Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is the creamy pasta salad you’ve been waiting for. With a delicious dressing and lots of bacon, cheese and yummy vegetables in this salad, this is the side dish your next BBQ party needs. Try it this weekend – it will be the star of the buffet!
So. I’m not usually one to gush over creamy pasta salads.
But. Friend. This one. It’s perfect.
- Super easy to put together. Any busy mom’s dream, right?
- A total crowd pleaser! Again, dream come true. That creamy dressing really seals the deal.
- The kids LOVE it. Well, at least mine do. Spearing up peas and corn on their little forks? I think I can stop giving them toys 🤷🏻♀️
I know I keep complaining about creamy pasta salads. Apart from when it is my creamy pepperoni pizza pasta salad, ha!
Usually I’m more into things like Greek Pasta Salad. But this creamy bacon ranch one is so much better than I ever would have expected it to be, if I can be honest with you for a minute.
Try it! Even if you hate creamy pasta salads. You’ll love this one.
How to make bacon ranch pasta salad
The ingredients of my creamy ranch pasta salad:
- shredded cheese
- corn kernels
- green pepper
- red onion
- ranch dressing (I used my homemade ranch salad dressing!)
Now it’s entirely up to you if you’re going to add all of the chopped vegetables or stick to mostly bacon and cheese… Ahem.
The veggies add a nice pop of freshness, so you should try it. Though I do recommend leaving out the red onion if you have small kids, mine both find it too sharp.
The best thing?
Pasta salads have one step:
- Mix everything together, cover and chill.
It really doesn’t get any easier, does it? The perfect side dish for summer barbecues and picnics. I love pasta salads so much!
Tips to make the best creamy ranch pasta salad:
Use short pasta shapes
The best kinds of shapes for this salad are ones like bowties and rotini. I guess macaroni would work, too. But then it would be a bacon ranch macaroni salad 😉
I don’t recommend using something like penne or rigatoni, because the bacon, peas and things get stuck in them and ah, I don’t know. It just doesn’t work right in my opinion.
Use your favorite dressing
I like making my own ranch, but use whatever you prefer.
That being said, homemade is always best, wink wink.
Be sure to chill the salad
It just tastes better after the flavor had time to mingle for a bit!
Though depending on your pasta and how long you cooked it for, it might soak up too much of the dressing while chilling. Be sure to have some extra on hand to add to the salad in case it’s not as creamy as you’d like it to be.
I guess for not being somebody who gushes over creamy pasta salads… I just said an awful lot of positive things about a creamy pasta salad.
So it seems I’m a creamy pasta salad convert. And I’m fine with that 😉
Get the printable recipe for this bacon ranch pasta salad here:
- 1 pound short pasta shapes, such as rotini or bow ties
- 8 ounces bacon, browned and crumbled
- 4 ounces cheese, shredded (Monterey Jack or cheddar are good choices)
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
- 1 cup canned corn kernels, drained
- 1 green pepper, finely diced
- 1 stick celery, finely diced
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 2 cups Ranch dressing, plus extra if needed
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Drain again well.
- Mix the cooked and cooled pasta with all other ingredients in a large bowl. Chill for at least two hours. Add more dressing if necessary after chilling.