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Chicken Caesar pasta salad on a gray plate.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

No need to decide between chicken Caesar salad or pasta salad. This 30-minute lunch recipe combines both into one mash-up recipe that only gets better once you add crispy bacon and a simple homemade Caesar dressing.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Calories 251kcal


For the Caesar dressing (see note 1):

For the pasta salad:


  • To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, brown mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste (I like 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Cover and refrigerate while preparing the rest of the salad.
  • In a large saucepan or stock pot, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add rotini and cook according to package instructions, about 9 to 11 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • Meanwhile, arrange chicken on a baking sheet or work surface and sprinkle both sides generously with Cajun seasoning
  • In large skillet, heat oil until shimmering. Arrange chicken in a single layer and cook, flipping once, until the temperature on an internal thermometer reaches 165 degrees, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Slice into strips.
  • In a very large bowl, combine cooled rotini, lettuce, croutons, and bacon. Drizzle with Caesar salad dressing and toss until uniformly coated. Top with chicken and garnish with Parmesan cheese.


  1. Caesar dressing: Or substitute your favorite store-bought brand. See my Caesar dressing recipe for a classic version (with anchovies and whole egg), or follow the homemade salad dressing instructions below for an anchovy-free option.
  2. Rotini: These short corkscrews are stellar as vehicles for a large amount of the Caesar dressing. Any small pasta works well, though. Use elbows, farfalle, gemelli, penne, or orecchiette, if you prefer.
  3. Cajun seasoning: To make your own, in a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons paprika, with 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, 2 tablespoons salt, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon thyme, and 1 tablespoon onion powder. 
  4. Croutons: To make your own, cut 1 loaf (1 pound) into cubes, then toss in a large bowl with 1/4 cup oil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until combined. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a 450-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Yield: This recipe makes a whopping 16 servings in just 30 minutes, ideal for family lunches throughout the week or as part of a potluck menu. If desired, halve the recipe to feed a smaller crowd.
  6. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  7. Make ahead: The salad dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance.


Serving: 2cups | Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 332mg | Potassium: 363mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 3866IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg