A Deliciously Creamy Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole

published Feb 10, 2022
Eat
Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole Recipe

Ranch-enthusiasts will love this cheesy, flavor-packed casserole.

Serves4 to 6

Prep10 minutes

Cook54 minutes to 58 minutes

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A chicken bacon ranch casserole in a baking dish.
Credit: Kelli Foster

I think we can all agree there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that a packet of ranch seasoning can’t make infinitely better. Potato salad? Check. Breaded chicken breast? Double check! Chex mix? Absolutely! And, let’s not forget pot roast. But I have a totally comforting dish that tops the charts for ranch-lovers. 

Take a well-loved, classic chicken and rice casserole, mix in some smoky bacon and a packet of ranch seasoning, and just like that you’ve got a totally irresistible crowd-pleaser the whole table will devour. Let’s see how it’s done.

What Is Bacon Ranch Casserole?

There are the main ingredients in bacon ranch casserole.

  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are fattier than breasts, so they remain tender, juicy, and more flavorful after baking, and won’t dry out. Plus, they’re less expensive.
  • Long-grain white rice. It cooks up tender and gets infused with ranch flavor.
  • Ranch seasoning and salad dressing mix. Grab a store-bought packet or make your own ranch mix.
  • Bacon. You’ll need six slices of regular bacon (save the thick-cut for another time).
  • Sharp cheddar cheese. Start with a block rather than pre-shredded.
  • Low-sodium chicken broth
  • Whole milk

Can I Make This Casserole Ahead of Time?

While leftovers keep well (more on that below!), this casserole is best served right after baking. 

How to Store Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole

Great news: The leftovers keep really well. Store leftover bacon ranch casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. When you’re ready to eat, reheat in the microwave or oven until warm. 

Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole Recipe

Ranch-enthusiasts will love this cheesy, flavor-packed casserole.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 54 minutes to 58 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 cup

    long-grain white rice

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 8 ounces

    sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

  • 1 pound

    boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4)

  • 6 slices

    bacon (about 6 ounces, not thick-cut)

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 cups

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 1/4 cups

    whole milk

  • 1 (1-ounce) packet

    ranch seasoning and salad dressing mix (about 3 tablespoons)

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Coat a 3-quart or 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and add 1 cup long-grain white rice.

  2. Dice 1 medium yellow onion. Mince 2 garlic cloves. Grate 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater if needed (about 2 cups). Cut 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs into 1-inch pieces.

  3. Place 6 slices bacon in a large frying pan in a single layer. Cook over medium heat, flipping halfway through, until browned and crisp, about 8 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then crumble into small pieces. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pan.

  4. Add1 tablespoon unsalted butter to the pan and melt over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 3 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and stir with a wooden spoon, taking care to scrape the corners, until the flour is completely absorbed, 30 seconds to 1 minute. The mixture will be foamy and there should be no dry pockets of flour left.

  5. Pour in 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth and whisk to incorporate, breaking up any lumps of flour and onion. Add 1 1/4 cups whole milk, 1 (1-ounce) packet ranch seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

  6. Season the chicken all over with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add the chicken, half of the crumbled bacon, and half of the cheese to the baking dish, and stir to combine. Pour in the sauce and stir to coat. Spread into an even layer. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.

  7. Bake cuntil the sauce is bubbling and rice starts to soak up the sauce, about 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle evenly with the remaining bacon and cheese. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake uncovered until the sauce is bubbling, the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through, and the cheese on top is melted, about 15 minutes more. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley leaves if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: Chicken Bacon Ranch Rice Casserole