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Dill Pickle Pasta Salad is a unique twist on traditional pasta salad that combines the tangy flavor and crunch of dill pickles with sharp cheddar and tender pasta.

Bursting with flavors and textures, this Dill Pickle Pasta Salad recipe is perfect for picnics, potlucks, or as a refreshing side dish on warm summer days. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with this simple yet crowd-pleasing recipe.

White serving bowl, bowtie pasta with creamy dressing, fresh dill and shredded cheddar cheese.
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About The Recipe

Dill Pickle in a pasta salad may sound a little different, and it is… but in a very good way! The crunch of the pickles is the perfect compliment to the tender pasta and the tangy flavor pairs so well with the sharp cheddar.

The dressing is simple, made with mayo, sour cream, pickle juice, and mustard. When creating this recipe I didn’t want the pickle flavor to be overwhelming, and this combination is just right.

To the salad, I also added shredded sharp cheddar cheese, chopped dill pickles, and bowtie pasta. You can use any kind of small pasta, but I love using bowtie (farfalle) for pasta salads.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and tailor the recipe to suit your preferences. Enjoy the process of experimenting and discovering your perfect version!

How To Make Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

Simple doesn’t begin to describe how easy this pasta salad is to make. There are only a few steps and they are completely uncomplicated.

Collage of 4 images showing how to make pickle pasta salad.

Cook the pasta – Follow the package directions. I like to rinse my pasta for salads to remove any excess starch that may result in the pasta sticking together. It also helps the pasta to cool quicker.

Make the dressing – Whisk together mayo, sour cream, pickle juice, and mustard. You can add a little garlic powder if you like, and some fresh (or dried) dill. I like to do this in a large bowl, so I can then add the other ingredients and mix everything together. That way I’m not scraping salad dressing out of one bowl and into another.

Stir it all together – Add the cooled pasta, chopped dill pickles, and onion and stir to coat with the dressing. Stir in the shredded cheddar a little at a time so it doesn’t clump together. Give it a taste, and add salt and pepper or more of any of the ingredients.

Garnish – This little extra step isn’t necessary but it does make a pretty presentation if you’re taking this salad to a potluck, BBQ, or other type of event. Sprinkle on a little shredded cheddar and fresh dill.

Key Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Pasta – Use any small cut pasta you like. I happen to be partial to bowtie pasta (farfalle), but rotini, macaroni, or shell would be great as well. Cook the pasta according to the package.
  • Mayonnaise – If you have an aversion to mayo, you can replace it with sour cream or Greek yogurt. I do like the creaminess and flavor it adds, though.
  • Sour Cream – Feel free to use a full-fat or low-fat variety. Also easy to replace with Greek yogurt.
  • Yellow Mustard – Not a lot, but enough to add a pop of acidity alongside the pickle juice.
  • Pickle Juice – Yup, straight out of the pickle jar! This will bring in a more intense pickle flavor than if you were using just the pickles. Feel free to adjust the amount to your liking.
  • Dill Pickles – Any brand will do, but I really like Mt. Olive Kosher Baby Dills. They are so crunchy and have a great flavor.
  • Dill – Fresh is best, but it’s not something I regularly have on hand, so I will use dried dill in a pinch.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Freshly grated off the block. Pre-grated cheese has a starchy coating to keep the cheese from sticking together in the package. It also alters the flavor and texture a little bit so I prefer fresh.
  • White Onion – This variety is a bit sweeter and more mild than yellow or red, so it’s perfect for salads. Make sure to chop it very fine unless you like big chunks of onion.

FAQs

Can I use any type of pasta?

Yes, you can use your preferred type of pasta for this recipe. Traditional choices like elbow macaroni, rotini, or bowtie pasta work well, but feel free to experiment with different shapes and sizes according to your preference.

How long will this pasta salad last in the fridge?

The pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. However, keep in mind that the texture may slightly change over time as the pasta absorbs more of the dressing. Give it a good stir before serving leftovers. If needed, you can add a little mayo to remoisten the pasta.

Variations

This recipe provides a solid base, but you can add other ingredients to customize it to your liking.

Some popular additions include diced bell peppers, shredded carrots, chopped fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro, or cooked and chopped bacon for a savory twist.

Serving Suggestions

The versatility of this salad allows it to complement a wide range of dishes. Feel free to experiment and find your favorite pairings based on your personal preferences and the occasion.

Here are some suggestions for what to serve alongside it:

  1. Grilled Meats: The tangy and creamy flavors of the pasta salad make it a great accompaniment to grilled meats like grilled chicken kabobs, grilled steak, or grilled sausage and peppers.
  2. BBQ Ribs: Combining smoky and savory Country Style Ribs with the tangy and crunchy pasta salad creates a delicious contrast.
  3. Burgers and Hot Dogs: Try my delicious Air Fryer Hamburgers, juicy Grilled Hamburgers, or Baked Chili Cheese Dogs.
  4. Sandwiches: Pair the pasta salad with deli sandwiches, BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches, or a classic Club Sandwich.

Make Ahead and Storage

You can make this salad up to a day in advance, keeping in mind that the longer it sits the pasta will absorb some of the dressing. Stir it really well just before serving and add a little more mayo or sour cream if needed to remoisten.

Store any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Helpful Tips

  • Cook the pasta al dente. It’s best to cook the pasta just until it’s al dente, meaning it still has a slight firmness to it. Overcooking the pasta can produce a mushy texture once combined with the dressing and other ingredients.
  • Rinse the pasta with cold water. After cooking the pasta, rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process and cool it down quickly. This helps prevent the pasta from becoming sticky and clumping together.
  • Use quality dill pickles. Choose good quality dill pickles that have a nice crunch and flavor. You can use store-bought pickles or make your own. Look for pickles with a strong dill flavor for the best results.
  • Let it chill. Allowing the pasta salad to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving is essential. This gives the flavors time to meld together and allows the dressing to coat the pasta thoroughly.
  • Adjust the dressing to your taste. The dressing plays a crucial role in flavoring the pasta salad. Feel free to adjust the amount of pickle juice or dried dill, add garlic powder, or any other seasoning according to your preference. Taste as you go and make adjustments as needed.
  • Add ingredients just before serving. If you’re adding any additional ingredients such as fresh herbs or bacon, it’s best to add them just before serving. This helps maintain their texture and prevents them from getting soggy.
Small white bowl with pasta salad with dill pickles and shredded cheddar and a fork.

More Pasta Salads

Recipe
Dill pickle pasta salad in a white serving bowl.

Cheddar & Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

5 from 3 votes
Dill Pickle Pasta Salad is a unique twist that combines the tangy flavor and crunch of dill pickles with sharp cheddar and tender pasta.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces boxed pasta cooked to packages instructions and chilled
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill pickles
  • 2 tablespoons pickle juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill or 1 tablespoon fresh
  • 4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup white onion finely chopped
  • Fresh dill or chives for garnish
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Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain, rinse and set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, dill pickle juice and fresh dill. Stir in pasta to coat, then fold in chopped dill pickles and white onion.
  • Fold in cheddar cheese a little at a time so it doesn't clump together.
  • Garnish with cheddar and fresh dill.

Notes

  • This will last a few days in the fridge so you can even make it a day ahead of time. Save the garnish for just before serving.
  • Choose good quality dill pickles that have a nice crunch and flavor.
  • Allowing the pasta salad to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving is essential. This gives the flavors time to meld together and allows the dressing to coat the pasta thoroughly.
Keyword dill pasta salad, pasta salad

Nutrition

Calories: 392kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 10gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 401mgPotassium: 165mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 348IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 175mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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Comments

  1. Sandra says:

    Hi, can you leave out the sour cream?

    1. Kristin says:

      You’d need to replace it with something else like Greek yogurt or more may since that’s basically half of the dressing.

  2. Diane says:

    Can’t wait to try this. Going to add some diced cooked ham. And maybe a touch of softened cream cheese to the sauce. Hoping for that ham roll-up flavor.

  3. Jenn says:

    Hello! I am in LOVE with this recipe! I have converted my husband and mother (neither of which are fans of pickle or pasta salad!) into pasta salad fans, thanks to this! 🙂

    However, I have made this recipe three times now, and a couple things I have noted. I have never found an 8oz box of pasta (although the recipe says 8oz of boxed pasta, not ‘an 8oz box of pasta’). I just assumed the full recipe would have been a full box of pasta, but alas, almost all boxed pasta is 16oz. Since I was making this to serve at Easter dinner, I doubled the recipe, and for some reason it came out pretty dry (albeit VERY flavorful!). I must have done something wrong. The other two times I have made it exactly like the recipe with just half the box of pasta and it has been delicious. Super easy to whip up. 🙂 Love love love!

    1. Kristin says:

      Hi Jenn, thanks for the feedback! Some stores do carry 12 ounce boxes of pasta, but I understand where the confusion could be. You were right to use just half a box of pasta. Not sure why it would come out dry after using a full box, but I’m so glad you are enjoying the recipe!