Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad packs so much flavor into one easy-to-make dish. Perfect for picnics and potlucks!
Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
This Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad comes together faster than you can make one of those boxed “Suddenly Salad” things. This recipe makes a huge bowl and it tastes so much better with fresh ingredients. Why cut corners when it doesn’t really even save you time or money? This is one of my favorite salads to bring to neighborhood picnics, church potlucks, family barbecues, or just a weeknight family dinner.
Suggestions for Pasta Salad
- Gather all your ingredients for your dressing and salad while the noodles cook and assemble it in just minutes. This is a super quick salad to make and it feeds a crowd!
- Be sure to make this salad ahead of time so that it has time to cool in the fridge. If I plan ahead, I try to make pasta salads the day before because it gives the flavors time to mix together and settle.
- If you are in a time crunch, pop the cooked noodles into the freezer for a few minutes before adding them to the rest of the ingredients. Just make sure the noodles have time to cool completely.
- You can get as creative with the toppings as you want. Onions and celery will give this salad extra crunch and flavor. You could also add black olives, broccoli, shredded carrots, anything you would like!
- When you cook the bacon, chop it up beforehand and then cook it in little pieces so you don’t have to worry about crumbling it afterwords. It speeds up the process a little bit.
How to Make a Healthier Version
For a lower calorie version of this salad, try using Greek yogurt in place of the mayonnaise and sour cream (which I have tried, and it is delicious). You can also use low-fat cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream. Another healthy substitution is turkey bacon instead of regular. My son actually likes turkey bacon more than regular bacon!
More Perfect Pasta Salads
Pasta salads are a perfect summer supper or side dish to grilled chicken, burgers, steak, you name it. Try some of our very favorite recipes:
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Pizza Pasta Salad
- Light Greek Pasta Salad
- BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad
- Layered Pasta Salad
- Grape Chicken Pasta Salad
How to Make Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- 1 pound cavatappi noodles or macaroni, small shells, bowties.. etc…
- 1 ounce ranch seasoning mix
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup milk
- 8-10 slices bacon cooked and crumbled or chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas thawed
- 1 cup cheddar cheese cubed
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved, or grape tomatoes
- Cook noodles according to package direction. Drain and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- While noodles are cooking/cooling, in a large bowl combine ranch seasoning, mayo, sour cream, and milk. Whisk until smooth.
- Stir in bacon, peas, cheese, carrots, and tomatoes into the ranch dressing.
- Slowly add noodles and stir until noodles are well covered in dressing and all ingredients mixed together.
- Cover and refrigerate until serving.
- Add a little milk before serving if needed if it seems too dry (just a tablespoon or so). Stir well before serving.