This cheesy baked pasta has lots of tangy buttermilk, chicken, bacon, and a perfectly crunchy topping!
You’re going to want to serve buttermilk ranch mac and cheese often because it’s always a comforting favorite.
You’re going to love this mac and cheese with buttermilk and ranch. It’s an absolutely perfect combination of tangy and savory. It has a lot of buttermilk ranch flavor with chunks of chicken and crispy bacon. BUT that’s not all, oh no. Instead of your typical breadcrumbs, I topped this mac and cheese with Kettle Chips! It’s creamy, tangy, and wonderfully comforting in every bite. It’s different from your typical macaroni and cheese but not so different that it’s high class or “fancy” in fact it’s incredibly comforting as-is and perfect for a warm meal no matter the occasion.
Buttermilk macaroni and cheese
This recipe is a little different than your average mac and cheese recipe and that’s because we use buttermilk instead of regular milk. Buttermilk is made from slightly soured milk giving it a thicker consistency and a stronger flavor profile. Add in the chicken, bacon, ranch, and chips and we have a dish unlike any other. This buttermilk mac and cheese is sure to become a new family favorite in your home as it has in mine.
- Spiral pasta
- Cooked chicken
- Kettle Chips
For the Buttermilk cheese sauce recipe
- All-purpose flour
- Ranch seasoning
- Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
- Shredded Gouda cheese
For the exact amounts, please see the recipe card below.
How to Make Buttermilk Ranch Mac and Cheese
- Prepare your pasta according to the package directions.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt your butter.
- Whisk in the flour until combined.
- Carefully add in the buttermilk and milk, whisking constantly until dissolved.
- Stir in your ranch seasoning.
- Reduce the heat of the sauce down to low and stir in the cheese until smooth.
- Combine the pasta with the cheese sauce, stirring until the pasta is completely covered.
- Pour the pasta into a 9×13 baking dish that has been greased with butter.
- Sprinkle the top with some cooked bacon and broken kettle chips.
- Bake in the oven at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes or until the top has lightly browned.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
Can I prepare mac and cheese in advance?
Yes, you can prep this mac and cheese all of the way up to the baking step and instead of baking it, cover the pan in foil and place it into the fridge for a few hours or up to 2 days. Then allow the pan to rest on the counter as the oven preheats and bake as directed. This will make meal planning much easier and still give you a tasty comforting dinner. Win-win!
Can I freeze mac and cheese?
Yes, this mac and cheese recipe can be frozen. Simply store your leftovers in an airtight container for up to three months and thaw before reheating or reheat from frozen by adding a few extra baking minutes to the clock.
You could also prep the dish as a make-ahead dinner and then cover in plastic wrap and foil and then freeze for up to three months. When you’re ready to eat just allow the pan to rest on the counter for a few hours or in the fridge overnight before baking. I do not recommend adding the chips on top of the noodles until ready to cook as they will become soft and soggy after being frozen and thawed.
How long is leftover mac and cheese good for?
You can keep the leftovers from this dinner in a well covered container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat again before serving because it tastes best when warm. you can reheat multiple servings in a baking dish in the oven or a single serving on a plate in the microwave depending on your preference. A single serving on a plate should only take about 2-3 minutes whereas in the oven would take about 10-20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
For more delicious macaroni and cheese recipes check out these tasty suggestions:
- Cajun Shrimp Mac and Cheese
- Beer Cheese and Macaroni Soup
- Bacon and Crab Mac and Cheese
- Lobster Mac and Cheese
- Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Spanakopita Mac and Cheese
- Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese Cups
Buttermilk Ranch Mac and Cheese
This cheesy baked pasta has lots of tangy buttermilk, chicken, bacon and a perfectly crunchy topping!
- 1 lb spiral pasta
- 2 cup cooked chicken, cubed
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons Ranch seasoning
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
- 1 cup shredded Gouda cheese
- 3 strips of bacon
- 1 cup Kettle chips, crushed
- Prepare Pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Carefully add buttermilk and milk, whisk constantly. Stir in Ranch seasoning. Reduce heat to low. Whisk in cheeses and stir until smooth. Combine pasta and cheese sauce, stirring until pasta is completely coated. Pour pasta into a 9 x 13 buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle bacon and Kettle chips over pasta.
- Bake in a 375 degree preheated oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
Amount Per Serving Calories 459Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 92mgSodium 731mgCarbohydrates 28gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 27g
Chocolate Shavings says
Your photos of this Mac and cheese are gorgeous! Looks delicious !
Awe, thank you so much!
Robin @ Simply Southern Baking says
Wow! This mac & cheese looks over the top amazing! Love all the flavors.
Thank you Robin!
Becca @ Crumbs and Chaos says
I love that you used smoked gouda (one of my faves!) and topped this with kettle chips! YUM!!
One of my favs too Becca!
Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction says
Love that you topped the mac and cheese with crushed kettle chips!
The Kettle Chips make this dish!! Thanks Jessica!
Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel says
If there’s one food that I have a seemingly bottomless pit stomach with, it’s mac and cheese! (Okay, and pizza. And donuts. But that’s it!) This buttermilk ranch version looks INSANE, Tanya! I love that you added chicken and bacon, because let’s face it, bacon makes everything better. And your photography is gorgeous!
Your mac and cheese looks so good!!! Sounds so flavorful and looks so creamy!!! YUM!!
Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy says
I JUST had this same convo with my husband! There are hardly any pictures of me with my kids – they’re all my husband and kids! It wouldn’t bother me a bit if I had a giant bowl of this mac and cheese in front of me – holy amazing!!! Pinned!
Andi @ The Weary Chef says
I am so, so excited about this recipe, Tanya! The tangy Ranch sauce plus bacon on top looks out of this world good!
Julie V. says
This makes Mac and Cheese into a gourmet meal. Thanks so much for the recipe. I’m pinning it for later.
I have a think for kicked up mac and cheese! Thanks Julie!
OMG I’m literally in no family photos….and the ones I am in are awful because my husband is such a terrible photographer! I just can’t win. Selfies are a great idea…..and so is this amazing mac & cheese!!!
Julie @ Julie's Eats & Treats says
I think every Mom has this problem! We are always the one taking the picture! This look awesome Tanya!
Heather @ French Press says
you are making my stomach growl…loudly! delicious Tanya
I see chicken in the ingredients, but it is not listed in the instructions for this recipe. Do you cook chicken separately then cut up and add to mixture before baking? Looks like the chicken step is missing all together.
Sorry, I’ve amended the ingredients. I used precooked chicken for this recipe.
REALLY? as if mac n cheese wasn’t tempting enough, you go and add kettle chips and bacon. That is just not fair! Pinning this amazing dish right now! YUM
Very tasty! I used rotisserie chicken and smoked Gouda cheese. So tasty!
I love Gouda! Don’t you love using rotisserie chicken? Makes everything so easy!
And I have now made it adding it some gruyere cheese too! Wonderful. My boys friends love it and ask me to make it for them!!!