Crack Pasta Salad

Crack Pasta Salad recipe – loaded with cheddar bacon and ranch. This stuff is seriously THE BEST! I could make a meal out of this pasta salad! Penne pasta, olive oil, buttermilk, mayonnaise, ranch dressing mix, bacon, cheddar cheese, and parsley. Makes a ton. Great for a potluck. Can easily half the recipe. We LOVE this easy and delicious side dish recipe!

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Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe

This Crack Pasta Salad should come with a warning label. It is dangerously delicious!! Pasta tossed in a creamy ranch dressing, cheddar cheese, and bacon. SO good! I love to make a batch on Sunday night to eat during the week with lunch and dinner. I could honestly make a meal out of just this yummy pasta. It is that good! This has quickly become a family favorite. One bite and it is sure to become one of your favorite pasta salad recipes too!

What does CRACK mean?

If a recipe has crack in the title it means that it has cheddar, bacon, and ranch in the recipe. It all started with my Crack Dip way back in 2007. I made the dip for a Titans football game. Everyone went crazy over it. We couldn’t stop eating it and said it was like crack. The name stuck. The flavor combination is amazing. This asparagus is no exception.

bowl of cheddar bacon ranch pasta salad

How to Make Crack Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is super easy to make with only a few ingredients. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Boil pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, mayonnaise, ranch seasoning mix, and buttermilk. Add cooked pasta, cooked chopped bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, and fresh parsley to the dressing mixture. Stir the pasta into the dressing to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl and give it a good stir before serving.

Helpful Tips & Frequently Asked Questions

  • You can use any short pasta that you prefer. Penne, rotini pasta, bowtie, or cavatappi.
  • Here is our recipe for Homemade Ranch Dressing Mixhttps://www.plainchicken.com/homemade-ranch-dressing-mix/
  • Use a good quality mayo such as Duke’s or Hellmann’s.
  • This is a great base recipe. Feel free to add some fresh vegetables to the pasta mixture. Broccoli, cherry tomatoes, peppers, green onions, peas, and black olives are all great.
  • Can Crack Pasta Salad be made in advance? Yes! I actually think this pasta salad tastes better the next day. Refrigerating the pasta overnight gives the flavors time to develop. 
    • The pasta salad will keep about 5 days in the refrigerator.
  • Add rotisserie chicken or chopped turkey to the pasta salad to turn this into a main dish.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
bowl of cheddar bacon ranch pasta salad

What to Serve with Cold Pasta Salad Recipe

We love this pasta with sandwiches, burgers, grilled chicken, steaks – anything! This recipe makes a lot of food. It is the perfect side dish for parties, cookouts, and potlucks. You can easily divide the recipe in half if you don’t need to feed a crowd. Whip up a big batch ASAP! You won’t be disappointed!

Here are a few of our favorite recipes from the blog that go great with this easy side dish:

Tzatziki Chicken Salad

Tzatziki Chicken Salad – seriously delicious! Chicken, romaine lettuce, pepperoncini, tomatoes, feta, Kalamata olives, dill, red onion tossed in quick…

The Masters Egg Salad

The Masters Egg Salad Sandwich Recipe – you can’t watch the Masters without eating an egg salad sandwich! This recipe…

Best Burgers EVER!

Best Burgers EVER! – these are hands down the best burgers I’ve ever eaten! SO good!!! Hamburger, onion, basil, teriyaki…

bowl of crack pasta salad with text overlay

Crack Pasta Salad

Yield: 12 people
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Crack Pasta Salad recipe – loaded with cheddar bacon and ranch. This stuff is seriously THE BEST! I could make a meal out of this pasta salad! Penne pasta, olive oil, buttermilk, mayonnaise, ranch dressing mix, bacon, cheddar cheese, and parsley. Makes a ton. Great

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16-oz) box penne pasta
  • cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (1-oz) packet Ranch dressing mix
  • ½ cup cooked chopped bacon
  • cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions:

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool.
  • Whisk together oil, buttermilk, mayonnaise, and ranch dressing mix in a large bowl. Add cooked pasta, cheddar cheese, chopped bacon, and parsley. Toss to coat.
  • Cover and refrigerate 8 hours before serving.

Notes:

  • You can use any short pasta that you prefer. Penne, rotini pasta, bowtie, or cavatappi.
  • Here is our recipe for Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix: https://www.plainchicken.com/homemade-ranch-dressing-mix/
  • Use a good quality mayo such as Duke’s or Hellmann’s.
  • This is a great base recipe. Feel free to add some fresh vegetables to the pasta mixture. Red onion, cherry tomatoes, peppers, green onions, peas, and black olives are all great.
  • Can Crack Pasta Salad be made in advance? Yes! I actually think this pasta salad tastes better the next day. Refrigerating the pasta overnight gives the flavors time to develop. 
    • The pasta salad will keep about 5 days in the refrigerator.
  • Add rotisserie chicken or chopped turkey to the pasta salad to turn this into a main dish.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Steph

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Pin this recipe to your favorite board now to remember it later!

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bowl of crack pasta salad with text overlay

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Comments

  1. This sounds yummy, I am planning on making this for 4th of July cookout!! The buttermilk is the liquid/dairy, correct? I’m sure it is, it makes sense but I’d hate to mess it up 🙂

    Thanks!

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