Bacon ranch pasta salad is the type of dish that will disappear at a potluck or backyard barbecue! No one can resist pasta tossed with ranch dressing, smoky bacon, black olives, and sharp Cheddar!
Creamy pasta salad is a classic recipe versatile enough to go from weekday lunch to weekend get-together, and it’s always delicious. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it even better by adding ranch, bacon, and cheese! Even if you’re not a fan of the traditional pasta salad, you’ll flip over this bacon ranch pasta salad.
This unique recipe combines the savory flavors of bacon, cheese, and ranch dressing with hearty pasta. The combination of ingredients creates a dish that is absolutely crave-worthy, and a favorite of bacon lovers everywhere!
Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe
Whether you’re looking to feed a large crowd or just need an easy weeknight side dish option, this satisfying pasta salad is sure to be a winner. Everyone will love the combination of flavors and textures—the juicy bacon, the creamy ranch dressing, and fresh veggies all come together to create a pasta salad that is irresistible.
To make this bacon ranch pasta salad, you’ll start by cooking the pasta according to the package directions until it is al dente. While the pasta is cooking, fry up some bacon in a pan until it’s crisp and golden brown. When the pasta is done, drain it and toss it with the dressing ingredients in a large bowl, then fold in everything else. Finally, season the salad with salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy the best pasta salad ever!
(PS – Want to make it a meal? Add rotisserie chicken or leftovers from my Instant Pot Whole Chicken recipe!)
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Rotini pasta – Shells, bowties, cavatappi, or even elbow noodles (like in my Macaroni Salad) can be used instead.
- Sour cream
- Ranch dressing seasoning mix – Buy a packet or use homemade ranch seasoning.
- Garlic powder
- Whole milk
- Bacon – You’ll need to cook and chop the bacon, but if you’re in a time-crunch, you can use store-bought bacon bits or crumbles.
- Red onion
- Tomato – Alternatively, you can buy grape or cherry tomatoes and halve of quarter them.
- Sliced black olives – Not a fan of olives? You can add green peas instead!
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Salt & black pepper
How to Make Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
1. Cook the Pasta
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until it’s al dente (usually about 8 minutes for rotini). Drain the pasta and rinse it under cold water.
2. Make the Dressing
Whisk the mayo, sour cream, ranch seasoning, garlic powder, and milk in a large mixing bowl until smooth.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixing bowl and fold them in with a spatula or wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then place the pasta salad in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
How to Store Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
The best part about this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it!
To store bacon ranch pasta salad, simply prepare the salad according to the recipe instructions and then place it in an airtight container in the fridge. The salad will stay fresh for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to serve the salad, simply remove it from the fridge and give it a good stir.
There are a few different methods you can use to prevent this from happening. One is to toss the pasta with oil after you rinse it, which will create a barrier that keeps the dressing from being absorbed. If your pasta salad has already absorbed the dressing, you can save it by stirring in a tablespoon of milk, mayo, or sour cream at a time until some of the creaminess returns, then seasoning to taste.
The best way to tell if pasta salad is bad is to use your senses! Take a look at the pasta salad and check for any signs of mold or discoloration. If it looks like there might be some mold starting to form, throw it out. Next, give the pasta salad a smell. If it has an off odor, that’s another sign that it’s gone bad. Finally, take a small taste of the pasta salad. If it tastes sour or otherwise off, it’s time to toss it out. Pasta salad generally only lasts for a few days, so if you’re not sure whether it’s still good, err on the side of caution and throw it away.
No, mayo-based salads, including this bacon ranch pasta salad, do not freeze well because the dressing has a tendency to separate, resulting in an unappetizing dish.
More Recipes for Bacon Lovers
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole
- Bisquick Breakfast Casserole With Bacon
- Creamy Bacon Mac and Cheese
- Bacon & Gruyere Sous Vide Egg Bites
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- 1 12 oz box of rotini pasta
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 1 oz packet of ranch dressing seasoning mix
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ cup whole milk
- 10 slices bacon cooked and chopped
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 1 large tomato diced
- 1 4oz can sliced black olives
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
- salt & black pepper to taste
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise, sour cream, ranch seasoning, garlic powder, and milk and whisk to combine.
- Add remaining ingredients and gently stir to combine. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.