Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad with Homemade Croutons

Easy and refreshing Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe that goes together in no time. Serve it as a main course or side salad! 

chicken caesar pasta salad recipe

When we’re trying to think of simple dinner ideas, it’s easy to forget about main dish salads. A main dish salad can be light, yet filling at the same time. That’s why I like this Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe so much. The pasta makes it hearty and filling, and the other ingredients are fresh and light. When combined, you have a delicious and simple dinner for family gatherings, potlucks, or regular weeknight meals. This salad is requested by my family every time they visit!

Why This Recipe Works

The homemade croutons are an easy way to add flavor and crunch to this salad. They can be made in advance, so all you have to do is toss them in before serving. Adding cooked chicken makes this a complete meal-in-one! I use rotisserie chicken, but leftovers from a roasted chicken or baked chicken breasts work as well. 

chicken caesar pasta salad ingredients

Ingredient Notes + Variations

For a different take on the classic Caesar salad, here are ingredient substitutions you can make:

  • Pasta: instead of penne pasta, use fusilli, rotini, or other short pasta shape. You can also use gluten-free or whole wheat pasta.
  • Lettuce: other leafy greens can be used in place of the chopped romaine, such as spinach, arugula, kale, or mixed greens. You can also add shredded carrots, red cabbage, or cucumber for extra crunch and nutrition.
  • Chicken: any other protein can be substituted for the chicken. Suggestions are canned tuna, grilled shrimp, or grilled salmon. For a vegetarian version, you can skip the meat and add firm tofu cubes or chickpeas.
  • Parmesan cheese: substitute any other hard cheese such as Pecorino Romano, Asiago, or Grana Padano.
  • Caesar dressing: use bottled or homemade dressing…whatever you prefer.

How To Make Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

  • In a large pot, boil the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water.
  • Wash and chop two heads of crisp fresh romaine lettuce, and place in a large bowl.
  • Dice the chicken into bite-size pieces. Add to the bowl of lettuce.
  • Incorporate the slightly cooled pasta along with the dressing into the bowl.
  • Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together.
  • Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the mixture and toss once more.
  • Allow the salad to chill in the fridge for about 15-30 minutes.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.
  • Complete the dish by serving it alongside homemade crispy croutons.

Helpful Tips

  • Any kind of chicken can be used. I baked chicken breast tenders for this post, but I almost always use rotisserie chicken. This is a great meal idea to use up any sort of leftover chicken.
  • Since I spent extra time to make homemade croutons, I took a short cut on the dressing, and used this bottled creamy Caesar dressing.
  • Use whatever Parmesan cheese you have on hand. The all-time best taste comes from freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. However, I had a tub of shredded Parmesan in our refrigerator, so that’s what I used.
  • The homemade croutons are like the icing on a cake. They take the taste level up several notches, but of course, any type of store-bought croutons can be used.
chicken caesar pasta salad with homemade croutons

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of pasta works best for Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad?

Short pasta shapes such as fusilli, penne, rotini, or farfalle (bowtie) pasta work best. These types of pasta have a good surface area for the dressing to cling to, and are easy to eat with the other salad ingredients. Additionally, their sturdy structure holds up well when mixed with other ingredients like lettuce and chicken, making them an ideal choice for this salad.

Can I use store-bought Caesar dressing, or should I make it from scratch?

Yes, you can use store-bought Caesar dressing! It’s very convenient and saves time. If you prefer a fresher taste or want to control the ingredients and seasoning, making your own Caesar salad dressing from scratch is also an excellent option.
Homemade Caesar dressing typically includes ingredients like garlic, anchovy paste (or Worcestershire sauce as a substitute), Dijon mustard, lemon juice, mayonnaise, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.

What is the ideal serving size for Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad?

As a main dish, a serving size is approximately 1.5 to 2 cups (350-450 grams) per person. As a side dish, a smaller portion of 1 cup (225-250 grams) per person would be appropriate, as it will complement the other dishes being served without being too filling.

Can I prepare the Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad in advance? If so, how long will it stay fresh in the refrigerator?

Prepare the pasta, chicken, and lettuce. Put the prepared ingredients in a large bowl or airtight container, but DO NOT MIX THEM. Place them in sections, like on the cutting board pictured above. Cover and store in the refrigerator. You can prep the ingredients up to a day in advance. When you are ready to serve, add the Parmesan cheese and dressing. Toss well, and top with croutons. 

What side dishes go well with Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad?

1. Bread: Garlic bread, garlic breadsticks, or homemade savory cheese bread.
2. Soup is a warm and comforting accompaniment. Suggestions are Corn Chowder or Chicken Florentine soup.
3. Fruit salad or fruit skewers: A refreshing fruit dish can cleanse the palate and balance the richness of the pasta salad.

chicken caesar pasta salad in pyrex bowl

More Easy Salad Recipes


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chicken caesar pasta salad recipe

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Easy and refreshing Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe that goes together in no time. Serve it as a main course or side salad! 
Rate this Recipe Print Recipe Pin Recipe
4.93 from 26 votes
Servings: 4 main dish servings
Author: Ann Drake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Refrigeration time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 2 cups penne pasta (measure before cooking)
  • 2 hearts romaine lettuce
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups chicken breast pieces
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup Caesar dressing
  • homemade croutons


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water.
  • Wash and chop two heads of romaine lettuce, and place in a large bowl.
  • Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces. Add to the bowl with lettuce.
  • Add the slightly cooled pasta and dressing.
  • Toss to combine well.
  • Top with parmesan cheese and toss again.
  • Chill in refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Serve with homemade croutons.


Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 846mg | Potassium: 347mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 283IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 251mg | Iron: 2mg
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If you make this recipe, and love it, please come back to leave a comment and a 5-star review. I would really appreciate it, and it would help me so much. Thank you!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I love this easy recipe. One dish but covers everything! Protein, Dairy, Greens, light on carbs. My husband enjoyed.

  2. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Thanks, Ann, for another great recipe for salad! I am going to make this salad on the weekend.

  3. 5 stars
    Make it even better..marinate chicken in creamy Caesar dressing then grill indoor or out.!

  4. 5 stars
    My comment gets flagged “Duplicate comment detected. ” I think this is my first comment ever! Hmmm.

  5. 5 stars
    This will be a great summer dinner recipe when it gets hot…hotter. it’s already hot here in N. California!

  6. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to try this! I gave it 5 stars without even trying it yet!

  7. I’ll be trying this soon!

  8. 5 stars
    My husband and I both loved this salad.

  9. Delish, one of my favorite salads, gonna try this one also! ❤️❤️

  10. 5 stars
    Love, love, love Caesar Salad! This recipe is spot on. I use my not-so-perfect sourdough loaves for the bread and the rest of the ingredients in the recipe. Turns out great.

  11. Janet Smith says:

    5 stars
    It’s awesome when someone else family favorite becomes your family favorite too. Thanks for the ideas!

  12. Lisa Fleming says:

    5 stars
    Made this the other night and my family loved it!! There was not a single bite left!!

  13. Tina Austin says:

    My hubby works at night and I during the day. I prepared this amazing meal for him to eat when he got home that morning, he called me at work asking me to make it again. I don’t eat cheese so I could not taste it. But by his response, it’s a winner for me.Thank you for another meal for my rotation.

  14. Lu Leader says:

    5 stars
    So simple and great for summer! Our Pacific Northwest summer is finally here, so we’ll have this tomorrow. Yum! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Sharron Lynn says:

    Immediately added this to my summer recipes. A hot humid summer day calls for a cool refreshing light dinner. YUMMY!

  16. Yummy! Having this for our Saturday supper tonight!

  17. Amy Brizendine says:

    5 stars
    I made this for my family and everyone loved it. Thanks for the recipe.

  18. So many delicious recipes to choose from. Thanks for all your sharing.

  19. Caesar salad with grilled chicken is my summer go to recipe. I never thought about adding pasta. I’m anxious to try it!

  20. Sue Alverson says:

    I am going to make this for a ladies luncheon. Thank you for the idea!

  21. Looks delicious…is on the menu for next week. I think hubby might even like this and he isn’t a big salad guy. Peace.

  22. The great of the summer is here! A fresh pasta salad is exactly what is needed. Thank you!

  23. Sharon Ganne❤️ says:

    We experience very hot summers here in Fresno, CA and I’m always happy when I find an easy-to-make and very tasty salad recipe such as this one. It is refreshing and one I will definitely make again and again.

  24. Nevin Hartman says:

    Love this salad! I also like to make my own croutons from leftover breads. I don’t waste anything!

  25. Summer salad ideas…very much appreciated! Can’t wait to try. Thank you!

  26. Always looking for fun salads for summer. Can’t wait to make this! Thanks!

  27. I love a good Caesar salad. Thanks for sharing.

  28. This looks yummy! I would’ve never thought to add noodles in with my Caesar salad. I’m excited to try it!

  29. Definitely going to make this… I have a rotisserie chicken from costco I need to use.

    Thank you!

  30. Terri Euerle says:

    I can’t wait to try this, love anything caesar. Think I will be making this for camping this weekend.

  31. Everything about this recipe says YUM!! – think I’ll try it for a dinner party soon – Thank you for sharing

  32. I love anything ‘chicken salad’ and this looks so refreshing and easy to make. Thank you for sharing it with us and will let you know the family’s review ;-)

  33. Margie Angell says:

    5 stars
    What a great looking summer time salad!

  34. Having house guests this weekend so the recipe came just in time!

  35. This recipe sounds perfect for a cool meal on a hot summer evening. Thank you for sharing!

  36. Will have to try this for my daughter. She loves a good Caesar salad and what’s better than a twist for surprise?!

  37. Suzy mooney says:

    Recipe proves that there is more to Caesar than just veggies!

  38. Can’t wait to try this recipe. We are big Caesar Salad lovers. Great way to make it into a light summer meal!

  39. Ceci Maddock says:

    My son’s favorite salad!!

  40. Donna Benton says:

    My summer go-to

  41. 5 stars
    Quick and easy, my style of cooking these days. Lie the idea of making it ahead and toss it together before serving..


  43. A Caesar salad is my hubs favorite and I love pasta. A win win recipe!

  44. Becky Kerwin says:

    Another must try recipe! And I love making my own croutons when I can, there’s just something about them that tastes so much better!!

  45. Tammy K. Watson says:

    Wow!! That is a really easy recipe, one that I want to try!!! Thank you!!

  46. 5 stars
    Caesar is my fav! ❤️❤️❤️

  47. Terri Herman says:

    Thanks! On the menu for next week! Salads are a must when it’s hot here in the South.

  48. Thanks Ann,
    Chicken Ceasar Salad is always my go to salad! Put I really like the addition of pasta to make the meal a little more filling. And the homemade croutons,mmm!
    Thank you,

  49. Deborah Peters says:

    I love this recipe. I will probably cut the pasta in half to follow my diet, but that won’t be a huge revision. :)

  50. Melissa Bonser says:

    5 stars
    This salad is fabulous, my whole family loves it!! The pasta is a great touch, this is asked for repeated ly.
    Thank you so much, Anne!!

  51. Mary Hendley says:

    5 stars
    Delicious and simple to make. My sister get together will love it 🥰

  52. 5 stars
    I served this salad tonight when I hosted our monthly book club. It was a huge hit! This will definitely be on the menu for future events.

  53. Kathryn Anthony says:

    5 stars
    I made this chicken pasta Caesar salad for dinner last evening.
    It was the perfect blend ôf ingredients with the addition of the pasta. We also had a toasted English muffin on the side. Divine!

  54. Ann, made this tonight and my husband said to add it to the regular rotation. Delicious! Thank you!

  55. Linda Greene says:

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for the salad recipe. I made the croutons using your recipe. It is delicious!!! I love a simple and delicious one dish meal.
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Yay! Thank you so much for the 5 Star rating. I am so glad you liked the recipes!