Instant Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta is an easy dinner made with chicken breasts, shell pasta and bacon in a creamy ranch dressing sauce.
If you're looking for a quick and easy Instant Pot recipe with chicken, you have to try this creamy chicken bacon ranch pasta. It's like mac and cheese, only it's made with ranch dressing instead of cream, and it's got bacon! Yes, bacon!
I'm all about one pot dinners, and I've been working on converting my stove top one pot meals to Instant Pot recipes. The Hubs kept asking me to make this one pot chicken bacon ranch pasta in the pressure cooker for the longest time, and I finally got around to it!
He's crazy about Crock-Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches, and so are my kids. Even the picky eaters will eat just about anything if it has ranch on it! I usually make homemade ranch dressing, but you can use your favorite brand for this recipe.
How to Make Ranch Chicken Pasta in the Instant Pot
First, you sauté some cut-up chicken breasts in the pressure cooker. Then, turn the IP off, and add your pasta and water or chicken broth.
I used shells this time, but I have used penne and mini penne when I've made this on the stove. Either pasta works here, so use what you have.
If you do use a different pasta shape, be sure to cook it for half the time it says to on the package. This is the key when you want to cook pasta in the Instant Pot and have it turn out perfect every time!
Shell pasta takes 4 minutes to cook in the Instant Pot, although you can let it go for 5 minutes if you want softer pasta. After that, you stir in the ranch and some chopped cooked bacon, and then you add the cheese.
Always add your dairy products after pressure cooking. Milk tends to curdle and separate if you add it before.
I used Monterey jack cheese here, but you could even use cheddar if you have that. I wanted a creamy texture for this chicken pasta, so that's why I went with the Monterey jack.
- If you use a thick ranch dressing, add some milk to thin the sauce out and make it creamier.
- Substitute chicken broth for the water for even more flavor.
- Use thin, crispy bacon for better texture and crunch. Plan ahead and use leftover bacon!
- Stir in 4 ounces of cream cheese at the end for even richer, creamier pasta.
- Top with extra bacon for more flavor.
You can definitely use chicken thighs if you want. You can even use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken to save time.
Post originally published in 2018 and updated in 2020
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Instant Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Recipe
Instant Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut up - about 1 ½ pounds
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried minced onions
- 1 16-ounce box medium shell pasta, uncooked
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup ranch dressing
- 5 slices cooked crispy bacon, crumbled
- 3 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
- chopped parsley, if desired
- Hit SAUTE on the pressure cooker, and when it reads HOT, add oil, then add chicken, add sea salt, garlic powder, pepper, and minced onion, and cook until no longer pink, stirring frequently
- Hit CANCEL, and make sure no chicken is sticking to bottom of pot. Add a little bit of water to deglaze pot if necessary
- Pour pasta shells over chicken, and pour water over shells. Press shells down lightly stir to make sure pasta is covered with water
- Turn valve to sealing position, and hit PRESSURE COOK for 4 minutes
- When pot beeps, do a gradual quick release, and remove lid when pin drops
- Stir in ranch dressing and chopped bacon pieces, then stir in cheese until melted and well combined. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and additional chopped bacon, if desired, and serve