Creamy Chipotle Chicken Penne Salad

Bobbi Jo Woods


Not long ago, I had never cooked using chipotle peppers, let alone much ate things with them. The chipotle (pronounced chee-POTE-lay) is a smoked jalepeño pepper, usually sold dried in whole pieces, or canned in a vinegary red adobo sauce.

I accidentally acquired a can of these smoky, zesty goodies, and put them in the pantry for later, not knowing what to do with them. I heard they paired well with eggs, were in things like barbecue sauces and salsas, but didn't know much else about 'em.

After being invited to a group picnic this summer, I got nervous because I was short on time (and food in my pantry). I had some dry pasta, leftover rotisserie chicken, and not much else. A light bulb went off in my head, and this recipe is a result of my quick thinking and creativity. It was a huge hit at the picnic; people practically fought to take some home with them and even begged for the recipe.

The chipotle is your friend! I'm glad I became familiar with the little buggers and came to love them. Hope you enjoy!


★★★★★ 3 votes

a crowd
10 Min
15 Min


  • 1 8oz pkg
    penne pasta
  • 1 lb
    chicken, cooked
  • 1 small
  • 1/2 pt
    cherry tomatoes

  • 1/4 c
  • 4 tsp
    chipotles in adobo
  • 3 Tbsp
    ranch dressing

How to Make Creamy Chipotle Chicken Penne Salad


  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, dice or shred chicken (however you like it, and remove the skin, if desired) peel and dice onion coarsely, rinse and quarter cherry tomatoes.
  3. Drain pasta and rinse in cold water, set aside.
  4. Open can of chipotles in adobo sauce (found in Mexican aisle of grocery store) and with a spoon, remove a couple of the peppers (2-4 should do) and some of the sauce, set aside. Store remainder in a tightly sealed jar (will keep for months in the refrigerator).
  5. In a food chopper/processor, pulse the pepper and sauce a few times until you have a slight chunky puree (the desired consistency is when the peppers break down into small flakes).
  6. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, ranch dressing and chopped peppers in sauce with a spoon. Add just a little of the peppers at a time, tasting the dressing as you go to ensure it's not too spicy for your taste. If it's just a bit spicy and salty, that's perfect - the dressing will absorb into the pasta salad while chilling and won't be too bland or too rich.
  7. In a large bowl, toss pasta with chopped cooked chicken, diced onion and quartered tomatoes.
  8. Fold the dressing mixture into the pasta and veggies. Chill for at least one hour and serve. Tastes even better the next day or two!

Printable Recipe Card

About Creamy Chipotle Chicken Penne Salad

Other Tag: Quick & Easy

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