There are pasta salads, and then there’s this Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad! Positively PACKED with flavor, this pasta salad has it all! It’s creamy, tangy, herby, and loaded with bacon, chicken, and flavor! It’s also easy to make, and it’s great for parties, potlucks, or anytime you’re craving an amazing pasta salad!

Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad with basil

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Pasta salads are the perfect side dish, and some of them – like this one – are hearty enough to be a meal all on their own! This fabulous Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad has it all, and I love serving it on hot summer days when we’re gathered outside to enjoy grilled burgers and other tasty eats.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Unlike other pasta salads that get dried out and lose their flavor quickly, this one is fabulous with amazing salad ingredients! It’s perfect for a potluck, gathering, holiday (Labor Day is right around the corner), and is creamy and fabulous.

a bite of pasta salad with chicken

I love that I can prepare this salad ahead of time. I get all the ingredients chopped and put them in the mixing bowl, and then I give it all a good toss.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Penne

Why I love this recipe

  • It is chunky, colorful, and so good! The bacon really puts it over the top!
  • You can prep the whole salad a day ahead of time, then just add the dressing at the table to keep it fresh and creamy!
  • It’s super easy to double to feed a crowd!
  • Perfect for end-of-summer if you use fresh corn off the cob.

ingredients to make Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Gather these ingredients

  • Penne pasta – Or another short pasta. See my tips below.
  • Corn kernels – Fresh off the cob and cooked (or you can use frozen or canned).
  • Cooked chicken – Cut into small cubes, or rotisserie.
  • Red bell pepper – Diced.
  • Arugula – washed and dried.
  • Bacon – Cooked crisp and chopped.
  • Fresh basil – Chopped.
  • Basil pesto – Store-bought or homemade.
  • Ranch dressing – Store-bought or homemade.
  • Honey
  • Lime juice – From a fresh lime.
  • Salt and cracked black pepper

how to make a Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

How to Make Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

  1. Cook the penne pasta to al dente, about 1 minute less than the recommended cooking time on the package. Drain it, then run the pasta under cold tap water to stop the cooking and chill the pasta.
  2. Combine the chilled pasta with the corn, diced chicken, red bell pepper, bacon and fresh basil. Add the arugula, and toss to combine.
  3. Add the basil pesto, ranch dressing, honey, and lime juice to a jar with a tightly fitting lid and shake to combine, or whisk these ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Pour the dressing over the mixture; toss and add a few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper, and some small basil sprigs.
  5. Enjoy!

shaking pesto basil Ranch dressing

Tips & substitutions

  • We love using penne in this salad. This pasta is cylinder-shaped, with the ends cut at an angle – and it holds all the sauce. Mini penne, ziti, small bowties, and other short pasta shapes will also work.
  • This salad is a great use of leftover chicken. Grilled chicken is especially good, but rotisserie chicken is also delicious.
  • If you plan on refrigerating the salad before serving, don’t add the basil. Basil doesn’t like the cold temperature of a fridge and will turn black. Add the fresh basil leaves just before serving.
  • Adjust the honey in the dressing to suit your tastes.

tossing a pasta salad

Serving suggestions

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is hearty enough to be a meal all on its own, but I prefer to serve it as a side dish with other tasty eats. It’s a regular at cookouts when we make Smash Burgers or sliders. For a fancier meal, serve this easy pasta salad with picks like Cedar Planked Salmon or a marinated steak.

pasta salad with corn, arugula, chicken

Storage

Store any leftover pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Refrigerate the dressing separately. If you mixed the dressing in a jar, you can put the whole jar in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

a pasta salad with penne and Ranch dressing

Check out these awesome pasta salad recipes while you’re here

Chicken Bacon Ranch Penne
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Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Loaded with tender chicken, crispy bacon, and lots of flavor, this Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is the perfect pasta salad!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
Yield: 6
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Ingredients
 

  • 8 oz penne pasta
  • 1 cup corn, cut off the cob
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, small cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 4 slices bacon cooked and sliced
  • 2 cups arugula
  • fresh basil chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad dressing:

  • cup basil pesto store-bought or homemade
  • ¼ cup Ranch dressing
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice freshly squeezed
  • Black cracked pepper

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Cook al dente (about 1 minute less).
  • Make salad dressing: In a mason jar, whisk together basil pesto with Ranch dressing, honey, and freshly squeezed lime juice.
  • In a large bowl, combine cooked and drained pasta, corn, diced bell pepper, and chopped cooked bacon. Add in the arugula and mix to combine. Sprinkle finely chopped basil, and gently stir.
  • Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture and toss. Add black cracked pepper and serve. Garnish with a few small basil sprigs.
Cuisine: American
Course: Salad
Calories: 373kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 339mg, Potassium: 302mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1146IU, Vitamin C: 29mg, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 1mg
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Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad