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 this 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!
There's nothing better than coming home and preparing dinner in just thirty minutes. Plus there's less clean up because you're using only one pan.
This cheese sauce is creamy, smooth, and deliciously flavorful with the addition of Ranch Seasoning. Feel free to make your own or use a ranch seasoning packet from the grocery store.
Ingredients and substitutions
Cubed chicken can be substituted with a cooked and shredded rotisserie chicken to save time.
If using bacon bits instead of cooking your own bacon, don't forget to add some olive oil to your pan since you won't have bacon grease to utilize.
Sharp cheddar cheese can be substituted with pepper jack cheese or monterey jack cheese.
No matter what cheese you use, I highly suggest shredding your own fresh from a block. Many pre-shredded cheeses are dusted in powders to prevent clumping. When melted, this can make your sauce grainy.
Try adding 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.
Thickening your sauce
There are no thickening agents in this recipe, like flour or cornstarch.
Instead, you'll be using the starches released from your cooking pasta to help thicken your sauce naturally. If your ingredients are measured exactly, you'll have just enough liquid to cook your pasta and create a sauce.
If your sauce looks thin, remove your finished dish from the heat and allow it to set, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Your sauce will continue to thicken as it stands.
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 ½ 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.