Skip to Content

Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese

In spite of it being peak soup season, I’m currently obsessed with healthy mac and cheese recipes. Soups, stews, and chili are great, but it’s tough to compete with cheese. If you’re with me, I think you’ll appreciate the return of the mac and the addition of this chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese to the growing collection.

I’ve dubbed it a lower carb mac and cheese since once serving only has 21 grams of carbs and more protein than carbs. You read that correctly, mac and cheese with more protein than carbs. Need I say more about the nutritional breakdown for this recipe?

This high protein, low carb chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese is loaded with pan fried ranch chicken, cheddar cheese, and bacon. What's not to love?

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualified sales. Click here to read my full disclosure.
This high protein, low carb chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese is loaded with pan fried ranch chicken, cheddar cheese, and bacon. What's not to love?

Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese Ingredients

Like I said in my garlic parmesan mac and cheese with chicken recipe, this recipe seems a bit lengthier than what you’re accustomed to from my site. But don’t worry, it’s as simple as adding everything to pan and stirring after you’ve cooked the chicken.

Pan Fried Ranch Chicken

If you’ve tried the garlic parmesan mac and cheese or my naked chicken tenders, this recipe calls for a similar pan frying method. If you’ve been searching for an easy way to make tender, juicy chicken that doesn’t suck, check that out next. The only difference with this chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese will be cutting them into pieces prior to pan frying.

Bacon Ranch Mac & Cheese

For the cheese sauce, you’ll be using a blend of reduced fat cheddar, light butter, and Greek yogurt. That, combined with some sliced bacon and ranch dip seasoning is a simple, low calorie cheese sauce recipe.

low carb chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese recipe

Banza: The Key to Lower Carb Mac and Cheese

Similar to my easy taco pasta bake and green chile mac and cheese, I went with Banza’s pasta shells for this recipe. Banza makes a chickpea pasta that’s lower carb and higher protein than traditional pasta. It tastes great so don’t even think about calling it an IMPASTA. 

Here’s a quick macro comparison between Banza and my time-saving recommendation, Barilla Ready Pasta Elbows. The servings are equal to what you’d use in this recipe. 

Banza: 760 calories, 128 grams of carbs, and 56 grams of protein

Ready Pasta: 840 calories, 168 grams of carbs, and 28 grams of protein

Not a huge difference, but it definitely helps if you’re on a lower carb diet. I’d like to add that I’m not affiliated with Banza. There are comparable products with similar nutrition profiles, Banza is just what I find in stores near me and I love the product.

low carb mac and cheese recipe

The MVP: Crispy Topping 

If you’d like to save a few calories (and time in the oven), you could always leave the crispy topping off. But you’d be making a huge mistake. On a per serving basis, the topping only adds about 30 calories.

And if you try this chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese with and without the topping, you’ll kick yourself for skipping the topping.

After I posted my extra cheesy hash brown casserole that also has a Corn Flakes topping, I received some questions about swapping Corn Flakes for other cereals like Rice Krispies. I can’t say for sure since I’ve yet to test any, but I would imagine most crispy cereals would work. You may need to add a bit more butter, though.

chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese in a skillet

You could also use breadcrumbs or other comparable ingredients to create the crispy topping.

Are You Ready for a Grate Time? 

Sorry, that was a cheesy dad joke. You’ll find the printable recipe card is below. In case you’re looking for more mac and cheese recipes, check out my 20-minute bacon mac and cheese, queso mac and cheese with ground beef or low fat cajun mac and cheese recipes next! 

And when you make this chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese, the world needs to know about it. Take a photo and tag me on Instagram @mason_woodruff or join my free Facebook group and share it with the posse!

lower carb chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese

Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Lower carb chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese with pan fried ranch chicken.

Ingredients

Ranch Chicken

  • 1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenderloins, or chicken breast
  • 1 Tbsp (16g) Olive Oil
  • 1/2 packet (15g) Ranch Dip Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder

Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese

  • 1 box (8oz) Banza Pasta Shells
  • 1 1/2 C (168g) Reduced Fat Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 C (56g) Light Butter, I used Land O' Lakes
  • 1 C (227g) Fat Free Greek Yogurt, plain
  • 1/2 packet (15g) Ranch Dip Seasoning
  • 6 slices Precooked Bacon, cut into small strips

Cripsy Topping

  • 2 Tbsp (28g) Light Butter
  • 2 C (56g) Corn Flakes Cereal

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta. If you're using Ready Pasta, skip this step. 
  3. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and add to a bowl with the olive oil, half a packet of ranch seasoning, and chili powder. Toss/stir until the chicken is evenly coated. 
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes untouched (until the bottoms have a slightly crispy layer) before flipping and cooking for another 2-3 minutes. 
  5. When the chicken is fully cooked, add the cheese sauce ingredients (except the pasta) to the skillet and stir until the cheese melts and everything is mixed evenly. 
  6. Once the cheese sauce is evenly mixed, add the cooked pasta and stir once more. Transfer the mac and cheese to a baking dish or continue to the next step if you're using an oven safe skillet. 
  7. Microwave the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 seconds before mixing with the Corn Flakes. Fold the melted butter into the cereal until it's evenly coated. Top the mac and cheese with the Corn Flakes mixture.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. 

Notes

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Servings Serving Size: 150 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 280Total Fat: 13gCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 22g

Want more kinda healthy recipes?

Follow me on Pinterest to see all of my recipes organized in one place with photos!

This high protein, low carb chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese is loaded with pan fried ranch chicken, cheddar cheese, and bacon. What's not to love?
This high protein, low carb chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese is loaded with pan fried ranch chicken, cheddar cheese, and bacon. What's not to love?

Dana Johnson

Sunday 19th of April 2020

This is one of my FAVORITES. I’ve used left over pulled pork from his insta pot/crock pot recipe and it elevates it even more. 10/10

Hannah

Wednesday 29th of January 2020

Delicious and easy! Love taking traditional comfort foods and making them macro-friendly. Made this with my mom and she had no idea it was a healthier option!

Alyssa

Tuesday 28th of January 2020

This is one of my go to recipes. It is easy to make, healthy, and TASTY!! This is my husbands favorite dish!!

Jamie

Saturday 4th of January 2020

This was SO GOOD AND EASY. I needed a recipe a 12 year old could help cook and would enjoy but also fit my macros. I went with this and it did not disappoint. We both loved it and made the recipe exactly as is. Would highly recommend this!

Holly B

Wednesday 27th of November 2019

this is SO GOOD! I made the recipe with a few tweaks and it turned out perfectly. I seasoned the chicken with chipotle seasoning and ranch like the naked chicken tender recipe instead of chili powder as stated here. I also used the ready elbow noodles rather than banza because I didn't need as much protein and the ready pasta is SO DARN EASY!! I didn't have any bacon unfortunately so I omitted it but it was still so good. I also used panko instead of corn flakes since I didn't have any and I threw some spices into the topping! Going to have to make it again but with bacon!

Skip to Recipe