Cooking and Baking

4 Secrets To Making The BEST Pasta Salad!

Rachel Kor June 30, 2022

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BBQ season is upon us, and with July 4th just a few days away, there’s no better time to perfect the classic pasta salad that will probably be on your table.


Pasta salads go great with burgers, hot dogs, corn, and chicken. They can be made in advance, and add color and freshness to all the meat. But like all foods, there is always a better way to make it.


So let’s dive in and see what’ll make your pasta salad at this weekend’s BBQ the BEST your guests have ever tasted!


1. Choose Your Pasta Wisely


I always choose a shape that has lots of nooks and crannies to trap dressings, sauces, herbs, and veggies.


Also think about your BBQ setting. Will your guests be seated at a table or will they be standing? Go for shapes that can easily be poked with a fork like farfalle, rotini, or macaroni.


2. Don’t Overcook the Pasta


Carefully read the directions on the back of the pasta box. Be sure not to over or under cook it. If you overcook your pasta, you’ll be left with mushy salad by the time it gets to the table.


3. Dress and Serve Warm


Dress your salad while the pasta is still warm. Warm pasta will absorb the dressing better and will ultimately make your salad more flavorful.


Same thing goes for serving your salad. No one wants a cold salad, and you’ll also be able to taste all the flavors better while it’s warm.


4. Dress Twice


I like to dress my pasta salad a good few hours before my guests arrive. Then before serving I make another batch of dressing and coat the pasta again, to taste. In short, the first batch of dressing gets absorbed in the warm pasta, and the second batch adds more flavor and keeps the salad super moist.


Of course, always taste your salad before adding more dressing. Every salad is different- do what you think tastes best.