Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta is an easy flavorful pasta bursting with the trifecta of cheese, bacon and ranch! AND it’s lightened up!
This Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta recipe is simply irresistible. It’s quick and easy to throw together, is smothered in a lightened up cheesy ranch sauce with BACON, broccoli and bell peppers but you can use whatever veggies you have on hand and even sub the chicken for sausage or leave it out completely (totally customizable!) because it’s all about the sauce and the BACON! Winner winner, new favorite Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Dinner!
If you’ve followed Carlsbad Cravings since 2014, then you will recognize this Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta recipe (or at least the recipe as one of the first I ever posted), and if you haven’t – welcome to the pasta of your dreams or as multiple comments below state, “the best pasta I’ve ever had.”
I was reminded of how this was one of the “best pastas ever” as I was editing these new photos and the second I was done, I gave into the siren calls and immediately whipped this Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta up for lunch. And I am going to be honest, it was amazing. And I am going to be doubly honest, I cheated. I didn’t add the chicken because I was super lazy but it was still incredible. So for a complete meal, totally add the chicken, for a lazier meal and more of a bacon ranch mac and cheese, skip the chicken – either way, if you love cheese, bacon, and ranch, you are going to LOVE this Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta recipe.
I wanted to create a pasta that reminded me of the baked potatoes I grew up on piled high with cheese, broccoli, bacon and ranch— I can’t get tired of saying those ingredients together because then I think of those ingredients together—in my mouth!
Instead of potatoes here we have pasta – glorious pasta! (I love eating pasta but I also love making pasta because it is always so fast and easy!) and instead of melted cheese we have rich, creamy cheese sauce. The sauce is made with only one tablespoon of butter, and a little olive oil, which is just awesome considering this makes a whole pound of pasta! Season the pasta with ground mustard, ranch seasoning, basil and garlic and shallots for a cheesy flavor explosion of yum.
Add in the broccoli, red bell peppers, chicken that melts in your mouth with ranchy goodness, and then top with crispy bacon and we have ourselves truly something beautiful. And by beautiful, I mean “one of the best pastas I’ve ever had!” I hope you will be saying that soon too! xo
Looking for more easy dinner recipes?
- Cheesy Taco Pasta (Lightened Up)
- 30 Minute Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli Alfredo (Lightened Up)
- Chipotle Ranch Chicken Taco Flatbread Pizza
- Best Baked “Fried” Chicken
- Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Wild Rice Soup
Tools Used in This Recipe
Cheesy Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta (Skinny!)
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- 1 pound chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
- 1/4 cup ranch dressing (low fat if you have it)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard (mustard powder)
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 pound cellentani, rigatoni or penne pasta
- 3 cups broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot, diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing seasoning mix
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Crumbled (urkey) bacon we like a lot!
- Marinate chicken for 30 minutes up to overnight.
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add broccoli and cook 3-5 minutes, depending on how tender you like your broccoli. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, remove the broccoli and rinse with very cold water. Strain and remove to a plate. In the same pot, proceed to cook pasta al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken (including marinade) and shallots; season with salt and pepper. Saute until the outside of the chicken is no longer pink, then add red bell pepper and garlic; cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through and bell peppers are crisp-tender. Remove to the plate with broccoli.
- To the same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon olive oil in 1 tablespoon butter. When butter is completely melted, whisk in flour. Cook, while stirring, for 2 minutes, then turn heat to low. Slowly whisk in chicken broth, then milk, stirring constantly until smooth. Turn heat to medium high and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add red pepper flakes, mustard, ranch seasoning, basil and season with salt and pepper.
- When sauce has thickened, remove from heat and stir in cheese. Add more milk if needed to reach desired consistency. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired.
- Add broccoli, chicken mixture and pasta to the sauce, stirring to combine. Heat through. Top with bacon and serve!
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