This Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Pasta Bake with Bacon recipe is easy to make for weeknight dinners and special enough to serve for parties and company.
Tender pasta is oven baked with a creamy sauce, cheddar cheese, ranch seasoning, broccoli, tomatoes, and of course plenty of tasty bacon! This easy chicken casserole is the ultimate comfort food dinner, and you’ll love how simple it is to put together.
No cream is needed for this pasta bake recipe, but you’d never know because the sauce is so creamy and cheesy!
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Want to get right to the good stuff? Click on any of these headings to jump ahead:
- Why This Recipe is Worth Making
- Ingredients and Substitutions
- Equipment Needed
- Step by Step Instructions
- Pro Recipe Tips
- Recipe Variations
- Making Ahead, Storing Leftovers and Reheating
- More Tasty Bacon Dinner Recipes
- Save for Later
Why This Recipe is Worth Making
- This tasty broccoli pasta bake is a full dinner in a dish! Mix the ingredients together and bake in one dish for a meal that includes your protein, carbs and veggies.
- You can make this creamy chicken broccoli casserole up to two days ahead of time, keep it covered in the refrigerator, and pop it in the oven just before dinner.
- Kid friendly, creamy, cheesy and good year round.
- Reheats beautifully, and we think it tastes even better the next day!
Ingredients and Substitutions
These are they key ingredients you’ll need to make this flavorful pasta bake:
Cooked pasta – I used curly cellentani, but you can use penne, ziti, pinwheels, corkscrew pasta, shells, macaroni, or your favorite smaller pasta.
Chopped cooked chicken – You can use a shredded rotisserie chicken, leftover chicken, or just cook a couple of chicken breasts and remove the meat from the bones. You can also substitute cooked turkey in this pasta casserole recipe – perfect for Thanksgiving leftovers!
Broccoli – You can use fresh broccoli florets or frozen, thawed broccoli. If the broccoli pieces aren’t bite-sized, cut them into individual florets before adding to the mix.
Mayonnaise – I prefer real may for this pasta casserole, which gives it its creamy flavor. The mayo, milk and cheese melt together during baking to make an amazing sauce. (For a real treat, try smooth, delicious Duke’s Southern mayonnaise.)
Milk – You can use whole or low-fat milk.
Dry ranch mix – This is an ingredient I keep in the pantry for easy flavoring. You’ll need half of a 1 ounce packet, or about 1 tablespoon ranch mix.
Red pepper flakes – These add just a tiny bit of spicy flavor to the chicken broccoli bake. You can substitute a few shakes of hot pepper sauce to the mix if you prefer, or omit this.
Colby Jack, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese – You can substitute any melty cheese. Sharp cheddar is also very good, as is Gouda or Havarti.
8 slices bacon – Thick-sliced bacon is used in this pasta chicken recipe, but you can use regular sliced bacon if that’s what you have on hand or even turkey bacon if you like.
Chopped tomato and green onion – I like halved ripe grape tomatoes, but you can use halved or quartered regular cherry tomatoes or chopped regular tomatoes. You can also substitute parsley or chives for the green onion.
You won’t need any fancy cooking equipment to make this recipe:
- 9- by 13-inch baking dish
- Large bowl
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Large mixing spoon
Step by Step Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, milk, ranch mix, red pepper flakes, and black pepper until well blended. Add the cooked pasta, chicken, broccoli, half the cheeses and half of the bacon, and mix until well combined.
Spread mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, until hot, about 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining cheeses and bacon.
Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, until cheese melts and mixture is hot and bubbling, about 10 more minutes. Such deliciousness!
Sprinkle chopped tomatoes on top. Garnish with chopped green onions (optional).
Pro Recipe Tips
Freshly cooked bacon has the best flavor in this dish. You can use regular or thick-cut bacon, whichever you prefer. Cook in a baking sheet in the oven or in a skillet on the stovetop. Drain on paper towels and cool to room temperature before crumbling. Crispy bacon is easiest to crumble.
If you’re in a hurry, you can use pre-cooked bacon. Chop it with a sharp knife or cut it in pieces with kitchen scissors.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Rice Casserole – Substitute 3 cups cooked white or brown rice for the cooked pasta.
Healthier Version – Use whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta.
Veggie Variations – Instead of broccoli, use peas, asparagus, or artichoke hearts in the recipe.
Extra Creamy – Stir 2 ounces (1/4 cup) cream cheese cut in 1/3-inch cubes to the chicken broccoli pasta mixture before baking.
Making Ahead, Storing Leftovers and Reheating
To Make Ahead: You can prepare the Broccoli Chicken Pasta Bake in advance. Follow the recipe through Step 4, then cover and refrigerate. Remove the fridge about 30 minutes prior to baking and let it sit on the counter. You may need to increase the baking time by 5 or 10 minutes.
To Store Leftovers: Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
To Reheat: Sprinkle the dish with a few drops of water. Cover the casserole with a lid or foil and bake at 375 degrees F until hot and bubbly.
More Tasty Bacon Dinner Recipes
For a tasty meal the whole family will enjoy, try one of these easy dinners featuring the incomparable flavor of bacon.
- Creamy Bacon Mac and Cheese
- Bacon Weave Meatloaf
- Cream of Bacon Soup
- Smoked Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon
- 60 Easy Bacon Dinner Recipes
- 20 Best Bacon Soup Recipes
Let’s Get Cooking!
Here’s the full, printable recipe:
Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Pasta Bake with Bacon
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 package dry ranch dip mix, about 1 tablespoon
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces pasta such as cellentani, cooked to al dente and drained
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 3/4 pound fresh broccoli, steamed or 14 ounces frozen thawed broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 strips thick-sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2/3 cup small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- chopped green onions or chives, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.
- In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, milk, ranch mix, red pepper flakes, and black pepper until well blended.
- Add the cooked pasta, chicken, broccoli, half the cheeses and half of the bacon, and mix until well combined.
- Spread mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish.(Cover and refrigerate now if you're making ahead.)
- Bake, uncovered, until hot, about 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining cheeses and bacon. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, until cheese melts and mixture is hot and bubbling, about 10 more minutes.
- Serve topped with halved tomatoes and green onion.
Got questions? Just ask! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this Broccoli Chicken Pasta Bake with Bacon recipe, I’d be thrilled if you clicked the little stars above and gave the recipe a 5-star rating. If you post your creations on social media, tag #BENSABaconLovers so I can share! Thank you for your support. – Eliza
Nutrition Disclaimer: All nutritional information shared on this site is an approximation. I am not a certified nutritionist, and any nutritional information should be used as a general guideline.
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