Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is the only pasta salad you need! Loaded with bacon, olives, tomatoes, and more, this creamy salad is easy to make, and everyone always loves it!
I love the herby flavor in this easy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad recipe, and the fresh pop from the tomatoes paired with the salty olives is the perfect touch! There’s so much going on in this salad, but it all works together and tastes delicious! If you’re made our Summer Italian Pasta Salad, then you’ll love this recipe!
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
This is a great salad whenever you need to take a dish to a BBQ, potluck, or event of any kind. But I also serve it at home. It goes splendidly with anything grilled, and because you can make the salad ahead of time, it’s an easy win when making dinner without a lot of last-minute prep work.
I make this easy pasta salad recipe with rotini because the ranch dressing gets into all the little grooves and tastes so good. No rotini? No problem! Any other kind of pasta will work well as long as you don’t overcook it. Pasta for salads should be cooked a wee bit al dente so that they hold up to the dressing and other ingredients in the salad.
Why I love this recipe
- Everyone loves the flavor!
- I almost always have a packet of dry ranch dressing powder in my pantry so it’s an easy salad to make.
- It’s so easy to customize! See all my suggestions below.
Gather these ingredients
- Rotini pasta – You’ll need about 12 ounces of dried pasta.
- Mayonnaise – Any kind will work.
- Sour cream – Low fat or full fat.
- Dry ranch dressing powder – 1 1-ounce package.
- Garlic powder
- Lemon juice
- Cooked bacon – Crumbled.
- Fresh tomato – Diced small.
- Sliced black olives – Drained.
- Cooked peas – Drained.
- Cheddar cheese – Shredded.
- Dill pickles – Optional; chopped.
How to make Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Boil a large pot of salted water and add the rotini pasta. Cook until al dente, then drain it and rinse with cold tap water to cool it down. Set the pasta aside.
- Whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream, dry ranch mix, garlic powder, milk, and lemon juice in a bowl large enough to hold all the pasta.
- Add the pasta, cooked bacon pieces, tomatoes, olives, peas, and cheese to the bowl and toss gently to combine.
- Cover and chill for about 2 hours before serving.
Tips & suggestions
- To cook the bacon, either cook whole slices and then drain them and crumble them when crisp, or slice the bacon into chunks and then cook it until crisp.
- Sharp cheddar cheese works really well in this recipe, but any kind of cheese is tasty in it. Save a bit to sprinkle on top.
- Don’t like peas or olives? Skip them!
- If your pasta salad looks a bit dry after sitting in the fridge, add a bit of milk and mix it up, and it should get nice and creamy again.
- A bit of sliced green onion is tasty in this salad if you like onion.
How to make this salad ahead of time
This salad is super easy to prep, even up to a few days ahead of time. This is what I do:
- I boil, drain, and chill the pasta, then put it into a large bowl.
- I mix the dressing and keep it separate in the fridge.
- Add the crumbled bacon, diced tomatoes, peas, cheese, and olives to the top of the pasta without mixing it in.
- Pop everything into the fridge and mix it together about 2 hours before serving.
This is a hearty and colorful pasta salad, and it is great as a side dish or main event. I love serving it alongside BBQ chicken or grilled salmon. It is equally delicious next to sandwiches or serve a portion with a hearty bowl of soup.
Package any leftover Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days. Add a few tablespoons of milk and mix it together if the leftovers look a bit dry. This salad will not freeze well.
Check out these awesome pasta salad recipes while you’re here
- Avocado Pasta Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Pacific Rim Pasta Salad
- Basil Lemon Pasta Salad
Get the Recipe:
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- 1 package, 12 ounces rotini pasta
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 package, 1 ounce dry ranch dressing/seasoning mix
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 8 slices cooked bacon, chopped (see notes below)
- 1 large tomato, diced small
- 1 can, 4.25 ounces sliced black olives, drained
- 1 ½ cups cooked peas, drained
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Dill pickles, chopped, optional
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add rotini pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain water. Rinse pasta with cold water to cool. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, dry ranch mix, garlic powder, milk, and and lemon juice.
- Add pasta, cooked bacon pieces, tomato, olives, peas, and cheese to the bowl. Optional to add in the chopped dill pickles. Gently toss to combine everything.
- Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.