Looking for an easy pasta salad recipe for a bbq? This easy bacon chicken ranch pasta salad is seriously one of my favorite side dish recipes for potlucks!
One of the most popular pasta salad recipes is this one, full of bacon, rotisserie chicken (yes, you could use canned for ease but rotisserie is better), ranch, cheese and even olives. Cade is not a fan of olives, but I am so they get added. It’s been such an easy recipe to quickly make before a potluck or bbq and it’s always an empty bowl within the first few minutes. Pasta salad recipes are some of our readers’ favorite recipes like our Easy Greek Pasta Salad.
There are a few things we need to talk about before we jump to the easy bacon chicken ranch pasta salad recipe. It’s the FAQ part of our day so I think we should get those out of the way. I’ll break them into easy sections so you can scroll through and find the info you need.
How Much Pasta Salad For 100 People?
I have no idea who you all cook for, but we often get asked how much pasta salad for 100 people and though I’d expect to find the answer on something like Martha Stewart I never have so I’ll just answer. You’ll need about 6 pounds of pasta, so for this recipe you’re going to have to make 12 times the amount. Holy. Pasta. Salad. And on that note, the second most asked question is how much pasta salad to serve 50 people? Haha, you all must have wonderful friends or church groups you feed. If 100 people needed about 6 pounds of pasta you’re going to need 3 pounds of pasta to feed 50 people.
You should be serving about an ounce of pasta salad per person. There’s veggies and more in there so it’s not as skimpy as it sounds.
How Long Is Pasta Salad Good For?
Many, myself included have asked at one point or another, how long is pasta salad good for? I really think pasta salad is only good the day it is made, edible the next day and too far gone by the third day. It should be stored in the fridge and you definitely want to cover it. If I ever need to make it ahead I just wait to add the dressing until serving.
Stop Serving Cold Pasta Salad
Speaking of serving, can we just quickly talk about pasta salad being served straight from the fridge? It’s bland when it’s freezing cold like that. Again, this is why I prefer it to be made and served fresh. I’m not saying you should let it sit out for hours and get everyone sick, just don’t chill it all day and then serve it freezing cold or it wont be as flavorful.
Because pasta salad can be a little bland or slimy, which is why I used to cringe whenever it was served, it’s essential that you add flavor that can stand up to the plain, cold pasta. We went with a combination of ranch and chili lime ranch but you can obviously do whatever flavors you want. The chicken absolutely should be well seasoned or a rotisserie chicken but in a pinch it’s totally fine to use canned chicken, just remember you will be sacrificing flavor.
The Secret to Pasta Salad
I know this sounds a little crazy because I hate overcooked pasta but in a pasta salad if you cook it past al dente it will actually suck up more of the flavor so the secret to pasta salad is totally to overcook it!
Easy Bacon Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces Tri Color Pasta, cooked and drained
- 1 Cup Broccoli Florets
- 1 Cup Sliced Carrots
- 2 Cups Rotisserie Chicken, shredded
- 1 Cup Peas, thawed
- 2½ ounce can sliced olives, drained
- 1 Cup Halved Grape Tomatoes
- 3 Slices Bacon, cooked and chopped
- ½ Cup Ranch Dressing
- ½ Cup Chili Lime Ranch Dressing
- ½ Cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded or cubed (more to taste)
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a small pan, add the broccoli and carrots and just enough water to cover the veggies. Cook over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes and drain then place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again.
- In a large bowl, combine the pasta, ranches, chicken, and all other ingredients plus a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Fold to combine and serve immediately or chill, covered in the fridge for up to 8 hours, removing from the fridge for 15 minutes before serving.
california club pasta salad recipe for those lazy summer days. We love the chunks of chicken, avocado and salty, crisp bacon!
This pizza pasta salad is full of cheese, pepperoni and even olives!