Cheddar Bacon Ranch Tortellini Salad always disappears first at cookouts and backyard barbecues! This tortellini pasta salad is loaded with crispy bacon and sharp cheddar cheese. It’s all tossed in the flavorful creamy ranch sauce!
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My husband’s favorite BBQ side dish is a pasta salad, so I wanted to create a pasta salad recipe that included some of his favorite flavors. Crispy bacon and ranch were my first flavor choices, so after that adding cheddar cheese is a natural choice. How can anyone say “no” to a cheddar-bacon-ranch flavor combination?
My favorite part of this side dish it that it’s made with four cheese tortellini instead of any regular pasta. If you’re one of the few people who have not tried using tortellini in a pasta salad, I urge you to try it as soon as possible! It makes the pasta salad much heartier and adds an additional delicious cheesy element to it.
When I say that this stuff practically flies out of the bowl at social gatherings, I really mean it. After all, it’s got a little something in there for everyone! I can’t think of many people (or anyone, actually) who doesn’t love ranch, bacon, and cheddar cheese. It all comes together in a single perfect bite with this pasta salad recipe!
Four Cheese Tortellini – It’s best to get tortellini from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It’s fast and easy to cook, but make sure to cool it down to room temperature before adding other ingredients. For this tortellini salad, choose four cheese tortellini when possible. .
Cheddar Cheese – Sharp cheddar cheese is best for this pasta salad since it really packs the most flavor.
Bacon – Cook it first and get it nice and crispy. You can use bacon that is already flavored like applewood or maple if you’d like.
Ranch Sauce – Of course, ranch is what brings it all together! This easy creamy sauce is a simple mix of mayo, sour cream, buttermilk, and ranch seasoning packet.
See the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and instructions.
How to Make Cheddar Bacon Ranch Tortellini Salad
Cook the tortellini. Prepare the tortellini according to package instructions (1). Drain it and let it come to room temperature before tossing with other ingredients.
Make the dressing. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the creamy ranch sauce in a mixing bowl (2).
Prepare the salad. Add all of the ingredients for the pasta salad, except for the ranch, into a bowl (3).
Toss the salad. Pour the ranch sauce onto the salad (4), then gently toss it all together to combine (5).
If you have leftover tortellini salad, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Tortellini salad will last for 3-5 days refrigerated. You may need to add a little more dressing after it’s been in the fridge for a while because pasta tends to soak up all the dressing liquids. If you feel like your pasta salad is a little too dry, feel free to add more ranch dressing.
Absolutely! Just make sure to prepare it according to package directions just like you’d do with shelf stable or refrigerated tortellini.
No matter what kind of tortellini you use, remember to let it cool to room temperature before mixing with the other ingredients.
Yes – in fact, it’s great served room temperature or chilled!
How to Make This Tortellini Salad Ahead of Time
There are two ways to make this tortellini salad ahead of time. You can cook tortellini the day before and then make the rest or the salad when ready. Or, take it a step further and prepare everything ahead of time.
Prepare Just Tortellini: If making tortellini ahead of time, cook and cool tortellini. Mix cooled tortellini with a little bit of olive oil so it doesn’t stick together too much. Store cooked tortellini in a food storage container with a lid, in the refrigerator, until ready to use.
Prepare the whole tortellini salad: You can also prepare the salad completely. This creamy ranch dressing will actually flavor the pasta nicely as it sits overnight.
So prepare the pasta salad and the ranch and mix it all together. Transfer everything into a food storage container with a lid. Store the salad mixture in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
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Cheddar Bacon Ranch Tortellini Salad Recipe
- 18-20 oz four cheese tortellini
- 6 oz sharp cheddar cheese
- 10-12 crispy bacon strips
- 1 tbsp Fresh herbs for garnish more or less to taste
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 3 Tbsp buttermilk
- 0.4 oz Ranch mix
- Cook tortellini according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside in a mixing bowl.
- Mix all ingredients for the ranch sauce until evenly combined.
- Dice cheese and cooked bacon strips and add them to the pasta.
- Add ranch mixture and stir everything until evenly coated with the sauce.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Garnish with some fresh herbs.
- Nutrition disclaimer: information shown is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as most ingredients and brands have a slight variation.
- Storing: If you have leftover tortellini salad, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Tortellini salad will last for 3-5 days refrigerated. You may need to add a little more dressing after it’s been in the fridge for a while because pasta tends to soak up all the dressing liquids. If you feel like your pasta salad is a little too dry, feel free to add more ranch dressing.