This Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole is creamy, cheesy, and filling. It’s loaded with tender bites of chicken and pasta tossed in a cream cheese ranch base, topped with crispy bacon, and finished with melty cheese. It’s an easy dinner that will quickly become a family favorite!
Easy Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake with Cream Cheese
Is chicken bacon ranch one of your favorite flavor combos? Because it definitely is one of mine…as demonstrated by my Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza, Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad, and Instant Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta.
I’d have a different variation of chicken bacon and ranch every night of the week if I could!
This Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole is one of my favorite easy dinners to make. It’s ready to eat in under an hour, can easily be prepped ahead of time for a busy weeknight meal.
The whole family will love cheesy, comfort food! The best part? It’s made with ingredients you probably already have on hand.
A delicious meal that’s both filling and flavorful!
Tips and Notes
- Use another pasta shape. You can really use any kind of pasta you have on hand, although I don’t recommend longer noodles like spaghetti, fettuccine, or linguini. Smaller pasta shapes are better!
- Time saving tip: Looking for a way to make this casserole prep even quicker? Skip cooking the chicken and use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken or seasoned leftover chicken.
- Add veggies. If you want to give your casserole a bit of a boost, try adding in some chopped broccoli florets, diced bell pepper, spinach, onion, mushrooms, you name it. Be sure to cook the veggies first!
- Use another protein. Skip the chicken and use cooked turkey or shredded beef.
- Spice it up. Give your casserole a spicy kick by adding a drizzle of hot sauce, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes.
Make-Ahead: To prep this casserole in advance, you can assemble it, but don’t bake. Instead, wrap the entire casserole tightly with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to serve, thaw it overnight in the fridge and bake as instructed.
Refrigerator: Baked chicken and bacon casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheating: To reheat your leftovers, warm single servings in the microwave or bake larger portions in the oven until heated through.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Cook Pasta Before Baking?
Yes! The pasta definitely does need to be cooked before it’s added to the casserole.
For the best texture, I recommend cooking the pasta al dente according to the box instructions. Leaving it very slightly undercooked prevents it from becoming mushy or gummy as the casserole bakes!
Do You Need to Cover Pasta Bake?
Not necessarily. I leave the casserole uncovered and it comes out just fine.
However, if you notice the cheese on top burning before the casserole is heated through, you can cover the baking dish with foil and continue to bake until it is fully warmed.
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 8 ounces small pasta shells
- 8 ounces block-style cream cheese, softened
- 8 ounces sour cream
- 1 ounce packet ranch seasoning mix
- 6 slices cooked bacon, chopped and divided
- 8 ounces Colby jack cheese, shredded off the block and divided
- Preheat the oven to 375°F, and lightly grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish.
- Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over low-medium heat. Add the chicken, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink.1 tablespoon cooking oil1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts½ teaspoon paprika½ teaspoon kosher salt½ teaspoon pepper
- In the meantime, boil the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside.8 ounces small pasta shells
- In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream and ranch seasoning.8 ounces block-style cream cheese8 ounces sour cream1 ounce packet ranch seasoning mix
- Stir in the cooked chicken, chopped bacon (except for 1-2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top) and half of the cheese. Then, gently stir in the pasta.6 slices cooked bacon8 ounces Colby jack cheese
- Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking dish, and spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining bacon and cheese on top.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve with freshly chopped green onions for garnish if desired.
- Scroll up and see the post for tips, storage options, and FAQs.