When you want everyone in your family to cheer when you tell them what’s for dinner, say the magic words: Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta.
Maybe it’s because I grew up on chicken bacon ranch Subway sandwiches or because I dipped my pizza in ranch dressing as a kid, but the phrase “chicken bacon ranch” makes my heart flutter.
Add “pasta” into the equation, and I am a goner! (Same story with these Chicken Bacon Ranch Fries.)
This stovetop chicken bacon ranch pasta is the fast-cooking cousin of my Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole.
Better yet, it cooks in ONE POT.
Find more one-pot meals in my recipe index.
How to Make Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
Whether you serve it to your picky kids or discerning boss, this pasta will be met with clean plates and requests for seconds.
Its wide appeal stems from a masterful combination of comforting, universally-adored ingredients—bacon, gooey cheese—with light, wholesome ones that balance the dish and bring it to life: vegetables, lean protein, and whole wheat pasta.
This is a healthy chicken bacon ranch casserole, compared to most you find online.
- In addition to the whole grains and vegetables, this chicken bacon ranch casserole uses no alfredo sauce from a jar.
- Simple, from-scratch ingredients give you better results and this pasta isn’t difficult at all (did I mention ONE POT?!).
If you love creamy pastas (me too!), don’t miss this Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta, Salmon Pasta, Avocado Pesto, and Ricotta Pasta.
- Pasta. I recommend trying chicken bacon pasta shells or orecchiette. I adore the way the veggies and bits of bacon nestle into these shapes and how the creamy sauce clings to the pasta’s lightly ridged exterior. Every forkful guarantees tasty morsels.
- Bacon. With its undeniably delicious savory flavor, bacon is the ultimate crowd-pleasing ingredient.
- Chicken. You can’t have chicken bacon ranch without the chicken. Chicken breasts are a healthy and delicious addition to this pasta.
Cut this recipe time even further by swapping in precooked chicken, made with one of these easy methods (or even store bought rotisserie chicken):
- Milk. I made this chicken bacon ranch pasta with milk instead of cream to keep things lighter.
- Flour. Flour helps thicken the sauce, making it luscious and creamy.
- Spices. To create that beloved ranch-like flavor, I used a mix of garlic powder, onion powder, dried dill weed, salt, pepper, and cayenne (you’ll see the same mix in my Creamy Ranch Dip).
- Greek Yogurt. Adds creaminess and tang to the sauce. Plus, Greek yogurt is rich in protein.
- Cheeses. This recipe uses a magical blend of Mozzarella, sharp cheddar, and Parmesan. It’s the perfect trio of melty goodness and distinct, cheesy flavor.
- Frozen Peas. Using frozen peas is a quick and easy way to sneak in extra veggies.
- Cook and drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Whisk the milk and flour together.
- Cook the bacon.
- Sauté the onion, then add the chicken. Remove both to the plate with bacon.
- Whisk the spices in the pot. Pour in the milk mixture, whisking until smooth.
- Add the remaining milk. Let simmer.
- Remove the pot from the stovetop. Once cool, stir in the yogurt and cheeses.
- Add the pasta, chicken, onions, bacon, and peas.
- Stir in pasta water as needed to thin the sauce. DIG IN!
- To Store. Refrigerate pasta in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze pasta in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 day in advance, cut the bacon, chicken, and onion. Refrigerate each ingredient in a separate airtight storage container until you’re ready to finish the recipe.
If you’re grating your own cheese (good job!), you can do that up to 1 week in advance as well.
What to Serve with Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Dutch Oven. Perfect for making chicken bacon ranch pasta.
- Small Whisk. A small whisk like this one is easier to handle than larger whisks.
- Measuring Spoons. This set of magnetic measuring spoons will stay neat in your drawer.
Whether you need a fast supper for tonight or a winning meal to serve friends over the weekend, you can rely on this healthy chicken bacon ranch pasta to be your delectable partner in dinner crime!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! To make this recipe gluten free, use a gluten free pasta and swap the all-purpose flour for a 1:1 gluten free flour.
If you’d like to bulk up the veggies a bit more, I think chopped spinach, mushrooms, or broccoli would be delicious in this dish.
Yes, you can make this recipe using chickpea or lentil pasta. However, you may want to rinse the pasta before adding it to the recipe to keep it from becoming soggy; refer to your package for tips.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- 8 ounces whole wheat shells pasta or similar short shape such as orecchiette, penne, or fusilli
- 2 cups milk divided
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 6 slices bacon cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts chopped into bite-size pieces
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt 2% or whole milk; fat free may curdle
- 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 cup frozen peas no need to thaw
- Chopped fresh parsley or chives optional for serving
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiled salted water until al dente. RESERVE 1 CUP OF THE COOKING LIQUID (don't forget!). Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, using a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together 1/2 cup of the milk and the flour. Keep near the stove.
- Heat a Dutch oven or other large, sturdy pot over medium-low heat. Add the bacon and let cook until it is crisp and the fat has rendered, about 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Discard all but 2 tablespoons drippings from the pan.
- Increase the heat to medium high. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Then, add the chicken. Sauté until the onion is beginning to soften and the chicken is cooked through, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove to the plate with the bacon (get all of the chicken out of the pot, but don’t worry if there is some onion still in the bottom).
- Reduce the pot heat to medium. Add the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, dill, black pepper, and cayenne. Whisk the spices to heat them, then immediately pour in the milk mixture. Cook, whisking constantly, for 30 seconds, until the mixture looks a little golden and is smooth.
- Slowly add the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk, whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Bring to a simmer and let cook, whisking very frequently, until thickened and creamy, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let cool a minute or two. Stir in the Greek yogurt, Mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, and Parmesan.
- To the pot, add the cooked pasta, the reserved chicken, onions, bacon, and peas.
- If the pasta sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen it. Serve hot, sprinkled with herbs as desired.
- Adapted from my Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate pasta in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze pasta in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Join today and start saving your favorite recipes
Create an account to easily save your favorite recipes and access FREE meal plans.Sign Me Up
Sounds delicious! We make something very similar with bechamel, chicken and cauliflower and my two year loves it. I will have to try this version this week, I think she’s going to like!
Cauliflower sounds wonderful Ana! I’m going to have to try it myself that way next.
hey girl this looks so divine!
Such a fan. That pasta is gorg!
I am so craving a massive bowl of creamy pasta like this now. The photos are too good! Xx
I’m swooning over this beautiful bowl of pasta! It really does sound perfect for almost any occasion – and of course, the bacon makes it better :) must try this soon!
Had everything I needed to make this at home, so we went for it. OMG SO GOOD!!! I added some asparagus because we had it leftover. I can see making different versions of this with all sorts of veggies. Thanks for a keeper recipe!!
Toni, YAY!!! I’m so so pleased to hear this. I bet it was super yummy with the asparagus also. Thank you for trying the recipe and stopping back by to leave this review!
I’m always on the lookout for a good tasting whole wheat pasta! I have yet to find one and now I need to try this brand! The Italian in me is very picky about my pasta :) Love this dish and it just may be my new go-to also!
Looks like a deliciously big plate of everything I crave, especially the healthy bites of whole wheat pasta. I can totally see this on any weeknight menu.
I always use whole grain pasta – I like it so much better! I’ll have to find that brand, it looks amazing. This dinner is one that could get me in trouble, I wouldn’t share it. All my favorite flavors in one place!
Yep, totally my king of pasta!!
We made this over the weekend, and it was amazing! Even my picky husband went back for seconds. Thanks for a great recipe Erin!!
Laura, I am so excited to hear that you loved this pasta, especially since it was one of your first times using whole wheat! Thanks so much for trying the recipe and letting me know how it turned out for you.
You don’t have to twist my arm – this looks like the perfect weeknight dinner!
Creamy. Chicken. Bacon. Pasta. Four of my favorite words in one dinner? I’m sold!
Tried this Monday night and everyone loved it. It did not reheat well though. The pasta was gummy and the sauce was kind of clumpy. I would make it again but only if I had a larger crowd to feed and wasn’t trying to make something with leftovers for later in the week.
Jessica, I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe! We had good luck reheating it by putting it in individual serving bowls, topping it with a little extra chicken stock and splash of cream, then microwaving it gently. I’m sorry the leftovers didn’t work out as well for you—I know it’s too late to save them now, but if you do try the recipe again, I hope this tip is helpful.
What is half and half? I’m in Australia and haven’t heard of this. What can be used to replace it?
Suzan, half and half is a dairy mixture that is half whole milk and half full fat, heavy cream. If you don’t have half and half available, you can either make your own mix or use all cream. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Oh oh thanks. I’ll maybe make my own. But a lower fat option lol
Made this for dinner last night and it was very good. I liked the way the bacon flavor popped up every so often. I wish that one could just throw the pasta into the skillet and cook everything all at once, because where I am right now I have a very limited kitchen (electric skillet, blender, microwave). There is a real kitchen upstairs in this house and my husband cooked the pasta for me up there, for which I bless him. This recipe is a definite keeper.
Susan, I am so excited to hear this! Thanks so much for sharing your review. If you are looking for a one-pot pasta dish, I just posted this one that you might like: https://www.wellplated.com/chicken-feta-pasta/
That recipe is already on my list of recipes to try. ?
Ok now I want to know what your romantic recipe for date night in is, as well as the “cooking anything more advanced than a frozen pizza sounds exhausting” recipe because I feel that way all. the. time. ;)
Looking forward to trying this!
Romantic date night: balsamic glazed salmon…looks fancy but is basically foolproof! When frozen pizza is too hard: Mexican-stuffed sweet potatoes. Thanks, Makayla! :)
I just made this recipe and it was amazing!!! I’ve been sick with the flu for the last 3 days but actually wanted to cook for my boyfriend something that was good and easy and this was perfect!! Thank you so much!!
Hi Janice, I’m so glad this recipe was a winner for you! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this wonderful review. :)
Ok it may sound daft but what is ‘half and half’ please
Hi Mary, it’s a mixture of half whipping cream and half whole milk. I find it in the dairy section of the grocery store by the heavy whipping cream and coffee creamers.
I made this recipe for my fiance and I for dinner, and it was amazing! I even used low sodium bacon and fat free half and half, but you could never tell. We will definitely be making this again. I have it for lunch today and can’t wait for my lunch hour!
Justine, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for taking the time to share your tweaks and to leave this wonderful review!
Hi what is half and half?
Hi Martina, half and half is an mix of half whole milk and half cream!
What is half and half
Hi Tanya! Half-and-half is an equal parts mixture of milk and cream. I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it!
AMAZING!! I didn’t have cheddar so I doubled up on the mozzarella, I’m sure it would have been just as amazing with the cheddar but goodness!! So good! Will definitely be a regular in my kitchen. Thanks Erin!
Hi Kirsty! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
This was absolutely delicious and came together fast. Only change was to swap out peas for broccoli, may family is not a big fan of peas. Will definitely be making it again!
Hi Kara! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
Sooooo nice! Yes I made it and I will make it again… It lasted two days, the second I hit it up in a pan with little milk mmmmmm!!! 😊😉
I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe, Terry! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
This was sooo delicious! My husband and I love a good creamy pasta, and what I love even more is that I don’t have to feel guilty about this because it uses healthier ingredients. My husband said this is a “repeat recipe”. Will definitely make again!
Hi Alyssa! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!