With 40 grams of protein per serving and only a handful of ingredients, this chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese is a must-try recipe for macro friendly eaters and minimal home cooks alike.
It combines ground chicken and crispy bacon with gluten free, high protein pasta and a blend of cheddar and Monterey jack cheese that’s finished under the broiler for a perfectly crispy and texture topping.
Ingredients for High Protein Mac and Cheese
- Center Cut Bacon – If you’re using a fattier cut of bacon, be sure to drain most of the fat after cooking. You only need 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of rendered fat for browning the ground chicken.
- Ground Chicken – Ground turkey would be a fine substitute. Did you know you can make homemade ground chicken with a food processor?
- Ranch Seasoning – To go the fresh vegetable route, you can use celery, onion, and fresh herbs like in my cajun ground chicken pasta. You can also make homemade ranch seasoning.
- Chicken Broth – Water works fine, but chicken broth adds more flavor. You could also use bone broth for an extra boost of protein.
- Pasta Shells – I like to use Banza chickpea pasta for my high protein pasta recipes, but any pasta will work. Shells work better than elbows here because it creates little pockets of cheesy ground chicken and bacon inside the shells.
- Cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheese – Feel free to get creative with your cheese combinations. Just be sure to use freshly grated cheese for best results.
How to Make Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese
Curious what a step in the recipe should look like (fold in the cheese, David)? This video should be of assistance.
Still have a question about the recipe or an ingredient? Ask away in the comments below. And once you make this chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese, I’d love to hear what you thought about it in a recipe review!
More Healthy Ground Chicken Recipes
- Chili Garlic Ground Chicken and Broccoli
- Balsamic Ground Chicken and Brussels Sprouts
- One-Pan Thai Curry Chicken and Rice
- High Protein Breakfast Sausage Patties
- Low Fat Mexican Chorizo
- 30 Healthy Ground Chicken Recipes
- 6 slices Center Cut Bacon
- 1 pound Ground Chicken (97/3)
- 2 Tablespoons Ranch Seasoning
- 3 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 8 oz Banza Pasta Shells
- 5 oz Sharp Cheddar, shredded
- 4 oz Monterey Jack, shredded
- Fresh Parsley and Grated Parmesan, for garnish
- Turn on your oven's broiler and position the rack in the top half of the oven.
- Add the bacon to a cold skillet and turn on a medium heat. Let the bacon fat render and cook before transferring to a paper towel and leaving about a half tablespoon of the grease in the skillet. (Optional: Cut the bacon into small pieces before frying for more even cooking.)
- Add the chicken to the skillet and brown one side before flipping, breaking apart, and fully cooking.
- Add the ranch seasoning and broth to the skillet, followed by the pasta. Stir everything together, making sure the pasta is fully submerged.
- Cook until just shy of al dente, about 6 minutes, before reducing the heat to low and gradually folding in the cheese 1-2 ounces at a time. Reserve 1 ounce of the cheddar for the top.
- Add the cooked and crumbled bacon back to the skillet and stir everything together. Top with the remaining cheddar and broil for 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and grated parmesan, if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: about 8 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 405Total Fat: 19gCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gProtein: 40g