This Baked Ranch Chicken Recipe is easily the most perfect and delicious weeknight meal. Chicken breasts are coated with a sour cream ranch mixture, topped with panko, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, more ranch seasoning, and baked until golden brown. This is one of the best chicken breast recipes you’ll ever eat and will quickly become a family favorite!
As a busy mom, I’m always looking for easy recipes, especially easy chicken breast recipes. More importantly, I need them to be “non-boring”.
Let’s be real- a person can only eat so much plain baked chicken before they just refuse to eat chicken at all.
This baked ranch chicken recipe that I’m going to share with you is delicious, kid-friendly, cooks in 30 minutes, and goes with just about anything!
So, if you’re looking for an easy, yet super tasty, healthy chicken recipe to add to your weeknight menu, then this is it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Baked Ranch Chicken
Before I jump into the recipe, let’s go over some common questions I get with baked ranch chicken.
Can I use chicken thighs or bone-in chicken breasts?
Yes, you can use any cut of chicken you have on hand. Chicken thighs will add more fat to the recipe but it won’t change the flavor too much.
Bone-in chicken will work fine with the ingredients but you’ll have to adjust the cooking time because this cut of chicken takes a little longer than boneless chicken breasts. Depending on the size, typically, a bone-in chicken breast will need to cook for about 30 minutes.
If you’re unsure, whether or not, the chicken is cooked completely then I strongly recommend investing in a meat thermometer. This is great to have on hand especially when you’re just starting to cook chicken breast recipes.
How to bake chicken breasts evenly?
The best way to bake chicken breasts evenly is to make sure they are the same size and thickness before putting together the recipe.
I use a meat mallet to pound out the chicken breasts to be about ¼ inch thick. This thickness works great to bake the chicken quickly and evenly.
Can I use a homemade ranch seasoning mix?
I prefer the convenience of a ranch seasoning packet but, I’ve used homemade ranch seasoning many times too.
This is the simple homemade ranch seasoning recipe I use:
- ¼ cup buttermilk powder
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground celery seed
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Mix all of these ingredients together in a small bowl and use it with the baked ranch chicken.
This recipe makes as much as 1 (1-ounce) packet of store-bought seasoning.
Honestly, it’s quite good! So, if you forget to grab a packet, then whipping together a batch of homemade will work great.
If you choose to use a store-bought packet of ranch seasoning, then my preferred brand is Simply Organic. Many people use Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix. This will work fine for this recipe but keep in mind that it often includes more sodium and ingredients that aren’t the cleanest.
Can I cook chicken in ranch dressing?
This is a question I get quite often about this ranch chicken recipe. If you only have a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing or another ranch dressing, then you certainly can bake the chicken in it.
My recommendation would be to leave the sour cream and ranch seasoning out of the recipe and instead, marinate the chicken in ¾ cup of ranch dressing.
You’ll still need some ranch seasoning mix (about a tablespoon) for the breading mixture.
This method works fine and the chicken will still be very tasty!
Can I use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream to make ranch chicken?
Yes, I’ve used both! Sour cream gives a creamy texture and is milder than Greek yogurt. With Greek yogurt, you get more of a tangy flavor.
However, both will work in this recipe.
Can I use regular breadcrumbs?
I’ve made this recipe so many times – sometimes I use panko breadcrumbs and other times I use regular breadcrumbs. It really depends on what I have on hand.
So, both will work but I prefer to use panko breadcrumbs. Panko gives a thicker coarse crust that goes well with this recipe.
However, both are good and can be used interchangeably in this recipe.
If you are trying to make this cheddar ranch chicken more keto-friendly, then I would try swapping out the panko for crush pork rinds. Now, I haven’t personally tried this yet but I will soon. I’ll let you know!
Can I use seasoned breadcrumbs?
Whether you use panko or regular breadcrumbs, I recommend they be without any seasoning. The seasoning in this recipe comes from the ranch seasoning and cheese.
Supplies Needed To Make Cheddar Ranch Chicken
- Meat Tenderizer – This is a tool I use to pound chicken to the desired thickness so it cooks quickly and evenly.
- Sheet Pans – I have this set by Nordic Ware.
- Mixing Bowls – This is my favorite cheap mixing bowl set by Pyrex.
- Meat Thermometer – This Thermo Pro is my favorite easy to use a meat thermometer.
Baked Ranch Chicken Recipe
Alright, let’s get to this recipe! Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make this healthy ranch chicken:
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Sour cream
- Simply Organic Ranch Dressing mix
- Panko breadcrumbs (plain)
- Sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
- Parmesan cheese (grated)
- Extra virgin olive oil
These are all ingredients that I have on hand in my kitchen so throwing this recipe together is something I can easily do on busy weeknights!
Note: Grab the exact measurements for all of these ingredients in the recipe card below
How To Make Healthy Ranch Chicken
Start out by using a meat mallet to pound the chicken breasts until they are ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with a little salt and pepper.
Next, put the sour cream mixture together.
Mix together the sour cream and a couple of tablespoons of the ranch seasoning mix together in a bowl.
Add the chicken breasts to the sour cream mixture.
Cooking Note: It does get a little messy in this step because I recommend using tongs or your hands to mix it all together. This helps completely coat the chicken with the sour cream.
Cover the chicken and let it marinate for at least 1 hour.
Cooking Note: If you can get this set up the night before, or in the morning, even better. The longer the chicken can marinate the more tender, juicy, and flavorful it will be.
Now it’s time to put together the panko topping.
Mix together the panko, rest of the ranch seasoning, grated parmesan, and shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
When you’re ready to cook the chicken, set the oven to 425 degrees and grease a sheet pan with olive oil. Then, dip each chicken breast in the panko mixture. Again, use your hands to make sure the chicken breasts get covered with the panko topping.
Lay each chicken breast on the greased baking sheet. If there’s leftover panko topping, then divide the on top of each chicken breast.
Bake this ranch chicken recipe for 30 minutes or until juices run clear and the internal temperature of the chicken breast is 165 degrees.
What To Serve With Baked Ranch Chicken
This chicken recipe goes with just about anything! The chicken smells delicious as it bakes and comes out crisp and ready to enjoy on a salad or with a side of rice and vegetables.
Here are some recipe suggestions to serve with ranch chicken:
How To Store Cheddar Ranch Chicken Leftovers
To store leftovers, I’ll use glass meal prep containers to store the chicken in the refrigerator.
I kept leftovers in the refrigerator to use in a salad or eat with vegetables for lunch during the week. Typically, I eat the chicken cold but if I want it warmed up, and to crisp the crust, I will stick it in the oven for 10 minutes or so. Or, I’ll just warm it up in the microwave for 45 seconds.
More Chicken Recipes
If you are looking for a couple of more healthy chicken recipes, take a look at this list:
- Healthy Baked Chicken Parmesan
- Everything But The Bagel Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken
- One Pan Chicken and Veggies
- Stovetop Buffalo Chicken Soup
- Greek Chicken Bowl
- Pizza Stuffed Chicken
Baked Ranch Chicken
- 4 6-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts about 1.5 lbs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 1.5 ounce packet ranch seasoning mix I like the Simply Organic brand
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
- ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Using a meat mallet, or rolling pin, pound out the chicken breasts until each one is 1/4 inch in thickness. This allows the chicken to cook quickly and evenly. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and then set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the sour cream and 2 tablespoons of the ranch seasoning packet.
- Place the chicken breasts into the sour cream mixture and, using tongs or your hands, mix together until the chicken is completely coated.
- Cover and let the chicken marinate for at least an hour. If you can prepare this step in the morning or the night before, to marinate longer, then even better.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the rest of the ranch dressing mix, panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and shredded cheddar cheese.
- Dip the marinated chicken breasts into the panko mixture and place on a sheet pan, or in a baking dish, coated with olive oil.
- Divide the remaining panko mixture between the chicken breasts.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165 degrees when it's cooked completely.
- Serve with a salad, rice, or vegetables.