Ranch Chicken Bacon Mac & Cheese is a delicious, hearty pasta dish with fantastic flavors! Cheesy macaroni with added chicken & ranch that everyone loves!
This homemade mac & cheese is perfect for a cozy night in or a family dinner, and it is sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Bacon mac and cheese is a comfort dish like no other, the juicy chicken, savory bacon bits and creamy sauce creates an amazing meal you won’t soon forget!
Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac N’ Cheese
This dish is a great dish for family dinner or hosting guests, and it is easy to prepare with just a few simple ingredients. The base of the dish is a creamy, cheesy sauce that is made with a blend of cheddar and mozzarella cheese, along with milk, butter, and flour. The sauce is then mixed with cooked macaroni noodles and topped with seasoned chicken and crispy bacon pieces. Whether you are looking for a comforting dinner or a dish to impress your guests, this recipe is sure to be a hit!
Why You’ll Love This Homemade Mac N’ Cheese Recipe
- Easy to Make: This recipe is quick and easy to make, taking only 35 minutes to prepare from start to finish. It’s a perfect meal for busy weeknights or when you want to indulge in a delicious, homemade dish without spending hours in the kitchen.
- Loaded with Flavor: This dish is packed with bold flavors and textures that will leave you wanting more. The creamy mac & cheese is infused with multiple spices, giving it a tangy and savory taste. And let’s not forget about the crispy bacon bits that add a salty and smoky flavor to the dish.
- Kid-Friendly: Kids love mac & cheese, and this recipe is no exception. The ranch seasoning adds a fun twist to the classic dish that kids will love. Plus, the addition of chicken and bacon makes it a more substantial meal that will keep them full and satisfied.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese Ingredients
Pasta: For the base of this dish, you need one 16-ounce box of elbow macaroni pasta, cooked.
Chicken: Use 4 (1 ½ pounds) skinless, boneless chicken breasts, diced into bite size, for the protein in this amazing pasta dish.
Ranch seasoning: Flavor the chicken by adding 3 TBSP of dry Ranch seasoning.
Lemon pepper: Using 1 TBSP of lemon pepper will add nice sharp zesty taste to the chicken.
Onion: For a sweet undertone and more amazing flavor, use ½ cup of chopped sweet onion.
Butter: You will need 5 TBSP of unsalted butter, divided, throughout this recipe to create a rich tasting meal.
Flour: Help thicken the cheese sauce by adding 4 TBSP of unbleached all-purpose flour.
Chicken broth: Use ½ cup of chicken broth to create a nice sauce consistency.
Half & half: Adding 3 cups half & half (or you can use 2 cups cream and 1 cup milk) will make the cheese sauce extra creamy and delicious.
Onion powder: For a more wonderful flavor, you need 1 tsp of onion powder.
Garlic powder: Using 1 tsp of garlic powder adds a savory and slightly sweet taste to the sauce.
Salt & pepper: Balance all the flavors in this dish by adding in ½ tsp of each salt and ground pepper.
Cheese: For the best and cheesiest sauce, you need 2 cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided and 1 cup of shredded Mild Cheddar cheese.
Bacon: For more protein and a savory addition to this dish, use 8 strips of bacon, cooked & crumbled.
How to make Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
To start, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and set aside when cooked.
While the pasta is cooking, the bacon needs to be cooked and crumbled. Try this recipe for the easiest way to cook bacon.
Next, dice the chicken breasts into bite sized nuggets. Also, chop the onion into small pieces and set them aside.
Now, in a large mixing bowl, combine the diced chicken breasts with the dry Ranch seasoning and Lemon Pepper. Mix to coat each piece well, set the meat aside.
In a 5 QT skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Then add the onion and cook until they are soft, this will take about 8 minutes.
After that, add in the diced chicken and cook completely, stirring every 2-3 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, take the chicken and the onions out of the skillet and place in a bowl, set the mixture aside.
In the same skillet, over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of butter and melt it completely. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour until you have a thick paste.
Next, add the chicken broth while whisking so you start to have a sauce. Then add in the half-half and mix well. Proceed to bring the mixture to a simmer.
Now, add in the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and ground pepper. Whisk well so the spices are combined with the sauce.
Continue to add 1 cup of mozzarella and 1 cup of cheddar to the sauce, whisk until melted and well incorporated.
Lastly, add in the crumbled cooked bacon and cooked pasta, stir well until the pasta is coated with the cheese sauce. Top with remaining cheese. Serve and enjoy!
Variations of Bacon Mac N’ Cheese
Bacon Mac N’ Cheese is a classic comfort food that is loved by many. It’s a simple dish that can be made with just a few ingredients, but there are many ways to make it unique. Here are some variations of Bacon Mac N’ Cheese that are worth trying:
Jalapeno Bacon Mac N’ Cheese: For those who love a little bit of spice, adding jalapenos to Bacon Mac N’ Cheese is a great way to kick up the flavor. Simply dice up some fresh jalapenos and mix them in with the macaroni and cheese. For an extra kick, add a few dashes of hot sauce.
Buffalo Chicken Bacon Mac N’ Cheese: For those who love buffalo chicken, this variation is a must-try. Simply mix in some shredded chicken with buffalo sauce and bacon into the macaroni and cheese. This dish is perfect for game day or any time you’re in the mood for some spicy, cheesy goodness.
Lobster Bacon Mac N’ Cheese: For a more upscale version of Bacon Mac N’ Cheese, try adding some chunks of lobster meat to the dish. This variation is perfect for special occasions or any time you’re in the mood for a luxurious meal.
Deluxe Mac N’ Cheese: For a more robust and filling dish, consider adding some sauteed onions, mushrooms or even spinach to this dish. Simply sautee the veggies while cooking the chicken and combine it all with the sauce and pasta when finished.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese
- 16 oz elbow macaroni pasta cooked
- 8 strips of bacon cooked & crumbled
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts about 1.5 lbs- diced into bite size.
- 3 TBSP dry Ranch seasoning
- 1 TBSP lemon pepper
- ½ cup sweet onion chopped
- 5 TBSP unsalted butter divided
- 4 TBSP unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 3 cups half & half or you can use 2 cups cream and 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese divided
- 1 cup shredded Mild Cheddar cheese
- Prep: Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Set aside. While the pasta is cooking, the bacon needs to be cooked and crumbled.Try this recipe for the easiest way to cook bacon.
- Dice the chicken breasts into bite sized nuggets. Also, chop the onion into small pieces and set them aside.
- Cook chicken: In a large mixing bowl, combine the diced chicken breasts with the Ranch seasoning and Lemon Pepper. Mix to coat each piece. Set aside.
- In a 5 QT skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the onion and cook until they are soft, about 8 minutes.
- Sauce: Add the diced chicken and cook completely, stirring every 2-3 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, take the chicken and the onions out of the skillet and place in a bowl. Set aside.
- In the same skillet, over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of butter and melt completely. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour until you have a thick paste. Add the chicken broth while whisking so you start to have a sauce. Add the half-half and mix well. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Add the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and ground pepper. Whisk well so the spices are combined with the sauce.
- Assemble: Add 1 cup of mozzarella and 1 cup of cheddar to the sauce. Whisk until melted and incorporated.
- Add the crumbled bacon and cooked pasta. Stir until the pasta is coated with the cheese sauce. Top with remaining cheese. Serve and enjoy!
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What to serve with Chicken Bacon Mac & Cheese?
This dish is a filling and rich meal, so you don’t need a lot served with it. But a nice green side salad or some roasted vegetables would round this dish out nicely.
Tips for making perfect pasta
To make perfect pasta for your Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac & Cheese, start by boiling water in a large pot. Add salt to the water to enhance the pasta’s flavor. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook it according to the package instructions. Be sure to stir the pasta occasionally to prevent it from sticking together. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process.
How long is this Mac and Cheese good for?
Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac & Cheese can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat the mac and cheese in the microwave or on the stovetop until it is heated through before serving. Or reheat in a skillet, add your portion and about 2 to 3 tablespoons of chicken broth. Warm on medium heat, stirring a few times until you get the desired temperature.
Can I freeze left over Chicken Bacon Pasta?
Yes, you can freeze Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac & Cheese. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw the mac and cheese in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop until it is heated through.
What are the best noodles for Mac N’ Cheese?
I always prefer using Elbow Macaroni noodles for mac and cheese. They are the closest noodle to the classic mac and cheese you are probably familiar with. However, you can always switch it up and try something different if you’d like. Other good alternatives would be bow-tie, rotini, Campanelle or shells.
Love cheese as much as we do? Try more cheesy recipes here:
- Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese Sauce
- Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers
- Steak and Cheese Flatbread
- Cheesy Ranch Chicken Dip
- Bacon Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
- Bacon Grilled Cheese
- Ham and Cheese Omelet Roll
- Cheesy Italian Sausage Calzones
- Cheesy Breadsticks
- Ranch Chicken Cheese Dip
- Swiss & Cheddar Cheese Fondue
- Easy Nacho Cheese
- Cheesy Baked Ravioli Lasagna
- 3 Cheese Breakfast Casserole
- Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip
Ranch Chicken Bacon Mac & Cheese is made from scratch using a few simple ingredients, most of which may already be in your kitchen and pantry! This chicken bacon ranch pasta is a flavorful dish that combines the traditional flavor of mac n’ cheese with the savory taste of chicken and bacon.