Pasta Salad with Mayo: How Best to Make it

Pasta Salad with Mayo: How Best to Make it
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This creamy pasta salad with mayo is in fact a powerhouse to reckon with in the kitchen. It’s perfect for pairing with almost any dinner, and I especially love it with some grilled chicken, a nice salad, or some burgers. It’s also perfect for taking to a potluck-style dinner. Like it’s an all round dish that serves its purpose when duty calls.

I remember one summer while we had gone to hang out with a few of my friends in Italy, I came across this dish in some suburb restaurant. Out of curiosity, I convinced my friends that we could try this new name on the menu.

After a few bites, my stomach walls were in a frenzy. The taste of a lifetime, it was just out of this world. Being a Hospitality student by then, I was always on the lookout for any new food recipes so that while back in my hostel, we could it out.

This dish made it to my top list of dishes I wanted to try. My kitchen campaign turned out to be successful and since then, I have been trying it a lot of times.

Everyone needs a classic pasta salad recipe in their collection. With a light, creamy homemade salad dressing and packed with crunchy veggies (if you choose to use it), you will absolutely love the fresh flavors and textures in this one.

Whether you pair it as a simple side for a family dinner or take it to share at a BBQ or Christmas celebration, this pasta salad is always going to smash occasions!

Why you are going to love this Creamy Pasta Salad

Quick and Easy – made with basic pantry staples, this dish is a last-minute throw-together salad that can be made from ingredients you’ll find in your pantry and fridge.

The BEST Homemade Salad Dressing that holds onto the pasta perfectly. Made with a mix of mayonnaise and sour cream, it is creamy but still light.

Perfect for Feeding a larger and hungry Crowd – bring it along to your next barbeque or picnic and watch it disappear!

Best option than Store-Bought – it might be easier to buy pasta salad from the shops, but making this version with fresh ingredients and an easy homemade dressing tastes so much better!

Vegetarian – it’s a really great option when catering to vegetarian families and friends.

What Kind of Pasta Is Best for Creamy pasta salad?

For this type of recipe, you can use any kind of pasta you like, but I prefer pasta shells(which I used in this recipe), penne or rotini because they are firm and have a more al dente texture. Other kinds of pasta that might work include, rigatoni and manicotti.

Pasta should be cooked in advance so that the pasta is ready to combine with the rest of the ingredients once it is chilled or at room temperature. Use fresh or frozen peas, corn, and green beans to add crunch and color.

composition of pastas

What Ingredients Do I Need For Creamy Pasta Salad?

Samples of a few ingredients from your fridge and pantry are all you need to make this creamy pasta salad! For the creamy dressing, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, garlic, bacon, salt and pepper are some of the common ingredients used in the preparation process.

Tips For Making This Creamy Pasta Salad with Mayo

This pasta salad is a great make-ahead recipe. Add everything together, except for the bacon and half the dressing, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve the dish, toss in the crumbled bacon pieces, and the remaining dressing and serve.

I like to use medium-sized pasta for this salad, I love medium shells, penne, rotini, and farfalle the most. Don’t overcook your pasta noodles. You want it cooked al dente so it’s not too soggy, especially as it sits in the dressing.

Add in any additional veggies or mix-ins that you think would be delicious, chopped-up carrots, bell pepper, and corn. Even making it more hearty with some grilled chicken pieces, or cubed ham would be delicious too. Also, some cubed cheddar cheese would be yummy.

How Long Does Pasta Salad with Mayo Last In The Refrigerator?

The shelf life of creamy pasta salad that has been properly stored in the refrigerator will depend on a variety of factors, such as the date the creamy pasta salad was prepared, the ingredients used and how the creamy pasta salad was stored.

It is best if creamy pasta salad is consumed within two days of being prepared. If refrigerated, creamy pasta salad can last for three to five days past its preparation date.

If properly stored in a cool, dry area, creamy pasta salad can last for three to four weeks past its preparation date. Once opened, creamy pasta salad should be consumed within one to two days. It is best if creamy pasta salad is consumed within two days of being prepared.

Is It Possible To Make a Vegan Version Of Creamy Pasta Salad?

Yes, you can make creamy pasta salad without mayo. The recipe is very similar to the classic creamy pasta salad. You can use vegan mayonnaise or make your own vegan mayonnaise from soybeans, sunflower seeds and vinegar.

For this recipe, you can use any vegetables: cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, green beans, carrots, and celery. Fresh herbs such as basil, oregano or parsley are also good additions.

vegan mayonnaise used to make creamy pasta salad with mayo
Vegan Mayonnaise

Can You Make Creamy Pasta Salad Ahead Of Time?

The best part about this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Once they are cooked, let them cool before adding them to a large bowl along with the fresh basil, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.

Mix everything together until it is evenly combined. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

What Are Some Topping Ideas For Creamy Pasta Salad?

To make this dish even more flavorful and interesting, you can add a variety of toppings to the salad. Some popular topping ideas for creamy pasta salad with mayo include diced tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, red onions, artichoke hearts, olives, crumbled bacon or sausage pieces, shredded cheese, diced ham or salami slices, and chopped fresh herbs.

pasta salad with diced ham

You can also add some tanginess to the dish by mixing in some Dijon mustard or a splash of white wine vinegar into the mayonnaise dressing. To add some sweetness to the salad, you can add some diced apples or pears.

For an extra boost of nutrition and flavor, you can also mix in some chopped nuts like walnuts or almonds. Finally, don’t forget to season your creamy pasta salad with mayo with salt and pepper– as well as some Potassium salt if desired– before serving. Enjoy!

If you are looking to try out an Italian dish for your hunger in minutes, and you feel you have run out of options, then you got the right food in mind here! Below, you’ll find the easiest directions on how to prepare this dish in minutes, and trust me, it’s gonna go down for real😂

Creamy pasta salad

This creamy pasta salad is loaded with peas, crispy bacon, and noodles, all covered in a smooth and creamy dressing. It's a perfect side dish for any dinner, potluck, or barbecue. 
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: creamy pasta salad, pasta salad, salad
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 379kcal
Author: daisol plate


  • 12 oz small pasta noodles
  • 2 cup frozen peas (thawed)
  • 12 oz thick cut bacon (cooked and chopped)
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

For the Creamy Dressing:

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar (to taste)
  • ½ tbsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tbsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tbsp. black pepper (to taste)


  • Cook the pasta noodles in a large pot of water according to their package directions, until cooked al dente. Drain the water out, and rinse the noodles in cold water.
    pasta noodles in large pot
  • While the pasta is cooking, make sure the peas are thawed, bacon is cooked and crumbled, and parmesan is grated. Set aside.
    grated parmesan
  • In a small bowl, add the mayonnaise, olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Whisk them together till combined.
    mixing olive oil and vinegar
  • Add the pasta, peas, bacon, and parmesan to a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the top. Stir it all together till everything is coated evenly in the dressing.
    creamy pasta salad
  • Cover the pasta bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to chill for 1 to 2 hours, or serve immediately.


How do I avoid overcooking pasta?
  • Overcooked pasta will make the salad too soft and mushy. Follow the packet directions as a guide, but the best way to test that pasta is done is to taste it!
    Start to test it 1-2 minutes before the end cooking time on the packet. Once pasta is al dente, immediately drain and run under a cold tap to stop the cooking process and remove the starch from the pasta.

The perfect creamy pasta salad has always won hearts as a to-go-for dish. You wouldn’t mind if I recommend this as one of the best there is. Made in the heavens, you surely can’t miss trying this out and of course, I’ll be glad to hear from you. Feel free to share your experience and any ideas!