This One Pot BBQ Chicken Pasta is full of smoky and savory flavors, with tender chicken breast, crispy bacon, and your favorite BBQ sauce – it’s an easy one-pan meal the whole family will love!
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I know this sounds a little crazy, but trust me on this one: BBQ sauce and pasta are an awesome combination!
When I first created this recipe back in 2017, it was an original idea! You just didn’t see BBQ sauce in pasta as you do now.
I mean, I’ve always been firmly in the camp of people who put barbecue sauce in everything, so it was never a stretch for us.
This BBQ Chicken Pasta recipe is made with simple ingredients, and it’s an easy one-pot meal that the whole family loves!
Ready in just 30 minutes it’s perfect for busy weeknight meals, I also love just how easy it is to make.
And when I find an easy dinner idea that my kids will eat without grumbling, and cooks in just one pot, I just want to shout it from the rooftops.
Am I the only one?
This recipe came about one day when I was still working out of the home and needed something super quick to feed my two-year-old. And we know how 2-year-olds can be!
Since then, this pasta has been a regular on our rotation, and for good reason – it’s delicious.
If your family loves all things BBQ chicken – as we do! – then I know they’ll love this, too!
- Bacon: use smoky bacon to get that delicious barbecue flavor.
- Onion: I have used a white onion but you can use red onion if you prefer.
- Chicken: boneless skinless chicken breasts work well in this recipe. You can use leftover chicken breast or shredded chicken if you have it!
- Garlic: freshly minced garlic will give you the best flavor here.
- Salt: salt brings out all the flavor!
- Red Pepper Fakes: they will add a bit of a kick (but not a lot) to this BBQ chicken dish! You can omit them if you prefer a milder flavor.
- Broth: I use a low-sodium chicken broth for this recipe, low-sodium broths will allow you to better control the saltiness of the dish.
- Tomatoes: canned diced tomatoes will be the base for the rich and flavorful sauce in this dish. I don’t recommend omitting them as the juices form part of the liquid needed to cook the pasta.
- Milk: Whole milk will give you the creamiest flavor, but you can use any kind of milk or even cream for a richer flavor.
- BBQ Sauce: use your favorite kind of barbecue sauce here, it will impact the flavor of the dish so you can get creative!
- Pasta: I used rotini pasta but you can use another type of short pasta here.
- Cheese: buy a block of cheese that you can shred yourself for the best flavor here. Marble, mozzarella, or cheddar cheese will work well.
How to Make BBQ Chicken Pasta
This recipe couldn’t be easier! Full instructions are included in the recipe card below.
- Cook bacon and onion: In a large pan, cook the bacon and onion.
- Add chicken: Add the chicken and cook until just browned.
- Mix in seasoning: Add the garlic, salt and red pepper flakes, and chicken broth to the mix and cook.
- Add other liquid ingredients: Next, add in the chicken broth, tomatoes, milk, and barbecue sauce, and stir until combined.
- Add pasta: Then, add the pasta, and cook.
- Add cheese: Lastly, stir in cheese and serve hot.
BBQ Chicken Pasta FAQs
Store BBQ chicken pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Allow it to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
Reheat on the stovetop in a saucepan until piping hot. Add some chicken broth or water to the mix to thin it a bit if needed.
You technically can freeze almost any pasta, but you need to keep in mind that the texture will be softer after thawing. If that isn’t your thing, I recommend eating right away.
If that doesn’t bother you, you can freeze up to 3 months. I recommend thawing completely before reheating on the stovetop with a splash of water.
BBQ Chicken Pasta Variations
- Tomatoes. You can leave out the diced tomatoes if you don’t have them or don’t like them, but you will want to increase the cooking liquid (either with the broth or the milk) by ¼ cup if you do this. If you notice the pasta is not cooked but the liquid has all absorbed, add ¼ cup more until the pasta is cooked to al dente.
- Milk. The milk just adds a little creaminess but isn’t essential. If you don’t have any or want to keep this recipe dairy free, just swap it for chicken broth and leave out the cheese if need be.
- Pasta. Any short variety of pasta works here! Changing it out won’t change the cooking time significantly (you may need to add or reduce a couple minutes).
- Spice it up. If you want more spice, choose a spicy barbecue sauce, add a pinch of red pepper flakes, or add some cayenne pepper to the mix.
- Smoky flavor. Add some liquid smoke or smoked paprika for an extra smoky flavor!
- Bacon. You can skip the bacon if you don’t have any or prefer not to use it! You will just need to add a bit of oil to cook your onion and chicken.
- Veggies. You can add in some chopped veggies to add color and more nutrients to this dish. Try some chopped bell pepper, sweet corn, or even legumes like black beans, would work well in this one-pot meal!
Make this BBQ Chicken Pasta dish into a fuller meal by adding some yummy side dishes!
Vegetables are always a go-to side dish. They add fresh flavors, color to your dinner table, and loads of nutrients. You can add some to the dish itself, or just on the side. Try this Homemade Creamed Corn, this Easy Broccoli Salad, and this Homemade Coleslaw Recipe, or check out my list of The Best BBQ Sides for Summer for some more of my favorites!
More One-Pot Recipes to Try
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One Pot BBQ Chicken and Bacon Pasta
- 2 slices bacon chopped
- ½ medium onion finely chopped
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts chopped
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 398 ml canned diced tomatoes 14oz
- ½ cup milk
- ⅓ cup barbecue sauce
- 3 cups rotini or other short pasta, about 225 grams
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheese marble or mozza cheese
- In a large pan, cook bacon and onion until onion is lightly browned and bacon is near crispy.
- Add the chicken (we don’t drain the fat as it’s going to prevent our chicken from sticking!), and cook until just browned on the outside, 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to remove any stuck-on bits. They will add a ton of flavor to the dish!
- Add the tomatoes, milk, and barbecue sauce and stir until combined. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and add in the pasta.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook on a low simmer, stirring often, until pasta is al dente (you may wish to cover the pan near the end of the cooking time if the pasta is no longer submerged in the liquid).
- Stir in cheese and serve.
- Store: Store BBQ chicken pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Allow it to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
- Reheat: Reheat on the stovetop in a saucepan until piping hot. Add some chicken broth or water to the mix to thin it a bit if needed.
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