BLT Pasta Salad combines a classic BLT sandwich with creamy pasta salad and features crispy bacon, juicy tomatoes, crisp lettuce, and fresh mozzarella balls tossed with a homemade ranch dressing.

BLT Pasta Salad in big bowl with spoon

Eek how is it one week until Memorial Day already?! That means grilling out with BBQ bacon burgers is right around the corner.

And of course you have to have side dishes! I usually rotate between Amish Macaroni Salad, Amish Potato Salad, or Italian Potato Salad.

This year I’m thinking of changing it up with a new kind of pasta salad – BLT Pasta Salad!

I know, I know – do you really need another macaroni salad recipe? Can’t you stick with your favorite tried and true dishes?

Yes, yes you do need this BLT pasta salad recipe because it’s loaded with bacon, lettuce, tomato, mozzarella cheese, and homemade ranch dressing.

All of the flavors you love about a classic BLT sandwich with a few added extras.

Bacon and ranch go hand in hand if you ask me, and as a Pittsburgher, we love to eat ranch on everything.

Much like my Caesar pasta salad, I made homemade ranch dressing to toss with the pasta. However, you can easily use store-bought.

For the pasta I used farfalle because the store was out of rotini.

I’m not entirely sure why all of the rotini was gone. Maybe everyone was making antipasto pasta salad at the same time? Personally bowtie pasta is more fun to eat.

The grape tomatoes put me in the mood for caprese salad, so I decided to throw in some fresh mozzarella balls from the local Italian deli.

Maybe it’s not traditional for bacon ranch pasta salad, but who could say no to fresh cheese?

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad in bowl with serving spoon

What is a BLT?

A BLT is a sandwich made with bacon, lettuce, and tomato typically served on toasted bread with mayo. It’s a very simple yet delicious sandwich I ate growing up.

I decided to take those three easy ingredients and turn it into a BLT salad with pasta.

Ingredients For BLT Pasta Salad

Here are the ingredients you need for your bacon ranch pasta salad:

  • Pasta: Short pasta shapes like rotini, penne, or bowtie work best for pasta salad as they hold the dressing well.
  • Mayonnaise: Used as the base of ranch dressing
  • Buttermilk: Used to thin out the mayo
  • Lemon juice: Used to cut through the fat in the dressing
  • Parsley, chives, dill, garlic, salt, and onion powder: Used to season homemade ranch dressing
  • Bacon: It’s not BLT without bacon! Use your favorite kind
  • Tomatoes: I like using grape tomatoes as they’re the same size as the mozzarella balls. However, you can chop up any tomato you’d like.
  • Mozzarella: I like using mozzarella ciliegine (cherry-sized mozzarella balls) for their size, but you can also chop up fresh mozzarella.
  • Red onion: Adds a bit of crunch and flavor
  • Lettuce: I chose romaine, but you can use your favorite lettuce.

Big bowl full of BLT pasta salad with serving spoon

How To Make BLT Pasta Salad

Making your bacon pasta salad with ranch is easy! Here’s how:

  1. Cook the pasta until al dente.
  2. Make the ranch dressing by whisking together mayo, buttermilk, lemon juice, parsley, chives, dill, garlic, salt, and onion powder . Reserve half of the dressing.
  3. Mix together pasta, half of the dressing, bacon, tomatoes, mozzarella, and onion.
  4. Refrigerate at least 1 hour then stir in reserved dressing and lettuce right before serving.

Store leftover pasta salad in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If it dries out, you can stir in a little more milk.

I like to add my dressing in two parts. The first half coats the bowties and ensures they don’t dry out and stick together. Plus they absorb the flavor better while still warm.

Adding the second half right before serving ensures your bacon pasta salad is creamy while eating (just in case the pasta absorbs too much of the dressing).

Should you rinse pasta for pasta salad?

Typically when you cook pasta, you don’t rinse it because you want to keep the starch on it.

However, for pasta salad you always want to rinse it under cold water for two reasons:

  1. It quickly cools the pasta, keeping it from overcooking. Plus you don’t want to mix hot pasta with your dressing because it’ll melt too quickly.
  2. It washes away the starch, which is what makes pasta clump together. By rinsing the pasta, it’ll remain loose and not sticking together.

Bacon ranch pasta salad in big bowl with spoon

What To Serve With BLT Pasta Salad

Because bacon ranch pasta salad is a picnic side dish, you’ll need some more food to go with it! Here’s what to serve with your BLT pasta salad:

BLT Pasta Salad FAQ

Can I make pasta salad ahead of time?

Yes, you can make pasta salad up to 2 days ahead of time. Just stir in the remaining half of the dressing and lettuce right before serving.

Can I use bottled ranch dressing for bacon pasta salad?

Yes, you can use 1 cup store-bought ranch dressing instead of making it homemade.

Can I use regular milk instead of buttermilk?

In theory you can, but ranch dressing needs that tang from the buttermilk.

BLT Pasta Salad in big bowl with spoon

BLT Pasta Salad

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 32 minutes

BLT Pasta Salad combines a classic BLT sandwich with creamy pasta salad and features crispy bacon, juicy tomatoes, crisp lettuce, and fresh mozzarella balls tossed with a homemade ranch dressing.


Ranch Dressing

  • 1 cup full-fat mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature (do not substitute)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste or 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Pasta Salad

  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) uncooked farfalle (bow tie) pasta (can also use rotini or elbow)
  • 1 cup crumbled bacon
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella ciliegine (cherry-sized mozzarella balls), drained and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup chopped romaine lettuce


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add a big handful of salt then add farfalle. Cook as directed on the package until al dente, about 12-14 minutes. Drain into a colander and rinse with cold water. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet to dry.
  2. Make the dressing: Whisk together mayonnaise, buttermilk, lemon juice, parsley, chives, garlic, dill, garlic, salt, and onion powder. Taste and adjust if needed. Reserve half of the dressing.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked pasta, remaining half of the dressing, bacon, tomatoes, mozzarella, and onion. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or until cold (24 hours is preferred to allow the flavors to develop).
  4. Right before serving, add the reserved dressing and lettuce. Serve immediately.

    Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.


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First published June 27, 2016