This Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad recipe is great for feeding a group! Who can say no to a make-ahead salad filled with bacon, tomatoes, cheese, and a creamy ranch dressing?
Summer is all about keeping things easy in our house, especially when entertaining a group. We love to have casual get-togethers, and this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad recipe is a great make-ahead salad that easily feeds a group.
My mom turned me onto this recipe when she brought it to a bbq we hosted at our house. It was an instant hit with everyone and once you take a bite, it's easy to see why.
This creamy pasta salad filled with bacon, cheddar cheese cubes, and grape tomatoes tossed in a creamy ranch dressing.
All good pasta salads start with pasta that is cooked correctly. Follow these tips to get perfect pasta every time.
- Fill a large pot with water. Make sure that you have enough to cover the pasta. This recipe calls for a half pound of pasta so I use 2 quarts of water.
- Cover the pot and bring the large pot of water to a rolling boil.
- Stir in 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
- Add pasta and cook to al dente stage. Follow the directions on the package.
Things don't need to be complicated when you are hosting. I always look for recipes that don't keep me in the kitchen when friends and family are here. I try to have everything done before people arrive so I can to enjoy the night with everyone else.
- Not only is it make-ahead, but this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad tastes even better the next day. Just be sure to give it a stir before you serve it.
- Make sure you let the pasta salad sit for at least 8 hours to let the flavors develop.
- Precooked bacon makes prep super easy and saves on clean up.
- Be sure to stir the salad well before serving. Add a little milk or buttermilk if it seems dry.
- Love black olives? Feel free to toss some in, they are a tasty addition.
The versatile ingredients in this salad recipe make a great companion to any protein. We like to serve it with these Hoisin Grilled Ribs and a simple green salad.
Check out all of our side dish recipes for your favorites or try something new!
This recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of ranch dressing, which is equal to a 1-ounce packet. Our favorite brand is Hidden Valley Ranch, but feel free to make your own too!
Do you buy ranch seasoning in bulk too? We always have some on hand for our favorite ranch recipes.
- Spicy Ranch Pretzels - Perfect party snack!
- Crispy Italian Ranch Cups- These addictive little bites are just what your next party spread needs!
- Ranch Chipotle Chicken Wings- You can never have too many wing recipes!
More Side Dishes
Check out all of our favorite BBQ side dishes!
- Tomato Feta Pasta Salad
- Tomato, Mozzarella and Grilled Corn Salad
- Antipasto Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
- Fruit Salad with Mint
- Easy Orzo and Chickpea Salad
- Tomato, Feta and Vidalia Onion Salad
- Watermelon Feta Salad
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad recipe
- Danish Potato Salad
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- 3 tablespoons ranch dressing mix
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 8 ounces dried elbow pasta
- 1 cup grape tomatoes cut in half
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese cut into small cubes
- 8 slices bacon chopped
- Black pepper to taste
- Whisk together ranch dressing seasoning and buttermilk. Stir in the mayonnaise and vinegar and set aside.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run water over the pasta to cool slightly.
- Place pasta in a large bowl and add the dressing. Stir well to coat the pasta.
- Add tomatoes, cheese and bacon and toss gently to combine.
- Cool at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Stir before serving. Add more milk or buttermilk if pasta salad is dry.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.
This make-ahead Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad recipe is filled with cubed cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and grape tomatoes and is tossed in a creamy ranch sauce. It's a family favorite ranch salad recipe that disappears every time I make it!