BLT Pasta Salad

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Inspired by the classic sandwich recipe, you need just 7 ingredients and 20 minutes to add this easy BLT Pasta Salad to your potluck menu. Try it for brown bag lunches and picnics, too.

A bowl of BLT Pasta salad.


 

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for BLT pasta salad.

Ingredient notes

  • Bowtie pasta: If desired, swap in another sturdy small- or medium-cut noodle like cavatappi, rotini, orecchiette, malfalda, or radiatore.
  • Ranch dressing: Use a cup from a bottle of store-bought salad dressing or make your own homemade ranch dressing by whisking together ½ cup buttermilk, ½ cup mayonnaise, 6 tablespoons sour cream, 1 tablespoon minced red onion, 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, a pinch of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper). For Bacon-Ranch Dressing, mix in 2 tablespoons of chopped cooked bacon.
  • Cooked bacon: For the crispiest results, I suggest baking it on a wire rack-topped sheet pan in the oven (400 degrees for 10-15 minutes). Alternatively, you can fry bacon in a skillet on the stovetop.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse pasta under cold water until cool. Shake out any excess water.
A colander filled with cooked bow tie pasta.
  1. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together ranch dressing, mayonnaise, and red wine vinegar. In a large bowl, toss together pasta, tomatoes, bacon and lettuce. Stir in mayonnaise dressing until thoroughly combined.
A bowl of BLT Pasta salad.
  1. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. If you don’t season with sufficiently, this dish might taste bland.
A bowl of BLT Pasta salad.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 8 (1-cup) servings (2 quarts total).
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: The dressing can be made the day before and stored covered in the refrigerator. The pasta can be cooked, drained, rinsed, and cooled up to 1 day in advance. The vegetables can be prepped 1 day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
  • Pasta rinsing: It’s important to rinse noodles for pasta salad to ensure they don’t get gummy or stick together when serving chilled or at room temperature. You’ll also see this rinsing technique used in my Italian Pasta Salad, Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad, California Pasta Salad, and Easy Cold Pasta Salad.
  • More mix-ins: Get creative with diced cucumbers, cubes of cheese, diced avocado, or your favorite fresh herbs (fresh dill or chives would be amazing here).
A bowl of BLT Pasta salad.

Ranch Dressing Recipe

This made-from-scratch Ranch Dressing recipe is thick, creamy, and packed with fresh herbs, just the way you and your vegetables want it. It’s perfect for dipping, dressing, and tossing!

5 minutes
View Recipe

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A bowl of BLT Pasta salad.

BLT Pasta Salad

Inspired by the classic sandwich recipe, you need just 7 ingredients and 20 minutes to add this easy BLT Pasta Salad to your potluck menu. Try it for brown bag lunches and picnics, too.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings (1 cup each)
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Calories 535
5 from 23 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse pasta under cold water until cool. Shake out any excess water.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together ranch dressing, mayonnaise, and red wine vinegar.
  • In a large bowl, toss together pasta, tomatoes, bacon and lettuce. Stir in dressing until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. If you don't season with sufficiently, this dish might taste bland.

Notes

  1. Bowtie pasta: If desired, swap in another sturdy small- or medium-cut noodle like cavatappi, rotini, orecchiette, malfalda, or radiatore.
  2. Ranch dressing: Use a cup from a bottle of store-bought salad dressing or make your own homemade ranch dressing by whisking together ½ cup buttermilk, ½ cup mayonnaise, 6 tablespoons sour cream, 1 tablespoon minced red onion, 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, a pinch of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper). For Bacon-Ranch Dressing, mix in 2 tablespoons of chopped cooked bacon.
  3. Cooked bacon: For the crispiest results, I suggest baking it on a wire rack-topped sheet pan in the oven (400 degrees for 10-15 minutes). Alternatively, you can fry bacon in a skillet on the stovetop.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes 8 (1-cup) servings (2 quarts total).
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  6. Make ahead: The dressing can be made the day before and stored covered in the refrigerator. The pasta can be cooked, drained, rinsed, and cooled up to 1 day in advance. The vegetables can be prepped 1 day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
  7. Pasta rinsing: It’s important to rinse noodles for pasta salad to ensure they don’t get gummy or stick together when serving chilled or at room temperature. You’ll also see this rinsing technique used in my Italian Pasta Salad, Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad, California Pasta Salad, and Easy Cold Pasta Salad.
  8. More mix-ins: Get creative with diced cucumbers, cubes of cheese, diced avocado, or your favorite fresh herbs (fresh dill or chives would be amazing here).

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cupCalories: 535kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 8gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 21gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 461mgPotassium: 199mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 196IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for posting the OG recipe with peas and mayo! I’ve made that version for years! It’s always my go to for potlucks and family holiday events. I have it saved on my Pinterest account and printed at home. I was just making a grocery list and wanted to make sure I had everything. I was so confused that it suddenly had no peas and ranch. The OG is my favorite pasta salad and great for family members and friends that may be sensitive to dairy. Just wanted to let you know that people do love it!5 stars

  2. A family favorite for sure! Great for gatherings and summer meals . Our family eats this all year round and never have any leftovers

  3. What happened to your BLT Pasta salad made with peas instead of lettuce & no avocado? I made it a few times & had saved the link but now the link takes me to a different version of a BLT Pasta salad? It even discussed how the green peas mimic the lettuce as lettuce can get wilted & doesn’t stand up & I agree with that. I searched your site for the version I prefer but can’t find it?? HELP!!!

    1. Hi Julie Anne, I’m so sorry about that. I emailed you the PDF of the original recipe that you used to make (the OG BLT pasta salad). I changed it because I had too many complaints and I didn’t know anyone who made it ACTUALLY liked it! Ha ha!

      Just for reference, here it is. Thank you for your comment! -Meggan

      BLT Pasta Salad

      INGREDIENTS:
      1 pound mini shells or other small pasta
      Salt and freshly ground black pepper
      1 cup mayonnaise
      3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
      1 cup grape tomatoes halved
      1 cup frozen peas thawed
      4 ounces bacon fried, drained, and crumbled

      INSTRUCTIONS:
      1. Bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 8 to 10
      minutes.
      2. Drain and rinse pasta under cold water until cool. Shake out any excess water.
      3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise and red wine vinegar. In a large bowl, toss
      together pasta, tomatoes, peas, and bacon. Stir in mayonnaise dressing until thoroughly combined.
      4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. TASTE for seasoning. If you don’t season with sufficiently, this dish
      might taste bland.

    2. Thank you!!!!! I went to do the same thing and found it changed! Thanks for asking, and thanks for putting in comments!

  4. Love it! I was able to make it vegan by using veganaise, soy bacon bits, and to give it added protein, chickpea noodles. My non-vegan family members loved it too!5 stars

    1. Hi Lori, if you go to the home page you should see LOADS of current posts. I publish new posts 3x-5x per week. Just go to http://www.culinaryhill.com and you’ll see what I mean. I put up 5 new posts, just this week. Sorry for the confusion!

  5. Oh wow this looks fabulous!! I’m always looking for new takes on classics, and this sounds perfect. My husband would just love it! Thanks!!!5 stars

  6. Magnificent web site. Lots of useful info here.

    I’m sending it to several friends ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And obviously, thank you on your effort!

    1. You are right. It’s more of a concept thing… I substituted peas for the lettuce because lettuce would get soggy and peas do not. But if I called it BPT Pasta Salad people would be completely confused. But clearly it’s still confusing. 🙂

    1. Hey Davenda, I would keep everything separate if you prepare it the night before. I think the pasta salad would dry out a lot overnight and you’d end up just making double the dressing. So, that would be my recommendation. But you can boil the pasta, chop the vegetables, prep the bacon, etc. and even whisk the dressing together. I’d just keep it all separate until serving time. I hope this helps. Thank you!

  7. Hi Wanda, sorry to hear that. It needs SALT to avoid the blandness. If it’s not salted enough, it definitely doesn’t taste very good. I will go back and check my recipe and make sure I am recommending enough salt. I have “Season to taste with salt and pepper” which isn’t very specific. You’d have to taste it before serving it because if you didn’t add salt, no one is going to like it. You might think with bacon in there, it runs the risk of being overly salty. But that’s really not the case. Sorry for the bust!

  8. I’m going to make this as a side dish for our Friday Night Dance Club event here in Orange Park Florida. It looks great. David5 stars

    1. Thanks, David! I hope you love it. This is one of my favorite recipes to make and devour. I checked out the weather in Orange Park and it looks like you are having a pretty nice day so far. And Friday Night Dance Club? Sounds epic! I used to host a dance party in my basement when I lived in Wisconsin. Sadly LA has no basements. I also fixed the typo too. 😉 Take care!

  9. I have made this salad for a work potluck and a 4th of July BBQ. It was a hit at each event…AND..my family demanded a sample each time I made it. For the record, I am not a mayo fan, but I followed the recipe and it was heavenly. Letting it sit overnight gives the ingredients a perfect chance to do their magic, and it wasn’t dry at all. Thank you, Meggan.5 stars

    1. You are so sweet! I have such fond memories of us eating this salad on my patio that one day during your lunch break. It was insanely hot, my kids were nuts, and then we finally got to EAT all the food I had made. So fun. 🙂 I’m glad your friends and family liked this pasta salad. It is one of my favorites, and so easy! xxo

  10. good except I doubled veggies and dressing. hate dry dressing. kept some separate to put on just before serving. will make again- this one is a keeper5 stars

    1. Doubling the veggies is a great move, Laverne. Glad this recipe worked out for you! Thank you for letting me know! 🙂

    1. Hi Yvette, I have definitely made this a day ahead. I would just say check the pasta to make sure it isn’t too dry, and if it seems that way, add a little more dressing. I actually think it’s better if it sits overnight and the noodles soak up the dressing. Good luck!

    1. Joe, so touched that you stopped by and tried one of my recipes! Thank you, I truly appreciate it. Glad you liked it!

  11. This looks amazing! My kids would love this in their lunch box- if there was any left after I ate it 🙂5 stars

    1. Thank you, Lisa! And you say that like you are joking, but I actually DID eat it all. I couldn’t stop myself! 😉 No willpower left on a Friday afternoon.