You’ll love this crowd pleasing easy dinner idea! This Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta is made with a cream cheese sauce, served with sliced juicy chicken, and topped with crispy bacon bits.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
This was fun to make and just as fun to eat. The ranch pasta sauce is SO creamy and bursting with flavor, you can’t help but have another bite. If you love ranch, this is definitely a must try comfort food. You’re sure to have clean dinner plates all around the table!
To make it a whole meal, you could try serving it with your favorite salad recipe, or you could add in some broccoli to get the veggies in right with the pasta!
Chicken and Bacon Ranch Pasta Ingredients
To make this cheesy ranch pasta recipe, you’ll need: olive oil, Italian seasoning, onion powder, fine sea salt, ground black pepper, boneless skinless chicken breasts, bacon, butter, garlic cloves, any type of short pasta, chicken broth, milk, a package of ranch seasoning, cream cheese, and freshly shredded cheddar cheese.
Creamy Ranch Pasta Sauce With Cream Cheese
I’m a big believer in using easy ingredients, which is why this recipe is made with cream cheese and milk instead of heavy cream. Where I live cream cheese and milk are much more affordable than heavy whipping cream is – plus, I feel like it’s a lot easier to use up extra milk and cream cheese than it is to use up extra cream.
There are a few helpful tricks when using cream cheese to make a creamy pasta sauce.
- First, it’s helpful to let it sit at room temperature for a bit so that it’s softened when you start (it’s not 100% necessary, but it does help it melt faster).
- Second, use full-fat cream cheese. This sauce needs the fat to stop the milk from curdling, so this isn’t a place where a low-fat swap would work well.
- Third, cut the cream cheese into cubes before adding it to the sauce (it melts so much faster when you cut it up first).
- Fourth, stir constantly until the cream cheese has melted.
How To Make Ranch Chicken Pasta With Bacon
- Start by cooking the bacon, then coat the chicken in the oil and spice blend and saute it until it’s cooked through.
- Make the sauce by sauteing the garlic in butter, then adding in the chicken broth and milk and bringing it to a simmer. Whisk in the dry ranch seasoning, then add the cream cheese and stir until it’s melted. Add the in the cheddar cheese and stir, then let it simmer to thicken.
- Once the sauce has thickened, mix in the cooked pasta, sliced chicken breast, and bacon.
- See the recipe card below for the full instructions including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.
What Type Of Chicken Should I Use?
I prefer using air chilled boneless skinless chicken breasts in this recipe, but you could definitely use chicken thighs if you prefer. If it’s possible, I would opt for air chilled chicken because the cooked chicken will be juicier and have a better texture.
If you have any leftover rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, or shredded chicken, you could also use that! Just saute it with the olive oil and spices in a pan until it’s crispy and flavorful.
What Type Of Pasta Should I Use?
My favorite pasta for this recipe is rotini, because all those crevices hold onto the sauce really well. Farfalle (bow tie), penne, and elbow macaroni would all work well. If you only have long noodles on hand, like spaghetti, or fettucine, feel free to give that a try, too!
How To Make It A Casserole
If you love baked pasta dishes, try making this a casserole! Follow the instructions as they’re written, except cook the pasta for 1 minute less, and don’t mix any of the bacon into the sauce. Add the creamy chicken pasta to a greased 9 x 13 baking dish, then top it with a cup of shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese and the crispy bacon pieces, and then bake it uncovered at 375 F for 20 minutes.
Keep In Touch
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If you like this recipe, be sure to check out our entire pasta recipe section! Some reader favorite creamy chicken pasta recipes are:
- Chicken Mushroom Pasta
- Rasta Pasta
- Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Spicy Chicken Pasta
- One Pot Pasta with Peas and Chicken
Chicken and Seasoning:
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts)
Noodles and Ranch Pasta Sauce:
- 5 strips bacon*
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 2 medium cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 cups uncooked rotini pasta (300 grams)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup milk**
- 1 package ranch seasoning***
- 4 ounces of cream cheese (half of a brick, softened, cut into cubes)
- 1 cup freshly grated old cheddar****
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)
Bacon and Chicken:
- Using a sharp knife, cut the bacon into roughly 1/4 inch thick slices. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, then add the sliced bacon, and cook until crispy.
- While the bacon is cooking, start the chicken. In a medium bowl, combine the Italian seasoning, onion powder, fine sea salt, and pepper with the olive oil.
- Carefully butterfly the chicken breasts all the way through so you have 4 even filets. Add the chicken to the bowl and coat it evenly in the spice and oil blend.
- When the bacon is done, remove from the pan to cool, discard the grease and carefully wipe the pan out.
- Heat the nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, then add the chicken to the pan and cook until golden brown (about 3 minutes per side, or until an instant read meat thermometer reads an internal temperature of 165 F). When the chicken is done, remove it from the pan and turn heat down to medium. Add the butter to the pan now so that the remaining flavorful bits and spices don’t burn.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, when the water is boiled, add the pasta and cook to al dente according to the package instructions.
Ranch Pasta Sauce:
- Add the garlic to the buttered skillet and saute until aromatic, about 2-3 minutes, then add in the chicken broth and milk and bring to a simmer. **It’s important to only simmer the sauce and not boil it (because boiling milk changes the taste and can cause it to separate).
- Whisk in the ranch seasoning until dissolved, then add in the cream cheese and stir continuously until it’s fully melted, about 7 minutes. Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until it’s melted, then add about 2/3 of the bacon, and let it simmer on low for about 5 minutes to thicken.
- While waiting for the sauce to thicken, cut the chicken into thin slices.
- One the sauce has thickened, stir in the pasta and sliced chicken, and garnish with the remaining crispy bacon pieces, some fresh parsley, and serve!
*I like to cut my bacon before cooking it because it’s easier to get clean cuts for small pieces of bacon that way (compared to it getting a bit crumbly if you try to cut it after it’s crispy and cooked).
**Whole milk is the best for this recipe, because the sauce will thicken faster. 2% will also work, but it will take a little longer to thicken. Half-and-half or heavy cream would also work very well. The batch in the photos was made with 2%.
***I used the Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning packet.
****Freshly shredded cheddar cheese will melt into the sauce better. Pre-shredded cheeses are coated in a starch to prevent the shreds from sticking together, but they make it more difficult to melt the cheese.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 515Total Fat: 24.9gCarbohydrates: 41.1gNet Carbohydrates: 37.9gFiber: 3.2gSugar: 3.3gProtein: 32.3g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate. This recipe makes 4 large or 6 small servings. Nutrition was calculated for portions that make 6 servings made with 2% milk.
If you’re looking for a delicious family meal that everyone is going to love, you’ve got to try this stovetop skillet chicken bacon ranch pasta! It’s easy, filled with flavor, and will be an instant family favorite.