This Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta is the perfect easy weeknight meal: crispy bacon, leftover chicken, and broccoli are tossed in a creamy ranch alfredo sauce.
Digiorno used to make this chicken bacon ranch stuffed crust pizza (I should probably recreate this at home) and it was definitely my guilty pleasure for a super easy weeknight dinner after the kids went to bed. This chicken bacon ranch pasta is almost as easy as throwing a frozen pizza in the oven, but bonus: this recipe is homemade AND includes veggies. If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is!
- Use thick-cut bacon. Thick-cut bacon always has a better texture once cooked: it’s chewier, yet crispier and it seems to not fall apart as easily and regular cut bacon. It’s also easier to cut when raw.
- Use ranch seasoning mix. Some chicken bacon ranch pasta recipes call for bottled ranch, but the flavor isn’t as concentrated. If you can’t find the store-bought variety (next to the bottled ranch at the grocery store), try making your own!
- Use a combination of half-and-half and whole milk. This keeps the sauce creamy without being overly heavy. If you don’t want to use 2 different dairy products, use 2 pints half-and-half instead.
- Use freshly shaved cheese. I absolutely LOVE the Belgioioso Salad Blend which is a combination of freshly shaved parmesan, asiago, romano cheese. If you can’t find that at the store, make your own blend or simply use one of the cheeses listed instead. Regardless, fresh is best, because it melts smoother into the sauce.
- Use leftover chicken. Any mildly seasoned, cooked and cubed or shredded chicken will work in this recipe. I love using a store-bought rotisserie chicken to keep things extra simple.
- Use microwave-able veggies. I love any of the Birds Eye Steamfresh veggies. The broccoli used in today’s recipe takes about 5 minutes to steam perfectly!
- Make it easier. Use jarred alfredo sauce instead of making your own! You’ll need 1-2 jars… depends on how thick the sauce is and how saucy you like your pasta!
- Make it spicy. Whisk in some cayenne pepper when you throw in the ranch seasoning mix.
- Make it cheesy, then bake it. Cook the noodles 1-2 minutes less than the box directions, then make the recipe as written. Pour the dish into a greased 9×13 inch baking dish, top with your choice of shredded cheese (cheddar, monterey-jack, pepper-jack) then bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes or until the pasta is hot and the cheese has melted.
- Make it lighter. Use 4 cups whole milk instead of 1 pint half-and-half and 2 cups whole milk to cut a few calories. You could also try using turkey bacon and whole wheat pasta!
- Make it creamier. Use 2 pints heavy cream to replace the half-and-half and whole milk for an even creamier dish! Want it even more luxurious? Try stirring in some cream cheese!
- Swap out the veggies. Broccoli not your thing? Try a different variety of microwave-able veggies, throw in a handful of spinach, or stir in your favorite leftover roasted vegetables.
What to serve with chicken bacon ranch pasta
This pasta dish is really rich and creamy, so I love serving this next to a bright and crisp salad. That being said, don’t forget the bread!
How to store
Leftovers will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen then microwave or heat on the stove with a splash of half-and-half or chicken broth to thin it out.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 pound thick-cut bacon diced
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 (1 oz) packets ranch seasoning mix
- 1 pint half-and-half
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 (5 oz) container freshly shaved parmesan, asiago, romano cheese blend I used the Belgioioso Salad Blend
- 4 cups cubed and cooked chicken I used 1 small rotisserie (about 1 pound)
- 1 (10.8 oz) bag frozen Birds Eye Steamfresh Broccoli Florets cooked according to package directions, then roughly chopped
- 1 (16 oz) box pasta of choice cooked al denté according to box directions (I used Gemelli)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place diced bacon into a straight-edged sauté pan, then cook, stirring regularly, over medium heat until the bacon is crispy.
- Remove and set aside, but reserve the grease.
- To the hot grease, add in the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is tender, about 5-10 minutes.
- Whisk in the ranch seasoning mix, then slowly whisk in the half-and-half and whole milk.
- Bring to a simmer, then simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce has begun to thicken.
- Reduce the heat to low, then whisk in the cheese, little by little, until fully melted. Do this slowly to avoid clumping and graininess.
- Pour the sauce into a large serving bowl, then stir in the cooked chicken, broccoli, and pasta.
- Taste and re-season, if necessary, then serve and enjoy!
- Take 5 seconds to rate this recipe below. We greatly appreciate it!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.