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This chicken Caesar pasta salad recipe is loaded with pan fried chicken, crispy bacon, homemade croutons, pasta, and the most delicious homemade Caesar dressing.

Try my Chicken Caesar Crostini or Cajun Chicken Caesar Salad next.

close-up of chicken caesar pasta salad

Why you’ll love it

Caesar salad. It’s my absolute favorite. It always has been and always will be. So when I decided to combine it with pasta salad, what happened? The perfect summer salad was born! As the weather warms up, I find myself serving this up all the time at BBQs.

Picture yourself sitting on a patio with a bowl of this pasta salad on a summer evening. In every forkful you get a crunch from the garlic croutons, the tender bite from the chicken and pasta, and each piece of lettuce is coated with irresistible garlicky dressing. Delicious.

What you’ll need

  • Pasta – I used penne, but any similar sized pasta shape will do
  • Bacon – to add more savory flavor
  • Chicken – we’re using chicken breasts here
  • Garlic powder – along with salt & pepper, seasoning the chicken directly infuses so much flavor
  • Lettuce – romaine is the classic variety for Caesar salad
  • Croutons – my Homemade Garlic Croutons are a game changer
  • Caesar dressing – you can use the stuff from a bottle, but I highly recommend trying my 10-Minute Easy Caesar Dressing from scratch
  • Parmesan cheese – use freshly grated! It just tastes so much better.
  • Lemon juice – optional, but a squeeze of fresh lemon on top adds a hint of brightness

Make ahead tip

Make the dressing and croutons ahead of time, boil the pasta, fry the chicken and bacon, wash the lettuce, grate the cheese, and then store everything separately. When you’re ready to serve it, assemble the salad and toss for easy entertaining!

grilling chicken and assembling chicken caesar pasta salad

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

  • The clean-up from the frying is much easier with a splatter guard.
  • These kitchen shears make it simple to cut the bacon into bite-sized pieces.
  • I always keep a block of parmesan in my fridge and grate it myself with a zester.
chicken caesar pasta salad plated in two bowls

How to make chicken Caesar pasta salad

This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

  • Prepare your homemade dressing and croutons if using.
  • Boil the pasta. Meanwhile, fry the bacon. Set aside on a plate, and then pan-fry the chicken until golden.
  • Drain the pasta, and then add to a large salad bowl with the romaine lettuce. Add in the chicken, croutons, bacon, and dressing. Toss, and garnish with freshly grated parmesan!

Substitutions and variations

  • If you want to take a few shortcuts, you can use rotisserie or Shredded Chicken, store-bought Caesar dressing and croutons, and buy the bacon bits. But it might not taste as special 😉
  • Feel free to use grilled chicken instead of the pan-fried chicken. It would take that summer flavor over the top!
  • This does make a large amount of salad, so you could halve the recipe or even eyeball the ingredients. It doesn’t need to be precise.

What to serve with this pasta salad

Leftovers and storage

  • Once you toss it all together, leftovers probably won’t fare so well after a couple of hours, and the lettuce will wilt.
  • However, you’re welcome to store extra dressing in the fridge in a covered container for 3-4 days! The croutons will keep as well. Simply assemble a new salad with fresh lettuce and cheese.
chicken caesar pasta salad in a white bowl

Questions? Tried this recipe? It’s so fresh and so summery. I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments below! Or tag me on Instagram if you made it.

close-up of chicken caesar pasta salad
5 from 8 votes

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

This chicken Caesar pasta salad recipe is loaded with pan fried chicken, crispy bacon, homemade croutons, pasta, and the most delicious homemade Caesar dressing.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1 pound uncooked pasta
  • 6 strips bacon cut into small pieces
  • 2 large chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce chopped or torn
  • 2 cups croutons
  • 3/4 cup Caesar dressing or to taste
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese finely grated or shaved
  • Lemon juice (optional, to taste)


  • If you are making my Caesar dressing and/or croutons, I suggest prepping those first prior to starting this recipe. For this recipe, I prep as I go along (like while the pasta, bacon, and chicken are cooking) to save time.
  • Boil a salted pot for the pasta. Cook it al dente according to package directions. Once it's done, drain it and rinse it with cold water. Let it sit in a colander/sieve so it drains thoroughly while you're doing other steps in the recipe.
  • Meanwhile, cut the bacon into bite-size pieces (I use kitchen shears to make this easy), and cook it over medium-high heat until crispy (about 10 minutes). Once it's finished, take the pan off the heat and remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate, and leave the fat in the pan.
  • Cut your chicken in half lengthwise and season both sides with the garlic powder and salt & pepper. Return the skillet to the heat (medium high), and when the fat is hot, fry the chicken for about 5 minutes/side or until it's golden and cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate and let it cool a bit prior to slicing it into strips.
  • Once your pasta, bacon, and chicken are all ready, it's time to assemble the salad in a large bowl. Toss it with the dressing (feel free to add more if needed). I like to squeeze a little bit of lemon juice on top of the salad prior to serving. I suggest eating this salad as soon as you've added the dressing.


  • You can easily halve this recipe (or halve it and keep the chicken the same) if you don’t need a big batch.
  • This recipe is very forgiving, so you don’t need to stick to the ingredient quantities I suggest. I encourage you to add more/less of something to suit your tastes. And feel free to swap the chicken with rotisserie chicken!
  • Prep time will be longer if you make the Caesar dressing and/or croutons from scratch. I count some of the prep time in the cook time since you can multi-task pretty easily in this recipe.


Calories: 514kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 58mg, Sodium: 566mg, Potassium: 442mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 2104IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 88mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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  1. Michelle M says:

    5 stars
    This was delicious! I used bottled dressing a whole one. I didn’t measure ingredients I just guesstimated the amounts. I also used the pre cooked bacon. Everyone loved it, definitely make it again.

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it! 😀

  2. Pou says:

    5 stars
    This is the BEST salad recipe and my family calls it mine even though I know it’s not..but I do take credit LOLL. It’s worth making the dressing and croutons from scratch 🙌

    1. Natasha says:

      Hahaha I love that!! 😀 Thanks for your review!

  3. Lisa says:

    5 stars
    I made this tonight and my family loved it! So much flavor in the chicken, really loved the dressing and it was very easy to put together. Definitely going in the rotation. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy it was a hit, Lisa! 🙂 Thanks so much for your 5-star review!

  4. Kathy Meisser says:

    Such a hit & I used all shortcuts! This will be a “Go To” recipe for sure! Don’t 1/2 the recipe people because you’re gonna eat the whole thing!

    1. Natasha says:

      Wonderful! 🙂 Thank you!

  5. Gail Heinsohn says:

    5 stars
    I tried lots of recipes this summer: This one is one of two keepers. It’s easy, economical and delicious. I cook for friends and customers at the post office I manage when the need arises for them: This salad earns raves across the board! Thank you, Natasha.

    1. Natasha says:

      Well that’s so good to hear, Gail! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to write me a review.

  6. Dot says:

    5 stars
    This recipe was easy and delicious! It will be ok repeat! Thanks 🙂

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you so much, Dot!! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Amanda says:

    5 stars
    Really loved this dish, Went all out and made the dressing and croutons!! Well worth it. Absolutely delicious 😋

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s amazing!! I’m so happy to hear that, Amanda. Thanks for letting me know! 😀

  8. Matt Robinson says:

    5 stars
    Pretty much looks like the greatest pasta salad I’ve ever seen!

    1. Natasha says:

      Haha thanks, Matt! 🙂

  9. Adele says:

    5 stars
    More please!
    I made this using store bought dressing. The pasta is a great addition. Easy and delicious!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Adele! 🙂

  10. Ashlyn @ F5 Method says:

    Natasha, this pasta salad looks beautiful! I have lots of caesar salad lovers in my life who I know would go crazy for this!

    1. Natasha says:

      Thanks so much!