Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac And Cheese

Creamy with hearty bites of chicken and a hint of ranch this Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese makes a satisfying an enjoyable meal.

Close up plate of tender macaroni coated in a cheddar cheese sauce with hearty pieces of chicken and bacon bits nestled into the pasta with more ranch drizzled on top and a few chopped chives accenting the white plate of pasta with a fork resting on the back.

If you enjoy this recipe you may also like our TikTok Creamy Chicken and Rice recipe.

Loaded Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac And Cheese Recipe

Loaded with flavor this mac and cheese recipe becomes an easy dinner when chicken and bacon are added to this recipe. The surprise ingredient of cottage cheese in the cheese sauce makes a high protein meal with pasta.

This flavor combination is perfect in our Slow Cooker Chicken Bacon Ranch, Sliders and Stromboli. Adding it to a creamy mac and cheese is the next logical option.

Adding a packet of powder cheese from a blue box give this dish a familiar taste of mac and cheese, but the other ingredients make it more filling and enjoyable.

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Ranch dressing drizzled over top of mac and cheese with generous chunks of chicken, bacon, ranch seasoning and a delicious cheese sauce in a black skillet.

The idea to use cottage cheese to add protein and creaminess came from a loaded mac recipe trending on Tiktok.

Some of our other trending meal recipes are Pasta with Alfredo and Marinara, Cajun Sausage Pasta and Chicken Cobbler with Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix.

Why This Recipe Works:

  • The unique combination of pasta, meat and ranch seasoning always pleases family and guests.
  • Leftovers reheat well.
  • Great recipe to meal prep for the week by cooking the chicken and bacon ahead of time. The cheese sauce can even be made ahead.
  • Can vary the creaminess by using different amounts of pasta.
  • Higher in protein from the extra cottage cheese which helps you feel fuller longer.
Serving spoon lifting mac and cheese loaded with chicken and bacon bits and topped with ranch dressing over top of a pot full of the recipe.

Ingredients Needed

  • Chicken – We like to coat boneless, skinless chicken breasts with garlic salt, onion powder and smoked paprika. Then bake and cut into bite sized cubes.
  • Bacon – Thick strips freshly baked and chopped into visible squares that are bigger than bacon bits are the best, but purchased bacon bits work well too.
  • Elbow Macaroni – A whole pound will make the recipe a little dry and a half pound dry pasta that is cooked will be really creamy and cheesy so we enjoy using about 3/4 pound.
  • Cottage Cheese – Use a low fat option to reduce calories while maintaining extra protein.
  • Cheese Packet – Grab a packet of the powdered cheese sauce mix from a blue box (or store brand) box of mac and cheese.
  • Milk – Helps activate the cheese powder and make the cheese smooth.
  • Cheddar Cheese – Sharp cheddar packs more flavor.
  • Ranch – Mix a seasoning packet in the cheese sauce and drizzle some more ranch from a bottle on top for an eye appealing accent and more flavor.
  • Chives – Chopped and sprinkled on top are an optional accent. Green onions are another great option for fresh flavor.
Ingredients to make chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese are cooked chicken breasts, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, cheese packet, chopped bacon, milk, cooked elbow macaroni, packed of ranch seasoning mix, ranch dressing and chives on a wooden counter top.

Preparing The Chicken

We like to use about a pound and a half or 24 ounces of cubed chicken. Typical boneless, skinless chicken breasts are about 3/4 to 1 pound each.

Mix garlic salt, smoked paprika and onion powder together. Coat chicken with spices.

Use more if necessary to ensure each breast has a generous coating. We like to increase the seasoning level and coat both sides.

The spices can be sprinkled on or rubbed in if you like.

We prefer to bake the chicken uncovered in the oven at 375℉ for 20 – 25 minutes.

Black serving spoon in a deep skillet of chicken bacon ranch mac with a section of delicious pasta already served.

When chicken reaches an internal temp of 165℉ it is safe to eat. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and then cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Chicken that is smaller than bite sized blends best with the chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese.

How To Make Loaded Mac and Cheese

While the chicken is baking, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and return to the pan.

Prepare ingredients to make cheese sauce.

High protein cheese sauce ingredients are milk, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, powdered cheese packet and ranch seasoning in front of a blender on a brown counter top.

Using a blender add cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, cheese packet, ranch seasoning and milk. 

Cottage cheese, ranch, and cheddar cheese sauce in a blender to make the high protein cheese sauce.

Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked pasta and stir it up.

Blended cheese sauce poured over top of cooked elbow macaroni in a large white mixing bowl.

Mix in the chicken and bacon. Stir well.

Red spoon stirring chicken and bacon into mac and cheese recipe in a large white bowl.

Warm the cheesy pasta mixture in the pan or heat in a skillet if desired.

Since the cheese mixture starts with cold ingredients it will need to be heated. The sauce can be heated separately, or we find mixing together in the pasta pot and heating the entire dish is very convenient.

Drizzle with ranch dressing, sprinkle remaining bacon bits and chives on top. Serve warm and enjoy!

Overhead view of skillet full of delicious recipe of chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese with more ranch drizzled on top to make an attractive pattern and chopped chives sprinkled on top for more fresh flavor resting on a red and white plaid napkin.

If you manually stir the cheese sauce it will have a unique texture that we do not prefer. Using a blender creates a smooth consistency so that you don’t even notice the cottage cheese.

Chicken nuggets substitute well for chicken breasts which would be faster and a bit more kid friendly.

Can Greek Yogurt Be Used Instead of Cottage Cheese

Greek yogurt is more tangy and creates a much more distinctive flavor that our family did not enjoy. You can pick out the yogurt flavor, but the cottage cheese blends better and can’t be singled out. 

Slow Cooker Version

The cooked ingredients and cheese sauce can easily be poured in a slow cooker and heated on high for 1 hour or on low for about 2 hours until warmed through.

Plate with ranch dressing drizzled over top of chicken, bacon and ranch mac and cheese from tiktok on a red and white napkin.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Using a half or 3/4 of a pound of pasta makes the pasta dish even creamier. Less pasta creates a much creamier texture based on the pasta to cheese sauce ratio.
  • Use two large or three medium chicken breasts.
  • Can also shred and chop a rotisserie chicken to save time.
  • We find that using plenty of seasoning on the chicken makes the entire dish much more flavorful and enjoyable.
  • Recipe would also taste great with our BBQ Chip Fried Chicken.
  • Use a blender to make the smoothest and most enjoyable cheese sauce.

More Easy Meal Ideas From TikTok

Pancake Tacos – Make a fun meal or snack and are so easy to customize with a variety of toppings.

Big Mac Smash Tacos are easy to make in a skillet or on a Blackstone griddle.

Beef Tortellini is cheesy, creamy and loaded with ground beef.

Baked Alfredo Spaghetti is bakes in a casserole dish and makes a classic meal better.

Close up creamy mac and cheese with bacon bits and pieces of tender chicken on a stack of white plates with a fork in the background.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese

Servings 6 servings
Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life
Creamy with hearty bites of chicken and a hint of ranch this Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese makes a satisfying and enjoyable meal.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 24 ounces chicken breasts about 3 medium breasts
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 cheese packet from blue box of mac
  • 2 tablespoons ranch seasoning
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 pound elbow macaroni
  • 6 strips bacon cooked and chopped
  • 1/4 cup ranch
  • 1 tablespoon chives optional

Instructions
 

  • Mix garlic salt, smoked paprika, onion powder and rub generously on chicken breasts. Place in a baking dish, uncovered and bake at 350℉ until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165℉.
  • Allow chicken to rest and then cut into slightly smaller than bite sized cubes.
  • Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and return to the pan.
  • Using a blender add cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, cheese packet, ranch seasoning and milk.
  • Pour cheese sauce over cooked pasta. Mix in cooked chicken and 5 strips of chopped bacon. Stir well.
  • Drizzle with ranch dressing and sprinkle with chives and a few bacon bits if desired.

Notes

*Nutritional data will vary greatly based on using light or whole fat ingredients

Nutrition

Calories: 598kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 43gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 2148mgPotassium: 729mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 844IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 166mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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