BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad is a cold salad with tons of flavor from tomatoes, corn, red onion, and a simple BBQ sauce dressing. Use shredded rotisserie chicken to make this a really easy summer recipe. It’s great as a main dish, or you can serve it for BBQs, cookouts, and potlucks.
This pasta salad combines BBQ chicken with pasta and vegetables for a great chicken pasta salad that’s great all year, but especially when it’s warm.
What makes this salad easy is using rotisserie chicken. You could also use leftover grilled chicken if you have some on hand.
When you have the chicken ready to go, the rest of the salad is easy to make. The barbecue sauce dressing only takes a few minutes, and then you just need to boil and cool the pasta.
You can make this barbecue chicken pasta salad a day in advance and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it. It’s great for BBQs or potlucks or make it as a main dish for dinner.
How to Make Cold Chicken Pasta Salad
What pulls this pasta salad together is the BBQ dressing – a tangy and sweet sauce that you can make first and keep in the refrigerator. All you do is combine the following ingredients in a bowl or jar:
- Barbecue sauce – choose your favorite brand
- Crushed garlic
- Chili powder
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil
- Fresh lime juice
- Salt and pepper
Once you’ve made the dressing, you can prepare the rest of the salad. Here’s what you will need:
- Cooked farfalle Pasta – once cooked, drain and cool it before making the salad
- Shredded cooked chicken
- Diced red onion
- Cherry tomatoes
- Thawed corn kernels
- Chopped cilantro
To make the salad, combine everything in a large bowl and then add the dressing. Toss to coat everything evenly. If you’re not serving it right away, cover the bowl and refrigerate the salad until later.
Tips for the Best BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad
I like to use farfalle (bow tie pasta), but you can use other shapes. Penne, fusilli, rotini, or other short pasta that you like.
It’s important to use cooled pasta and not make the salad while the pasta is hot. If the pasta is too hot, it will absorb the sauce.
The easiest way to cool it is to drain it thoroughly and then spread it out on a baking sheet. This will keep it sticking in a big pile. Then, cool it at room temperature, or you can even place the sheet in the refrigerator to chill the pasta faster.
Feel free to adjust the sauce to your tastes. Taste it before adding it to the salad. If it’s too sweet, add more lime juice. If it’s too acidic or tangy, you can adjust it with a little more BBQ sauce.
Keep the leftover salad covered in the refrigerator, and it should keep well for up to two days. If you’re want to try a twist on BBQ chicken, this is a great recipe to try. It’s filling but with light, fresh flavors and nice for a warm day. We love to make chicken pasta salad recipes, and this version is always a favorite.
More Pasta Dishes You'll Love
BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe
- ½ pound Farfalle Pasta cooked per package instructions
- 2 cups chicken shredded (we used a rotisserie chicken)
- 1 cup red onion diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup corn frozen kernels thawed
- BBQ Sauce dressing below
- Cilantro for garnish
- ¼ cup barbecue sauce use one you like (adjust amount after tasting)
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice from 1 Lime adjust after tasting
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Make the sauce by adding all the ingredients in a sealable jar. Once added shake well.
- In a large bowl combine the cooled pasta, chicken, onion, corn and tomatoes. Pour sauce over the pasta and toss until combined.
- Serve within two days and keep covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
- You can use other pastas with this like penne, fusilli and rotini.
- Since the dressing has both lime juice and barbecue sauce you should adjust according to your taste. You may want it a little sweeter so add more barbecue sauce or you may want more citrus so add a little more lime juice or some lime zest.
This BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad combines BBQ chicken with pasta and vegetables for a great chicken pasta salad that’s great all year, but especially when it’s warm.
Mel is an IT guy turned blogger and is discovering his love of cooking and photography. If you ever have Fantasy Football questions, he's your guy.