Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta, an easy homemade cheesy main dish recipe. This tasty pasta dish is loaded with chunks of chicken, crispy bacon, and a quick creamy from-scratch Alfredo sauce with cheddar cheese and Ranch seasoning. Ready in 30 minutes!
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This Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta came about recently after my kids asked me 100 times what was for dinner. Had to find something quick because I had no plan. Next thing I knew this tasty pasta dinner with penne, bacon, chicken, and a quick homemade alfredo sauce with cheddar cheese and Ranch seasoning came about. Best part is this pasta dish was on the table in 30 minutes!
This Chicken Bacon Alfredo Ranch Pasta is the perfect quick family dinner for busy weeknights but tasty enough that no one will realize how quick it was to prepare.
Just to confirm, this is a hot pasta dish, not a cold pasta salad. Although a Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad would be delicious as well!
The real star in this pasta dinner is the Ranch seasoning. Love the flavor it gives the cheddar alfredo sauce, and also love that you don’t have to add a lot of other spices or seasonings.
What is Ranch Seasoning
Ranch seasoning generally contains dried buttermilk and herbs and spices such as parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, dill, chives, salt, and pepper.
For this particular recipe, if you don’t have ranch seasoning, you could wing it and just add some dried herbs and spices to the sauce if you had to but not quite the same.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Ingredients
- Penne – Or you can use your favorite pasta shape. Or even spaghetti squash or zoodles.
- Bacon – Raw bacon. Chop it up so it cooks up faster. Low-fat bacon or turkey bacon would also work if you had to. You could also use ham or pancetta.
- Chicken – Raw boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you really could use any kind of chicken if you wanted such as boneless skinless thighs. Chop up the chicken in small cubes so it cooks up fast.
- Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted that would work. I would avoid margarine.
- Garlic Cloves – Minced or finely chopped so you don’t have big chunks in the sauce.
- Heavy Whipping Cream – You really do need this over milk for a thick creamy sauce.
- Parmesan Cheese – Buy a chunk of good quality Parmesan and grate yourself. Makes a very big difference. As much as I do love the stuff in the large green container, it does not work well in homemade alfredo sauce.
- Cheddar Cheese – Make sure it’s a good melting shredded cheese or shred yourself.
- Ranch Seasoning – Store-bought or make your own homemade Ranch Seasoning.
- Pasta Water – Yes, take some of the water from your pot while your pasta is finishing cooking or after you drain the pasta. If you forget, the sauce will still be delicious so no worries. You could add a little chicken broth to stretch the sauce more if needed if you prefer.
- Green Onion – Just the green part. Thinly slice it to add to the sauce and more for serving.
- Salt & Pepper – The Parmesan is quite salty so you may not want much or any salt, but pepper is a great addition.
How to Make Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- Cook pasta. Boil water and cook pasta to al dente.
- Cook chicken & bacon. Cook together in large skillet until cooked through. Set chicken and bacon aside.
- Make sauce. Cook butter and garlic, then slowly whisk in cream. Add Parmesan, cheddar, and Ranch. Add pasta water.
- Combine. Add pasta, chicken, bacon, green onion, salt/pepper to pan with sauce.
- Garnish. Top with green onion and/or Parmesan.
(Full detailed directions are in printable recipe card at bottom of post.)
- Top the pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese (a handheld cheese grater is a great thing to have on hand) and/or thinly sliced green onion. Or you can skip the green onion and add a little fresh parsley to the pasta and on top.
- Serve with some green vegetables like these Roasted Brussels Sprouts or Italian Green Beans.
- Some bread or rolls on the side are also a great addition like these Homemade Dinner Rolls or Cheddar Garlic Drop Biscuits.
Quick Tips for Best Results
- Use full-fat ingredients for the sauce (Parmesan, cheddar cheese, butter, and heavy whipping cream) for best results and for a creamy thick sauce. If your sauce is too thin, check out this how to thicken alfredo sauce for tips or add less pasta water.
- This recipe does require a lot of multi-tasking to get it done within 30 minutes. While you’re boiling the water for the pasta and then cooking your pasta, start on the sauce so that the sauce is done right before your pasta. Better to keep your sauce warm and waiting for the pasta, rather than the other way around.
- The sauce comes together quickly so be sure to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go.
- You can add your favorite vegetables to the sauce or pasta.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta FAQ
How should I store leftovers?
Leftover alfredo sauce generally does not reheat well, but if you do have leftovers of the pasta dish, I would store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Can I freeze the Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta?
I don’t think the sauce would hold up well in the freezer or reheat well so I would not recommend it.
How long will the pasta last?
Leftovers should last at least a few days in the refrigerator.
Instead of green onion, you could use chopped fresh parsley or your favorite fresh herbs and spices. Instead of bacon, you could use pancetta or ham. You can also use your favorite pasta for the penne if you’d prefer such as ziti, bowtie, or rotini.
Can I use low-fat ingredients?
I would not recommend for the sauce. Not all low-fat cheese and dairy will melt well for the sauce. But you could use low-fat bacon.
What else can I add to this recipe?
You can add your favorite pre-cooked vegetables such as corn, mushrooms, broccoli, peas, and/or spinach. Fresh chopped tomato and/or avocado would also be delicious. You could also add a little BBQ sauce to the cheddar alfredo sauce for a fun new flavor!
Can I make this vegan/vegetarian/low carb/gluten-free?
Here are some suggestions, but I can’t guarantee results. Be sure as always to check particular brands and ingredients if you’re following a specific diet or have diet restrictions or allergies.
Vegan – This would be a tough one to make vegan.
Vegetarian – To make it vegetarian skip the bacon and chicken. You could add some vegetables instead if you’d like or meat alternative.
Low-Carb – You can try a lower-carb pasta or spaghetti squash or zoodles (zucchini noodles) instead of the pasta.
Gluten-Free -Try a gluten-free pasta or a pasta alternative such as spaghetti squash or zoodles.
Other Pasta Recipes You May Enjoy
- Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta – A great make-ahead baked pasta recipe that feeds a crowd.
- Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo – Easy pasta dish made in a pressure cooker for a simple meal.
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad – You can serve this pasta salad warm or cold, and as a side dish or main dish.
- Fettuccine with Smoked Salmon and Fresh Dill – Perfect for fish lovers!
- One-Pot Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta – Can’t beat one pot for an easy dinner.
Hope you enjoy this tasty Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta. Tell me in the comments what else you added to it!
You might also like this homemade Fettucine Alfredo recipe!
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- 8 ounces penne (or your favorite pasta)
- 8 ounces bacon (raw), chopped
- 12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts (raw), chopped into small pieces
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated good quality cheese
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 4 teaspoons Ranch seasoning (about half of store bought packet or use homemade)
- 1/4 cup water (from pasta)
- 1/2 cup green onion green part only, thinly sliced
- salt/pepper to taste
- green onion green part only, thinly sliced
- Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- Bring large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions for al dente.
- Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon. Cook about 1-2 minutes. Add chicken. Cook bacon and chicken until bacon is crispy and chicken is cooked through about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon and chicken from pan, set aside, drain off most of excess fat (ok if some remains and no need to clean pan).
- Add butter and garlic to pan over medium heat. Cook about 1 minute or until garlic is soft and fragrant, stirring constantly. Slowly add the heavy cream to the pan whisk until cream comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 3-5 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken. Stir in Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, and Ranch seasoning until smooth and thick. Stir in pasta water. Reduce heat to low and stir occasionally until pasta is done.
- Drain pasta and add to pan with sauce. Add in chicken and bacon, Stir until well coated. Stir in green onion and salt/pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately and top with additional green onion and/or grated Parmesan cheese as desired.