The Best Creamy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Welcome, hungry friends! If you’re in need of a hearty and delicious side dish that’s sure to please even the pickiest eaters, then today is your lucky day. This bacon ranch pasta salad has an amazing flavor with its classic combination of bacon, homemade ranch dressing, vegetables, cheese and pasta – it’s the perfect balance of savory and tangy. Not only is this salad easy to whip up for any event or gathering, but is sure to please a crowd!

Pasta salad in a serving dish topped with cheese and bacon ready to eat.

I have been making this pasta salad for many years. The family loves it and asks for it often! It’s funny for me because ranch dressing is not my favorite dressing at all for a garden salad, but it seems to be amazing in pasta salad and few other dishes.

When I first made this creamy ranch pasta salad with bacon, I used a ranch seasoning packet from the store. We now use homemade ranch seasoning and you would be surprised how easy it is to make! You can use a store bought packet if you prefer.

We also make a regular ranch pasta salad that does not have any bacon or cheese, but we really love bacon here so we make this one more! Both salads are amazing tho.

This is a great salad to have ready so you can turn on the grill later knowing that your side dish is made! It goes well with everything from grilled pork chops to grilled zucchini.

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The Ingredients

Ingredients prepped for making the bacon ranch pasta salad.

Pasta – Use your favorite pasta, we like to use a smaller pasta like small shells or even elbows.

Bacon – We like to use real bacon pieces in our cheddar bacon ranch pasta salad. They are usually in the salad dressing isle. You can always use fresh bacon cooked and crumbled which would be about 4 ounces before cooking (of course you can add more to your liking.)

You can also use bacon bits, but we recommend using real bacon and not imitation.

Cheese – We like to use a cheddar mix, but you can use your favorite. Bagged shredded cheese is good and so is fresh shredded. We usually use the bagged for this bacon ranch pasta salad.

Peppers – You can mix and match the peppers. If you want all red peppers, then use them. If you want to add green, that works great too.

Scallions – Scallions are usually best in a salad like this due to their mild flavor, but you can use leeks or even a quarter cup of finely chopped red onion. Scallions or leeks are best, especially if young children will be eating the salad.

Carrot – No substitutions recommended.

Mayo – Use your favorite, I do recommend real mayo and not Miracle Whip for this salad.

Milk – We use whole milk, but you can use a lower fat milk.

Ranch seasoning – We love the homemade ranch seasoning, but you can use a store bought packet of Ranch seasoning in it’s place.

Garlic powder – No substitutions recommended.

Salt – Optional, add to taste.

What else can I add to creamy bacon ranch pasta salad?

Pasta salad in a serving bowl topped with bacon.

Creamy bacon ranch pasta salad is a flexible salad to make. You can easily add different vegetables to your salad as well if you like! These are some of our favorites:

  • Tomatoes – Chopped tomatoes are always good in a pasta salad! I would add these right before serving to keep the best flavor and texture.
  • Cucumbers – You can cut a cucumber into bite size pieces and add it into the salad. If you add cucumbers, they can go in with peppers and other veggies.
  • Lettuce – Finely chop up lettuce and add to the salad. If you add the lettuce and the tomato, you will have a BLT pasta salad – yummy!
  • Avocado – I love avocado and sometimes cut one up to top the creamy bacon ranch pasta salad with. I do recommend that you cut it just before serving and allow people to top their salad with it. Avocado does brown very quickly.

Frequently asked questions

Does the bacon ranch pasta salad have to sit in the fridge before serving?

This is a personal preference. I like it best right after making it while it is still creamy, but my family likes it best after sitting in the fridge for an hour. After it sits in the fridge, the noodles will soak up some of the dressing. No worries, add a tablespoon or 2 or milk and stir. This will help to bring back some of the creaminess.

How long will it last in the fridge?

It will last for about 4 days in the fridge. The bacon will get softer and the flavors will change the longer it sits in the fridge.

Can this recipe be cut in half?

Yes! This recipe can easily be cut in half. We quite often make half a batch if it is just us eating it. Everything should be pretty easy to halve and the vegetables don’t have to be exact.

Other great salads:

If you love our bacon ranch pasta salad, you might also love these side dish salads which are great for cookouts!


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  • Mixing bowls – A good set of stainless steel mixing bowls is something that I think every home cook should have!
  • Grater/shredder – Something we use all the time here for cheese and vegetables.
  • Spatulas – I like to always have a set of silicone spatulas in the kitchen. They come in handy for everything from scraping things out of the bowl to scraping things out of jars. One thing to note is that I prefer to have silicone spatulas that are all one solid piece. If the head is a piece that slides on and off of the base, you may get mold under.
Pasta salad in a serving dish topped with cheese and bacon ready to eat.

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Impress your friends at your next gathering with this delicious bacon ranch pasta salad. With the perfect blend of bacon, homemade ranch dressing, vegetables, cheese and pasta – it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 488 kcal


  • 16 ounces pasta
  • 1 carrot shredded
  • ½ red pepper chopped
  • ½ yellow pepper chopped
  • ½ orange pepper chopped
  • cup real bacon pieces see notes
  • 1 cup shredded cheese cheddar mix recommended

The dressing

  • 4 scallions whole scallions chopped
  • 3 tablespoon Homemade Ranch Seasoning or 1 package of store bought ranch mix
  • cups mayo
  • ½ cup milk might need a little more just before serving
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt see notes before adding


  • Cook pasta according to directions on package. Rinse with cold water until it is cooled down.
    16 ounces pasta
  • Mix together the scallions, ranch seasoning, mayo, milk, garlic powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
    4 scallions, 3 tablespoon Homemade Ranch Seasoning, 1½ cups mayo, ½ cup milk, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt
  • Add cooled pasta, shredded carrot, chopped peppers, bacon and cheese to a large mixing bowl. Stir until it is mixed completely.
    1 carrot, ½ red pepper, ½ yellow pepper, ½ orange pepper, ⅔ cup real bacon pieces, 1 cup shredded cheese
  • Pour the dressing mix over the pasta mix and stir well. Can serve immediately or refrigerate for later.
    Optional – garnish with extra cheese and bacon pieces.


Nutrition facts are estimated and so are serving sizes.
For the peppers – you can use your favorite peppers, we just think it tastes best with the 3 sweet peppers.  Peppers do not have to be exact amounts, you can adjust as you like.
For bacon, you can use fresh bacon – about 4 ounces before cooked.  Fully cook and crumble the bacon.  If using the real bacon pieces (packaged), use a 2.8 ounce package.
For the salt – this is if you are using the homemade ranch seasoning.  If you are using a store bought package, taste before adding more salt.  There is more sodium in the store bought packets.  Add it to taste.
Refrigeration – If you serve the bacon ranch pasta salad immediately, it will have a perfectly creamy texture.  If you serve it later in the day, the pasta will soak up some of the dressing and flavors.  After refrigerating, you may want to stir in 1-2 tablespoons of milk if it appears to be too dry.


Calories: 488kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 13gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 977mgPotassium: 207mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1569IUVitamin C: 27mgCalcium: 90mgIron: 1mg
Keyword easy, quick
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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    1. Thank you Jenne 🙂 Our household loves bacon so anything with that in it is a winner here! Hope you enjoy

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