Crack Chicken Pasta Salad

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet

Crack Chicken Pasta Salad is made with the ultimate trio of shredded chicken breasts in ranch dressing with crispy bacon on a bed of al dente noodles!

This is perfect for your barbecue parties and potlucks this summer! Bring this along with the rest of the party staples like BBQ Pork Chops, Grilled Potatoes, and Creamy Tomato Salad!

Crack Chicken Pasta Salad

Crack Chicken Pasta Salad

Crack Chicken Pasta Salad is not your ordinary side dish. It is packed with flavors from the ranch to the crispy bacon! It is hearty, creamy, and cheesy!

What’s not to love? This chicken recipe has been the favorite of many of our viewers and followers. It just got everything that you want in a dish – carbs, protein, and fiber. It could very well be the main dish!

The combination of flavors can be enjoyed both warm, as it is, or cold as in this salad recipe. Since this is extremely flavorful, the noodles provide a good balance. And the coolness gives welcome relief from the summer heat!

And making this dish will be a breeze! It does not take much of your time and energy as this is a salad, you basically will just toss everything, and you’re done!

What is pasta salad?

It is a kind of dish that has a noodle as the main ingredient that is served cold. Moreover, the dressing may be oil-based or mayonnaise-based, as in any other salad.

Crack Chicken Pasta Salad

What is crack chicken pasta salad

The term crack refers to the combination of chicken, bacon, ranch dressing, and cheddar cheese. And those are the main ingredients in this recipe with the addition of noodles.

What do you need to make crack chicken pasta salad:

You can easily find the ingredients for this dish. Some of these might even be present already in your pantry. Prepare the following ingredients:

  • noodles of your choice
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • cooked bacon
  • cheddar cheese
  • green onions
  • cherry tomatoes
  • ranch dressing

How do you make crack chicken pasta salad:

  • Boil the noodles: Follow the instructions on the packaging to ensure that the outcome will be al dente.
  • Cook the white meat: Season the breasts with salt, pepper, and paprika. Then, over medium heat, cook the seasoned breasts in extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Assemble: In a bowl, combine and toss all the ingredients except for the chopped green onions. Then, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve: Garnish with green onions then, serve cold for best results.

Crack Chicken Pasta Salad

What pasta can be used?

You can use any type that you like. But for this kind of dish, it is better if it can hold sauces well.

Though I like to use bowtie or macaroni for this recipe, you may also use any of the following:

  • fusilli or spirals
  • penne
  • shell
  • rotini

Also, any tubular type will do. Just avoid the likes of spaghetti and linguine as they hold not much sauce.

How to cook noodles for pasta salad:

It is either you cook it directly with the chicken or separately, then, just combine before serving. Either way, you must be able to produce the same results.

If you will cook it with the white meat, then, simply saute the meat, then, add water and the pasta. It will be cooked on the same skillet. And the meat, too, will be cooked in the water which will help moisten it. Then, drain the excess water.

If you will cook the noodles separately, boil some water and add salt. Then, add in the noodles. The cooking time may vary, and it is best to check the instructions according to the manufacturer. By default, those instructions are to result in al dente noodles.

Crack Chicken Pasta Salad

How to store:

  • Refrigerate: Typically, you can refrigerate dishes like this and consume within 3 days. Put it in an airtight container once completely cooled.
  • Freeze: This does not freeze well as the tomatoes may ruin it. But you can definitely make this in advance without the tomatoes and it will stay good for 2 to 3 months. Just thaw, add some more dressing and toss in the tomatoes right before serving.

Recipe Tips:

  • When cooking noodles, make sure to add in as much salt as you can in order to season well.
  • For a healthier choice, you can switch to whole wheat instead of the regular noodles. It has more fiber and fewer calories.
  • You can always add some more bacon. especially as a topping, for more texture.
  • When cooking bacon in a skillet, keep the oil and saute the chicken in it. It will become more flavorful.
Save Recipe
5 from 1 reviews
Crack Chicken Pasta Salad
Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 8 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Total time: 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 lb.  bow tie pasta or elbow macaroni 
  • 1 tablespoon  extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 2 lb.  boneless skinless chicken breasts 
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon  pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon  paprika 
  • 10 slices  cooked bacon  (crumbled)
  • 1 1/2 cup  cheddar cheese  (cut into small cubes)
  • 1/4 cup  green onions 
  • 2 cups  cherry tomatoes  (halved)
  • 1/2 cup  ranch dressing 

Instructions

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika, and cook until golden and cooked through, 8 minutes per side. Let rest 10 minutes, then cut into 1-inch pieces.
  3. To the bowl with pasta, add chicken, bacon, cheese, green onion, tomatoes, and ranch and toss until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Garnish with chopped green onions before serving.
Calories: 587 Carbohydrates: 45 Protein: 40 Fat: 25 Saturated Fat: 6 Cholesterol: 100 Sodium: 688 Potassium: 713 Fiber: 2 Sugar: 2 Vitamin A: 330 Vitamin C: 11 Calcium: 118 Iron: 1.7
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Crack Chicken Pasta Salad

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Comments

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Brianne Tursi Manz

This is one excellent pasta salad! I can't wait to make it for our next outing! It'll be an instant hit!

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Tara Pittman

This looks like a great pot luck recipe. It looks so easy to make.

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Dawn Nieves

This needs to get in my bely lol!! It looks so good I can't wait to try it

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Rachel

Is there anything that ranch doesn’t make better. This looks absolutely delicious.

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Heather

That first photo in your post looks sooo good! I love healthy combos like this!

Reply

Heather

There are so many bright colors to this recipe. Makes it really pop and stand out. Looks like it's going to be great.

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Sherry

This salad looks so good! I could eat this for dinner all on its own. I love pasta salad.

Reply

Toni

This looks really good! I seriously need to give it a try!

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Ruth I.

This looks delicious! I am drooling over this right now. I need to make it soon!

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