Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta is made in a single pan and ready in 30 minutes. Chicken, bacon, and penne pasta are coated in a creamy cheese sauce with tangy ranch seasoning.
You’re going to love my recipe for chicken bacon ranch pasta because it’s a quick, flavorful meal that’s easy to make on a busy weeknight. Bonus – the entire family will love it!
I love skillet meals because they are just so darn easy. There’s nothing better than coming home and preparing dinner in just thirty minutes. And, there’s less clean up because you’re using only one pan.
This meal is pretty indulgent – pasta, bacon, and cheese? Yes please! I like to plan this meal on nights when I’m exhausted and in need of a comforting, filling meal.
How to Make Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
First, gather your ingredients.
For this recipe, you’ll need chopped bacon, penne pasta (uncooked), heavy cream, cubed chicken, sharp cheddar cheese, ranch seasoning, fresh chopped parsley, and water.
First, you’ll cook your chopped bacon in the pan, then your chicken, removing both from the pan after cooked through.
Next, you’ll cook your pasta. Add the water, penne pasta, and ranch seasoning to the pan, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until pasta is al dente.
Once your pasta is cooked, most of the liquid should be absorbed, but some water will remain in the bottom of the pan.
Lastly, add your heavy cream, sharp cheddar, bacon, and chicken to the pan. Stir to combine your ingredients and allow cheese to melt.
Your skillet meal may need up to five minutes to sit to allow your sauce to thicken. Serve and enjoy!
Skillet Meal Substitutions
Want to make this skillet meal a bit healthier? You’re welcome to substitute the bacon with turkey bacon, or omit it entirely. If you omit the bacon, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of olive oil to cook your chicken, as well as some salt and pepper to season your chicken.
You can also add a cup of vegetables after your pasta is done boiling. Add a cup of peas, carrots, corn, or cooked broccoli! A handful of spinach would also work well.
If you don’t have heavy cream on hand, you can use whole milk instead. Keep in mind that your sauce will be less thick and creamy by substituting the heavy cream.
What’s the difference between a sauté pan and a skillet?
For this recipe, and all of my “skillet” meals, I use a 5 quart sauté pan. A sauté pan has tall, vertical sides and a flat bottom, like shown in the photos. A skillet has sides that flare out at an angle, and less surface area on the bottom.
I recommend a sauté pan because it will hold more and has more surface cooking area on the bottom. This helps you cook an entire meal in one pan because you have more space and surface area to work with.
More Skillet Meals
Love one-pan meals? Check out some of my other recipes:
- Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Orzo Skillet Meal
- Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet Meal
- Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Skillet Meal
- Leftover Turkey Bacon Alfredo Skillet Meal
- Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet Meal
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- 6 slices bacon chopped
- 16 ounces boneless, skinless, chicken breasts cubed
- 16 ounces water
- 6 ounces penne pasta uncooked
- 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning
- 4 ounces heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese freshly grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, add chopped bacon and cook until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. If needed, add olive oil to equal 2 tablespoons of total oil/grease in your pan.
- Add cubed chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add water, penne pasta, and ranch seasoning to pan. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook to al dente according to pasta's package directions. Most of liquid should be absorbed.
- Add cooked chicken, bacon, heavy cream, and shredded cheese to pan. Stir until cheese has melted. Remove from heat and allow to set for 5 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.
- Optionally, garnish with fresh chopped parsley before serving.