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5 from 16 ratings

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.

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!

Video:

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