Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad is a scrumptious side dish with the feisty flavor of your favorite chicken wings! With tender pasta, fresh veggies, and a tongue-tickling dressing, this rigatoni pasta salad is perfect for potlucks, picnics and summer cookouts!
I love the tangy taste of buffalo wing sauce so much! Obviously, it can be used to make the sauce for chicken wings, but there are SO many other delicious ways to use it!
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
My Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad combines the best flavors of buffalo chicken wings, tangy ranch dressing, garden veggies and rigatoni pasta. It’s one of my favorite potluck recipes, and I think it will be one of your favorites, too!
It’s really easy to throw together, and you can even make it the day before. Plus, it’s easy to transport to a picnic or pool party. Not to mention, it’s totally delicious!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Shredded Cooked Chicken – You can use any type of cooked chicken you want. Cook it fresh or use up leftovers. If you’re in a hurry or feeling lazy, pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store!
- Veggies – I like to keep things simple with this pasta salad recipe, so I just use tomatoes and celery. Feel free to add any other veggies you like. Shredded carrots or baby peas would be fantastic additions!
- Ranch Dressing – I’m ranch dressing fan, but you can substitute blue cheese dressing if you prefer. You can even add some crumbled blue cheese if you’d like!
Making Rigatoni Pasta Salad
- Make the salad dressing.
The key to the feisty flavor of this chicken pasta salad is the creamy dressing, made with a combination of ranch dressing and buffalo sauce. It’s SUPER simple to make!
Just whisk the two together in a bowl, or shake them up in a mason jar. Then set it aside while you make the rest of the salad.
- Cook and drain the pasta.
You want to drain the water but do not rinse the pasta. Keeping the starch on it helps the dressing to stick to the rigatoni.
- Add the veggies and shredded chicken to a serving bowl.
- Add the pasta and dressing.
Toss the rigatoni with shredded chicken, cherry tomatoes, and celery. Then pour the dressing over everything and give it a good toss so that’s it thoroughly coated.
That’s it! Just a few simple steps and you have an amazing summer pasta salad that tastes like the classic buffalo wings that everyone loves.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
2 Easy Ways to Shred Chicken
You’ll need to shred the chicken for this pasta salad recipe, and there are two really simple ways to do it.
- Use two forks to pull the chicken into shreds, or
- Use a stand mixer. Just place your cooked chicken breasts in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the bread hook attachment or paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on medium high power and run it for 3-5 minutes. It makes perfectly shredded chicken every time!
Supplies for Making Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
- Large Pot – You’ll need a pot to boil the noodles.
- Snap ‘N Strain Strainer – This strainer makes it so easy to pour the water out of your noodle pot without losing a single noodle!
- Pyrex Bowl with Lid – It’s perfect for transporting this pasta salad to all of your summer parties.
Make Ahead Instructions
It’s really simple to make the buffalo chicken pasta salad ahead. Just make the entire recipe the night before you need it, then store the pasta salad it in a sealed container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.
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Other Summer Pasta Salads
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
- 16 ounces rigatoni pasta
- 2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
- 1/4 cup ranch dressing
- 1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 5 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain in a colander.
- Add cooked pasta, cooked and shredded chicken, celery, and cherry tomatoes to a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, combine ranch dressing, buffalo wing sauce, and garlic powder. Pour dressing over the pasta and toss everything together to combine. Serve and enjoy!
- Store the rigatoni salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use within 5 days.
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 2018, updated and republished May 2022.
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