Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta (Lightened Up!)

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! 

Skinny Cheesy Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta is an easy flavorful pasta and an all time FAMILY FAVORITE with ranch chicken in a lightened up cheesy ranch sauce - with BACON, broccoli and bell peppers!

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.”

Skinny Cheesy Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta in a black pan.

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.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta served with a spoon.

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

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta with bacon bits on top.

Looking for more easy dinner recipes?

Skinny Cheesy Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta - this easy flavorful pasta is an all time FAMILY FAVORITE with ranch chicken in a lightened up cheesy ranch sauce - with BACON, broccoli and bell peppers!

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta (Skinny!)

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta is an easy flavorful pasta bursting with the trifecta of cheese, bacon and ranch AND it’s lightened up! 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! 
Servings: 4 -6
Total Time: 30 mins
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins

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Ingredients

Chicken Marinade

  • 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)

Pasta

  • 1 pound cellentani, rigatoni or penne pasta
  • 3 cups broccoli, cut into bite size pieces

Chicken

Cheese Sauce

  • 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

Topping

  • Crumbled (urkey) bacon we like a lot!

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

*total time does not include marinating as that will vary between individual

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35 Comments

  1. Casondra Vachon says

    Made this tonight and it was AMAZING!!!

    • Jen says

      Yay! So glad you liked it! I have more pastas coming your way 🙂

  2. marcia says

    Made this tonight …gluten free style. Substituted gluten free flour in the cheese sauce and used fresh gluten free pasta. Divinely Magnificant!

  3. Krista Peery says

    I made this tonight and we loved it! Eric said it is one of his top favorite dishes. Thanks for sharing all of these yummy recipes. You have revived my desire to cook! We will definitely be making this again!!

    • Jen says

      It always brings a big smile to my face to hear someone tried one of my recipes and loved it! Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Jen says

      Hi Krista, don’t know how I missed your comment! Thank you so much for letting me know your family loved it! Can’t beat cheese, ranch and bacon 🙂 I am happy you have a new desire to cook! It is always more fun when you have good recipes!

  4. Helene says

    I made this recipe last night and we loved it! My boyfriend said “be sure to save this recipe!” So yummy!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Jen says

      Thanks for letting me know you tried and loved it Helene!!!

  5. cindy says

    One of the Best recipes I’ve ever tried. My family absolutely loved it and our oldest son said I need to make this every night. Lol!

    • Jen says

      Awesome Cindy! So happy to hear your whole family loved it! Brings a smile to my face :)!

  6. cheri says

    I tried this with my 3 teenaged sons and we all loved it. My kids said it was one of the best tasting meals ever.

    • Jen says

      That is so awesome Cheri! So happy everyone loved it! Its always so nice when everyone loves a meal – AND its an easy one 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

  7. Julie V. says

    I just pinned this recipe to make later. Thanks for sharing!
    I would probably use half wheat pasta, half white or maybe use some veggie pasta.

    • Jen says

      You are welcome Julie! Enjoy!

  8. Malinda says

    This recipe looks really good, but do you have the nutrition info for it?

    • Jen says

      Hi Malinda, I am sorry I don’t have the nutrition info for it. I just cook the best I know how and don’t know how to calculate that. Sorry but I hope you still enjoy it!

  9. Erin says

    Just had to let you know I made this tonight and it got rave reviews from all who tried it (three elders, my hubby, and my boys). Well done, lady! Truly impressing my hubby is no easy task. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Jen says

      YAY! I am so happy everyone loved it Erin, including your critic husband! I know how that goes 🙂 Thanks for letting me know Erin and bringing a smile to my face!

  10. Lauren says

    I have ground mustard but do not have coarse ground mustard, can i use the same ground mustard from the marinade when making the cheese sauce?

    • Jen says

      Hi Lauren! You can definitely use ground mustard in the cheese sauce but you will want to use less because powdered ground mustard is much more potent than the prepared. I would start with 1/3 teaspoon ground mustard in the sauce. Hope that helps. Enjoy!

  11. Lauren says

    Thanks! Trying this for dinner tomorrow!

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome! I hope everyone loves it!

  12. Karen says

    This was AMAZING! I made it one day after I saw it on Pinterest and can’t believe I waited that long! I had to substitute roasted red peppers because I didn’t have the fresh red pepper and it still turned out fantastic. A HUGE hit with the family. This is going into the favorite recipe binder!!

    • Jen says

      Hi Karen, thank you for the ultimate compliment of making it into the “favorite recipe binder!” yay! I am so happy it was a huge hit with your family! The roasted red peppers sound like a delicious change as well. Thanks for letting me know how much your family enjoyed it – I hope you find more family favorites here!

  13. Amanda Z says

    This was delicious! Cheesy, creamy, and full of flavor! Hubby was raving about how good it was. It was a bit of a time investment, but totally worth it! I am happy I made plenty of bacon, it was the perfect addition! Thanks for a great dinner!

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome! Thank you for your compliments! I am so happy to hear your Hubby was raving about it and that it was worth the time. And as far as a bacon – I’m glad you went with “plenty” because bacon makes everything better! Thanks Amanda!

  14. Janet says

    I am not a fan of Penne pasta, can I use spagetti.

    • Jen says

      Yes, spaghetti should work just fine. Enjoy!

  15. warren says

    pictures are great…any of them push the hunger button…only thing is , all look great and i dont know which one or ones, i want to try first. but i will try some of these real soon, thanks for the great posts!!!

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Warren! I hope you love whatever recipe you decide to try first!

  16. Sean says

    Just made this for the first time. All I have to say is WOW!!! I lived in San Diego for 12 years and I miss the flavors of southern California. This was amazing and we will definitely have it again.

    • Sean says

      Even my wife, who is a notoriously picky eater enjoyed it so much she went for seconds.

    • Jen says

      I am so glad you guys loved it Sean and that it brought back some familiar flavors! I hope you continue enjoying it 🙂

  17. Brianna says

    I made this tonight and it was so delicious!! It tastes like it is from a restaurant – it is that good! I love all the flavours together so much, and so did hubby who isn’t a “ranch” fan. We will definitely be making this again, and I’m happy there are leftovers for tomorrow too!! Thanks again for another super recipe!

    • Jen says

      HI Briana, thanks so much for taking the time to comment, I’m thrilled this Bacon Ranch Pasta is “restaurant delicious!” It was one of the first recipes I ever posted and I still love it just as much!

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