Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad. This pasta salad is loaded up and tossed with a creamy ranch sauce. This dish is constantly being requested and it never lasts long! Perfect for potlucks or family meals.
How to make a Pasta Salad:
- Cook the pasta: cook the pasta of your choice to al dente, meaning that it has a slight bite left to it, cooking too long can result in mushy noodles. To get the best noodle, boil the water first, add in salt, then add the noodles to cook. Once they’re done cooking, strain the noodles and pour cold water over them to stop the cooking process.
- Prepare the meats: this pasta salad is loaded up with bites of juicy chicken breast and crumbled salty bacon.
- Prepare vegetables: this recipe calls for juicy tomatoes and fresh red onion. Feel free to add additional veggies if desired.
- Chill: like all good pasta salads, this dish is best served cold. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
Tips for Prepping this Pasta Salad:
- Meats: to make this dish come together quick and easy, use a rotisserie chicken. Or cook the chicken ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until ready to put the salad together.
- Dressing: store bought ranch dressing can be usedin place of the homemade dressing. Or prepare the dressing beforehand and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for before being used. This ranch dressing can store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
CHICKEN PASTA SALAD DRESSING:
The best part of this pasta salad is the homemade ranch dressing. It is smooth and creamy, has the right amount of tang, and can be made with either fresh herbs or dried herbs depending on what you have on hand. Here’s a quick overview of the ingredients needed:
- Mayonnaise/sour cream/milk: this all depends on the consistency that you prefer. The recipe below calls for a blend of mayonnaise and sour cream, which makes a thicker dressing, almost a ranch dip. If you want to thin it out a bit add a small amount of milk.
- Herbs: a blend of parsley and dill gives a fresh flavor. Dried herbs or fresh herbs can be used.
- Seasoning: onion powder, garlic powder, and salt round out the flavors.
- Lemon juice: either a hit of citrus or a splash of white vinegar completes the dressing.
- Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3 days.
- Freezing is not recommended.
What to serve with this Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad:
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- 8.8 ounces pasta, rotini
- 1 pound chicken breast
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- salt & pepper
- 5 slices bacon , cooked and crumbled
- ½ cup grape tomatoes, sliced
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add salt and stir. Pour in the pasta and cook to al dente, where it still has a slight bite, not mushy. Strain the pasta and set aside.
- Cook the bacon over medium heat in a large skillet to preferred doneness. Remove the bacon and allow to cool before chopping. Set aside.
- Sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes, then flip and cook the other side an additional 5 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove chicken and allow to cool before chopping.
- Prepare the ranch dressing in a small bowl. Stir together the mayonnaise and sour cream. Add the seasonings and lemon juice, stir together.
- In large bowl combine the cooled pasta, bacon, chicken, cheese, red onion, tomatoes and stir. Spoon the ranch dressing into the bowl to coat the pasta salad.
- Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.
Recipe first published February 24, 2015. Updated May 12, 2020 with new images and information.