Pasta Salad with Corn, Bacon, and Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Perfect pasta picnic salad! With corn, bacon, basil, and buttermilk ranch dressing.

Pasta Salad with Corn and Bacon
Elise Bauer

Here's a great picnic salad for the end of summer—with pasta and corn. We don't usually think of pairing the two, both being starches, but the combo works great, especially when you toss in bacon, bell pepper, green onions, and basil, and tie everything together with buttermilk ranch dressing.

We're using orecchiette pasta for the salad. "Orecchiette" is Italian for "ear" because, well that's the pasta looks like, tiny little ears. The pasta is a perfect shape for catching the kernels of corn and other ingredients.

Pasta Salad with Corn and Bacon
Elise Bauer

You can either use your favorite buttermilk ranch dressing, or make your own. (It's easy! Especially if you have buttermilk sitting around waiting to be used.)

Cooking tip—no need to cook the corn kernels separately, just put them in with the pasta during the last minute of cooking.

Pasta Salad with Corn, Bacon, and Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings


  • 8 ounces orecchiette pasta

  • Salt, for pasta water

  • 4 ounces bacon (about 4 strips)

  • 1 3/4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

  • 3/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced (from about 6 green onions)

  • 3/4 cup red bell pepper, diced

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped

  • 1/3 cup buttermilk ranch dressing

  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Cook the pasta and corn:

    Heat 2 quarts of water in a large pot until boiling. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta and boil uncovered at a rolling boil until al dente.

    About 1 minute before the pasta is ready, add the corn to the boiling pasta water with the pasta.

    Drain the pasta and corn, and set aside.

    Elise Bauer
  2. Cook the bacon:

    Cut the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Put in a frying pan and heat on medium. Cook until the fat has rendered and the bacon is well browned. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate.

    Note: Do not pour rendered fat down your kitchen sink unless you really like your plumber. Pour it into a jar to use for another cooking purpose or discard.

  3. Combine the ingredients to make the salad:

    In a large bowl add the drained, cooled pasta and corn, the bacon, and the remaining ingredients. Toss with with dressing. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

    Elise Bauer

    Great served with grilled chicken or steak.

Pasta Salad with Corn and Bacon
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
256 Calories
14g Fat
24g Carbs
11g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 256
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 17%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 586mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 34mg 169%
Calcium 22mg 2%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 280mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.