This Easy Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is a homemade classic dish perfect for any spread or cookout. This side dish is cheesy thanks to cheddar and is also loaded with plenty of veggies, mayo, Greek yogurt, or sour cream.
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This post was originally published in 2021. It has since been updated.
Have you seen the Suddenly Pasta Salads in stores? Maybe you love to grab them and make them! You can make your own pasta salads….homemade from scratch at home, honey! They are so simple! Trust me, here.
Nothing beats bacon right? Well maybe the combination with ranch….
What Type of Pasta to Use
You can use whatever you like. I use rotini. Something like penne, spaghetti, or linguine will also work. If you are looking for low carb, check out my Keto Low Carb Pasta Salad.
I like to use my Homemade Ranch Seasoning in this recipe. The store-bought packets include ingredients like maltodextrin, artificial flavor, and carboxymethyl cellulose (used to thicken and create creamy texture).
Carboxymethyl cellulose is a water-soluble cellulose ether obtained by chemical modification from natural cellulose such as cotton linter or wood pulp.
Maltodextrin is a white, starchy powder that manufacturers add into many foods to improve their flavor, thickness, or shelf life. Maltodextrin is a common ingredient in packaged foods, such as pastries, candies, and soft drinks. Maltodextrin is high on the glycemic index (GI), meaning that it can cause a spike in your blood sugar. You can read more about maltodextrin here.
I feel like I’m better off simply making my own. It’s pretty easy. Feel free to use store-bought seasonings like Hidden Valley if you wish.
How to Make Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Exact measurements and detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card below.
- Cook rotini in accordance with the package instructions.
- Rinse the rotini in cold water and pat dry.
- Add the rotini to your serving dish along with cucumbers, bacon, ranch seasoning, tomatoes, olives, shredded cheese, and spinach.
Additional Toppings and Ideas
- Chopped Broccoli
- Chopped Cauliflower
- Chopped Dill Pickles
- Sweet Pickle Relish
- Chicken Breast
- Red Peppers
- Green Peppers
- Creole Seasoning
- Cajun Seasoning
- Homemade BBQ Seasoning
Can You Use Ranch Dressing?
Sure, if you want. I’m not a huge fan of the texture when salad dressing is used. I like for this pasta salad to be thick and creamy. The combination of Greek yogurt and mayo does that for me.
If you choose to use salad dressing, use enough to suit your taste.
Can You Substitute Mayo?
Yes, you can sub it for additional Greek yogurt or sour cream.
Can You Omit the Cheese?
How to Make it Vegetarian
Simply omit the bacon.
How Long Can it Sit Out
It can sit out 1-2 hours. It takes about 2 hours for bacteria to start to grow to dangerous levels. In warm temperatures, that time shrinks. You can read the Food Safety Guidance from the FDA here.
Can You Make it Ahead of Time/How Long Does it Last in the Fridge
Yes, store the salad in the fridge (tightly covered) for up to 3-4 days. When the salad sits in the fridge overnight (or for several hours), the pasta will absorb a lot of the moisture and it isn’t as creamy.
If you plan to make this ahead you will likely need to refresh the salad with a little mayo or Greek yogurt (or sour cream) immediately before serving.
Can You Freeze It?
You can freeze it, but I wouldn’t recommend it. In general, mayo, yogurt, and sour cream do not freeze well and usually develops ice crystals.
Pair This Dish with These Main Dishes
Air Fryer Ribs
Grilled Baby Back Ribs
Air Fryer Cheeseburgers
Air Fryer Catfish
Air Fryer Fish Sticks
Instant Pot Ribs
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
Chicken and Avocado Salsa
Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs
Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon
How to Grill the Best Burgers
Grilled Cedar Plank Shrimp
Mushroom Swiss Burgers
How to Grill Chicken Wings
More Salad and Side Dish Recipes
Southern Potato Salad
Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Cheese
Smoked Mac and Cheese
Instant Pot Potato Salad
Bow Tie Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
Easy Spaghetti Salad
Creamy Cucumber Salad
Southern Macaroni Salad
Grilled Asparagus in Foil
Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
Twisted Bacon Recipe
More Ranch and Bacon Recipes
Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Cook the rotini in accordance with the package instructions.
- Rinse the rotini in cold water and pat dry.
- Add the rotini to your serving dish along with the remaining ingredients. Taste repeatedly and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Chill for a minimum of 1 hour. 2-3 hours is optimal.
- Make this pasta salad yours! Load it up with the vegetables that you like.
- I’ve always made this dish for a crowd. Feel free to cut the recipe in half. You can cut the recipe in half by using half of the ingredients noted.
- You can double the recipe by using double the ingredients.
- If you use a seasoning packet, start with 3 tablespoons.
- If you like a wet pasta salad, then serving immediately after chilling the dish will work best for you. You may find that you need additional mayo or sour cream (Greek yogurt). Add additional to suit your taste and texture needs.
- You can omit the bacon to make the dish vegetarian.
- You can use whatever pasta you like. Anything will work, i.e. penne, linguine, etc.
- You can use ranch dressing if you wish. I’m not a huge fan of the texture when salad dressing is used. I like for this pasta salad to be thick and creamy. The combination of Greek yogurt and mayo does that for me. Use enough to suit your taste.
- Add additional seasoning to suit your taste if necessary.