Chicken Pasta Salad

Quick Summary

Chicken Pasta Salad- the BEST pasta salad for potlucks, parties, and picnics! This simple pasta salad has chicken, bacon, tomatoes, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, and a light lemon dressing.

chicken pasta salad

Pasta salads are on repeat at our house during the summertime. They are easy and always so good!

My boys all-time favorite pasta salad recipe is this Chicken Pasta Salad. They request it often and I don’t mind making it because they eat it up and even enjoy the leftovers. It is a great salad to keep in the fridge for easy meals!

I also love taking it to parties, potlucks, and picnics because our friends and family love it too. It is often the first salad to go! The flavors are perfection! I think you will love it too!

chicken pasta salad recipes

Chicken Pasta Salad Ingredients

This is a hearty pasta salad so it can be served as a main dish or side dish. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

  • Pasta– I like to use penne pasta, but farfalle, rotini, fusilli, and orecchiette are all good options. If you need the salad to be gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.
  • Chicken– I love making this salad when we have leftover cooked chicken. You can use grilled chicken, baked chicken, sautéed chicken, or even rotisserie chicken. Josh’s pro tip, cook the chicken on a Traeger, if you have one. He loves the flavor.
  • Bacon– My boys begged me to add bacon one time and it was a huge hit. So bacon is always included now! Josh also likes to cook the bacon on the Traeger, but the oven or a skillet works well too!
  • Tomatoes– I like to use halved grape or cherry tomatoes.
  • Green onions– The green onions aren’t too strong and add nice flavor.
  • Parmesan cheese– cheesy, salty, and so good!
  • Basil– fresh basil is the best!
chicken pasta salad ingredients

Pasta Salad Dressing

I make a simple dressing to pour over the pasta salad. I promise it is easy to make and so much better than store bought dressing.

The dressing is made with: olive oil, fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, a little honey, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. It is fresh and compliments the flavors nicely.

chicken pasta salad recipe

How to Make Chicken Pasta Salad

This is an easy pasta salad recipe and always a hit! I get asked to bring it to a lot of parties and potlucks:)

  • To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined.
  • In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain well and transfer to large bowl.
  • Add the cooked chicken, bacon, tomatoes, green onions, Parmesan cheese, and basil to the pasta. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • For best flavor, let the salad stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with extra basil and Parmesan cheese, if desired.
easy chicken pasta salad recipe

Variations

I love pasta salads because they are easy to adapt. If you want to mix things up, here are a few ideas!

  • Instead of bacon, use your favorite salami. Chop it up and stir it in.
  • Add olives!
  • Instead of Parmesan cheese, use crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese. You can also add fresh mozzarella cheese.
  • To freshen things up, stir in chopped spinach or arugula.
  • Right before serving, add chopped avocado. So good!
  • Add fresh parsley or chives.

How to Store

You can serve this pasta salad at room temperature, but it also makes a great cold chicken pasta salad. Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. The leftovers are fantastic.

If the pasta salad is a little dry after sitting, you can add a little more dressing and toss to liven it up!

how to make chicken pasta salad

More Pasta Salad Recipes

Chicken Pasta Salad

Chicken Pasta Salad- the BEST pasta salad for potlucks, parties, and picnics! This simple pasta salad has chicken, bacon, tomatoes, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, and a light lemon dressing.
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients
  

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Pasta Salad:

  • 1 lb penne pasta or similar pasta
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken tenders or breasts, cooked and chopped
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Extra basil and parmesan cheese, for garnish

Instructions
 

  • To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined.
  • In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain well and transfer to large bowl.
  • Add the cooked chicken, bacon, tomatoes, green onions, Parmesan cheese, and basil to the pasta. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • For best flavor, let the salad stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with extra basil and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Notes

You can use grilled chicken, baked chicken, saluted chicken, or even rotisserie chicken for this recipe.: Feel free to stir in a few handfuls of arugula or chopped spinach. You can also add in chopped avocado right before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 512kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 14g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 56mg, Sodium: 389mg, Potassium: 521mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 634IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 177mg, Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

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Photos by Olive & Mango

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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