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BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad

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BBQ ranch pasta salad has it all, big flavor, lots of texture and plenty of veggies. It’s perfect for picnics, barbecues, potlucks and more!

Serving bowl filled with bbq ranch macaroni salad with black beans, tomatoes, corn and more.

Macaroni salad is a summertime must.  It is a great make ahead dish so all you have to do is pull it out and serve it when it’s time to eat.

They are a perfect make ahead side dish. Plus they travel well, making them perfect for picnics and potlucks.

You can even add a little chicken or bacon to your BBQ ranch macaroni salad an make a meal of it. That’s what I’m doing, it will be a perfect easy lunch at work this week.

Bowl of pasta salad with swirly pasta, a ranch dressing, black beans and corn topped with herbs and a drizzle of bbq sauce.

This pasta salad features ranch and BBQ sauce of course, but also veggies and that wonderful pasta. Top it with a drizzle of BBQ sauce and a few fresh herbs for a pop of extra flavor.

The Pasta

The first thing you want to do is go ahead and boil some noodles. You want to use a shape that is going to help you get all those goodies in each bite.

I love using cellantini for pasta salad. The corkscrew shape is fun and also helps to grab the dressing and all of the little bits.

Ingredients including cooked pasta, cheese, sour cream, ranch seasoning, corn, black beans, red onion, bbq sauce and cilantro ready to be made into bbq ranch macaroni salad.

Of course bowtie pasta, macaroni noodles and shells are great for pasta salad as well. Boil whatever shape you choose until it is al dente then drain it.

When making macaroni salad, I like to rinse the pasta with cold water after it is drained. It washes off the extra starch and keeps it from sticking together.

Plus it cools it down faster so that you can go ahead and dress it. It only takes a minute and has multiple benefits.

Making the BBQ Ranch Macaroni Salad

The next thing you will want to do is make the simple dressing. I like using sour cream for the base as it is lighter than mayonnaise and the tang goes so well with the ranch seasoning.

You can use a package of ranch seasoning, or make your own seasoning mix.  If you aren’t a huge ranch fan, you can start with half of a packet and add more as you like.

Stir in a little bit if your favorite BBQ sauce to give it a bit of sweetness and to round out the flavors. The creamy ranch mixed with the BBQ sauce makes for and easy but interesting dressing.

Toss the cooled pasta in the dressing and then add the rest of your goodies. The recipe card includes the mix-ins as we like them, but this is a great opportunity to make the salad your own.

The corn, avocado, and black beans give this side a bit of Tex-Mex feal that we love with our BBQ. The tomatoes and red onion give a fresh burst of flavor.

Toss some fresh herbs in to make for big flavor. Add the avocado last to keep it from oxidizing before you are ready to eat.

More Great Additions:

We love this BBQ ranch macaroni salad just the way it is written, but there are plenty of substitutions and alterations you can make. That is one of the wonderful things about pasta salad, they are very forgiving.

Instead of cheddar cheese, you can use Colby jack, or pepper jack. Or use small cubes of cheese rather than using shredded.

Serving bowl filled with creamy bbq ranch pasta salad loaded with corn, black beans, veggies and cheese.

We have made this salad with diced cucumber. It adds a crisp freshness that is really delicious.

Add some leftover chicken or some extra BBQ chicken to turn the salad into a meal instead of a side dish. Or add some diced bacon for extra smokiness.

To keep it vegetarian, add some chickpeas or more black beans if you want more protein to make it a meal. Otherwise we think hard boiled eggs can be added to just about any salad.

Serving bowl of bbq ranch pasta salad topped with fresh diced tomato, cilantro and a drizzle of bbq sauce.

How do you store leftover pasta salad?

While this salad is the prettiest and freshest the first day, it does keep rather well. We ate it as a side dish on Sunday and then I brought some to work for lunch the next several days along with some greens.

After a few days, the avocados start to oxidize, but it still tastes great. So you can keep eating the salad for several days without any issues.

More Great Picnic Salad Recipes

If you want more make ahead salad ideas, I have you covered. These salads are perfect for serving at a backyard barbeque, picnic, or potluck.

Frito salad is a fabulous salad option. It features lettuce with lots of add ins and a homemade catalina dressing to tie it all together.

bowl of bbq macaroni salad ready to eat.

The ultimate BLT macaroni salad has spinach, bacon, tomatoes and more mixed with pasta. It is one of our favorite summer sides and it goes with just about any main dish.

If you like eggs, deviled egg pasta salad is a great option for you. Or try Mediterranean quinoa salad for something fresh or grape orzo salad for something different.

Serving bowl filled with bbq ranch macaroni salad with black beans, tomatoes, corn and more.

BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad

This pasta salad has it all, BBQ, ranch, tomatoes, avocados, corn and more! It’s perfect for picnics, BBQs, potlucks and more!
4.54 from 13 ratings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 181 kcal


  • 1 lb pasta
  • cup bbq sauce
  • cup sour cream
  • 1 pkg ranch dressing mix
  • 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup corn frozen or fresh
  • ½ red onion chopped
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 avocado cubed
  • 1 cup tomatoes chopped
  • optional fresh herbs parsley, cilantro, chives, green onions etc.


  • Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until cooled.
    1 lb pasta
  • Stir together ranch seasoning, sour cream and BBQ sauce in a large bowl.
    1¼ cup sour cream, 1 pkg ranch dressing mix, ⅓ cup bbq sauce
  • Add pasta and stir to coat.
  • Add cheese, beans, and vegetables except for the avocado. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    15 oz can black beans, 1 cup corn, ½ red onion, 1 cup cheddar cheese, 1 cup tomatoes
  • When you are ready to serve, dice avocado and stir into pasta salad.
    1 avocado
  • Garnish with additional BBQ sauce and fresh herbs if desired.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 181kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 6gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 355mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4g
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Recipe Rating

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies

Wednesday 26th of July 2017

Yes please! I've been on a real kick lately with BBQ sauce, so I need to try this. This could be the pasta salad to rock my summer!


Wednesday 26th of July 2017

I never used to like BBQ sauce, but now it is a staple! I hope you love it!


Friday 21st of July 2017

I admit I'm not a huge fan of pasta salads myself, but they are great for taking on a picnic or to a potluck.


Sunday 23rd of July 2017

My husband really isn't a pasta salad fan either. He usually will suffer through it once and I'll stir in some extra veggies or beans and take it for lunch until it's gone. He actually volunteered to eat this one a second time later in the week!


Tuesday 18th of July 2017

Love all of these flavors, especially mixing together BBQ and ranch! Genius!


Friday 21st of July 2017

Thank you so much!


Sunday 16th of July 2017

This sounds really good! I love pasta salad and a BBQ Ranch version sounds super tasty!


Tuesday 18th of July 2017

Thank you, Heather!


Sunday 16th of July 2017

This sounds amazing! My hubby loves anything BBQ! He will love it!


Tuesday 18th of July 2017

I never liked BBQ sauce growing up, but now I can't get enough! I hope your hubby enjoys it!