These easy pasta salad recipes just might be the ultimate summertime food. They are fast, flexible, and they get more delicious by the day.

Find 10 of the BEST pasta salad recipes right here – and don’t forget to pin and save for later so you don’t miss any of these delicious combos!

A graphic image featuring four different bowls of pasta salad, headline reads "10 easy pasta salad recipes" across the center.

Learning how to make pasta salad might just be your ticket to getting invited to the best summer parties. In fact, when you find one you like, it can be a recipe that goes immediately into the “keeper” files… the kind of recipe that party guests will beg you to share! 

A cold pasta salad recipe is an iconic tradition of American summer. It’s a side dish, it’s a meal, it’s a crowd pleaser, it’s all the things

They are full of vibrant flavors, they travel well, and they get better in the fridge by the minute – marinating in a delicious dressing. What’s not to love? 

It’s true, I love pasta in every format. I’ve shown you how to make fresh pasta from scratch, egg noodles, and reader-fave recipes like this white wine pasta sauce, lemon basil pasta, pesto pasta, a traditional fettuccine alfredo and so many more

While I could drone on and on about pasta salad recipes almost as often as I can eat them (and that would be brunch, lunch, snacks, dinner, picnics, potlucks and more…) today I wanted to round up all of my favorites for you. 

This post is a great one to save and refer to down the road, whenever you need inspiration! We’re sharing the best tips, tricks and secrets to creating pasta salad recipes you’re going to love.

A white bowl full of spaghetti pasta salad.

The Secret? Start with a Great Homemade Dressing

You can make a great pasta salad with a bottle of store bought dressing. But once you see how easy it is to make your own homemade dressings, you’ll never go back! 

  • Make Ahead – Pasta salad is even better on the second day, after the dressing and ingredients mesh.
  • Wholesome – With a homemade dressing, you’re creating a customized, colorful salad experience with an explosion of flavor! Not only does it taste better, but you get to control the ingredients. No more strange preservatives and added sodium. Fresh is always best!
  • Fresh, Vibrant Flavor – I love homemade salad dressings (in fact, I have a complete vinaigrette guide) and I’ve shared many with you in the past – be sure to check out all those delicious dressing options! 
A white bowl filled with cooked tortellini pasta, and a bottle of pasta salad dressing being poured over the top.

Tips

  • Learn How to Cook Pasta right here, with all my favorite tips and tricks.
  • Use a large pot for your noodles. You want to give them plenty of room to cook, separated, in the lightly salted water.
  • Check out this guide to How to Stop Water from Boiling Over – it’s so handy for pasta and potatoes!
  • Cook your noodles al dente. I repeat: do not overcook your pasta! Especially when the cooked pasta will spend extra time soaking in a dressing, you don’t need to cook it too long.
  • Rinse noodles in cold water before combining them with your pasta salad dressing.
  • Use a high quality olive oil. When you’re making such a simple dressing, the individual ingredients will shine!
  • How to Store Pasta Salad – If you are making it ahead, you can store in a covered bowl, in the refrigerator, for up to a week.
  • Same goes for your pasta salad dressings! In fact, if it is just an oil and vinegar dressing then it will keep for up to two weeks!
  • Refresh Pasta Salad – If the pasta seems dry after marinating, add more pasta salad dressing and stir! You can also leave a little water when draining the pasta to keep it moist and use less dressing.
  • Adding cheese? Grate it fresh. You’ll never regret this extra step! Fresh grated Parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese are the hallmarks of any great pasta dish in my eyes!
A white colander full of cooked tortellini pasta, with water flowing into it from a faucet.
A close up of macaroni pasta salad.

More About Pasta Salad Dressing

If you’re looking for more in-depth detail about homemade pasta salad dressings, please head to this post where I discuss at length! It will really help you understand the basis for a scratch dressing and you’ll quickly be an expert.

  • Pasta salad dressing typically is made with either an oil and vinegar dressing or with a creamier base like mayonnaise. 
  • I tend to go with a vinaigrette because it is so easy to change up the flavor combinations with different oils and vinegar. It also stays fresh for longer, either in your fridge or at room temperature when serving.
  • Bonus? It is also a lighter dressing with less calories.
  • If you prefer creamy pasta salad dressings, you can always add mayo, sour cream or Greek yogurt to the recipe, usually substituting it for the oil in the recipe.

The Best Pasta Salad Recipes

There are so many delicious ways to create an incredible pasta salad! This list is filled with inspiration and printable recipe links.

Find an easy pasta salad recipe for every occasion right here! There are crowd-pleasing flavors to suit every taste. Which one will you make first?

Tortellini Pasta Salad

This tortellini pasta salad is jam packed with zesty Mediterranean flavors. A homemade Greek dressing perfectly complements the textural pasta and veggies in this amazing cold side dish!

A white serving bowl full of tortellini pasta salad, gold serving spoon on the side.

Mexican Pasta Salad

Easy 20 minute Mexican Pasta Salad – a light, and delicious pasta salad recipe makes the perfect side dish or stand alone dinner.

I turned my favorite Cilantro Lime Dressing into a Mexican Pasta Salad recipe that is light, refreshing and has just enough kick!

A close up of a Mexican inspired pasta salad recipe.

Italian Pasta Salad

This Italian Pasta Salad recipe is quick and easy, with just 15 minutes hands on time.

Easy Italian Pasta Salad Recipe – the perfect summer side dish that takes very little time and effort and is light and refreshing!

A white bowl filled with Italian pasta salad.

Seafood Pasta Salad

A light and refreshing Seafood Pasta Salad recipe for a lunch you can enjoy all week or side dish for get togethers!

This Shrimp Pasta Salad is so easy and uses just a few ingredients. It’s the ultimate summer pasta salad!

A white bowl on a marble countertop, filled with a seafood pasta salad recipe.

Basil Lemon Pasta Salad

Lemon Basil Pasta Salad is a light and refreshing alternative to classic pasta salads. It’s full of fresh flavor and is made in minutes with a few simple ingredients.

Lemon basil recipes are perfect for spring and summer get togethers or for a light and refreshing lunch or dinner. This lemon pasta salad is no exception! It’s perfect for picnics and parties.

A basil lemon pasta salad with two wooden spoons in the serving bowl.

Bow Tie Pasta Salad

A light, refreshing pasta salad recipe, perfect for summer picnics and outings.

This bow tie pasta salad has the most amazing pasta salad dressing made with lemon and basil. It’s always a crowd pleaser!

a bowl of bow tie pasta salad

Incredible Veggie Pasta Salad

This veggie pasta salad recipe is bursting with fresh, vibrant flavors!

Overflowing with nutrients thanks to an array of fresh sauteed veggies, it’s a vegetarian pasta salad side dish you can feel good about!

A bowl full of veggie pasta salad

The Best Spaghetti Salad

Spaghetti salad is an incredibly flexible, fast pasta salad recipe that is such a crowd pleaser!

Tossed in a savory homemade Italian dressing, this cold spaghetti salad recipe is a keeper. It’s a recipe your friends and family will ask you to bring again and again.

A spaghetti pasta salad in a white bowl.

Macaroni Salad

This classic macaroni salad is the ultimate summer side dish! With a luxuriously creamy dressing and an array of bright and beautiful veggies, this dish is full of flavor.

A large bowl full of macaroni salad with a wooden spoon for serving.

Don’t Skip These:  Pasta salad is one of my favorite BBQ Sides and Burger Sides – don’t skip this complete guide to help you plan your next cookout!

I can’t wait to hear from you! Which recipe is your favorite?

A graphic image featuring four different bowls of pasta salad, headline reads "10 easy pasta salad recipes" across the center.
5 from 1 vote

10 Easy Pasta Salad Recipes

These easy pasta salad recipes just might be the ultimate summertime food. They are fast, flexible, and they get more delicious by the day.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Pin Rate Print

Instructions 

  • Boil a pot of water over high heat. Boil noodles 10-11 minutes and drain.
  • With a food process or a mandoline (or by hand) chop all additional veggies and ingredients.
  • Combine pasta salad dressing ingredients and shake or whisk together.
  • In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, additional ingredients, and dressing.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tips

Pasta Salad Tips

  • Use a large pot for your noodles. You want to give them plenty of room to cook, separated, in the lightly salted water.
  • Check out this guide to How to Stop Water from Boiling Over – it’s so handy for pasta and potatoes!
  • Cook your noodles al dente. I repeat: do not overcook your pasta! Especially when the cooked pasta will spend extra time soaking in a dressing, you don’t need to cook it too long.
  • Rinse noodles in cold water before combining them with your pasta salad dressing.
  • Use a high quality olive oil. When you’re making such a simple dressing, the individual ingredients will shine!
  • How to Store Pasta Salad – If you are making it ahead, you can store in a covered bowl, in the refrigerator, for up to a week.
  • Same goes for your pasta salad dressings! In fact, if it is just an oil and vinegar dressing then it will keep for up to two weeks!
  • Refresh Pasta Salad – If the pasta seems dry after marinating, add more pasta salad dressing and stir! You can also leave a little water when draining the pasta to keep it moist and use less dressing.
  • Adding cheese? Grate it fresh. You’ll never regret this extra step! Fresh grated Parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese are the hallmarks of any great pasta dish in my eyes!
Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 246mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 1mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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5 Comments

  1. This is the perfect list to have for summer! I love pasta salad!! Will be making all of these on the list but starting with spaghetti salad.

  2. I am so happy I found this. I feel like I am always looking for a pasta salad recipe last minute. Thank you!

  3. Looking forward to working my way through this collection of pasta salads. My favorite during summertime!