BBQ Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe

This chicken penne pasta salad is brimming with the most delicious ingredients… Salty bacon, creamy avocado, bright tomatoes, hearty pasta, lean grilled protein and luscious buttermilk ranch dressing.

Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 438 kcal
Author Holly Sander


For The Parmesan Buttermilk Ranch:

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (or more Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional – salt at the end only if needed)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

For The Pasta Salad:

  • 1 cup Parmesan Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  • 10 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1 pound chicken breasts (boneless & skinless)
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes)
  • ½ red onion - sliced, then cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 2 avocados
  • Salt and pepper


For The Parmesan Buttermilk Ranch:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl or mason jar.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For The Pasta Salad:

  1. Make the dressing and refrigerate until ready to use (this can be made a day or two ahead).

  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees to cook bacon.  Also preheat grill to high heat for the chicken breasts.

  3. Line a large baking sheet with tin foil (with the dull side facing up), add the strips of bacon, and bake for 13-15 minutes.  Place bacon on a plate lined with paper towels, and set aside to cool.  When cool, chop bacon into ½-inch pieces.

  4. Meanwhile, season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Spritz with grill spray and grill 6-8 minutes per side, depending on how large each breast is.  Use a digital thermometer to temp chicken – and make sure internal temperature of chicken is 165F.  Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes, then slice into ¼-inch slices and cut slices into bite-sized pieces.

  5. Cook pasta to package instructions, stirring in 1 tablespoon salt to the water before adding pasta for flavor.  Drain cooked pasta and set aside.

  6. Slice and cut avocados into 1 inch pieces.  Cut the tomatoes in half.

  7. Add the pasta, bacon, grilled chicken, red onions, avocado, and tomatoes to a large bowl. Pour dressing over and fold all the ingredients together.

  8. Serve at room temperature or chill and serve cold.

Recipe Notes

If possible make dressing ahead at least 1 hour to allow flavors to come together.