A better writer than myself would try to explain why chicken, bacon and ranch work so well together or why this combination has become so popular in spots like fast food menus, Hot Pockets and Pillsbury casseroles. But instead I will just tell you how I made my version of this sandwich.
The rules for the Chicken Bacon Ranch sandwich are pretty simple. It’s chicken plus bacon plus ranch. I’m actually quite surprised I had to tell you guys this, but here we are. Sometimes there’s cheese and in sandwich form you’ll usually have some veggie options and either a bun bun or bread sandwiching the whole thing together.
The bun I chose to bake for my Chicken Bacon Ranch sandwich was King Arthur Flour’s Harvest Grain Bread recipe. This recipe is solid but if you follow it exactly, you’ll end up with a loaf instead of buns. To turn this into buns, you either need a scale or you can just try to divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. For those using a scale, I tested with 90 grams and 100 grams and they’re both a pretty good size for a sandwich. I like my buns to be smaller than the meat/patty so when I do this again, I will stay in that range.
To make buns, you follow the above linked recipe, divide your dough (after the first 1 hour rise time) into 8-ish portions and you then should roll each portion fairly tightly into balls and place on a parchment lined sheet pan. Let rise again for 1.5 to 2 hours and then bake at 350 F (175 C) for between 15 and 20 minutes. Before I put my buns in the oven, I cracked an egg into a bowl and added a little water to create an egg wash and then I brushed each bun with wash and sprinkled some of the harvest grain mix on top. This gives you the very optional seeded look.
This is the marinade recipe I came up with for my chicken. I named it spicy because there is a noticeable level of heat, but it’s not so spicy that it’ll knock your socks off. You can easily fix that though by simply adding more sriracha or cayenne. You also could choose to add more honey if you like your marinades to be a bit sweeter.
I chose to grill my chicken, but you could easily cook it in a skillet or grill pan on your stove.
If you need to make a lot of bacon for sandwiches here’s my technique. Almost not even enough to create a recipe for it, but I did it anyway and will probably reference it in a lot of future sandwich posts. The oven technique is just so convenient to make too much bacon and store it in a container in the fridge for future quick sandwiches.
You won’t believe this, but I actually like my ranch dressing recipe better than the real thing and I’m a fan of ranch. It’s the MSG. The addition of MSG brings this recipe a lot closer to buying the Hidden Valley Ranch dust packets and mixing with mayo and sour cream/buttermilk at home (this is the best way to make HVR – bottles aren’t as good).
The difference in this ranch recipe with and without the MSG is stark. The glutamate just adds an extra savoriness that makes me think we’ve located the real Hidden Valley. I use Accent brand which is 100% monosodium glutamate, but you can find straight M.S.G. in the spice aisle at grocery stores too. Or you can definitely find it online.
I added lettuce and tomato and put them all together into this very tasty sandwich. To answer the “which came first” question posed in the title. The chicken and then the bacon and then the ranch. It’s right there in the name!