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.
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
This chicken bacon ranch casserole really is such a simple recipe, my biggest piece of advice is don’t forget your bib! Seriously though, there are a few tips that can help put your dish over the top.
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: Feel free to use rotisserie or even leftover chicken in this chicken bacon ranch pasta. Leftover grilled chicken is 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 saute’ 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.
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 this chicken bacon ranch pasta is easy but you aren’t likely to have many leftovers. 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 and reserve the 2-hour serving rule as recommended by the FDA.
Can You Freeze This?
Yes!! You sure can but do not bake it beforehand. Prepare as directed and then cover securely and freeze. I find that it helps to line the top with wax paper or to lightly grease tin foil to prevent it from sticking to the top of that beautiful chicken bacon ranch pasta.
When you are ready to serve it, let it slow thaw in the fridge the night before. Then toss it in a preheated oven until it reaches 165-degrees Fahrenheit (which typically takes about 40-50 minutes).
Make Ahead Tips
This chicken bacon ranch pasta is kind of a one-bowl wonder in the sense that you mix it up in the same pot you boil the noodles in, 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.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Your chicken bacon ranch pasta should be good for 3-5 days according to the USDA but don’t expect it to last that long. When people see this in the fridge, it tends to be the first thing they reach for and I can’t blame them one bit!
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.
I have seen people add chopped green chilies 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.
Can I Use Spaghetti Instead of Penne Pasta?
Well, I do have a recipe for a chicken spaghetti casserole, but I don’t exactly recommend using spaghetti noodles in this particular recipe. That cheesy cream sauce is fantastic, but it is also dense and getting a fork full can be difficult with those tiny noodles.
If you are just in the mood for spaghetti, then make it a cheesy chicken spaghetti. I couldn’t fault for that and you may even like it better than your original spaghetti recipe. This is where cheese lovers unite!
What Other Cheesy Chicken Dishes I Can Try?
If you are a cheesy chicken fanatic, then we are eternal soul mates! Cheesy chicken casserole is absolutely incredible, and the savory cheesy goodness is irresistible. Its another simple casserole dish starring – you guessed it – savory cheese and succulent chicken! (wholesome nutrition never tasted so good)
Chicken parmesan pasta is another lip smackin’ sensation that will send your taste buds into overdrive. You’ll have people hovering around the dinner table before you even take this one out of the oven. – And leftovers? Forget about it…..
Where Else Can I Use Alfredo Sauce?
As far as I’m concerned, the question really is where else can’t I use alfredo sauce? That creamy cheesy sauciness suits all kinds of stuff, from vegetables to casseroles and even crockpot meals. Chicken alfredo casserole is a popular favorite with plenty of decadence to savor.
If you want to try something a little different, perhaps chicken alfredo stuffed shells will do the trick. It’s an ultra-rich and creamy twist on the traditional alfredo dishes.
Can This Be Turned Into Tetrazzini?
Chicken tetrazzini is a completely different recipe, not that it’s difficult. It’s got plenty of plump little mushrooms, juicy chicken and a cream-based sauce that is almost too good to be true. When you are ready for some good old-fashioned comfort food, throw this together.
You could also opt for different pasta or even egg noodles and turn this mouthwatering dish into chicken tetrazzini casserole!
Can I Use Tortilla or Taco Instead?
If you want something with a Tex-Mex vibe, maybe a chicken taco casserole is in your future. It takes chicken tacos to a whole new level of deliciousness. I honestly think casseroles should be a food group! If you agree then chicken tortilla casserole is sure to become a hearty family favorite in your home very soon.
All the convenience of a casserole, layers of South of the border flavor and a rich creamy cheese sauce to tie it all together.
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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Chicken pasta recipes are the epitome of the American potluck and I, for one am okay with that. These are great recipes for busy midweek meals or when you need that something special for the family get together. You can never have too many different chicken pasta recipes in your arsenal.
Here are a few of my favorites for you to try!
- Chicken Broccoli Pasta
- Chicken Fajita Pasta
- Chicken Fettuccine
- Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
- Chicken Piccata Pasta
Chicken bacon ranch pasta is a whirlwind combination of succulent chicken, savory bacon and refreshing ranch flavors blended into creamy decadent deliciousness that you can feel down deep in your soul. I have a hard time keeping any leftovers of this stuff around, not even for lunch the next day. Plus, its so simple to make with a 20-minute prep time (which includes cooking pasta).
I love serving a wholesome nutritious meal that tastes so decadent despite its convenient preparation. Chicken bacon ranch pasta is my jam!