Quick, easy, and cheesy! This chicken bacon ranch mac & cheese is packed with flavor and is a great way to use left over chicken. It is a breeze to make in the Instant Pot and so tasty!
Is there any dish more delicious, universally pleasing, or kid-friendly than mac and cheese?
We love our creamy baked mac and cheese, but sometimes you just don’t want to boil pasta or turn on the oven.
Enter this Instant Pot mac and cheese. It’s ultra creamy and super cheesy.
We loaded it up with tender chunks of chicken, leftover from our Instant Pot Whole Chicken, added in pieces of crisply fried bacon, and seasoned it all up with ranch.
Who can resist a pasta dish like that?
Macaroni – You can use any small pasta if you don’t have or want to use elbow macaroni. Shells, bow-tie, penne, rotini, etc.
Butter – We use salted, but unsalted will work. Season your mac and cheese to taste after cooking.
Velveeta – Makes for an ultra thick and creamy pasta. See notes below to swap this for real cheese.
Cream – Cream makes for a thicker, creamier sauce. You may use milk instead.
Cheddar – Freshly grated for the best consistency.
Chicken – We use leftover, shredded chicken in this recipe.
Bacon – Freshly fried and crumbled.
Ranch – Use a packet of ranch seasoning or read below for my homemade version.
Don’t want to use Velveeta?
We understand that not everyone likes Velveeta, however it is a favorite for us when making a quick and easy mac and cheese. That creamy, velvety sauce is amazing!
To make this without Velveeta, cut cook time to 3 minutes. Release pressure, set to sauté, and add in one can of evaporated milk. Increase the 2 cups of shredded cheddar to 4 cups and add in 1 cup of shredded monterey jack. Stir the cheese in a handful at a time until smooth and creamy. Proceed with the chicken, bacon, and ranch, as directed.
This method comes from our pressure cooker mac and cheese that has smoked sausage in it.
How to Make:
Cook: This is a quick and easy recipe, the longest part being the time it takes for the instant pot to reach pressure. Add the pasta, butter, and water to your instant pot and set the valve to seal and set the pressure to high for four minutes.
Cheese: Once the four minutes are up turn the valve to release the steam. When the pin drops, carefully remove the lid. Stir the pasta to loosen it up.
Add the Velveeta and the heavy cream and stir until the Velveeta is melted, then add the ranch seasoning and stir well to combine. Finally, add the shredded cheddar cheese and stir again until it has melted and is smooth.
Substitution: You can use other types of cheese besides the cheddar, either to replace or in addition! I recommend not using pre-shredded cheese though as it won’t melt as well. Get a block of cheese and break out that grater!
Finish: Once all of the cheese is melted and stirred together, finish by adding the chicken, bacon, and ranch seasoning. Stir again to make sure everything is consistent and finally you can serve! Garnish with additional crumbled bacon or green onion/parsley to really top it off!
Homemade Ranch Seasoning
Don’t want to use a packet of ranch seasoning?
Mix together 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon dried parsley, 1 teaspoon dried chives, and 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper.
Use this as a replacement for the 2 tablespoons of ranch seasoning.
- Recipe was made using a 6 quart Instant Pot Duo. The time to pressure was 12 minutes.
- I used semolina pasta in this recipe. Gluten free and whole wheat pasta may require different cook times.
- If you don’t already have bacon pre-cooked and ready to go, you can use the Instant Pot to cook it before making the macaroni. Set it to sauté and drain the fat when finished.
- You can store this in the refrigerator for a couple of days in an airtight container. Try stirring in a couple tablespoons of cream or milk before heating to make it creamy again.
More macaroni recipes!
- Taco Mac and Cheese
- Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad
- Homemade Hamburger Helper
- Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
- Mac and Cheese Pizza
- Amish Macaroni Salad
- Mac and Cheese Casserole
Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces Velveeta cut into small cubes or slices
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream see note
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
- 2 tablespoons dry ranch seasoning
- 6 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
- Add the pasta, 4 cups of water, and butter to the pot.
- Place the lid on the pressure cooker, set the valve to seal, and set the pressure to high for 4 minutes.
- When the timer completes, carefully turn the valve to release the steam. When the pin has dropped, remove the lid.
- Stir the pasta to loosen it up then add the Velveeta and cream. Stir until the Velveeta is nearly melted and then stir in the cheddar, a handful at a time, until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth and creamy.
- Stir in the chicken, bacon, and ranch.
- If sauce is too thick, add additional cream or milk to reach your desired consistency.
- Serve garnished with additional crumbled bacon, sliced green onion, or chopped parsley, if desired.