CHICKEN BACON RANCH MAC AND CHEESE — Elbow macaroni baked in a three cheese sauce, with chicken and bacon, and topped with crispy bread crumbs.
Nothing says “comfort food” to me more than a big pan of homemade macaroni and cheese. And this Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese is loaded with so much goodness, it’s destined to become a family favorite!
When you take a creamy, three-cheese sauce, infuse it with Ranch seasoning, then throw in chicken and crispy bacon, you know you’re going to a have a winning recipe.
Oh, and don’t forget about the crunchy bread crumb topping! To say my family loved this mac and cheese would be a huge understatement. They devoured it!
I was hoping I could enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day, but there wasn’t a bite left. I’d say it was a smashing success.
Of course, I’m feeding several hungry teenagers over here. If you need to feed fewer (or less hungry) people and you don’t want leftovers, you can always cut the recipe in half.
I like to use traditional elbow macaroni in this recipe, but shells, or even rotini would work well too–any kind of pasta that will trap all that delicious, cheesy sauce.
I was a little worried about using so much Ranch seasoning in this dish, but it turned out great.
The mac and cheese was perfectly seasoned, but without an overwhelming Ranch dressing taste. But you can always taste and add more or less before you bake the finished dish.
One thing is for sure, everyone will love this amazing twist on traditional mac and cheese!
Be sure to save this Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later.
Tips for Cooking Pasta
Use a big pot: Cook pasta in a large pot–big enough to hold 6 quarts of water per pound of pasta.
Salt: Generously season your cooking water with salt. A few teaspoons per quart of water is a good place to start. Although a little more or less is fine, depending on your preference.
Don’t overcook: Boil your pasta to until it is al dente, which means it’s cooked, but still a bit chewy. You’ll want to test your pasta for flavor and texture every 20 seconds or so during the last few minutes of cooking.
If you’ll continue cooking the pasta in a sauce, or baking it in the oven, remove the pot from the heat a few minutes before it’s done to prevent overcooking.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Half and Half
- Chicken broth
- Cheddar cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Fontina cheese
- Ranch dressing mix
- Seasoned breadcrumbs
- Fresh parsley
- 16 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Fontina cheese
- 1 (1 oz.) package Ranch dressing mix
- 2 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 6 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large stockpot, cook macaroni according to package directions, drain and return to pot.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour. Gradually whisk in half and half, and chicken broth.
- Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in cheeses until melted and smooth.
- Whisk in Ranch seasoning. Add cheese sauce, along with chicken, to cooked macaroni. Stir to combine. season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.
- Toss bread crumbs with melted butter; sprinkle over macaroni. Top with crumbled bacon. Bake, uncovered, 30-35 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 572 Total Fat: 37g Saturated Fat: 19g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 15g Cholesterol: 123mg Sodium: 1269mg Carbohydrates: 32g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 4g Protein: 29g
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Who Dished It Up First: Adapted from Taste of Home