This mouthwatering Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad features chunks of rotisserie chicken, cheddar cheese and crispy bacon smothered in a homemade ranch dressing.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe
This simple pasta salad uses elbow macaroni and it's a continuation of our love of this flavor combination. It makes a stellar side dish or main dish that you can have ready in the fridge for busy day meals. Rotisserie chickens are a gift and there are so many ways o incorporate it into easy dinner recipes for the family. This pasta salad is no different and it's delicious to the very last spoonful.
How to Make the Best Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- This pasta salad uses elbow macaroni as the base. That said, you could use any pasta such as a medium shell pasta, penne pasta twisted macaroni.
- You can use any leftover chicken to make this entrée salad. I typically use rotisserie chicken, but grilled chicken breasts, chicken poached in chicken broth or roasted chicken will all work.
- Should I make this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad in advance? Yes, it's best to give it ample time in the refrigerator for the salad to chill so the flavors can marry and become even more robust.
- What's the best brand of ranch seasoning mix to use? You can use Hidden Valley or any private label brand that you enjoy.
- Please note, the bacon will soften a bit when you stir it into the mix. If you want to maintain the crunch of the bacon, mix it in just before serving and wait until then to garnish the top.
- Do you want to use a full pound of macaroni? You can, just be prepared to adjust the dressing adding more mayonnaise and ranch seasoning to your taste.
- Can I use a different cheese? While the flavor of cheddar cheese is my favorite for this kind of salad, you could use colby, monterey jack, white cheddar or mozzarella cheese, if that's what you have on hand.
- To lighten-up this salad you may opt to use low fat mayonnaise, low fat buttermilk and turkey bacon.
- Store this pasta salad well chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Another way to enjoy these same flavors is my recipe Chicken Bacon Ranch Pull Apart Rolls which remains a viral Pinterest sensation.
Other Easy Pasta Salad Recipes to Add to the Menu
While we love this classic chicken bacon ranch flavor combination, the sky's the limit with other pasta salad recipes to enjoy. A few other easy pasta recipes you may like to try for dinner tonight:
- Easy Homestyle Macaroni Salad is perfection for warm weather picnics and barbecues.
- My BLT Layered Pasta Salad is a meal in a bowl.
- Tuna Macaroni Salad is perfect for light meals and snacking.
- Filled with layers of color this Seven Layer Salad recipe is always a winner.
- Another easy chicken recipe you may like to try is this King Ranch Chicken Casserole from Southern Living.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces elbow macaroni (About 3 cups)
- 2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
- ½ lb bacon cooked and chopped
- 3 medium Roma tomatoes diced
- 1 small red bell pepper seeded and diced
- 1 small green bell pepper seeded and diced
- 1 small red onion diced small
- 3 medium green onions thinly sliced
- 1 8 ounce block sharp cheddar cheese small cubes
- 1 1.0 oz packet dry Ranch dressing mix
- 1 ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
- 1 ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
- shredded cheddar cheese, bacon and green onion for garnishing
- Cook macaroni in salted water per the package instructions until al dente. Drain well.
- In a large mixing bowl add pasta, chicken, bacon, tomatoes, bell peppers, red onion, green onion and cheese. (reserve some bacon and green onion for garnishing)
- Whisk together Ranch dressing mix, mayonnaise, buttermilk, dill, garlic salt and lemon pepper. Add to the pasta and toss to evenly coat.
- Chill in an airtight container for at least 4 hours before serving garnished with cheese, bacon and green onions.