Our BLT Pasta Salad recipe combines rotini pasta with crispy bacon, romaine lettuce, red onion, and juicy tomatoes for an easy-to-make summer salad. Topped off with a creamy ranch dressing, this pasta salad recipe is perfect for picnics and BBQs during the warm summer months.
Best Pasta Salad Recipe
Nothing compares to the classic combination of bacon, lettuce and tomato in a BLT sandwich. But why not take this classic combo and make it even better?
Our delicious pasta salad is made with crisp bacon, crunchy lettuce, juicy tomatoes, cooked to al dente pasta noodles and a creamy dressing that ties everything together.
Perfect for summer holidays or the fourth of July BBQs, this classic pasta salad will be an instant hit at any gathering. Enjoy it as a main dish or side dish!
BLT Pasta Salad Ingredients:
- Noodles: We prefer rotini noodles for this pasta salad, because they hold onto the dressing, bacon, and onions and nicely. Penne, rigatoni, or bow tie pasta are also great options.
- Bacon: Center-cut bacon is my favorite since it cooks up crispy every time. Thick-cut bacon is also a great option. Store-bought bacon bits work, too. You'll need a lot for this dish, so we prefer to use pre-cooked bacon instead of bacon bits.
- Lettuce: Chopped romaine lettuce is our pick, but iceberg, spinach, or kale make good substitutes.
- Tomatoes: Cherry or grape tomatoes are perfect for this pasta salad. They're easy to slice and not super seedy or watery.
- Onion: We love a little thinly sliced purple onion, but too much can be overwhelming. Sweet white onions works great in this pasta salad, too. Use whatever you like on a BLT or whatever you have on hand.
- Dressing: Ranch salad dressing is our pick for this summer salad. Either creamy homemade ranch dressing or store-bought works. Have a little extra on hand to freshen up the pasta salad if it sits in the fridge for a while.
How to Make Creamy BLT Pasta Salad:
Scroll to the recipe card below for ingredient amounts and full instructions.
Our easy pasta salad recipe requires a little prep time, but overall it's super simple to toss together.
- Start by cooking the rotini to al dente or about 1 to 2 minutes less than stated on the package directions. While the noodles boil, prepare the bacon.
- Cook the bacon until it reaches the desired crispness then break into bite-sized pieces.
- Chop the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and slice the tomatoes in half or quarters. Thinly slice the onions and set aside.
- Once the noodles finish cooking, drain away the starchy water and rinse the noodles in cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Place the rotini, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and onions into a large bowl. Pour on the ranch dressing and toss to combine.
- Add the crunchy bacon and toss again. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Add extra crumbled bacon and green onions as garnish. Serve cold.
Tips and Variations:
- Use short pasta noodles. They are the perfect size for the other ingredients. Groves in smaller noodles hold onto the creamy ranch dressing and bacon better than longer, thin noodles.
- Save some dressing. After this pasta salad sits in the fridge for several hours, the noodles soak up some of the ranch dressing. You may want to add a little extra to freshen it up a bit.
- Try turkey bacon. Turkey bacon makes a good substitute for classic bacon. Plus, it takes less time to cook and there's less mess.
- Use mayonnaise or sour cream. In place of ranch dressing try using mayo, sour cream or a combination of the two. You could even add a little mayo or sour cream to ranch dressing. It may be necessary to add a spritz of lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, or onion powder to adjust the seasonings.
Refrigerator: Store leftover pasta salad in the fridge for up to 4 days. The longer it's stored, the drier it will become. Have some extra dressing handy.
Recipe Card with Ingredient Amounts and Instructions
- 8 ounces short pasta, penne, rotini, bowtie, etc.
- ½ pound bacon, cooked, chopped or crumbled
- 2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- ½ cup purple onion, thinly sliced
- 1 ⅓ cups ranch dressing, store bought or homemade
- Cook the pasta to al dente, about 1 to 2 minutes less than the package instructions state. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.8 ounces short pasta
- In a large large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and ranch dressing. Toss to ensure the ranch dressing coats all the ingredients evenly.2 cups romaine lettuce1 pint cherry tomatoes½ cup purple onion1 ⅓ cups ranch dressing
- Add the bacon just before to serving.½ pound bacon
- Serve cold with extra crumbled bacon and green onions as garnish.
- Scroll up and see the post for tips, FAQs, and storage recommendations.