This cheddar bacon ranch pasta salad is a delicious cold salad recipe that the whole family will enjoy. Made with bacon, tomatoes, ranch dressing, and crisp cucumbers this salad is truly a blend of refreshing flavors and textures in every bite.
This versatile recipe is perfect for summer barbecues and gatherings. It brings together a harmonious blend of flavors and textures and pairs wonderfully with my Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Breasts.
But what truly sets this bacon cheddar pasta salad apart is its ease of preparation. With just a handful of ingredients and easy steps, it delivers an experience that's both gratifying and a reminder of the simple pleasures of life.
Whether you're hosting a family reunion, organizing a picnic, or seeking a hassle-free weeknight dinner, this recipe is perfect for enjoying during the sunny months of summer.
🍯 Why This Recipe Works
- You can make it in advance. This simple bacon ranch pasta salad is one you can prepare in advance and have ready for dinner when you are.
- You can make a large batch at once! Double the batch and make enough to share at your summer BBQs or do as I did and serve it up for a simple family meal side dish.
- The steps are easy to follow. From boiling pasta to mixing everything together, this recipe is great for experienced cooks and those trying their hands at something new.
Cherry Tomatoes- Adding cherry tomatoes will give us a nice change of flavor thanks to the acidity. The color will also look lovely.
Cucumber- For a refreshing crunch you'll want to use cucumbers that have been peeled.
Bacon Strips- Adding bacon to this salad will give us a chewy crunch and add a saltiness that helps to elevate the other flavors well.
Ranch Salad Dressing- Use your favorite ranch salad dressing for this recipe. You can use Hidden Valley, a store brand, or a low calorie yogurt-based dressing option.
For specific ingredients and measurements, please see the recipe card below.
Mayo. Instead of using Mayo for this salad, you can replace it with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.
Ranch Dressing. You can use one packet of ranch seasoning mix instead of the dressing. This may actually give you a stronger Ranch flavor.
Rotini Noodles. You can use any noodles including elbow noodles for this recipe but I had rotini on hand and chose to use it.
Step 1: Boil pasta in a large pot of water according to package directions.
Step 2: When pasta is almost finished, add the frozen peas to the pot of hot water and let cook for 1-2 minutes until thawed and warmed.
Step 3: Drain into a colander and rinse under cold running water until the pasta is cold and no longer heated.
Step 4: In a small bowl whisk together the ranch and mayo until well mixed.
Step 5: Add everything to a large mixing bowl and toss well to combine.
Step 6: Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and chill until serving time.
🍴 Recipe Tips
Adjusting ranch taste
If you want a stronger ranch taste you can add in a little bit of dry ranch dressing mix. Add to taste.
You can add more bacon
If you really want a lot of bacon in this salad you can add as much as you want, until your heart is content.
⏲️Make Ahead Instructions
Prep the veggies and have them ready to go while the pasta is cooking to make the assembly process a little smoother.
You can keep this pasta well covered and stored in your fridge for up to 4 days. This should give you plenty of time to enjoy it throughout the week. If you notice your pasta becoming dry you can stir in a little more ranch dressing or mayo to get it creamy again.
You do not have to peel it, but I chose to do so because I didn't want the texture of the skin.
When serving this pasta salad I cannot recommend keeping it out of a chilled environment or fridge for more than 2 hours at a time because this will cause food safety issues to arise.
❤️ More Delicious Summer Recipes
If you tried this Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad, please leave a ⭐️ star rating and share your feedback in the 📝 comments section below. I would truly appreciate it!
Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- 1 box (12 ounce) Rotini noodles ($1.14)
- 1 cup Frozen peas ($0.76)
- 1 cup Halved cherry tomatoes ($1.24)
- 1 cup Small diced cucumber, peeled and seeded ($0.64)
- 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded ($0.93)
- 5 strips Bacon, cooked and crumbled ($1.80)
- 1 can (2.25oz) sliced black olives *optional ($1.38)
- ½ cup Ranch salad dressing ($0.58)
- ¼ cup Mayo or sour cream ($0.34)
- Boil pasta in a large pot of water according to package directions.
- When pasta is almost finished, add the frozen peas to the pot of hot water and let cook for 1-2 minutes until thawed and warmed.
- Drain into a colander and rinse under cold running water until the pasta is cold and no longer heated.
- In a small bowl whisk together the ranch and mayo until well mixed.
- Add everything to a large mixing bowl and toss well to combine.
- Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and chill until serving time.