Looking for a new comfort food dish to make for dinner? Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake is a delicious casserole made with plenty of cheese, chicken, and bacon. The easy baked pasta recipe will impress your friends and family with its amazing flavors.
Pasta is my love language. Noodles covered in sauce and melted cheese will always get my vote for dinner. In fact, we make this creamy homemade mac and cheese and this buffalo chicken pasta quite often.
I'll never get tired of those two casseroles, but sometimes I get the urge to try something new. Enter in a new family favorite that we can't get enough of.
This chicken bacon ranch pasta was inspired by a sandwich that I had at Subway years ago. There is just something so delicious about the combo of flavors.
Why You Will Love This Casserole
Who doesn't love cheese, chicken, and bacon? This pasta bake has all your favorite ingredients, and it's so easy to make.
Our chicken bacon ranch pasta bake is the perfect solution to "what's for dinner?". It only requires 15 minutes of prep time, and it bakes in 20 minutes.
The best part is that you can make this cheesy pasta casserole ahead of time. Just pop it in the oven when you're ready to eat.
It's perfect for busy weeknights or gatherings with friends and family. The cheesy, bacon-y goodness will have everyone asking for seconds and the recipe.
Main Ingredients Needed
Here are the main components to this chicken bacon ranch pasta recipe. It is made with a creamy cheesy sauce, chicken, and bacon for a delicious and satisfying meal.
- Pasta - We like using penne noodles for this casserole, but any pasta noodle will work.
- Veggies - A mixture of onions, green peppers, spinach, and tomatoes give this chicken casserole so much flavor.
- Garlic - Adds flavor to the mixture.
- Meat - Cooked chicken and bacon are the two stars in this dish. Any type of chicken is great to use in this recipe. You can grill chicken breast and cut them up or buy a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred it.
- Cheese Sauce - Using a can of evaporated milk, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing creates a creamy sauce that coats everything.
How to make Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake
This easy and cheesy chicken ranch pasta dinner can be on your dinner table in under 40 minutes. Follow are simple steps to have it ready in time.
Cook the pasta. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Dump in the pasta and cook until al dente.
Prep the veggies and meats. Chop and dice the vegetables and cooked chicken. Cook the bacon and drain the grease.
Sauté the peppers and onions. Add oil to a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the onions and peppers. Once the veggies are slightly softened, add the chicken, bacon, and other veggies. Cover the pan and set it aside.
Make the cheese sauce. In another pot, heat the canned milk and shredded cheese until melted and creamy, then stir in the ranch dressing, cooked pasta, and sautéed veggies.
Bake the pasta. Pour the cheesy pasta mixture into a greased pan, top it with more shredded cheese, and bake until melted and bubbly. Give it few extra minutes under the broiler to brown the layer of cheese on top, if you like.
Keep the creamy pasta leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat the chicken ranch pasta in the microwave for a quick lunch or fast dinner.
Make it a Full Meal
This bacon ranch pasta is a delicious and filling meal on its own, but sometimes we like to add side dishes to stretch it out further. Here are some great options.
- Chop the veggies the night before and store them in containers in the fridge.
- If you cook the pasta ahead of time, be sure to toss it with a little bit of olive oil, so the noodles do not stick together.
- Change up the veggies in this casserole. A few that would be good are broccoli, peas, asparagus, or mushrooms.
- Try other types of cheese. We love using pepper jack because it gives the pasta a spicy flair.
- Make sure to use freshly shredded cheese because it really does melt better than the prepackaged cheese from the store.
- Garnish the finished casserole with extra bacon and parsley for a pop of color.
Can you make this casserole ahead of time?
Yes. Prepare the cheesy pasta and place it in a casserole dish. Do not bake! Cover it tightly and place the pan in the refrigerator.
Set the dish out 30 minutes before putting it in the oven. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 5 minutes.
What pasta is best for a baked casserole?
Any pasta that you like will work in this particular cheesy casserole. Some of our favorites are penne, farfalle, ziti, and cavatappi.
The key is to cook the pasta to al dente. It's best to slightly undercook the noodles for a baked casserole because they continue to cook in the oven too.
Do I have to bake this pasta?
Not at all. You can save time by stirring the extra shredded cheese into the hot pasta in the skillet and serve it without baking.
How do you reheat pasta leftovers?
Heat single servings on a glass plate in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. For the full pan, cover it with foil and heat at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.
More Easy Dinner Recipes
- Cheddar Broccoli Chicken Lasagna Rolls
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- Sausage Alfredo Stuffed Shells
- Meat Lover’s Pizza Skillet Ravioli
- Cheese Tortellini Skillet Meal
- Chicken Pasta Bake recipe
- Bacon Mac and Cheese
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*The post for Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake was first published May 2014. The post and pictures were updated March 2022.