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BLT Pasta Salad

This BLT Pasta Salad has a classic combination of bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes tossed in a creamy Ranch dressing with pasta and optional additions like avocado and cheese! It’s the BEST side dish idea for a Potluck or BBQ.

A glass bowl filled with BLT Pasta Salad with creamy Ranch dressing.

BLT Pasta Salad

When it comes to summer recipes, you can’t beat a classic pasta salad, and I love the simplicity of this BLT Pasta Salad. It’s so easy to make, and it’s loaded with flavor from crispy thick-cut bacon, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, and perfectly cooked pasta tossed in creamy ranch dressing. These are all of the fresh flavors of summer in a single side dish!

I love using Ranch seasoning combined with sour cream and milk for the dressing. I find it much tastier than bottled Ranch dressing, and the personal bonus for me is that there’s no mayo! 😁

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Fry the bacon slowly over low heat until crispy on each side.  Set aside and chop once cooled. Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente. Drain and drizzle with a little olive oil, let cool. Toss with 1/2 cup Ranch dressing.

Crispy bacon on a plate next to a bowl of bowtie pasta with Ranch dressing.

Add the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, ¾ of the bacon, another ½ cup Ranch dressing, and BBQ sauce. Toss to coat evenly. Top with remaining bacon and serve!

BLT Pasta Salad in a bowl before and after mixing the ingredients together.

Make Ahead Method

  • This pasta salad can be assembled 3 hours ahead of time. Note: The pasta will absorb some of the dressing during this time, so you may need to add more prior to serving. This recipe leaves you with an extra cup of dressing so that you can adjust it to your needs!
  • To make this up to 12 hours beforehand: 
    • Prepare the Dressing and refrigerate.
    • Cook the bacon and chop it up. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
    • Cook the pasta, let it cool, and toss with some of the dressing. Refrigerate in an airtight container overnight.  
    • Store the cleaned/cut lettuce in a freezer bag with the air sealed out.
    • Dice the onions and store in an airtight container.
    • Combine all prepared ingredients within 3 hours of serving.

Pro Tips

  • Bacon: I use Oscar Mayer Thick Cut Bacon. High quality makes a big difference.
  • Dressing: I use Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix, combined with sour cream and milk. I like it better than using bottled dressing for this recipe, but my backup recommendation would be to use 2 cups of Ranch dressing, Marie’s is my brand of choice.
  • I use Sweet Baby Ray’s for the BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce is optional but adds a nice subtle tang and contrast to the Ranch.
  • Optional Additions to this salad include: Avocado, hard boiled eggs, English cucumbers, cheese, chives, and even corn!

Tips for the Pasta:

  • Be sure to use a timer when you boil your pasta to ensure that you don’t overcook it. I like to cook it for 30 seconds less than al dente, as it cools gradually, during which time it finishes cooking. 
  • Salt the pasta water well to ensure that the pasta itself has plenty of flavor. I use 2 tbsp. kosher salt.
  • Don’t rinse your pasta with cool water after it’s drained. Drizzle it with a little olive oil and let it cool on parchment paper or a tray on the counter. The starch on the pasta helps it cling onto the dressing.
  • Other pasta options include rotini and penne.

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Note that the consistency is ideal when served fresh.

A white bowl filled with BLT Pasta Salad topped with creamy Ranch dressing.

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BLT Pasta Salad in a glass bowl with bacon, Lettuce, Tomatoes, and Ranch dressing.

BLT Pasta Salad

5 from 5 ratings
This BLT Pasta Salad has the BEST combination of bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes tossed in a creamy Ranch dressing with pasta and optional additions like avocado and cheese!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk, any kind
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons Ranch seasoning mix
  • 12 strips thick-cut bacon, high quality
  • 1 lb. Farfalle pasta
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, washed/chopped/dried
  • 1 pint cherry Tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/3 cup Red Onions, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ Sauce

Instructions

  • Add the milk, sour cream, and Ranch seasoning to a large measurement cup and whisk to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use. It will appear thin at first, but will thicken more in the fridge.
  • Cook the bacon slowly over low heat until crispy on each side. Set cooked bacon on a paper towel lined plate and chop once cooled.
  • While the bacon cooks, measure out remaining ingredients and begin boiling salted pasta water. Once a boil is reached, cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions. (Set a timer to avoid overcooking.) Drain once cooked and spread it out on a tray or on parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat and let it cool for 5 minutes.
  • Add the cooled pasta to an extra-large bowl. Add ½ cup Ranch dressing and toss to coat evenly. Add the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, ¾ of the bacon, another ½ cup Ranch dressing, and BBQ sauce. Toss to coat evenly. You will have 1 cup extra dressing that you can use if desired.
  • Transfer to a clean serving bowl if preferred and top with remaining bacon. You can serve immediately or refrigerate for 3 hours prior to serving. If serving 3 hours later, consider drizzling a little more dressing on top just before serving. (See notes for longer make-ahead method.)

Notes

Pro Tips:

Make-Ahead Method:
  • This pasta salad can be assembled 3 hours ahead of time. Note: The pasta will absorb some of the dressing during this time, so you may need to add more prior to serving. This recipe leaves you with an extra cup of dressing so that you can adjust it to your needs!
  • To make this up to 12 hours beforehand: 
    • Prepare the Dressing and refrigerate.
    • Cook the bacon and chop it up. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
    • Cook the pasta, let it cool, and toss with some of the dressing. Refrigerate in an airtight container overnight.  
    • Store the cleaned/cut lettuce in a freezer bag with the air sealed out.
    • Dice the onions and store in an airtight container.
    • Combine all prepared ingredients within 3 hours of serving.

Nutritional information provided is an estimate and is per serving. This recipe makes 10 servings.

Nutrition

Calories: 206kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 26mg, Sodium: 541mg, Potassium: 295mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 2059IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 71mg, Iron: 1mg
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12 comments on “BLT Pasta Salad”

  1. I really appreciate the make-ahead directions. I have a bad back, so pre-prepping things ahead of time prevents some of the pain.

  2. Amazing! Love that this isn’t another mayonnaise based salad. It was nice to change it up. Turned out great.

    • Thank you so much Maria! I am not a huge mayo fan so I had to make sure there was an alternative way to make a delicious BLT Pasta Salad without it! I’m glad you enjoyed that aspect of it too!! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review, I really appreciate it! -Stephanie

  3. I have heard of this salad but never made. Do you think I could use macaroni instead? I buy Hormel precooked bacon from Sam’s and love it. Keep package in the freezer and take out what I need. You always have such good recipes!

    Thanks

    • Hey Michelle! You can definitely use macaroni for this pasta salad if you’d like! I love the convenience of pre-cooked bacon as well, especially when I don’t need to utilize the drippings later on in the recipe, so this one is perfect for that! 🙂 Enjoy, and I’m so happy that you are liking the recipes! -Stephanie

  4. Loved this!  Super easy and perfect for hot summer dinner!  I did not have bbq sauce. Can’t wait to try again with Bbq sauce. I did add fresh basil and a little salt and pepper. 

    • I am sooo happy that you enjoyed it Sarah! And I love that you’ll add the BBQ sauce next time, it’s subtle but adds a nice little something extra! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review, I really appreciate it! -Stephanie

  5. I made this past weekend as a trial run before our Fourth of July BBQ with a few close friends. It was amazing! My family couldn’t believe how good it was. I followed your directions using the ranch seasoning packet, sour cream, and milk instead of the store-bought ranch dressing and it was SO flavorful and creamy! I know this will be a hit at our BBQ and I’ll be making it for the next hundred years. It’s also colorful and will look great at all future summer parties. Next time I will throw in some of your suggested toppings like avocado!! Mmmm…..Thank you!

  6. You are the best.  LOVE LOVE salad thank you!!! Easy Peasy. Went great with the bbq

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