Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Perfect For Potluck Gathering

This Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is a flavorful pasta salad with cheddar cheese, olives, tomatoes, and bacon covered in a creamy ranch sauce. Perfect for potlucks!


Do you know what a “tell” is? For instance, in poker an opponent will be studied to see if they subconsciously blink when they’re bluffing about the cards in their hand. It’s a behavior that indicates that someone is about to do something. My husband plays football and they spend hours and hours analyzing film to detect tells or signs of the behavior of their opponent. In football, it might be that the lineman twitches his left pinky right before bursting off the line.

I’ve been married almost 15 years. So over the years I’ve spent hours and hours with my husband. I would like to think of him as my partner – not opponent, but I have picked up on some of his tells over the years. Like when he is trying to tell me something that he knows I might not particularly be crazy about he clears his throat really loud. He has know idea that he’s even doing it.

Kind of goes like this…

Ahhhheeemmm. So what do you think about me golfing all day Friday?” 

Ahhhheeemmm. By the way, they asked us to speak in church on Sunday.”

Yeah. All the fun stuff. So whenever I hear his throat clearing, I start cringing.


I’m sure I have my own tells but we’re not talking about me right now…ha. He does know that I’m not a huge fan of pasta salads. I would rather have my pasta hot or, let’s get real, I’d rather have Mexican food. So if I find a pasta salad that I like…you know it’s a keeper. You can’t go wrong with bacon, cheese, ranch, tomatoes, and olives. You can keep the cheese cubed, which is what I prefer, or use shredded. Enjoy!!!

Serves: 10
  • 1 (12 ounce) package uncooked tri-color rotini pasta
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons dry ranch salad dressing mix (the same as a 1.0 oz package)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup milk, or as needed
  • 1 cup sliced grape tomatoes
  • 1 (4.25 ounce) can sliced black olives
  • 1 cup diced or shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; cook rotini at a boil until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes; drain.
  2. Place bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook until evenly brown. Drain and chop.
  3. In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, ranch dressing mix, garlic powder, and pepper. Stir in milk until smooth. Place rotini, tomato, black olives and cheese in bowl and toss to coat with dressing. Cover and chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Stir in bacon right before serving so it stays crispy. Toss with additional milk if the salad seems a little dry right before serving.

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