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!
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!
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 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!
Be sure to check out our video for this recipe below! Follow along with us on Facebook where we always share the tastiest recipes!
Popcorn Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- 12 Ounces Rotini Pasta
- 1 Packet Ranch Dressing Mix
- 1 ½ Cups Mayonnaise
- 2-3 Tablespoons Milk
- ½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Pepper
- Bacon Bits
- 1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 25 Ounce Package Frozen Popcorn Chicken
- 3 Green Onions, sliced
- ½ 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.
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!!!!
This looks delicious! Can i make it the night before or will it get mushy overnight?
You can, but, I think I would wait to add the chicken 🙂
Can you use something other than mayonnaise
How much bacon bits, and can you use fried bacon?
Can you use something besides the ranch dressing mix? I can't stand ranch anything!
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.
Exactly how much chicken?
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 🙂
The video and pictures show cherry tomatoes but they aren't listed in ingredients. How many?
1 Cup of cherry tomatoes 🙂
Matt M. says
You had me laughing at the "if you want a “skinnier” ranch pasta salad, you can swap the popcorn chicken out for grilled chicken!" Probably way more adjustments that need to be made for this dish to be healthy =P
I just made this with the popcorn chicken and it was awesome. Very filling, and for a man who lives alone and is trying to bulk up, this is a solid meal and provides a good amount of leftovers.
I used the full box of pasta (16oz) instead of 12oz, and cooked real bacon and broke it up. Quite good. I think if I make this for company I'll do the grilled chicken because its probably classier, idk. =)
Haha, thanks for your comment, you made me smile! This pasta salad is definitely not meant to be healthy, but, grilled chicken would cut down on some calories if anyone happens to be watching their figure! 🙂 I am glad you loved this and I hope your company does too, no matter what kind of chicken you decide to use! 🙂
Bonnie Little says
Suggestions of what to serve with this?
Honestly, we usually have this as a full meal! 🙂
We made half and served it with barbecue ham sandwiches and baked beans. Great meal!
Sandra | A Dash of Sanity says
This looks really flavorful! A sure hit in my house!
Lauren @ Hall Nesting says
I love pasta salad season. And this looks like a great one!
My family will love this pasta salad! I can't wait to make it!
This recipe is absolutely outstanding and my family will love it!
What a fun mash up of so many summer favorites all in one dish!! This is sure to be a winner!
Jessica | Novice Chef says
Now, this is right up my alley! Great for a weekend cookout!
Now THIS is my kind of pasta salad! It looks so creamy and indulgent!