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This creamy pasta salad is loaded with veggies, cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, and all the ranch flavor you love. It is truly the best pasta salad and so easy to make! Perfect for feeding a crowd or just enjoying as a side or main dish.

Warm weather and sunshine really puts me in the mood for grilling. Pasta salad is the perfect side dish for anything you’re grilling. It’s always a crowd pleaser at summer barbecues and everyone will rave if you bring it to a potluck dinner.

This bacon ranch pasta salad recipe is my favorite pasta salad recipe yet. We’re making a homemade ranch dressing that coats everything beautifully. Let’s be honest, I love anything with ranch dressing in it. And while store-bought ranch is yummy too, we’re making ours from scratch because it’s so easy to do and I swear it’s better when it’s loaded with herbs. Worth it every single time!

The finished pasta is creamy (thank you, ranch dressing) and fully loaded with fresh veggies like sweet peas and broccoli. Plus a little cheddar and bacon of course. It is the perfect combination of flavors and textures. So unbelievably good.

Craving more of my favorite pasta salads? Try my Lemon Pasta Salad if you’re looking for a citrusy vibe. My 20-Minute Greek Pasta Salad is light and flavorful. Make Ahead Italian Pasta Salad is a great option if you want to prepare something in advance.

Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • Tri-color rotini pasta: I enjoy tri-color rotini pasta in this recipe but farfalle (bowtie), penne, or elbow macaroni work too. You can truly use whatever pasta shapes you like best.
  • Bacon: Crisp bacon pieces adds some crunch and salty sweetness.
  • Broccoli: Chop fresh broccoli so you have small pieces of this popular green veggie throughout the pasta salad.
  • Grape tomatoes: Juicy tomatoes give some sweetness to this dish. We’re slicing grape tomatoes into thirds so you have a little in every bite. You can also use cherry tomatoes if you like.
  • Green peas: You can use fresh or frozen peas. If using frozen be sure to thaw completely them first.
  • Red onion: Red onion adds a nice bite and its purple color is so vibrant.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese: I recommend a sharp cheddar cheese in this cold pasta salad.
  • Mayonnaise: Use regular mayo or a light mayo. Both work well in the creamy ranch dressing we’re creating here. You can also sub plain unsweetened greek yogurt if you prefer.
  • Milk: Milk helps thin our creamy ranch sauce so it’s the perfect thickness to coat our pasta noodles. You can use any unflavored milk you like.
  • Dried herbs and seasonings: Dried dill, dried parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper are the only seasonings you need to flavor this easy side dish.

How to Make Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

To make this delicious pasta salad, start by getting that bacon crispy in a skillet (or cook it however you like). Then chop it up.

Cook your rotini pasta per package directions and your own personal preference (al dente or a more tender pasta). Drain the water from the cooked pasta and add the pasta to a large bowl. Stir in the bacon, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, red onion, and cheddar cheese.

In a separate bowl stir together mayo, milk, dried herbs and seasonings.

Add the finished ranch dressing to the pasta. Stir to combine.

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy.

What Kind of Pasta is Best?

Rotini is my favorite because it has lots of little crevices for the ranch dressing to get caught up in. That makes every bite more flavorful! Elbow, farfalle (bowtie), or penne would also work well.

How to Add More Protein to This Pasta Salad

This is a great recipe to enjoy as an entree too. If you’re looking to make this a bit heartier just add shredded rotisserie chicken or diced sautéed chicken breasts. My Air Fryer Chicken Breasts are perfect in here.

Can You Use Frozen Peas?

Yes and I usually do. Just be sure to thaw the peas completely (no need to cook them) before combining with the other pasta ingredients.

Can You Use Frozen Broccoli?

No. While peas maintain their texture after thawing, broccoli does not. Thawed broccoli is a lot mushier than it’s fresh counterpart so definitely stick with fresh broccoli florets for this recipe.

Can This Be Made Gluten-Free?

Easily! Use a gluten-free pasta and prepare per package instructions.

Can This Be Made Dairy-Free or Vegan?

Absolutely! You can omit the bacon. You can also use a dairy-free shredded cheddar, dairy-free milk (stick with one that doesn’t have much flavor like an unsweetened almond milk), and vegan mayo. I recommend tasting your ranch dressing before incorporating it into the pasta salad because ingredient swaps like this often alter the finished taste. Increase your seasonings or herbs if necessary until you’re happy with the end result.

Can You Make This Pasta Salad in Advance?

Yes! Just like with all pasta salads, the flavors get more pronounced as it sits so making this a few hours before you plan to enjoy it is a good idea (but not mandatory). It’s also so good the next day! Refrigerate in an airtight container. Give it a good stir before serving.

Is This Pasta Salad Good for Meal Prep?

This is actually a perfect option for meal prep since the flavors get stronger over time.

5 from 2 votes

Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

By Christina
This creamy pasta salad is loaded with veggies, cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, and ranch dressing. It is truly the best pasta salad and so easy to make!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 12 cups


  • 1 pound tri-color rotini pasta
  • 10 – 12 slices of bacon
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup peas, if using frozen, thaw first
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced into thirds
  • ½ medium red onion, diced
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
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  • Add bacon to a skillet and cook until crispy. (If using turkey bacon you may want to add a little oil to the skillet too to achieve desired crispiness.) Chop bacon once cooled and set aside.
  • Cook your pasta per package directions. 
  • Drain water from pasta and stir in bacon, broccoli, peas, tomatoes, red onion, and cheddar cheese.
  • In a bowl stir together mayo, milk, dill, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.
  • Pour the ranch dressing over the pasta and stir until well combined.
  • Refrigerate the finished pasta until you're ready to serve. Before serving, give it a good stir so the dressing isn't settled on the bottom.


Serving: 1cup, Calories: 457kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 948mg, Potassium: 313mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 379IU, Vitamin C: 14mg, Calcium: 102mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. P.Galore says:

    Looks great, I have been looking for a ranch dressing recipe to make a homemade suddenly salad, thanks so much!

  2. Ashley says:

    i have always been a little intimidated by the idea of making homemade ranch, but this was so easy and delicious! yum!