I do love the convenience of chicken casserole recipes, but none can compare to the refreshing cheese-laden goodness of this chicken bacon ranch pasta. This is one of my favorite chicken pasta recipes because it combines three of America’s favorite foods – bacon, ranch and cheese!
When you start putting bacon and ranch in chicken recipes, you know they’re gonna be good. Turning them into pasta recipes you can bake in the oven? Even better!! This chicken bacon ranch pasta is like a warm hug that washes over dinner time.
More of my favorite recipes with this magical flavor combination. I promise you’ll love and devour them all! ♥
What I Love About Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Recipe
Its chicken bacon ranch pasta, what’s not to love?! It’s a simple but savory flavor twist on a classic casserole that is fit enough even for a ranch aficionado and a bacon enthusiast. There really is just so much to love about this recipe, let me count the ways…
- Easy 20-minute prep
- Savory and wholesome
- Hearty and nutritious
- Defines simple
- Convenient weeknight meal
- Flexible recipe
Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole Recipe Notes
First and foremost, salt your pasta water. I find that a tablespoon to a tablespoon and a half is sufficient for about 4 quarts of water. Salting your pasta water doesn’t have anything to do with raising the temperature of the water or making it boil more quickly. Its really all about flavor!
Pasta absorbs some of the water as it cooks. If that water is well-seasoned, then it only stands to reason that your pasta will be too!
This chicken bacon ranch pasta calls for cooked bacon. By all means, cook it however you are comfortable (stovetop or oven). The main this is that you want it crispy and you want to dab the grease off with a paper towel. This small step will help ensure your casserole isn’t greasy.
Last, you’ll want to let your chicken bacon ranch pasta rest for about ten minutes before serving. This gives all the flavors time to set-up for an out of this world amazing dish.
Chicken: I love to use rotisserie or even leftover chicken in this chicken bacon ranch pasta. Leftover grilled chicken is also really delicious. If you’re short on time you can even use canned chicken breast if the measurements are right. If you don’t have any on hand, though, you can cube 2-3 boneless chicken breasts and sauté them in olive oil, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper.
Pasta: I prefer penne pasta for this recipe, but others will work too. Rigatoni,Gemelli, medium shells, or bow ties work great. You just want to ensure that there are plenty of cracks and crevices to carry that scrumptious sauce. For a little extra texture, you can use whole-wheat pasta, or substitute a gluten-free version if needed.
Add Dill: This is purely optional, but I do like to add a teaspoon of dill to my powdered ranch seasoning. I find that it gives it that extra refreshing flavor that people love but just can’t quite put their finger on!
Also, you want to make sure and use an alfredo sauce that you really like since it will be the base of your chicken bacon ranch pasta. If you don’t love it straight out of the jar, you won’t like it any better in your pasta dish!
Storing + Freezing + Make-Ahead
- How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge? Just put your leftovers in an airtight container with a secure lid and toss them in the fridge. Be sure that your fridge is set at or below 40-degree Fahrenheit for proper food storage. It will last 3-5 days in the fridge.
- Can You Freeze This? Yes!! You sure can but do not bake it beforehand. I like to line the top with wax paper or to lightly grease tin foil to prevent it from sticking to the top of the pasta then do a double layer of hotel wrap, then freeze it. Yes, how you wrap in plastic is incredibly important and makes a huge difference in how your food is preserved in the freezer! Here’s how to hotel wrap.
- When you are ready to serve it, let it slow thaw in the fridge the night before. Let it sit out at room temp on the counter, so it doesn’t go into the oven cold, then toss it in the oven until it reaches 165-degrees Fahrenheit (which typically takes about 40-50 minutes)
- Make- Ahead Tips: This recipe is kind of a one-bowl wonder, in the sense that you mix it up in the same pot you boil the noodles in, then pour it in a casserole dish and toss it in the oven! It just doesn’t get much simpler than that.
- One of the things that I have done many times is mix up a batch and pour it into two smaller casserole pans. Then one goes into the oven and the other goes into the freezer. Voila! You’ve got a wholesome nutritious ready-made meal that everyone is going to looove.
- The only single items that can really be prepped ahead of time are the bacon and the chicken. Depending on how far ahead you are prepping, those items can be cooked and frozen if you don’t want to throw the whole dish together.
This is delicious served with a simple garden salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette or my Mediterranean salad. I also like to serve copycat Olive Garden breadsticks or this amazing garlic bread. YUM!!!
More Veggies: There are some great things you can add to this chicken bacon ranch pasta in the sea of cheesy dreams. Green peas, broccoli or spinach help up the veggie ante and they taste fantastic covered in cheese sauce (plus it’s a great way to get some extra veggies in the kiddos). Cauliflower or mushrooms aren’t bad either.
Spice It UP: I have seen people add chopped green chilies or a can or 2 of well drained Rotel to give this dish a nice kick. I often sprinkle chopped scallions on the top to dress it up a little, myself. You could even toss in some cubed ham if you like.
Change Up The Pasta: Use any tube shaped pasta you’d like.
More Cheesy Chicken Dishes
- Crack Chicken Casserole
- Chicken Noodle Casserole
- Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
- Poppy Seed Chicken
- Million Dollar Chicken Casserole
- Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- 1 pound dried penne pasta
- 2 (15 ounces) each alfredo sauce
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 envelope dry ranch dressing mix
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 2 cups Mozzarella shredded- divided
- 2 cups cheddar shredded- divided
- 6 slices cooked bacon chopped
- 3-4 cups cooked chicken shredded or chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9X13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Cook the pasta (1 pound) in well-salted water, according to package instructions. Drain and dry pot.
- Add alfredo sauce (2 (15 ounces)), sour cream (1 cup), milk (1 cup), dry ranch dressing mix (1 envelope), dill (▢1 teaspoon), 1 cup Mozzarella, 1 cup cheddar, and bacon (6 slices) to the pot dried pasta pot and stir to combine. Add pasta and chicken (3-4 cups) and stir until evenly coated.
- Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top evenly with the remaining 1 cup of Mozzarella and 1 cup of cheddar. Bake in preheated oven until heat through and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes. Serve.
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Kristen Kaste says
I enjoyed it very much. Some in my family do not like pickles. So the next time I make it I’m going to put less Dill in it.
Chris Blair says
Oh my we loved this!! There are ways to make it a teeny bit healthier; Here’s what I did: halved all ingredients except chicken. Used low fat Alfredo. Added blanched green beans ( that were in the fridge) Froze half; thawed then baked perfectly!.
Thank you, Chris! Glad you like it! Love your healthy tweaks! ❤️
Loved this salad! ?
Hi Alise! Thank you so much! ?❤️
It might not be too healthy, but it was delicious! What a great twist to the standard macaroni and cheese or beefy macaroni and cheese recipes! Usually with a dinner entree cooked in a 13 x 9 in. baking dish, there is enough remaining to take for lunch the next day for hubby, but not this time! Incredibly easy and a great idea for when you want a comfort food for dinner instead of what you should have for dinner. The only thing is I didn’t have penne pasta and substituted rotini which seemed to work out just fine. Thanks for a great recipe!
Kathleen Smith says
Kimberly, glad you and your husband enjoyed this recipe, thanks for sharing!
Kathleen Smith says
Thank you Kimberly! So glad you guys liked it. My hubby can’t ge enough of this one too!
Cynthia Berls says
Sorry but this recipe does not sound healthy at all…way too heavy and fattening. You have some great recipes please don’t misunderstand, but this one isn’t for me!
Kathleen Smith says
Well hopefully our next recipe will be a better match for you. Thanks so much for your input.