Chicken Bacon & Ranch Mac N’ Cheese

5 / 5 (2 reviews) 2 Comments

southern baked mac and cheese with chicken bacon ranch

This post has been sponsored by American Beauty® Pasta. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Enjoy this easy Cheesy Chicken Bacon and Ranch Mac N Cheese!

I’ve been looking for a way to ramp up plain old mac n’ cheese with some new bold flavors without losing the classic comfort-food vibe this pasta dish is to us all, am I right?  This winner dinner recipe is full of rich, cheesy, gooey, creamy flavor with a hint of ranch; the subtle crunch of bacon; and topped with a roasted panko crust. Yummy!

ingredients for southern macaroni and cheese

I made several different recipes before I came to one the whole family loved! I kept running to the store to buy more 16oz American Beauty® Elbow Macaroni and more blocks of cheese, even multiple times in one day! I got really good at getting in and out fast with all of the ingredients. 😉 (Thank you, Albertsons!)

albertsons mobile app with coupons

Check out the Albertsons mobile app for coupons before you go! Save $1 on any (2) American Beauty® Pastas

There are a lot of different variations out there for Mac and Cheese; some start with a roux, some include eggs and some don’t, some with crumb topping or different cheese combos, and so on. So, I felt like I needed to try a good variety to really know which I like best.

chicken bacon ranch southern mac and cheese

Ingredients for Chicken Bacon & Ranch Macaroni and Cheese

Of course, using good quality ingredients will always help in getting good, delicious results. Fortunately, Albertsons brand blocks of cheese and American Beauty® Elbow Macaroni are great quality at a good price.

American Beauty® has many other great pastas to choose from! In addition to elbows, some of my favorites are their bow ties, penne, and jumbo shells. They also offer super-greens and gluten-free options!

chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese recipe

American Beauty® Elbows:

  • Pasta made from quality wheat since 1916.
  • Elbows are a curved, tube-shaped pasta–the perfect shape for holding the cheesy sauce in macaroni and cheese!
  • Kosher, no preservatives, vegan, MSG-free, non-GMO, vegetarian.
  • Look for fresh new packaging design on shelves now!

American Beauty®. That’s Real.

three cheese for southern macaroni and cheese

This combination of cheeses and spices is perfect, in my opinion. The sharp cheddar adds that cheddar flavor we all expect, the mozzarella is nice and mild and adds that stretchy/gooey quality, and colby jack balances it out and is a great secondary cheddar flavor.

The dry ranch seasoning combined with bacon and chicken really ties in well and enhances the 3-cheese flavor! My husband loved that this had more flavors than JUST cheese.  He went back for seconds!

macaroni and cheese with chicken, bacon, and ranch

Another thing I like about this recipe: no fussing with a roux or fancy cheese sauce. Just cook the macaroni, stir together the other ingredients, mix it all together, and dump it in a baking dish. Then, top with panko crumbs and bake. Simple and delicious.

southern mac n cheese with chicken bacon ranch

Cheesy Chicken Bacon and Ranch Mac N Cheese Tips:

  • Be sure to add salt to the water when boiling your macaroni. It helps add flavor to the mac and cheese!
  • Cook the pasta according to the American Beauty® Elbow Macaroni package instructions for al dente, only 6 minutes. The macaroni will cook in the oven, too, so don’t over-cook.
  • Buy blocks of cheese and shred it yourself for this recipe. It will melt better! Pre-shredded cheese doesn’t melt as well.
  • Feel free to change up the cheeses, but don’t add more sharp cheddar than listed in the recipe because it may become gritty.
  • Taste the cheese mixture and adjust seasonings to your taste before adding the eggs. But remember that when the cheese melts, it will add some saltiness to the filling too.

Save $1 on any (2) American Beauty® Pastas!


chicken bacon ranch mac n cheese

Chicken Bacon & Ranch Mac N’ Cheese

5 / 5 (2 reviews)
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins
Yield: 8x11 | Serves: 12

Ingredients

  • 4 oz freshly grated mozzarella
  • 4 oz freshly grated colby jack
  • 4 oz freshly grated sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 16 oz American Beauty® Elbow Macaroni, cooked al dente (approx. 5-6 mins)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 4 pieces cooked crispy bacon, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp (about ½ a packet) of dry ranch dressing or homemade ranch seasoning
  • Pinch of salt/pepper to taste
  • Topping:

  • 2 oz freshly grated mozzarella
  • 2 oz freshly grated colby jack
  • 2 oz freshly grated sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 pieces cooked crispy bacon, crumbled 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together cheeses, half & half, heavy whipping cream, eggs, and ranch seasoning.
  3. Mix in bacon and chicken.
  4. Mix in cooked and drained noodles.
  5. Spread in 9x9 or 11x7 sprayed baking dish. 
  6. For the topping:
  7. Sprinkle all cheeses evenly over top.
  8. Sprinkle panko bread crumbs evenly over top.
  9. Drizzle butter evenly over bread crumbs. 
  10. Cook at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes until bread crumbs brown slightly. 
  11. Sprinkle crumbled bacon evenly prior to serving.

Recipe Adapted From: Sweet Tea & Thyme

Ingredients: Cheese, Egg, Garlic, Half and Half, Heavy Cream, Mustard, Onion, Paprika, Pasta, Pepper, Salt
Meal Type: Main Dish, Side Dish, Christmas, Fall, Thanksgiving, Winter
Categories: Casserole, Pasta, Oven

Comments & Reviews

  • I was looking around for what to make tonight for dinner when this recipe caught my attention. I made this & it was delicious! My family is already requesting it for next week again! I used shredded leftover chicken fingers & it was so easy & yummy!

  • That’s awesome, Sarah! So glad to hear you enjoyed it! And EASY makes it twice as nice, right?! Thanks for the review! ❤️

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