Creamy Ranch Chicken Spaghetti Casserole is the family-friendly casserole you’ve been looking for! My kids beg for me to make it!
Chicken, bacon, and ranch has to be one of my all-time favorite ingredient combinations. It goes together like peanut butter and jelly, like bacon and jalapeno, it’s just a flavor combo that WORKS.
We all know I love to make my famous crack chicken for dinner, but these days I’ve been making Creamy Ranch Chicken Spaghetti Casserole instead! This easy chicken spaghetti casserole has all the mouthwatering flavors of crack chicken AND it’s got pasta… what more could you want? It’s the casserole of my wildest dreams and I swear my kids would lick the dish clean if I let them. Make it tonight, you won’t regret it.
Comfort Food Favorite
Did anyone else grow up eating tons of casseroles? Now that I’m a mom of two teenagers, I totally understand why my mom made casseroles all the time. No need to worry about the main dish AND side dishes. Just mix it all up together in a neat little casserole dish, pop it in the oven, and an hour later you’ve got a delicious meal that your whole family will love. Bonus – there’s almost always leftovers, so dinner for tomorrow is cooked too.
So there are fine casserole recipes and then there are AMAZING casserole recipes. This cheesy chicken spaghetti casserole is truly a gift from above. It is going to be the ONLY casserole you’ll ever want to make again!
CHICKEN: I used a rotisserie chicken from the store for this casserole. Just discard the skin and chop or shred the chicken. You could also use cooked chicken breasts or thighs, as long as you have about 3 cups of cooked chicken.
PASTA: Since this is a spaghetti casserole, that’s the pasta I used. If you find yourself with short pasta (like penne or rigatoni) or other long pasta, you can absolutely substitute them in.
FLAVORING: It’s as easy as cream cheese, sour cream, ranch seasoning mix, and cream of chicken soup. I used a store-bought ranch seasoning packet, but a homemade mix will work too. If you prefer, you can swap out the milk for low-sodium chicken broth for a deeper flavor.
TOPPINGS: Sticking with classic “crack chicken” vibes this casserole gets topped with cheese and bacon. Then you can sprinkle some chopped parsley or thinly sliced green onions on top.
How to Make Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
STEP ONE In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, sour cream, and soup. The whisk will help break up the cream cheese into little pieces. Then mix in the milk and ranch seasoning mix.
STEP TWO Add the cooked chicken, about 3/4 of the crumbled bacon, and 1/2 of the shredded cheese to the cream cheese mixture and stir everything together.
STEP THREE Pour the cooked and drained spaghetti into a 9-inch x 13-inch casserole dish that’s been coated with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the chicken mixture over top and use a pasta spoon to mix everything together. This will take a minute so be patient and take your time to really get all the pasta coated.
STEP FOUR Bake the casserole in a 350 degrees F oven for 20 minutes. Then sprinkle the reserved cheese and bacon on top before baking for another 10 minutes. Take the casserole out of the oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Then cut into 6 or 8 portions and serve warm.
Tips for Success
- Don’t cook the pasta completely. It should be on the firm side of al dente. This will help make sure the pasta comes out perfectly once it’s done baking.
- If you prefer using colby jack or other cheeses, go ahead! Any mild to medium flavored cheese will work well.
- If you have a REALLY big mixing bowl, you can stir together the chicken mixture and pasta in the bowl before transferring it to the baking dish.
How Do You Dress Up Leftover Spaghetti?
Have you ever been in charge of cooking pasta for kids? You’ll either need a quarter of a box (because they’ll end up deciding they HATE pasta and refuse to even touch it) or 16 pounds because it’s suddenly the greatest thing they’ve ever eaten.
Well if you’ve found yourself with a whole bunch of leftover spaghetti, don’t worry, and definitely don’t throw it out. Dress it up and turn it into a completely different meal!
Leftover spaghetti works perfectly in this chicken and spaghetti casserole, but you can also make a delicious Italian spaghetti casserole or taco spaghetti. When I need a quick side dish, lemon spaghetti goes will just about all the chicken and seafood recipes we love, but it’s also a great light lunch.
What Holds a Casserole Together?
For me, a true casserole is a combination of some kind of protein, some type of starch, and sauce. So for this particular chicken spaghetti casserole, the chicken is the protein, the spaghetti is the starch, and the cheese and ranch make up the delicious sauce.
I think the real glue that holds a casserole together is the sauce. Whether that’s a cheese sauce, tomato sauce, or some form of condensed soup (like in tuna noodle casserole), it’s a delicate balance to make a sauce that binds your casserole together without it becoming too runny. Nobody wants a soupy casserole!
Want more family-approved dinner recipes?
- Tater Tot Casserole
- Cheesy Skillet Ranch Chicken Thighs
- Cheesy Broccoli Ham Casserole
- Chicken Pot Pie Casserole
- Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- 8 strips bacon
- 16 ounces spaghetti
- 10.5 ounce can cream of chicken soup
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 ounce ranch seasoning mix (1 packet)
- 1 cup milk
- 3 cups cooked chicken chopped or shredded
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese shredded, divided
- Fresh parsley finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat and cook bacon until crispy, turning as needed, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Once cooled enough to handle, finely chop the bacon.
- While the bacon cooks, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water for 8 minutes. The spaghetti will be slightly undercooked – it will finish in the oven. Drain the pasta and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the soup, cream cheese, and sour cream. Pour in the milk and ranch seasoning and whisk to combine.
- Add the chicken, ½ of the shredded cheese, and ¾ of the chopped bacon. Stir into the sauce.
- Spray the inside of a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Add the spaghetti to the baking dish. Pour the chicken mixture over the pasta and carefully stir to combine. (If you have a giant mixing bowl, you can mix everything together then pour it into the baking dish.)
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle the pasta with the remaining shredded cheese and bacon. Bake for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Cut into 6 to 8 portions and serve warm.
Leave a Reply