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Baked Mac and Cheese gets a simple comfort food twist by adding chicken, crispy bacon and ranch seasoning!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese

Baked Mac and Cheese gets a simple comfort food twist by adding chicken, crispy bacon and ranch seasoning! Easy to make and family-friendly!

Baked Mac and Cheese gets a simple comfort food twist by adding chicken, crispy bacon and ranch seasoning!

If you love mac and cheese and the flavors of chicken, bacon and ranch, you are in luck. This cheese lovers meal is simple to whip up from scratch. This amazing Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese is some serious comfort food. It’s the stuff dreams are made of!

The idea for this dish is a Chicken, Bacon and Ranch flavored pizza I made. Instead of traditional pizza sauce I substituted ranch dressing. Being low on mozzarella, I added shredded cheddar cheese to make the pizza nice and cheesy! My guys went crazy for it! (I think I’ve mentioned before that I live with a houseful of hungry men – husband, two grown sons and my grandson.)

Wanting to keep that warm glow of success, I added most of those same ingredients to my homemade mac and cheese, and created this dish. It’s awesome that it was a huge success, mainly because it’s so easy to make, not to mention the recipe can be easily doubled to freeze one for later!

If you love scratch made cheese sauce dishes, you might try Cauliflower Mac and Cheese , Chicken Cordon Bleu Penne Pasta or One Pan Pepperoni Pizza Pasta.

Baked Mac and Cheese gets a simple comfort food twist by adding chicken, crispy bacon and ranch seasoning!

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HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN BACON RANCH MAC AND CHEESE

This easy, flexible recipe can be whipped up and baked right away, or assembled from ingredients you made ahead of time.

To make this delicious casserole, you will need:

  • Macaroni pasta
  • Bacon – cook your own or use the pre-cooked variety to save time
  • Cooked chicken – rotisserie chicken tastes amazing in this recipe and saves time
  • Ranch dressing seasoning mix
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Flour
  • Cream
  • Milk
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
steps for making recipe

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish, or one of similar size.
  2. Get started by frying your bacon, or buy pre-cooked. After cooking, dice the bacon and set aside. Pour off the bacon drippings and wipe out the skillet. *I resisted using the pre-cooked bacon variety for a long time. A friend recommended that I at least try it…and now I’m hooked! It’s shelf stable and a HUGE time saver.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni according to the package directions until just al dente. Drain and set aside.
  4. Melt 1 TBSP of butter in the skillet over medium-low heat. Throw in the chicken and stir to coat with butter. Sprinkle the ranch seasoning mix over the chicken, tossing to coat. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
  5. Melt remaining 2 TBSP of butter in skillet over Medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and whisk until flour and butter form a paste.
  6. While continuing to whisk, slowly pour in the cream and milk. Bring to a low boil and cook over medium-low heat until the cream mixture starts to thicken about 3 minutes. Whisk occasionally to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom.
  7. Over Low heat, stir in all of the parmesan and half of the mozzarella and cheddar. Stir until the cheese is melted. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the chicken and all but 2 TBSP of the bacon, then stir to combine.
  8. Pour the cream mixture over the cooked macaroni. Gently fold to combine, then transfer to the buttered baking dish.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining half of the mozzarella and cheddar cheese over the cream mixture. Dot the top with reserved bacon. Add another sprinkle of parmesan to the top (optional).
  10. Bake on center rack of oven for 30 – 35 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  11. Let the pan sit a few minutes before serving.
Baked Mac and Cheese gets a simple comfort food twist by adding chicken, crispy bacon and ranch seasoning!

PRO TIPS FOR MAKING AMAZING CHICKEN BACON RANCH MAC AND CHEESE

  • Only boil the pasta to the just barely al dente stage. You’ll be baking the pasta further so you’ll want to leave a little cooking time left.
  • Try out different types of pastas. Macaroni is the bomb, but there are others that will work too. Penne, Farfalle and Shells are good choices. They are all short cut pasta but have enough surface area to support the sauce.
  • Whisk vigorously when adding the cream and milk to the flour paste. This will prevent lumps in your sauce.
  • Grate your own cheeses. I know it’s harder than grabbing a bag of shredded, but it will payoff in a creamier sauce. Most bags of pre-shredded cheese at the grocery contain anti-clumping agents to keep the shreds from sticking together. These agents also prevent the cheese from melting completely.
  • Speaking of melting cheese, keep the heat on Low while melting the cheese and remove the sauce from the heat entirely right after the cheese has melted. Overheated cheeses may curdle or “string”.
Baked Mac and Cheese gets a simple comfort food twist by adding chicken, crispy bacon and ranch seasoning!

BEST CHEESES FOR MAC AND CHEESE

  • Cheddar Cheese – melts easily with a smooth, sometimes sharp flavor.
  • Mozzarella – soft texture and milky flavor, can be fresh or short aged
  • Gruyere – hard cheese that add nutty taste and depth of flavor
  • Monterey Jack – mild flavor and buttery texture that melts like a dream
  • Brie – rich, buttery cheese that ranges from mild to tangy
  • Goat Cheese – tart, earthy flavored cheese made form goat’s milk
  • Parmesan – salty and nutty, with a slightly gritty texture
  • Smoked Gouda – smooth, subtle smoky flavor
  • Fontina – a melty cheese that combines earthy flavor with a buttery texture
Baked Mac and Cheese gets a simple comfort food twist by adding chicken, crispy bacon and ranch seasoning!

This site may contain affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, which helps to keep this content free.

TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

Clicks the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.

  • Large Frying Pan – any large frying pan will do, but this affordable pan is also oven-safe to 500°.
  • Whisk – made with a comfy, soft handle making it easy on the hands.
  • Boiling Pot – comes with an insert that makes draining your pasta a breeze!
  • Baking Dish – Any 3 – 4 QT dish will work, but I love the easy cleanup of this brand.. I’ve had mine for over 20 years!
  • Wooden Spoons – beautiful teak spoons that make you feel like a master chef!
  • Pro Box Grater – the best mac and cheese starts with grated cheese! This one has 6 sides including a convenient zester and grater!
Baked Mac and Cheese gets a simple comfort food twist by adding chicken, crispy bacon and ranch seasoning!
Print Recipe PIN RECIPE
5 from 1 vote

Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese

Baked Mac and Cheese gets a simple comfort food twist with chicken, bacon and ranch seasoning!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 551kcal

Click on highlighted ingredients to buy them.

INGREDIENTS

  • 16 ounces macaroni pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 8 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and diced,
  • 3 cups chicken, cubed, cooked
  • 2 TBSP ranch seasoning mix
  • 3 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
  • 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1-1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a 9 x 13 or similar size baking dish.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to directions until just al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon over Medium heat until crisp. Remove to a plate, pour off grease, leaving 1 TBSP bacon drippings in the pan.
  • Add cooked chicken to the pan. Over medium heat, stir chicken until heated thru. Sprinkle ranch seasoning over chicken and stir to coat. Remove chicken from pan.
  • Over Medium heat, add butter to pan. Once melted, add garlic and cook 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Add flour and whisk to form a paste. Slowly add in heavy cream and milk. Whisk to combine. Bring to a low boil and cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid is thickened.
  • Turn heat down to low. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, and half each of the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses until melted. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Add chicken and all but 2 TBSP of diced bacon to the cream mixture. Stir to combine. Reserve 2 TBSP diced bacon for garnish.
  • Pour the cream mixture over cooked pasta and stir gently to coat. Scrape into prepared baking dish.
  • Evenly sprinkle remaining mozzarella and cheddar cheese over the cream mixture.  Dot with reserved bacon.
  • Bake on center rack of preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Let pan sit for a few minutes before serving.

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 551 Calories from Fat 333
% Daily Value*
Fat 37g57%
Saturated Fat 18g113%
Cholesterol 114mg38%
Sodium 550mg24%
Potassium 283mg8%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 875IU18%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 191mg19%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

© Copyright Christine Mello for Must Love Home. We would love for you to share a link to this recipe but please do not copy/paste the recipe instructions to websites or social media. We are happy for you to share a photo with a link back to this website instead.

Did you make this recipe?Mention @mustlovehome or tag #mustlovehomecooking!

© Copyright Christine Mello for Must Love Home. We would love for you to share a link to this recipe but please do not copy/paste the recipe instructions to websites or social media. We are happy for you to share a photo with a link back to this website instead.

If you made this recipe, please leave a comment and rating. I would appreciate the chance to troubleshoot any issues you might have had before you leave the rating!

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