Ranch Pasta Salad, made with Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning, is a delicious and easy potluck pasta salad that is perfect for cook outs and picnics.
The flavors of bacon combined with homemade ranch dressing, creates a classic Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad that is perfect for summer.
Fantastic for large groups, this pasta salad folds in a variety of delicious veggies and tops with a creamy homemade ranch dressing that fully pairs with every delicious bite.
Summer is the time for salads – pasta salads, fruit salads, pretty much every salad ever makes its debut from May-August.
Why you will love Ranch Pasta Salad
If you are looking for a traditional salad that packs a flavor punch, you cannot go wrong with this recipe for bacon ranch pasta. In fact, Ranch pasta salad recipe is filling and has everyone’s favorite flavors, from crispy bacon to creamy ranch and shredded cheddar cheese.
Super filling for potlucks: Pasta salads are known for not only their ease but make a great recipe to serve that will fill everyone up.
Everyone’s favorite ingredient: Ranch; need I say more? Kraft ranch seasoning IS THE BEST. Using this highly favored and super well-known ingredient is sure to get everyone’s attention.
Customizable: We use bacon, black olives, and tomatoes to keep this one a really Southwestern feel, but its so easy to remove and add ingredients. Many people like Ranch pasta salads with peas, chunks of cheddar cheese, and even boiled eggs.
Skip the made-in-a-box salads and opt for a fresh, delicious, and fan-favorite that is so easy to make! A little pasta boiling and cutting up some delicious ingredients like grape tomatoes and bacon make for a surprisingly filling salad.
Here is the ingredient list. Once you have verified you have all ranch pasta salad ingredients, move on to learning how to make this perfect potluck pasta!
- rotini pasta – rotini pasta is curly q spiral pasta shells that do a great job holding ranch seasoning and dressing
- Hellmann’s Mayo + 1 packet dry ranch dressing
- bacon, cooked and chopped – Fresh bacon is always preferred, but it is fine to use pre-made bacon or even if you need a super quick shortcut, real bacon bits.
- grape tomatoes – Grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes both work equally fine.
- black olives – Black olives have a nice nutty taste and a fantastic splash of color.
- shredded cheddar cheese – Cheddar cheese is the best balance with Hidden Valley seasoning but in a pinch, nearly any of your favorite cheeses will do.
How to make Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Boil a large saucepan of water. Add pasta and cook until done, about 9-11 minutes, but refer to the back of the pasta box for detailed instructions. Drain and rinse pasta with cold water.
- In a bowl, stir together cooked pasta, tomatoes, drained olives, cut up and cooked bacon, shredded cheese, Kraft ranch seasoning packet, and mix again very well, making sure all the flavors go from top to bottom of the bowl.
- Now add in mayo and mix well. It is also fine to mix these two ingredients first and then pour as a ranch dressing.
Expert Pasta Salad Tips
- Short on time? Use bottled Kraft Hidden Valley Ranch dressing to pour over pasta salad in place of ranch seasoning packet and mayo.
- This recipe can easily be doubled for a potluck, party, or BBQ and makes great leftovers. The longer pasta salads sit (12-24 hours), the more flavorful they often become.
- Make bacon in the air fryer to speed it up, or use pre-made bacon.
- If serving leftovers, make sure to stir well to prevent settling. If the fridge has dried out any part of the pasta salad (which does happen occasionally), add a bit more mayo OR pre-made ranch and stir until creamy again.
Yes, absolutely. But remember that while most pasta is made of the same ingredients, changing the type of pasta changes how the flavors soak up and the actual bite tastes.
If I were to change this pasta from Rotini to something else, it would be a small spiral pasta or large pasta shells.
All that said, I still love Rotini for this set of flavors- my tri colored pasta salad with Italian Dressing, so good and an excellent choice if you need more dishes.
This is a fairly large salad, serving approximately 8-10 and making a great party or picnic side dish salad. If you need another salad recipe that is totally different and also BBQ friendly, add on some Pesto Pasta as well!
Like most cold pasta salads, add a little extra protein to make it a full-on dinner! Try cold rotisserie chicken or grilling up some chicken breast, let cool, chop, and top! Additionally, if you are running short on time, sliced-up deli ham chunks or even turkey goes just fine for a more filling option.
Time to make this pasta salad is only about 20-30 minutes (because of boiling pasta) plus refrigeration time (best served cold)
This pasta salad is best served cold, so put in the fridge for 4 hours for best flavor, stirring well just before serving.
I fully understand that mayo may not be the best choice for every person but it DOES make the best ranch dressing. That being said, try using SOUR CREAM as a texture replacement.
More Potluck Salad Recipes
Need a few more pasta salad recipes to go with this one?
- Shrimp Pesto Pasta Salad is a delicious gourmet side dish for holiday menus and potlucks but is also a fantastic full-sized dinner option with cheese tortellini and fresh bites of sautéed shrimp. You will LOVE this pasta salad, and after one bite, it will be sure to be a favorite!
- Ready to feed a crowd, easy Tuna Pasta Salad tastes even better the next day and is perfect cold next to a juicy burger.
- This Vegetable Pasta Salad, a complete macaroni salad with crisp summer veggies, is a perfectly delicious side dish for your next picnic or party.
- BLT Pasta Salad – BLT Pasta Salad with mayo and ranch seasoning (making Ranch dressing) is the one salad that needs to make it to your BBQ picnics this year. With fresh tomatoes, crunchy bacon, and homemade ranch flavor, the only question you will have is, why didn’t I make more?
- Starting with bow tie chicken, Mandarin Salad with Chicken and tiny and sweet mandarin oranges, and just the right amount of bow tie pasta, it is a great spring salad full of flavor and textures. With a perfect delicious dressing and tiny slivers of almonds that bring an end crunch, you cannot go wrong with this salad at this year’s BBQ.
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