Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 23 mins
Total: 38 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 1 bowl
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
362 Calories
31g Fat
15g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 362
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 39%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 29mg 10%
Sodium 496mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 5%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 4mg 20%
Calcium 35mg 3%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 180mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The flavors of bacon, tomatoes, and ranch-style dressing make this pasta salad an excellent choice for a potluck or cookout. The recipe makes a big batch of pasta salad and it's easy to double for a crowd.

Dry ranch dressing mix is combined with mayonnaise and sour cream to make the savory dressing. If you don't have the dressing mix, feel free to use about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of prepared ranch-style dressing.

Cheese is optional, but it does increase the protein to the salad. Another way to make the mixture heartier and more abundant in protein is to add drained beans or chickpeas. Diced cooked turkey or chicken, or cooked shrimp would be excellent as well.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 2 (1-ounce) packets ranch dressing (about 6 tablespoons)

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 10 strips bacon, diced

  • 1 pound rotini, or other short pasta

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

  • 1 1/2 cups diced celery

  • 2 (2 1/4-ounce) cans sliced black olives, drained

  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese, optional, for topping

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for bacon ranch pasta salad

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  2. Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, ranch dressing mix, and pepper in a medium bowl. Cover bowl and refrigerate until it is time to make salad.

    A bowl with the ranch dressing and mayonnaise combined

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  3. Put diced bacon in a large skillet and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned and beginning to crisp. Use a slotted spatula to remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Let bacon drippings cool slightly and then pour into a container to use in future dishes.

    Diced bacon cooking in a skillet

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add rotini and turn heat down to maintain a gentle boil and cook according to package directions, usually about 7 to 9 minutes. Drain pasta and let cool.

    Rotini pasta in a colander

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  5. Put cooled pasta in a large bowl and add cooked, drained bacon, halved tomatoes, diced celery, and olives to the bowl, along with cheese, if using. Toss gently to combine.

    vegetables, bacon and pasta in a bowl

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  6. Add dressing mixture and gently fold it in until the pasta and vegetables are well coated.

    Mixing the bacon ranch pasta salad

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  7. Transfer pasta salad to a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until serving time.

    Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

Tips

  • Don't overcook the pasta. Cook to the recommended time given on the package. The slightly firm pasta will absorb the dressing without becoming mushy.
  • Make a day in advance. Prepare all ingredients and refrigerate them in separate containers. Just before serving time, combine the ingredients with the dressing. Toss and refrigerate until serving.
  • To serve outdoors. Keep the salad in a cooler or rest the bowl in a larger bowl of crushed ice. Cold food should never be left out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is above 90 F).

Recipe Variation

  • For a lighter dressing, replace about 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup of the mayonnaise with milk and use reduced-calorie sour cream.