Chicken Pasta Salad

Creamy chicken pasta salad is quick, easy, and SO tasty. It is packed with hearty ingredients for a filling side or main dish!

Chicken pasta salad is filled with chicken, bacon, avocado, cheese, and veggies for a filling dish perfect for summer BBQs and picnics. For similarly delish salads try Chinese Pasta SaladEasy Pasta SaladGreek Pasta Salad, and Macaroni Salad.

Chicken pasta salad served in a white bowl

cold chicken pasta salad

We have been long time fans of pasta salad, but wanted to change it up by making a chicken version.

Today’s Chicken pasta salad isn’t just hearty and delicious, but it’s FULL of tasty bits of chicken, bacon, cheese, avocado, and tomato. While it makes a yummy side salad, it is hearty enough to be used as a main course.

This pasta salad also makes a great addition to any BBQ or picnic. It transports easily and can be made ahead of time.

You can also add in more protein or veggies to change it up, or to make it even more filling. I know you’ll enjoy this creamy chicken pasta as much as I do!

Tri-color pasta in a yellow colandar

how to make it

PASTA. Boil water in a medium pot. Add the noodles and cook pasta until firm, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

DRESSING. Add the Italian Dressing and Mayo to a small bowl. Whisk together until smooth.

MIX INS. In a large bowl, add pasta, chicken, bacon, cheese, green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and avocado.

COMBINE. Pour the dressing over the top and stir until evenly covered.

variations

Variations: The great thing about salads is that you can easily change them up to whatever your family likes best. Green onions, olives, celery, cucumbers are all good mix in choices.

This easy pasta salad recipe can be customized to your liking. I included a recipe for exactly the way we like it, but you can add variations of your own such as:

  • Replace cooked chicken with cooked turkey or cubed ham
  • Season with black pepper, salt and garlic salt to taste
  • Add diced red onion
  • Add fresh basil
  • Include sliced black olives
  • Substitute the Colby Jack with Cheddar cheese, feta cheese, fresh mozzarella
  • Add vegetables like corn, peas, diced cucumber
Diced tomato, chicken, avocado, bacon, cheese, and peppers in a white bowl

recipe tips

To make this recipe quick and easy I used a package of cooked fiesta chicken. Another option is to buy a rotisserie chicken. You can easily use leftover chicken from a previous dinner or cook up some fresh chicken breasts or thighs. The following recipes would all work:

For a creamier texture: You’ll notice that the ingredient list does include Mayo, but it’s only ¼ c. Just enough to give some flavor with making this a creamy pasta salad. If you choose to, you can definitely increase the amount mayo for a more creamy texture. 

The pasta: I love using the tri colored spiral pasta when I make salads. I think the colors just add to the completed dish. If you don’t have tri colored spiral pasta, any similarly sized pasta will work such as penne, medium shell, bow-tie, or wagon wheel.

Main dish: I use this pasta salad as more of a side to BBQs and picnics. However, you can increase the amount of chicken and use it as a main dish. 

making ahead and storing

Make ahead of time: Most of the salad can be made the day before. Store it covered in the fridge. Store the bacon bits in a separate container. Also save ¼ of the dressing to add right before serving. I would also wait to cut the avocado otherwise it may become too browned and unappetizing.

When you’re ready to serve the salad, Mix in in the rest of the dressing, add the bacon and avocado. 

STORE leftovers, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days. Add a little Italian dressing if the pasta gets a bit dry. 

Chicken pasta salad recipe in a white bowl

More Side recipes:

Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe

5 from 7 votes
Creamy chicken pasta salad is quick, easy, and SO tasty. It is packed with hearty ingredients for a filling side or main dish!
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 282 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 8 oz spiral pasta
  • 3/4 c Italian Salad dressing
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise
  • 2 c cooked seasoned chicken we used packaged fiesta chicken
  • 8 sliced bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1 c cubed Colby Jack cheese
  • 1 c green bell pepper chopped
  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 avocado peeled, pitted, chopped

Instructions
 

  • Boil water in a medium pot. Add the pasta and cook until firm, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • Add the Italian Dressing and Mayo to a small bowl. Whisk together until smooth.
  • In a large bowl, add pasta, chicken, bacon, cheese, green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and avocado.
  • Pour the dressing over the top and stir until evenly covered.

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    I had leftover grilled chicken and decided to make this for lunch and it turned out perfect, this was the best way to use up the leftovers, super delicious and easy to make!

  2. 5 stars
    What a great way to jazz up our regular pasta salad. Love the creaminess & chicken. It makes it more hearty.

  3. 5 stars
    Very tasty salad – was a hit at my house – my only question is it says it makes 10 servings …..is that 1 cup portions?

    1. Yes, that would be for smaller portions (like as a side). It may not serve quite as many if served as the main dish. Glad to hear your family enjoyed the salad!!