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Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad

Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad

Welcome to your new favorite: our creamy ranch pasta salad. This recipe features a homemade ranch dressing that’s fresh and full of flavor—much tastier than anything you’d buy at the store. It’s perfect for any gathering, easy to make, and can be customized with your favorite add-ins and vegetables. Plus, this salad holds up well, whether you’re enjoying it today or saving some for later.

If you love ranch dressing as much as we do, be sure to check out our homemade ranch seasoning blend and our chicken bacon ranch pizza.

Why Our Recipe

  • Homemade ranch dressing that’s quick and easy to make.
  • Flexible ingredients so you can adjust it to your personal taste.
  • Keeps well which makes it good for making ahead or meal prep.

Extreme close up view of creamy ranch pasta salad.

Before you get started, here’s a quick look at what you’ll need to make your creamy ranch pasta salad shine. We’ve kept things simple with common pantry staples, and there’s plenty of room for creativity. Whether you stick to the basics or toss in your favorite veggies, this recipe is all about making it your own.

Ingredient Notes

  • Pasta: Rotini is preferred for its ability to capture dressing, but bowtie, penne, farfalle, or fusilli are good substitutes.
  • Vegetables: Start with broccoli, English cucumber, bell pepper, and red onion. Feel free to mix in other favorites like cherry tomatoes or shredded carrots.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Cubes add richness, though feta or mozzarella are tasty alternatives.
  • Mayonnaise: The base, replaceable with Greek yogurt for a lighter dressing.
  • Milk: Adjust the amount to get the right consistency, with any milk type working.
  • Seasonings: Granulated garlic, dried parsley, chives, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Adjust according to taste or use a packet of dry ranch seasoning.

More Add-In Options

Looking to add a little extra crunch and color to your creamy ranch pasta salad? Try tossing in some sliced cherry tomatoes for a pop of juicy sweetness, or shredded carrots for a delightful crunch. Spinach or arugula can add a fresh, peppery note, while sliced olives or artichoke hearts bring a Mediterranean flair.

Overhead view of a bowl filled with easy ranch pasta salad.Overhead view of a bowl filled with easy ranch pasta salad.

Chef’s Tip: Cooking the Pasta

Be sure to cook your pasta just to al dente. This means the pasta should be tender but still have a bit of bite to it. Overcooking the pasta can make it too soft, especially since it will continue to absorb the dressing and soften further as it sits. Cooking it al dente ensures that your pasta salad doesn’t turn to mush as it sits.

Storage Instructions

Refrigerate in an airtight container. It should stay good for up to 5 days. No need to warm it up, of course! Just serve cold.

Freezing is not recommended as the mayonnaise-based dressing and vegetables might not thaw well, losing their crispness and becoming watery.

More Pasta Salad Goodness

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Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad
Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad

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