream
  • handful of Fresh Parsley, finely diced (save some to garnish)
  • good squeeze of Lemon Juice
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Fillings

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, cooked, cooled & chopped
  • 8 rashers of Bacon, cooked, cooled & chopped
  • 1/2 cup / 50g Cheddar Cheese, cubed (or more to preference)
  • 2 Spring/Green Onions, finely diced
  • 1 rib of Celery, finely diced

Instructions:

  • Pop your pasta into salted boiling water and cook according to packet instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • Meanwhile, combine your sauce ingredients in a bowl and taste test for seasoning.
  • In a large bowl, add your pasta and mix in your fillings and sauce. Cover and pop in the fridge or enjoy straight away!

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Seasoned Chicken - Ensure that you heavily season your chicken before cooking. The chicken is a large chunk of the salad, so ensure it's well seasoned or it'll be bland.
b) Shredded/Rotisserie Chicken - You can definitely sub shredded chicken instead of chopped. Leftover rotisserie chicken works perfectly for this recipe. Same as above, just make sure it's seasoned. About 2 cups will be fine.
c) Cold ingredients - It's important to make sure all your cooked ingredients (pasta, chicken and bacon) are completely cold before combining. If it's all warm, your cheese is gonna go soft, the sauce will turn greasy once it cools again and summer will be ruined forever. You've been warned 😉
d) Pepper - I like a good amount of pepper in the pasta salad as a nice kick of spice to balance of the richness of everything. Something to think about when taste testing.
e) Make Ahead - You can absolutely make this ahead of time! Just tightly cover and store in the fridge until needed (2-3 days, longer at your discretion). The sauce will thin slightly, I usually save a dollop and stir through just before serving so it's nice and creamy.
f) Subs & Extras:
  • Spring Onion - Sub for very finely diced red onion, work to preference. Chives also work great in this recipe.
  • Lemon Juice - Sub for Apple Cider Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar.
  • Dijon Mustard - in the dressing for an extra kick, won't need more than 1-2 tsp.
  • Baby Plum Tomatoes
g) Calories - Shared between 8 people.

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 310 Calories from Fat 195
% Daily Value*
Fat 21.7g33%
Saturated Fat 4.3g22%
Trans Fat 0.2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 10.7g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 62mg21%
Sodium 586mg24%
Potassium 237mg7%
Carbohydrates 11.8g4%
Fiber 1.4g6%
Sugar 1.7g2%
Protein 17.8g36%
Vitamin A 450IU9%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 50mg5%
Iron 1.4mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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