4th of July BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

A couple years ago, my sister was having her annual 4th of July Party.  I was asked to bring a pasta salad.  As a chef, and as usual with any holiday, I was busy getting other people's food ready for their festivities.  Which is something I love to do. However, I occasionally run out of time for personal celebrations and their preparations.  

It was the morning of the 4th of July, and I had no time to make it to the store before the party.  So I had to make do with what I had on hand.  And when all was said and done, I came up with the BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad.  It will definitely3rd Annual Nancy & Bob's Atomic Ranch 4th of July Party.  

I hope you enjoy my recipe and have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Chef Jeff

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad 

Serves several people


  • 1 rotisserie chicken (or two breasts, two thighs, and two drumsticks that have been roasted with your favorite BBQ sauce)
  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 3 cups frozen fire roasted corn (I used Trader Joe's)
  • 2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce (divided) (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
  • 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Best Foods)
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • Dash hot sauce or 1/2 tsp sambal
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced celery leaves
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper 
  • 1 cup diced smoked mozzarella
  • 4 green onions thinly sliced (divided)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (divided)(about 1/2 a bunch or so)


  1. Remove the skin from the chicken and remove the chicken meat from the bones.  You can either chop or shred the meat.  It is up to you.  Toss the meat with about 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce.  If it looks too dry add another 1/2 cup.  You don't want the chicken swimming in the sauce, just coated well.  Set the chicken meat aside. 
  2. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil.  Add the penne pasta, give the pasta a stir, and cook the pasta according to package directions.  Add the frozen corn to the pasta during the last minute or two of the pasta cooking time.  When the pasta is done, drain the pasta and corn and rinse with cool water and drain well again.  
  3. While the pasta cooks, make the salad dressing by combining in a large bowl: the remaining cup of BBQ sauce and the next 9 ingredients through the salt and pepper.  Whisk or stir well to combine the salad dressing so that everything is well incorporated.  
  4. Add the pasta and corn to the bowl with the dressing along with the chicken, celery, celery leaves, bell pepper, smoked mozzarella, 1/2 of the onions and 1/2 of the cilantro and stir to combine.  Let sit about 20 minutes or so until the pasta has a chance to soak up some of the sauce.  
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and garnish with the remaining cilantro and green onion.


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