Chicken, bacon and pasta covered in a creamy ranch dressing, this Creamy Chicken Bacon Pasta Salad is the perfect side to any backyard BBQ. This cold pasta salad makes for a delicious side to any summer dish.
Easy Chicken Bacon Pasta Salad
This easy chicken bacon pasta salad is loaded up with fresh veggies, chicken, and of course bacon! Then, it’s tossed in a creamy homemade ranch sauce that’s absolutely irresistible. It’s perfect for potlucks, BBQs or family meals.
Not only is this pasta salad a great side dish, but since it's loaded with protein, veggies, and carbs, it even makes a great lunch or dinner. Plus, it’s quick and easy to whip up, so you won’t be spending all your time in the kitchen.
How To Make Creamy Chicken Bacon Pasta Salad
For this recipe, you will need ingredients for both the salad part and the homemade ranch dressing. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pasta- I used fusilli pasta, but you could also use bowtie pasta, rotini pasta, or shells if you choose.
- Chicken- I used chicken tenderloins and cut them into bite-sized pieces. You could also use boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs.
- Bacon- This recipe works best with fresh cooked bacon, chopped. Additionally, you will use the bacon grease to cook the chicken for a flavorful dish.
- Tomatoes- You’ll toss your salad with cherry tomatoes. Cut them in half or throw them in whole. You will also need sun dried tomatoes for your ranch dressing.
- Sweet peppers- Slice up a cup of sweet peppers. You can use green, yellow, red or orange.
- Onion- Dice up a red onion to add flavor and crunch to the dish.
- Seasonings- To season your chicken, you’ll need salt, pepper, and basil.
- Mayonnaise- I use real Mayo, but you could use Miracle Whip if you prefer.
- Sour cream- Creamy, tangy and delicious, sour cream forms the base of your ranch dressing.
- Minced garlic- I use a jar of minced garlic, but you could mince 1 fresh garlic clove.
- Ranch Seasoning packet- For this recipe, you will only need 1 tablespoon of the packet. If you like more of a ranch flavor, you can use more.
- Lemon juice- The acidity from the lemon juice helps to break down and blend all the other ingredients into a creamy sauce.
- Fresh dill- With a subtle sweetness, fresh dill brings out the garlic flavor in the sauce for a delicious flavor.
Once you have all your ingredients, you can whip this creamy chicken bacon pasta salad up in about 40-minutes.
- First, prepare the dressing. Combine the mayo, sour cream, sun dried tomatoes, minced garlic, ranch seasoning, lemon juice and fresh dill in a food processor. Blend the sauce ingredients until smooth.
- Next, cut your chicken into bite sized pieces and toss with salt and pepper.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat until hot. Then, add the bacon and cook until crispy.
- Remove your bacon from the skillet and place it onto a paper towel lined plate.
Pro Tip: Do Not Drain the Bacon Grease.
- Next, add the cut chicken to the skillet with the bacon grease. Cook the chicken for about 6-minutes or until fully cooked.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove. Then, boil the fusilli pasta Al dente, or about 12-minutes. Rinse the pasta under cold water.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, slice the sweet peppers, and dice the red onion and basil.
- Combine all your pasta ingredients together in a large bowl. Then, toss everything with your homemade ranch sauce.
- Refrigerate your pasta until ready to serve.
Tips and Tricks to Perfect Pasta Salad and FAQs:
- Use precooked chicken. If you want to make this dish come together quickly and easily, you can use a leftover rotisserie chicken, or cook the chicken ahead of time.
- You can use store bought dressing. Although I think homemade is so much better, if you are in a hurry, you can use store bought dressing instead.
- Make the ranch dressing ahead of time. This homemade dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5-days.
- Make the pasta ahead of time. I think this pasta tastes even better after it has been set in the refrigerator overnight. You can make this pasta salad ahead of time.
First, you will cook the bacon over medium high heat. Then, you can cook the chicken in the same pan at the same temperature until it is cooked through.
It will take about 15-minutes to prepare the dish, and 25-minutes of cooking time. Altogether, this delicious pasta salad should be ready to eat in about 40-minutes. If you prefer your pasta salad to be colder, you’ll need to add extra refrigeration time.
Any leftover creamy chicken bacon pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-5 days. Keep in mind that the pasta will absorb the liquid in the sauce the longer it sits, so after 3-days, they may be soggy.
For this recipe, you will be cooking the pasta Al dente. This means you are cooking the pasta so that it is firm, but not crunchy. Additionally, you don’t want the noodles to be mushy.
When it comes to pasta salad, chicken salad, potato salad, or any salad made with cooked foods, the USDA says no longer than two hours. In fact, it’s dangerous to eat any cooked food that has been allowed to sit at room temperature for longer than two hours.
What To Serve With Creamy Chicken Bacon Pasta Salad
This creamy chicken bacon pasta salad is deliciously perfect for BBQs, picnics, and summer lunches. I typically serve it alongside my Smoked Pork Ribs, Grilled Ribs, Garlic Grilled Flank Steak, or Grilled Chicken Strips. However, this pasta salad can be paired with just about any main entree.
Creamy Chicken Bacon Pasta Salad Recipe
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Creamy delicious chicken bacon pasta salad the whole family loves!
- 1 lb fusilli pasta
- 1.5 lb chicken tenderloins
- ½ lb bacon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup sweet peppers, sliced
- ½ red onion, diced
- ¼ cup basil
- Creamy sauce
- 1 cup Mayo
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill
- Prepare the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Add into a mason jar and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Add to a bowl and toss with salt and pepper.
- Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Once hot, add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove from heat and place onto a paper towel lined plate.
- Roughly chop. Do not drain bacon grease.
- Add chicken to the hot pan and cook for 6 minutes.
- Boil the noodles in salted water Al dente. (About 12 minutes) drain and rinse under cold water.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Slice the sweet peppers. Dice the red onion. Thinly slice the basil.
- Combine all in a large bowl and toss with the ranch sauce.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve and enjoy!
Amount Per Serving Calories 564Total Fat 33gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 23gCholesterol 107mgSodium 1060mgCarbohydrates 27gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 37g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.