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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.

Be sure to try my Italian Pasta Salad recipe next!

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 10 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
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 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 thicken more upon standing.
  • As you continue with the following steps, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once a boil is reached, cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain once cooked and spread it out on a tray or parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Let cool.
  • Meanwhile, cut the bacon in half and fry in a 12-inch skillet over low heat until crispy on both sides. Set the bacon aside and roughly chop once cooled.
  • Transfer the cooled pasta to a large bowl. Add ½ cup of the combined ranch mixture and toss to coat.
  • Add the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, ¾ of the chopped bacon, BBQ sauce, and another ½ cup of ranch mixture. Toss to combine. 1 cup of the ranch mixture will remain and can be used if/as needed.
  • Transfer to a clean serving bowl and top with remaining bacon. Serve immediately or chill for up to 3 hours prior to serving.

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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26 comments on “BLT Pasta Salad”

  1. This a great recipe!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Stephanie, this is so yummy! I made it exactly as you have it, but made it with Jovial gluten free pasta because I have Celiac. Definitely making it a resident in my recipe box! 💕

  3. Replaced the lettuce with cucumber since we didn’t want the lettuce wilting or getting soggy. Everyone loved it!

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