Loaded with cheese, chicken, and crispy bacon, Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake is so easy & delicious you’ll want to eat it every night!
Busy parents, this is a recipe you’re going to OBSESS over. I’m talking easy prep with a delicious outcome that everyone in your family is going to love. Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake is my go-to weeknight dinner because it’s creamy, cheesy, and when you pair it with roasted asparagus, we’ve got a complete meal that will make everyone happy!
CHICKEN BACON RANCH PASTA BAKE
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Pasta bakes are for sure my love language. Pasta, sauce, cheese, I mean come on, it’s food perfection! If someone shows up at my house with a freshly made baked ziti or lasagna, they are forever my hero. But what REALLY gets me is a pasta bake that includes my absolute favorite food – bacon!
Around my neighborhood, I’m known as the casserole lady. I make them and deliver them to everyone.
You just had a new baby? Expect one of my casseroles to be showing up on your doorstep.
Someone’s not feeling so hot? You got it, one casserole coming right up!
In the past, I’d make a basic ziti, but now that I’ve perfected this chicken bacon ranch pasta recipe, you’d better believe that’s what you’re getting!
This chicken bacon ranch pasta casserole is so flavorful and creamy, you’d never believe how quick and easy it is to make. In under 40 minutes you’ll be prepped, baked, and ready to serve. So, whether you’re in a rush to get dinner on the table for your own family, or you need a quick casserole to pass off to a friend, I totally recommend making some chicken bacon ranch pasta! You won’t regret it.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Ingredients
Before you’re ready to assemble your chicken bacon ranch pasta bake, you’ll need to do a little bit of prep work on your chicken, bacon, and pasta.
Chicken – You’ll need 2 breasts of chicken cooked and shredded for this chicken bacon ranch pasta recipe. I usually throw my chicken in the crockpot the morning of, that way it’s ready to shred by dinner time. I even make a bunch of instant pot chicken breasts on Sunday to have for the week. This helps cut down on meal prep later.
If you’re in a pinch (AKA forgot to cook the chicken), grab a rotisserie chicken from the store and use that instead!
Bacon – For bacon, I totally recommend cooking bacon in the oven when you’re ready to make your pasta bake! That way your oven is already preheated AND it’s done when the sauce and pasta are ready.
Pasta – I personally love using penne pasta for this dish. Something about a creamy sauce just pairs perfectly with penne. But, you can totally use any other type of pasta you like!
Sauce – for the irresistible cream sauce for your pasta bake you’ll need cream cheese, milk, grated parmesan, shredded mozzarella, and ranch dressing.
How to make Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake
- So you’ve got your chicken and bacon cooked. Now it’s time to get your dinner assembled! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set it aside for later.
- Start by placing a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring it to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until it’s al dente. The pasta will cook a little more in the oven so you want it to have a little bite after boiling. Drain the pasta and put it in a large mixing bowl.
- While the pasta cooks, make your cheesy ranch sauce! In a large skillet, melt some butter and then add garlic. Saute it together until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add in the flour and whisk to make a roux. Let this cook for 1 minute to get rid of the raw flour taste.
- Slowly add the milk to your mixture, whisking constantly so it gets incorporated without lumps. (Nobody wants a flour lump in the middle of their chicken bacon ranch pasta casserole!)
- Next, add in the cream cheese, onion powder, salt, and pepper and whisk until the cream cheese melts.
- Once the sauce has thickened, add the ranch dressing, Parmesan, and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Whisk together until the cheeses are melted.
*If the sauce seems too thick, add more milk a little at a time until it’s a little bit thinner. You don’t want a super soupy sauce, but you do want to be able to stir it!
- Next, add the chicken to the cooked pasta. Pour the cheese sauce over the chicken and pasta and stir it up. Make sure to get it all coated! Add half of the bacon and stir to combine.
- Now, grab your baking dish and pour the chicken pasta mixture into it. Spread into an even layer and top with the last cup of mozzarella cheese and then the rest of the bacon. (There’s no such thing as too much cheese or too much bacon!)
- Pop your casserole in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the cheese is lightly browned and the sauce is bubbly.
- remove the pasta bake from your oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then sere warm with some chopped parsley on top for garnish.
If evening prep work is out of the question for you, you can totally make your chicken bacon ranch pasta ahead of time and leave it in the fridge for when you’re ready. Nothing better than running in the door after a busy day and throwing an already prepped dinner in the oven!
Can I freeze Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta?
Yes, you can definitely freeze this chicken bacon ranch pasta recipe! In fact, I’ve got one sitting in my freezer as we speak! It’s the best being able to pull a fully prepped casserole out of my freezer, let it thaw, and then pop it in the oven for dinner!
So, if you’re looking to have a prepped casserole on hand in your freezer, simply follow all of the above steps EXCEPT baking it. Prep your ingredients in a freezer-safe dish and wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap AND a layer of foil. It’ll last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to cook it, let your chicken bacon ranch pasta thaw in the fridge overnight and then pop it in the oven according to the directions above.
Need more easy weeknight dinner ideas? Try out some of these other Real Housemoms recipes!
- Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
- Ham and Pineapple Pasta Bake
- Crack Chicken Sliders
- Cheesy Instant Pot Chicken Pasta
- Baked Chicken Parmesan
- more DINNER recipes…
Tools used to make this Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake recipe
Freezer-Safe Baking Dish: I use this baking dish for everything – casseroles, brownies, you name it!
Non-Stick Skillet: this is my favorite skillet I’ve ever owned!
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 4 ounces cream cheese cut into small pieces
- 3 cups mozzarella cheese shredded, divided
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1/2 cup ranch dressing
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cooked and shredded
- 5 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
- Fresh parsley chopped, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the inside of a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. (The pasta will cook a little more in the oven.) Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- While the pasta cooks, prepare the ranch sauce. Place a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add butter, and once melted add in the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and whisk to combine. Let cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk in the milk so you don't get any lumps. Once all the milk is incorporated, add the cream cheese, onion powder, and some salt and pepper to the skillet. Whisk until the cream cheese is melted.
- Add ranch dressing, Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese to the sauce. Whisk until cheese is melted. (If the sauce gets too thick, add a little milk until your desired consistency is reached.)
- To the cooked pasta, add in the shredded chicken. Pour ranch sauce over the pasta and chicken and stir to coat. Add half of the bacon to the pasta and stir to combine.
- Transfer pasta to your prepared baking dish. Spread into an even layer. Top pasta with remaining mozzarella and remaining chopped bacon.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted.
- Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve warm topped with chopped parsley, if desired.
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