Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is the ultimate summer side! With copious amounts of bacon, a perfectly tangy ranch dressing, and fresh vegetables, this cold tortellini pasta salad is sure to please!
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
When temperatures outside start to rise, I immediately start craving cold, refreshing salads.
And while I do love greens, there’s nothing like a cold tortellini pasta salad to fill you right up!
They pretty much incorporate all my favorites into one bowl: pasta, cheese, veggies, and yummy dressings and toppings. Summer salad perfection!!
Want to combine the best of both worlds? You’ve got to try this Green Goddess Pasta Salad with veggies, bacon, and eggs in a creamy herbaceous dressing.
My BLT Pasta Salad is delicious and filling too, and a great option when you need to hold off on the cheese!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Pasta – You can use refrigerated or frozen tortellini for this bacon ranch salad recipe.
Want to go the extra mile? Make these cheese-stuffed noodles from scratch!
- Veggies – Dice half a red onion, slice grape tomatoes in half, and chop bell peppers and English cucumber into bite-sized pieces.
Sliced black olives are easy — just open a can and drain!
- Cheese – I prefer to use sharp cheddar, but you can use your favorite as long as it is firm and easy to slice into cubes.
- Dressing – Find a quick and easy ranch dressing recipe below, or grab a bottle of your favorite. This bacon ranch pasta salad is delicious either way!
Creamy Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe Tips
- Don’t overcook the pasta. Cook just to al dente according to the package directions.
If overcooked, the tortellini will fall apart when tossed with the other bacon ranch salad ingredients.
- Rinse pasta in cold water. This will stop it from cooking further.
Drain and immediately add the tortellini to a large bowl, then toss with half of the dressing to keep it from sticking together.
It will also soften a bit after soaking up some of the dressing.
- Make fresh bacon crumbles. Bagged salad topping crumbles are tough and chewy — gross! Instead, cook up thick slices of bacon in the oven or the air fryer.
Once cooled, you can chop or break strips into smaller pieces for a crispy addition to your creamy tortellini pasta salad!
Kitchen Tools You Will Need
- Colander – This kitchen essential makes life so much easier! You can use it to drain pasta or wash veggies and fruit.
- Cutting Board – Grab a big solid cutting board so you can prep all your veggies on one surface. I use my cutting board daily, so it’s worth the investment!
- Quality Knives – Quality knives make prep time much quicker and are important for safety as well. If you make one kitchen investment, I believe it should be in quality knives.
Bacon Ranch Salad FAQ
Honestly, just about anything. I don’t know if I would go so far as to use fish, but you can combine tortellini with bacon, chicken, ham, steak, and even shrimp!
You bet! In fact, it’s even tastier the next day after the flavors have had time to meld together.
Combine tortellini with bacon, cheese, and veggies, then toss with only half of the dressing.
Store the remaining dressing separately in the fridge, then add to bacon ranch pasta salad just before serving.
Leftovers will keep for 3 to 4 days when stored in an airtight container.
Keep in mind that the veggies will soften and the tortellini will absorb most of the dressing the longer it sits. So the sooner you can gobble up leftovers, the better!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipes
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad with Tortellini + Video
- 15 ounces cheese-filled tortellini pasta
- 16 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 bell peppers, 1 orange and 1 yellow, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 English cucumber, cut into spears and then sliced
- 1/2 medium red onion, rough dice
- 4.25 ounce can sliced black olives
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
- 1 cup bacon crumbles, 1 pound cooked, cooled and crumbled
Easy Ranch Dressing
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons dry ranch salad dressing mix
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves minced garlic, or 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon course ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook tortellini according to directions on the package (do not add salt to the water). Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the salad dressing: In a medium bowl whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, and milk. Add remaining dressing ingredients. Place in refrigerator until ready to dress the salad.
- Combine tortellini 1/2 of salad dressing and toss to combine.
- Add remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl, toss until combined. Reserve the remaining dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss with salad tongs until well coated.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published May 2015, updated and republished July 2023
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