All the flavors you love in casserole form! Make this Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole for an easy and delicious dinner the whole family will love.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole
We’re big flavor fans of chicken + bacon + ranch over here at The Cheese Knees, so why not put all this deliciousness together into CASSEROLE. We’re talkin’ easy cheesy weeknight meal status over here. And we’ll walk you through how to make it:
Choose a Noodle
Good news for you is that you can use pretty much any kind of noodle your heart desires for this recipe. We went with fusilli noodles (the fun pasta in these photos!), but here are some of our other faves. Just remember, you’ll need about 16 oz. of pasta:
- bow ties
To make your pasta, bring water and salt to a boil. Once boiling, add in the pasta. Check the back of your pasta box for the proper cook time, but make sure to UNDERCOOK the noodles. For fusilli, we cooked the noodles for 4-6 minutes.
Remember: you’ll be baking these noodles for an additional 20 minutes in the oven.
Prep and Season Chicken
The diced chicken breasts in this recipe are seasoned with, of course, RANCH! You have a couple options here:
- Make your own ranch seasoning! Our sister site, Fit Foodie Finds has a delicious homemade ranch seasoning coming up in a few days — stay tuned.
- Use a ranch seasoning packet! This is by far the easiest option, just pick up a dry ranch seasoning packet at the grocery store when you’re shopping for this recipe.
When it comes to sautéing these chicken chunks on the stove top, remember: your chicken will still be cooking for an additional 20 minutes in the oven. So, UNDERCOOKING both the noodles and the chicken is key.
You’ll only need to cook the chicken on the stove top for 1-2 minutes per side once they’re cut into 1 in. chunks.
Let’s Talk Cheese Sauce
The white cheese sauce for this chicken bacon ranch casserole is GOLD. Seriously, it’s creamy and flavorful and an oh so crucial element of this chicken bacon ranch casserole. You’ll need:
- Unsalted butter
- All-purpose flour (or white whole wheat)
- Whole milk (or 2%)
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Pinch of salt
Prepare the cheese sauce by heating a medium-sized saucepan over medium/high heat, and when the saucepan is hot, add butter. When the butter has melted add flour to the saucepan and whisk together. When the butter and flour form a paste or crumble, slowly pour the milk into the saucepan, whisking consistently while pouring.
Whisk the mixture over medium heat until the milk mixture has time to thicken (about 4-5 minutes). Remove from heat, and add the mozzarella cheese and salt to the saucepan. Keep whisking until the cheese sauce is thick and creamy.
Bake it All Together
Carefully pour the cheese sauce (it will be HOT!) over all of the pasta and chicken mixture and toss. Make sure ALL of the ingredients are covered by the cheese sauce.
Then, place the cast iron skillet or casserole dish into the oven, uncovered, and bake for 20 minutes. This will give the chicken and noodles enough time to fully cook.
Time for more cheese: Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and place in the oven for an additional 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Finally, remove the casserole from the oven and ENJOY!
Don’t Have a Cast Iron Skillet?
Any oven-safe skillet will work for this recipe as long as it’s large enough. Otherwise, a standard size casserole dish will also work.
How Many Does This Casserole Serve?
This casserole serves 6-8, making it great for larger family dinners or for meal prep to enjoy reheated throughout the week!
How do You Store This Casserole?
Store this chicken bacon ranch casserole in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
To reheat: place on a microwave-safe plate and cook on high for 60-90 seconds. Or reheat in the oven by placing in a covered casserole dish and cook for 10-15 minutes (or until warm) at 350°F.
White Cheese Sauce
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or white whole wheat)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons ranch seasoning mix
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large red pepper, finely diced
- 6 pieces of cooked bacon, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup ranch dressing
- 16-oz. fusilli pasta
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Then, Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta.
- Cook the pasta for 4-6 minutes. The pasta should be slightly undercooked because it will cook for an additional 20 minutes in the oven.
- Strain the water from the pasta and set pasta aside.
- Next, season the chicken chunks with ranch seasoning. Be sure that the ranch seasoning covers every chunk of chicken.
- Heat a large oven-safe skillet or deep cast-iron skillet over medium/high heat. Add olive oil.
- When olive oil is fragrant add chicken. Cook the chicken for 1-2 minutes on each side. Only partially cook the chicken. It will cook for an additional 20 minutes in the oven. Remove from heat.
- Add red pepper, bacon, ranch dressing, and pasta into the large pan and toss. Set aside.
- Prepare the cheese sauce by heating a medium-sized saucepan over medium/high heat.
- When the saucepan is hot, add butter. When the butter has melted add flour to the saucepan and whisk together. When the butter and flour form a paste or crumble, slowly pour the milk into the saucepan, whisking consistently while pouring.
- Whisk the mixture over medium heat until the milk mixture begins to thicken (about 4-5 minutes).
- Remove from heat and add the mozzarella cheese and salt to the saucepan. Whisk until the cheese sauce is thick and creamy.
- Carefully pour the cheese sauce over all of the pasta and chicken mixture and toss. Make sure all of the ingredients are covered by the cheese sauce.
- Then, place the casserole dish into the oven, uncovered, and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and place in the oven for an additional 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
- Finally, remove the casserole from the oven and enjoy!
Nutrition FactsServing Size: 1/8 recipe Calories: 634 Sugar: 7 Sodium: 870 Fat: 22 Carbohydrates: 89 Fiber: 20 Protein: 46
Keywords: chicken bacon ranch casserole