Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad

Creamy ranch pasta salad with crispy bacon, green peas, and smoked cheddar cheese is a cool and creamy pasta salad recipe for summer. Make it for potlucks, BBQs, picnics, or next weekend just for fun.

overhead shot of a bowl of pasta salad.

A few months ago, I shared a homemade creamy ranch dressing recipe, and since then, all I could think about was using it to make a bacon ranch pasta salad. And so here we are. Dreams really do come true.

ingredients for the salad.

Crispy bacon, creamy ranch, spiral pasta, peas, and two kinds of cheddar cheese – sharp and smoked. This is what I consider a quintessential summer pasta salad. Crowd-friendly, easy to make, and, hello, bacon.

How to Make It

I adapted my creamy ranch salad dressing for this salad, and it’s worth the extra effort to make your own. In a pinch, you can substitute premade, but please, please, please skip the shelf-stable bottled stuff. Use a good quality refrigerated ranch dressing instead, or make a batch using one of those ranch seasoning packets.


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Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad

ranch pasta salad.

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Creamy ranch pasta salad with crispy bacon, sweet green peas, and smoked cheddar cheese is a cool and creamy pasta salad recipe for summer.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Salads
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American


  • 10 ounces rotini
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 10 slices bacon, sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 8 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley


  1. Boil the pasta following package instructions.
  2. While the pasta cooks, mix the mayo. yogurt, buttermilk, and all of the seasonings in a bowl. Stick the dressing in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the salad.
  3. When the pasta is done, drain it and spread it on a baking sheet to cool. Place the frozen peas in a fine mesh strainer and run them under cold water so they thaw.
  4. Cook the bacon until it’s crispy, about ten minutes. Remove it from the pan and place it on a plate lined with paper towels. Once it’s cool enough to handle, roughly chop it.
  5. Place the pasta, peas, bacon, cheese, and parsley in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and stir to combine. Chill the salad until you are ready to serve it.


I like the spiral-shaped pasta, but feel free to use another short pasta like penne, bow ties, orecchiette, or cavatappi.

For the best creamy pasta salad, ensure the pasta is at room temperature before mixing it with the dressing. You can speed this up and chill the pasta on the sheet pan in the refrigerator so it’s cold when you mix it up with the dressing.

This salad is heavy on cheese, so for a less cheesy experience (but why, though?), you can halve the amount and use one kind (tip: pick the smoked cheddar).


  • Calories: 644
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Sodium: 773.1mg
  • Fat: 44.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 17.7g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 23.8g
  • Trans Fat: 0.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 33.7g
  • Fiber: 2.4g
  • Protein: 25.4g
  • Cholesterol: 88.2mg

Do you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment and your recipe star rating!

The nutrition is an estimate only. It was calculated using Nutrifox, an online nutrition calculator.

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

You can prep a lot of this ranch pasta salad ahead of time. Thaw the peas and refrigerate them, cube the cheese, cook and cool the pasta, make the dressing, and cook and chop the bacon.

Instead of mixing it all together, store the components separately and then mix them together when you’re ready to serve the salad. This will keep the pasta from absorbing too much of the dressing so it stays nice and creamy.

ingredients for the pasta salad in a large bowl.

It will keep well for a few days in the refrigerator but the longer it sits, the less creamy it will be. You can make and assemble it a few hours ahead of serving it or prep the ingredients and keep them separated in the fridge if you want to make it a day in advance.

close-up shot of the salad in a bowl.

If you have a BBQ or potluck on the horizon, this ranch pasta salad recipe would be a great dish to take and share. Or make it just because – you don’t need an excuse. And I say that with authority because I never need an excuse. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking,


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