The Cozy Cook

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

This Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta is an easy dinner idea that you can make on the stovetop or bake as a casserole! You’ll love the cheesy, creamy pasta with seasoned bites of chicken and crispy bacon.

A white plate topped with creamy Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta with crispy bacon on top.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

This recipe is the ultimate comfort food with cheesy, creamy pasta and  juicy bites of seasoned chicken with a golden crust from being seared in bacon drippings.

The bacon adds a nice crunch and delicious flavor. Make this with any kind of pasta you have on hand, you can even swipe out the chicken for some smoked sausage!

Frozen vegetables are an easy addition to complete the meal along with some Garlic Bread with Cheese.

Ready to make it?!

How to Make It

*See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Cook the bacon over low heat until crispy on each side. Roughly chop and set aside. Reserve bacon drippings in a small bowl.

Wipe the skillet clean and add 2 Tbsp. bacon drippings.

Slice the chicken into thinner slices, pat dry, and season each side. Sear over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side. (Do this in batches if needed.) Set aside and let rest for at least 5 minutes prior to cutting into pieces of desired size.

A plate of chopped up crispy bacon next to a plate of season and seared chicken.

Melt butter in the same skillet and heat garlic for 1 minute. Add the flour and use a silicone spatula to stir for 1 more minute. Add half and half in splashes, stirring as you do so. Bring it to a gentle bubble, then reduce heat to low. 

A skillet with sauteed garlic next to a skillet of ranch sauce for Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta.

Add the Ranch seasoning and stir to combine. Gradually stir in the cheese until smooth. Adding shredded cheese to cream sauce and rotini pasta to make Chicken Bacon Spinach Pasta.

Add the cooked pasta, chicken, and bacon. Serve.

Chicken Bacon Spinach Pasta in a cream sauce with crispy bacon on top.

Pro Tips

  • Heavy cream can be used instead of half and half.
  • If possible, shred the cheese from a block instead of using bagged shredded cheese as it will melt and taste much better. I use Cracker Barrel Sharp Yellow Cheese in this recipe.
  • Thick Cut bacon will produce more drippings for you to cook the chicken in.
  • Leftover chicken can also be used in this recipe.
  • Any kind of pasta can be used for this recipe, I prefer Rotini as it clings onto this sauce really well. Penne, Bowtie Pasta, Cavatappi, or Cellentani all work well too.
  • Sliced smoked sausage would make a nice addition to this meal instead of chicken.
  • Frozen mixed vegetables can be added to make it a complete meal as well.
  • Garlic Bread with Cheese makes a great side dish!

Storage

Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. I do find that this pasta freezes well.

Casserole Method

  • Prepare recipe as outlined, be sure to cook the pasta until just al dente.
  • Transfer to a 9 x 13 casserole dish (or leave in an oven-safe skillet).
  • Top with 1.5 cups additional shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Make Ahead Method

  • Cook pasta for 1 minute less than al dente, follow all other instructions as outlined.
  • Transfer to a 9 x 13 casserole dish (or leave in an oven-safe skillet).
  • Top with 1.5 cups additional shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • When ready to serve, Bake (covered) at 350° for 40 minutes.
  • Remove cover and bake for 5 more minutes.

Creamy Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta on a white plate with a fork.

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Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

5 from 15 ratings
This Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta is an easy dinner idea that you can make on the stovetop or bake as a casserole! You’ll love the cheesy, creamy pasta with seasoned bites of chicken and crispy bacon.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 strips bacon
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta, I used rotini
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing seasoning mix

Instructions

Cook the Bacon

  • Cook the bacon in a large skillet over low heat (low and slow is best for bacon). Set aside and pour bacon drippings into a small bowl. Carefully wipe the skillet clean. Roughly chop the bacon once cooled.

Prepare the Chicken

  • Cut the chicken breasts into thinner slices, 2-3 slices each. They will plump up more when cooked. Pat dry and season each side with a light sprinkling of salt/pepper, as well as onion powder and Italian seasoning.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. bacon drippings in the skillet over medium-high heat. Olive or vegetable oil may also be used in lieu of drippings.
  • Sear the chicken on each side for 3-4 minutes, until a golden brown crust has developed. Set aside on a plate once cooked through. Let it rest for 5 minutes, then cut into cubes of desired size.

Boil the Pasta

  • Now is a good time to boil salted water and cook the pasta. Drain once finished. Prepare the sauce while the pasta boils.

Make the Sauce

  • Melt 1 tbsp. butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic for 1 minute. Add the flour and use a silicone spatula to stir continuously for 1 more minute.
  • Temper the half and half by heating in the microwave for 40 seconds. Add it to the skillet in splashes, stirring as you do so. Bring it to a gentle bubble, then reduce heat to low.
  • Add the Ranch seasoning and stir to combine. Gradually stir in the cheese. (Note: It will continue to thicken upon standing.)

Combine the Pasta/Chicken/Bacon

  • Add the pasta to the skillet and use a silicone spatula to carefully combine with the sauce. Add the chicken and allow it to heat back up a bit. Garnish with bacon or stir it right into the sauce and serve!

Notes

Pro Tips:
  • Heavy cream can be used instead of half and half.
  • If possible, shred the cheese from a block instead of using bagged shredded cheese as it will melt and taste much better. I use Cracker Barrel Sharp Yellow Cheese in this recipe.
  • Thick Cut bacon will produce more drippings for you to cook the chicken in.
  • Leftover chicken can also be used in this recipe.
  • Any kind of pasta can be used for this recipe, I prefer Rotini as it clings onto this sauce really well. Penne, Bowtie Pasta, Cavatappi, or Cellentani all work well too.
  • Sliced smoked sausage would make a nice addition to this meal instead of chicken.
  • Frozen mixed vegetables can be added to make it a complete meal as well.
  • Garlic Bread with Cheese makes a great side dish!

Casserole Method
  • Prepare recipe as outlined, be sure to cook the pasta until just al dente.
  • Transfer to a 9 x 13 casserole dish (or leave in an oven-safe skillet).
  • Top with 1.5 cups additional shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
Make Ahead Method
  • Cook pasta for 1 minute less than al dente, follow all other instructions as outlined.
  • Transfer to a 9 x 13 casserole dish (or leave in an oven-safe skillet).
  • Top with 1.5 cups additional shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • When ready to serve, Bake (covered) at 350° for 40 minutes.
  • Remove cover and bake for 5 more minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 552kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 137mg, Sodium: 893mg, Potassium: 525mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 758IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 375mg, Iron: 1mg

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37 comments on “Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta”

  1. Hi! I’m not seeing where the flour is needed! Assume it’s used in the cheese sauce? At what point? Can’t wait to make later this week

    • Hey Emily! It’s in step 4, (easy to miss), after you season the chicken pieces you toss them in 3 Tablespoons of flour before you cook them. Enjoy, this recipe is so good!!

  2. No rating but thought you’d want to know that under “Pro Tips” you wrote to shred the chicken from a block of cheddar cheese! 😀

  3. Can I just use milk or does it have to be in a can? 

    • Hi Mychelle, milk is fine! To clarify, I don’t use anything from a can, maybe you are thinking condensed milk? Either way, milk is okay- use whole milk if you can! -Stephanie

  4. I substituted broccoli for the chicken. It turned out great…a creamy, cheesy, delicious side.

  5. We substitute pasta for chickpea pasta, and lactose free milk. It’s delicious 🙂 this is one of our favorite recipes to make for lunches throughout the week. Everyone enjoys it.

    • I am so happy that you love this recipe, that totally makes my day! Love the substitution option too!! Thanks SO much for taking the time to comment and rate!! -Stephanie

  6. This was very good. The chicken I boiled the night before so I had to make a couple alterations, but it was perfect.

    • Hey Nina! That’s so great to hear! Man it’s been a little while since I made this, thinking about it made me hungry- maybe tonight! 🙌🏻 Thank you for taking the time to comment and rate!! -Stephanie

  7. My daughter who is 10 loves this! She says it’s better than eating at the Olive Garden! And that’s her favorite place to go!

  8. I’m going to make this recipe this weekend. What’s not to love about it? Will let you know how it goes. Thanks again for sharing! Jen

    • Ohhhhh man. You are in for a GOOD meal, I’m jealous! I’m going away this weekend and subject to whatever food I’m given, (which should be good), but it’s no Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta! Can’t wait to hear what you think of it! 😊 PS- I give you credit for planning your weekend meals ahead of time! I try so hard to do that, it’s not my strong suit!

  9. I love pasta, ranch dressing, bacon & chicken.  How could I not love this recipe?

    • Hi Sonnia! My thoughts exactly! I have quite a collection of bacon ranch recipes at this point, and I actually made some cheddar ranch crackers last night, I think I have a Ranch addiction! I hope you have a chance to try this recipe soon, you will love it! Have a great weekend!

  10. Nope, how can one ever go wrong with ranch?? 😀

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