Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
This Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad reminds me of the boxed Suddenly Salad product you can buy in the store. Only better!
(Post modified with new photos on 6/4/23.)
What’s not to love? Macaroni, Bacon, Peas, Carrots, and Ranch Dressing. Well, maybe you could add in some cheddar cheese, but it’s certainly not necessary, as it’s pretty tasty the way it is.
Pasta salads and side dishes are great for summer picnics or barbecues. Serve them cold or hot and make as little or as much as you need, simply by adjusting the recipe. Sometimes I use macaroni in this salad, while other times I use small pasta shells. It just depends on what I have in my pantry.
More Pasta Salads
Ingredients for Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
(See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.)
- macaroni (or small shells)
- ranch dressing mix
- sour cream
- half and half cream
- dried minced onion
- garlic powder
- frozen peas
- diced pimentos
Instructions on Making this Recipe
Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.
In a medium saucepan, cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl, combine ranch seasoning mix, mayonnaise, sour cream and half-and half cream. Whisk until smooth.
Transfer the cooked macaroni or shells in a large bowl along with the cooked bacon, garden peas, shredded carrot, and diced pimento. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently stir to combine.
Place the salad in a pretty serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir before serving. This recipe will serve 4-6 people.
A Few Tips for This Recipe
You may use dried macaroni or shells for this recipe. I tend to prefer the shells, but I don’t always have it in my pantry.
Use real mayo, not salad dressing like Miracle Whip. It is too sweet for this recipe.
For the Ranch Dressing Mix, you can measure out what you need from an individual packet. Or do what I do. Since I have several recipes that use the ranch mix, I will either Make My Own and store it in a container with my spices. Or buy an 8 oz. container of Hidden Valley. Both of these are less expensive than buying the individual packets.
One time-saver I’ve found is to cook additional bacon at breakfast if you know you’re going to need it later in the day. Just stick the extra in the fridge until it’s needed. Then when you’re ready to make your salad, all you have to do is break it up or crumble into the desired size that you need.
Before serving, you may need to add a bit more half and half to the salad as the macaroni tends to soak up the liquid in the dish. Try a tablespoon at a time until you have the desired consistency.
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is perfect side dish for any summer picnic, barbecue, or potluck dinner. Our sons-in-law love it! Serve it with Grilled Burgers, BBQ Baby Back Ribs, or Honey-Glazed Grilled Chicken Thighs.
See more Salad Recipes Here. Browse Picnic Ideas Here. View Backyard Barbecue Menu Ideas Here.
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- 1 1/2 cups dried macaroni or small shells
- 5 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 cup real mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons half-and-half
- 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning mix
- 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup frozen peas thawed
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 2 tablespoons diced pimentos
- In a medium saucepan, cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, cook bacon until browned. When cooled, crumble into small pieces.
- In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, half-and half, and ranch seasoning mix. Whisk until smooth.
- Stir in crumbled bacon, thawed peas, shredded carrots and pimentos. Slowly add the cooled macaroni and stir until combined.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir before serving. Serves 4-6.