This buffalo chicken pasta salad has the perfect combination of noodles, crisp veggies, tangy buffalo chicken and a cooling ranch sauce. Topped with creamy blue cheese for an easy summer salad the entire family will love!
Need an easy recipe to bring to a BBQ? This buffalo pasta salad is it! It comes together in just 10 minutes and is full of flavor. Some of my other potluck favorites are broccoli salad with bacon, southwest cornbread salad and cucumber tomato salad.
You know the kind of ideas you get that will either be absolutely genius or a complete and utter failure if you try it? This buffalo pasta salad is one of them. It takes two separately great foods and combines them into one incredible meal—cue the fanfare because this one is a total home run!
If you ask me, two of the best foods in the world are a creamy pasta salad and buffalo wings. So why not combine two good things to make one great thing? This recipe hits all the flavor notes–tangy, creamy, cool and, thanks to carrots, even sweet. It’s enjoyable any time of the year, but if you’re looking for a way to beat the heat—try this one in the summertime.
What you’ll need:
The dressing is so easy because you just use bottled ranch dressing. You can also make your own homemade ranch dressing or substitute blue cheese dressing. Top it off with crumbled blue cheese and buffalo sauce and you’ve got an amazing lunch or BBQ side dish.
How to make buffalo chicken pasta salad
- Make the sauce. In a small bowl, mix together ranch, blue cheese and buffalo sauce. Add more hot sauce to taste if needed.
- Toss ingredients together. Toss the cooked and cooled rotini, shredded chicken, celery and carrots together in a large bowl.
- Stir in dressing. Pour the dressing over the pasta and stir until evenly coated. Serve and enjoy!
Frequently asked questions
I’ve made this recipe multiple times and have gotten a lot of the same questions from friends and family, so I went ahead and addressed them below.
How to make gluten-free?
This recipe can easily be made into a yummy gluten free dish! Just sub out the regular pasta in the ingredients for your favorite gluten free pasta. I’d recommend using gluten free rotini, penne or macaroni noodles for best results. Just make sure the noodles are not overcooked—al dente works best.
Can you make it the night before?
I love make-ahead recipes, don’t you? This recipe can easily be made the day before or the morning of if you are planning ahead of time. Since this is a cold dish, you can pre-cook your noodles and have all your ingredients chopped and ready to go in the fridge.
A few minutes before you are ready to serve, dump all the ingredients in one bowl and toss with ranch dressing. Alternatively, you can serve the ingredients separately and let everyone pick and choose which ingredients they would like to add.
How to make kid-friendly?
Many kids will gobble up this dish as-is with no problem—they’ll hardly know they are eating veggies, thanks to the ranch! However, if you have picky eaters (don’t we all?!) or want to tone down the heat, this can easily be tweaked for kids.
It can easily be spiced up or down, depending on your family’s tastes. For my daughter, I reserved some of the pasta salad without the hot sauce and just added ranch. For my son, I mixed up the dressing and poured a little on his salad, then added more hot sauce for me. Super customizable!
Tips for storing
Since this is a creamy pasta salad made with ranch, it will need to be kept refrigerated in an airtight container. This recipe can last 3-5 days if properly stored—if you can make it that long without eating it all. :)
Other easy pasta salad recipes:
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe
- 2 cups Rotini Pasta , cooked to al dente and chilled
- 1 chicken breast , cooked and shredded (about 1 cup)
- 4 stalks celery , chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup bottled Ranch Dressing
- 2 Tablespoons Buffalo sauce , more to taste (I used Frank's Red Hot)
- 2 Tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
- Mix together the ranch, blue cheese and buffalo sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Test the spiciness of the dressing and add more hot sauce to taste.
- Toss the cooked and cooled rotini, shredded chicken, celery and carrots together in a large bowl.
- Pour dressing over the pasta and stir until evenly coated.
- Divide into bowls and serve!
- Make gluten free by subbing regular pasta for your favorite gluten free. I'd recommend using gluten free rotini, penne or macaroni noodles for best results.
- To make-ahead: Pre-cook your noodles and have all ingredients chopped and ready to go in the fridge. A few minutes before serving, dump all ingredients in one bowl and top with dressing.
- To store: Keep refrigerated in an airtight container. This recipe can last 3-5 days if properly stored.
Originally written by Kristin at Yellow Bliss Road.