This creamy Chicken Bacon Ranch Alfredo is crazy easy and everything cooks in the Instant Pot INCLUDING cooking bacon. No need to drain the pasta, just toss the linguine in the pot and no MSG from a package of Ranch dressing mix!
Of course, I include shortcuts! The Instant Pot alone is a shortcut but I give you even more to get you in and out of the kitchen quickly! Gluten-free option-Bonus!
No MSG or maltodextrin from one of those Ranch dressing mixes in my version of Chicken Bacon Ranch Alfredo! I use fresh parsley, onion powder, and bottled Alfredo sauce.
I'll walk you through this easy one dish meal with beautiful step by step pictures. Don't be afraid of your Instant Pot if this is your first recipe using it. I will show you how easy it is to fry bacon, sear chicken, and cook pasta without having to wash another pot or skillet!
What you will need to make Chicken Bacon Ranch Alfredo in the Instant Pot
- 4 ounces uncooked bacon
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 1 1/2 cups water or no salt added chicken broth
- 1 (15-ounce) bottle Alfredo sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 8 ounces uncooked linguine, fettuccine, penne, or spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese (optional)
Why I did not use Ranch dressing mix in this recipe
I wanted to make a version of the popular Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta in the Instant Pot that did not use the Ranch dressing packet because it has MSG in it and not everyone has it in their pantry.
This version has all the flavors that are in the Ranch dressing mix on the back of the package without the Monosodium Glutamate, Maltodextrin, Calcium Stearate, and Carboxymethlycellulose.
You can absolutely omit the garlic powder and parsley and stir in the Ranch dressing package but I recommend adding a few more tablespoons of water because maltodextrin (its number 1 ingredient) is a filler/thickener used to increase volume in processed foods.
- Cutting bacon into small pieces before cooking; stirring while cooking. This method cooks the bacon faster, without having to babysit it while flipping the long slices.
- The Instant Pot in itself is a shortcut!
- Everything cooks in the Instant Pot. No skillet or extra pot to wash!
- Shred the cooked chicken after cooking to avoid cubing it raw.
Can I make this gluten-free?
Absolutely! Some brands of Alfredo sauce such as Classico are gluten-free or you can substitute 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese for the Alfredo sauce. It's better to shred your own gluten-free Parmesan cheese because pre-shredded may be coated with starches or powders that may or may not be gluten free.
Barilla makes a gluten-free spaghetti and penne pasta. Other options are rice noodles, chickpea or quinoa pasta. Be sure to check the original cooking time to see how it compares to wheat pasta. This Barilla wheat linguine says to boil it 10-11 minutes traditionally. Of course, it didn't take that long in the Instant Pot!
What if I don't know how to use an Instant Pot?
Even if you are feeling confident and want to rock on, just hang with me-I've got you covered with step by step pictures.
Chop your fresh parsley on the cutting board first and set aside to avoid chopping it after you've cut up bacon and raw chicken on it.
Place a damp paper towel or kitchen towel under a cutting board to prevent it from sliding around.
How to make Chicken Bacon Ranch Alfredo in the Instant Pot
(I used the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1, 6 quart for this recipe. Your model may be different.)
Save the messy step of crumbling bacon after babysitting slices of bacon to flip back and forth by slicing them crosswise first. Place the bacon pieces in the cold pot of an Instant Pot. You are "rendering" bacon, so don't start out with a heated pot.
Press the Saute’ button twice. This should put the Saute’ Low/Normal/High level on Normal.
Press the Press the +/- to (12 minutes). This will start the Saute' feature. Cook the bacon about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until crisp and browned.
Cook the bacon pieces in the Instant Pot on Saute for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the bacon cooks, prepare the chicken and measure the rest of the ingredients.
While the bacon cooks, cut the chicken breasts in half crosswise to
make four pieces. This makes the chicken breast just the right size to cook perfectly with the pasta. I tried it cut into 1-inch cubes like other recipes and the chicken was overdone when the pasta was just the right doneness.
You can shred the chicken easily when its done or just leave them in 4 pieces and everyone gets one piece of chicken. You can shred the chicken with two forks or use tongs to break it up right there in the pot.
Remove the cooked bacon pieces and let them drain on a paper towel.
Searing the chicken is optional.
Searing the chicken adds loads of flavor and can help reduce the chicken from becoming dry. It will still turn out yummy if you are in a hurry and just want to "dump and start" at this point. If you like, you can totally skip this step and remove ALL bacon drippings and rock on to the step of pouring in the water.
If you are searing the chicken in bacon drippings, follow this next step.
You should have about 2 1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings in the pot. Remove 1 tablespoon and reserve for other recipes, if you like. Leave the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons drippings in the pot.
The timer should have about 6 minutes left on it. Press the
Saute’ button again to increase the level to High.
Place the chicken breasts in
the bacon drippings and cook 3 minutes on one side or just until lightly
browned. Turn the chicken with tongs and cook an additional 1 or 2 minutes. They don't have to be very brown on the second side.
If there is any time remaining on the Instant Pot screen, just press Cancel.
You can remove the chicken breasts before adding water to deglaze the pot or just leave them in and move them around as you scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
Add the water and scrape the bottom of the pot gently with a wooden spoon. This is called deglazing and will easily remove the browned bits. This is yummy flavor!
Pour in the entire jar of Alfredo sauce, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, and onion powder and stir until all is combined. If you removed the chicken after cooking, return it to the pot now.
Break the pasta in half so it easily fits into the pot. If you are using penne pasta, just toss it in. Be sure to use tongs to coat all the pasta. Some will still be sticking up and that's ok.
Coating the pasta and making sure it isn't all stacked together with no liquid touching it will result in pasta sticking together. So, make sure all the pasta is submerged if possible.
Secure the lid and turn the pressure valve to “Sealing”, otherwise, steam will start to come out the sides as it heats up.
Press the Pressure Cook button. Press the +/- to reach 7 minutes. In about 10 seconds, the screen will show ON. It will take about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure and the screen will change to 7:00 for seven minutes and will start counting down by minutes.
When the screen has counted down the 7 minutes it will show OFF. Then, set a timer for 7
minutes and do nothing. This will allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure (NR).
After 7 minutes, turn the pressure valve to “Venting” for Quick Release (QR).
How can I divert the steam if I have cabinets above my counter?
If your Instant Pot is directly under a cabinet, you might want to drape a kitchen towel over the back side of it and hold it at an angle to divert the steam that will shoot straight up. I usually do this even though I don't have cabinets above my counter if I'm cooking pasta.
You can also purchase a silicone steam diverter. I've seen a lot of fun ones shaped like Despicable Me minions, birds, and angry men. I bought a plain red one just to see how it worked. I've included it in my Amazon list at the end of this post of things you may want to buy for this recipe.
Now, remove the lid and stir the pasta gently. With tongs, pull apart any pasta stuck
together. It will appear fairly thin, but thickens up quickly.
Let stand 5 minutes to thicken the sauce. Sprinkle with cooked bacon (if you haven't already added it) and additional parsley for garnish, if you like.
For extra cheesiness, sprinkle on or stir in a little shredded Parmesan cheese-totally optional because it's already creamy and cheesy. I opted to not add an any this time.
More tried and true Instant Pot recipes:
- Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
- Turkey Breast and Gravy
- Chocolate-Peanut Butter Swirl Cheesecake
- Instant Pot Boiled Peanuts
- Beans and Greens: Instant Pot Collard Greens and Navy Beans
- Naturally Dyed Deviled Eggs
- Instant Pot Corned Beef
- Reuben Sandwiches with Instant Pot Corned Beef
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Watch the NBC 13 video on this recipe
Instant Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Alfredo
- pressure cooker, Instant Pot
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley plus more for garnish (1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes can be substituted)
- 4 ounces uncooked bacon about 4 or 5 slices
- 2 large chicken breasts about 6 oz each
- 1 1/2 cups water (no salt added chicken broth can be substituted)
- 1 15 ounce bottle good quality Alfredo sauce ( I use Classico or Gia Russo)
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 8 ounces uncooked linguine, fettuccine, penne, or spaghetti
- Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Note: I'm using a Duo60 6-quart7-in-1 Instant Pot in this recipe but any Instant Pot can be used.Chop your fresh parsley on the cutting board first and set aside to avoid chopping it after you've cut up bacon and raw chicken on it.
- Slice the bacon crosswise into little pieces. Place in a 6 or 8-quart Instant Pot and press the Saute’ button twice. This should put the Saute’ Low/Normal/High level at Normal.
- Press the Press the +/- to (12 minutes). This will start the Saute' feature. Cook the bacon about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until crisp and browned.
- While the bacon cooks, cut the chicken in half crosswise to
make four pieces.
- Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Set aside until later.
- (This next step is optional: you can skip the browning of the chicken step and just place the chicken in the pot and pour water and Alfredo sauce over chicken. Browning the chicken in bacon drippings adds flavor.)The timer should have about 6 minutes left on it. Press the Saute’ button again to increase the level to High. Place the chicken breasts in the bacon drippings and cook 3 minutes on one side or just until lightly browned. Turn the chicken with tongs and cook an additional 2 minutes. If there is any time remaining on the screen, press Cancel.
- Pour the water over the chicken and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. This is called deglazing and cleans the bottom of the pan and helps create a flavorful liquid. You may have to push the chicken up to the sides of the pan but you shouldn’t have to remove them.
- Stir in the Alfredo sauce, 2 tablespoons of the parsley and onion powder until combined. It will look thin, but the pasta absorbed the liquid and it thickens while the pressure is under Natural Release (NR). You can stir in the bacon now or hold it out to sprinkle on top after cooking to keep the bacon crispy.
- Break the linguine in half and add to the pan. It is important that all the pasta is coated and covered with liquid but it works best if the chicken is on the bottom. If all the pasta is on the bottom, it may stick together and over-brown. It's almost impossible for all the pasta to be covered, so just try to coat them. It's ok for some to be sticking up. Secure the lid and turn the pressure release toggle to “Sealing”.
- Select HIGH pressure by pressing the Pressure Cook button once or twice. It will go back and forth between LOW and HIGH with each push. Press the +/- to reach 7 minutes.
- In about 10 seconds, the screen will say "ON". It will take 15 minutes for it to come up to pressure inside the insert pot. At that point the screen will switch to "7" and start counting down 7 minutes. You may see a little sputtering of steam come out of the float valve before it pops up to seal off any escaping steam.
- When the screen has counted down the 7 minutes it will show OFF. Set a timer for 7 minutes and do nothing. (It will be fine if you let it naturally release longer-until float valve drops if you are busy doing something else-it will just be thicker). This will allow the IP to Natural Release pressure for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, turn the pressure valve to “Venting” for Quick Release (QR) until the float valve drops.
- Remove the lid and stir the pasta gently. With tongs, pull apart any pasta stuck together. It will appear thin but thickens up quickly. Let stand 5 minutes to thicken the sauce. Sprinkle with cooked bacon (if you haven't already added it) Parmesan cheese and additional parsley, if you like.