Popcorn Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad – This mouthwatering and easy to make pasta salad recipe is a summertime potluck favorite!  Full of crispy chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese, noodles, and creamy ranch dressing!

pasta salad with crispy chicken bacon and ranch

Ok, so I am completely obsessed with our very first pasta salad recipe of the season!  It just doesn’t get any better than this you guys.  Curly rotini noodles coated with a quick and easy homemade ranch is enough by itself to make this girl swoon.

But, it gets better!  This salad is packed full of crispy cooked popcorn chicken, salty bacon, sharp shredded cheddar, juicy tomatoes, and green onions.  So much amazing flavor here.  A pasta salad that you can truly make a complete meal of!

pasta salad with rotini and ranch

Ranch Pasta Salad:

The key to having the best flavor in this pasta salad is to use the ranch seasoning packet instead of bottled ranch dressing.  This way you can control how wet or dry your pasta salad is for your own preferences.  It also amounts in so much more flavor.

You will use a whole packet of ranch mix, along with mayonnaise, garlic powder, and pepper.  As far as mayo, feel free to use fat-free, light, or regular!  Then, we use a little bit of milk to thin out the dressing.  I typically stick with about two Tablespoons, but, you can add more if you like your dressing a bit thinner.

popcorn ranch chicken pasta salad

Popcorn Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad:

I absolutely love the popcorn chicken in this salad.  Crispy chicken, bacon, and ranch just go so well together!  Simply use any frozen popcorn chicken, and if you find some pieces that are too large, you can cut them into bite-sized pieces after cooking.

If you want a “skinnier” ranch pasta salad, you can swap the popcorn chicken out for grilled chicken!  If you are not a tomato fan, simply leave them out.  Or, add in your own favorite veggies.  This pasta salad is easy to customize to your own taste!

pasta salad with ranch



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4.95 from 17 votes

Popcorn Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Popcorn Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad - This mouthwatering and easy to make pasta salad recipe is a summertime potluck favorite!  Full of crispy chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese, noodles, and creamy ranch dressing!
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 25 minutes
Servings 10


  • 12 Ounces Rotini Pasta
  • 1 Packet Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 1/2 Cups Mayonnaise
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
  • Bacon Bits
  • 1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 25 Ounce Package Frozen Popcorn Chicken
  • 3 Green Onions, sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded or Cubed Cheddar


  • Cook the popcorn chicken according to package directions and set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, cook the rotini pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse well under cold water.
  • In a large bowl mix together the ranch dressing mix, mayonnaise, milk, garlic powder, pepper, bacon bits, green onions, cherry tomatoes and cheddar.
  • Add the cooked popcorn chicken and pasta to the ranch mixture and stir to combine.
  • Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Like this? Rate & review this recipe below!

Hey! Nice to meet you! I'm Nichole!

Welcome to The Salty Marshmallow! I'm a mom, animal lover, photographer, & kitchen mess-maker. Here you will find the result of my decades-long passion for chasing the best flavors in the kitchen, all meant to be cooked by regular people with busy lives just like you and me.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness! This is such a GREAT recipe! My kids absolutely love it! I’m making it to bring to a friends house that just had a baby! I use real bacon and it really adds such great flavor!

  2. 4 stars
    We tried it and it was very good. Super easy to change this up based on what you have in your pantry. If you don’t like ranch, you can add italian seasoning and dressing instead of ranch and mayo. If you don’t have popcorn chicken, you can add canned chicken, grilled chicken, etc. I prefer with the cheese cubes, vs shredded. Second time I made it, I changed it with italian dressing/seasoning and changed the cubed cheese to mozzarella pearls. Dropped off the chicken and bacon and I added baby spinach leaves. Just an extremely versatile recipe. Thank you!!!!

  3. Could this be made with actual ranch dressing instead of the mix and mayo and still taste decent? My husband absolutely hates the ranch mix and mayo.

    1. Hi Susan! Sorry that wasn’t listed, we switched our recipe card around awhile back and some things didn’t transfer over! I use a 25 ounce package of frozen popcorn chicken 🙂