Oh....My....Goodness! Have you tried Instant Pot Crack Chicken Pasta yet? If not.....what are you waiting for??
So, I have seen about a million recipes online for this crazy thing called crack chicken! I read a lot of reviews and about 50% were incredibly positive but the other 50% were quite negative. It seems like you are either in the YES! I LOVE CRACK CHICKEN AND CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF IT! or the NO WAY! CRACK CHICKEN IS NOT FOR ME! camp. How on Earth can there be so much conversation about this little chicken dish? I just didn't understand.
So...I thought to myself.....ummmm....give it a try! The worst case scenario is we have some leftovers that we don't really want to eat....but best case scenario we find a new favorite to add to our rotation.
Let me tell you, I WAS SO PLEASANTLY SURPRISED by how DELICIOUS it was! It's creamy, cheesy, rich, delicious goodness that my entire family loved! Literally, they were fighting over leftovers!
Tips for making Instant Pot Crack Chicken Pasta:
Be sure that you use the ranch powder and not ranch dressing. Ranch dressing will make a mess when you release the pressure and will not coat the chicken like the powder does.
When cooking pasta in the Instant Pot, feel free to modify the pasta from the recipe. If you like bowties- go for it. If you like penne- go for it. The trick is to look at the cooking times on the box. Whatever the box says- cut it in half and subtract 2 minutes. So, if the box says to cook for 10 minutes, you will cut that in half (5) and subtract 2. Altogether you would cook for 3 minutes.
Yes, you can skip the bacon if you would prefer. The bacon adds additional flavor but is not needed for the rest of the recipe to turn out great!
To reduce the amount of liquid in the Crack Chicken Pasta, turn the Instant Pot on sauté for a few minutes and stir continuously. If there is extra liquid, it should evaporate out during this process.
After releasing the pressure, just put the lid back on (don't lock it into place, just set it on top). The steam that is still in the pot will continue to cook the pasta. Check it every couple of minutes and stir until the pasta has reached its desired texture.
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Ingredient substitutions and tips for making Instant Pot Crack Chicken Pasta:
Full ingredients list and instructions can be found at the bottom of this post in the recipe card.
Bacon- I prefer to use thick-cut bacon, but any bacon will work. You can even use turkey bacon or omit this ingredient.
Chicken Breasts- Boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes work best for this recipe.
Ranch Seasoning- Make sure you use a seasoning package like the Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning. This recipe will not work with ranch salad dressing. You need to use the dry packet.
Chicken Broth- Water can be used, but the chicken broth adds extra flavor.
Pasta- Short pasta is recommended. If you would prefer to use a different style of pasta, adjust the pressure cook time using this calculation: Take the recommended cook time that is on the box of pasta and divide that in half and then subtract 2. So, if the recommended cook time is 10 minutes, cut it in half (5 minutes) and then subtract 2 and you will come up with 3 minutes. Pressure cook for 3 minutes. Any pasta will cook al dente using this method.
Cream Cheese- While I used regular cream cheese, you can also use lite or reduced-fat cream cheese for this recipe.
Cheddar Cheese- I prefer to use pre-shredded thinly shredded cheddar cheese. If you prefer you can shred your own.
Fresh Parsley- The parsley is used as a garnish when serving and can be omitted.
Directions for making Instant Pot Crack Chicken Pasta:
1.Turn your Instant Pot on Saute.
2.Slice bacon into ½ inch pieces.
3.Once Instant Pot is "Hot" add bacon and sauté until fully cooked.
4.Depending on the fat content of your bacon, you may need to remove some of the bacon fat from the Instant Pot. Ideally, you want to remove all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the Instant Pot. Remove excess bacon fat from Instant Pot with a ladle.
5.Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes. Add chicken to Instant Pot and stir together with bacon until chicken is lightly browned. Do not fully cook the chicken.
6.Sprinkle ranch seasoning into Instant Pot and coat bacon and chicken with seasoning.
7.Turn saute function off.
8.Pour in chicken broth.
9.Pour in pasta- DO NOT STIR. Try to cover pasta with chicken broth by pushing pasta down in pot- DO NOT STIR.
10.Close the Instant Pot with the lid and move the valve to "seal" position.
11.Cook on manual high for the time associated with the pasta that you are using. Calculate cook time based on the pasta of your choice. Look at the box and take the suggested cooking time and cut it in half and subtract 2 minutes. If the box says 10 minutes, cut it in half (5 minutes) and subtract 2. So your total cook time will be 3 minutes.
12.When the timer beeps, quick-release pressure. If a substantial amount of liquid sprays out of the valve, quickly move the valve back to seal and wait a minute or two and then move the valve back to release.
13.Remove the lid and add in cream cheese and cheddar cheese.
14.STIR!! This is when the cheesy goodness magic happens. Stir everything together until it is well combined. Garnish with just a bit of fresh parsley. IT IS TIME!!! Time for you to indulge in this creamy cheesy delicious goodness! Go for it! You deserve it!
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Instant Pot Crack Chicken PastaRate this Recipe Print Recipe Pin Recipe
- 4 Slices bacon
- 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
- 16 ounces of your favorite pasta- I recommend using bowties (penne or rotini. If you use long pasta like spaghetti or fettuccini the cook times for the pasta may under cook the chicken.)
- 32 ounces chicken broth
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 2 cups cheddar cheese- shredded
- fresh parsley to garnish- it's okay to skip this ingredient if you don't like parsley or don't have any on hand
- Turn your Instant Pot on Saute.
- Slice bacon into ½ inch pieces.
- Once Instant Pot is "Hot" add bacon and saute until fully cooked.
- Depending on the fat content of your bacon, you may need to remove some of the bacon fat from the Instant Pot. Ideally, you want to remove all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the Instant Pot. Remove excess bacon fat from Instant Pot with a ladle.
- Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes.
- Add chicken to Instant Pot and stir together with bacon until chicken is lightly browned. Do not fully cook the chicken.
- Sprinkle ranch seasoning into Instant Pot and coat bacon and chicken with seasoning.
- Turn saute function off.
- Pour in chicken broth.
- Pour in pasta- DO NOT STIR.
- Try to cover pasta with chicken broth by pushing pasta down in pot- DO NOT STIR.
- Close the Instant Pot with the lid and move valve to "seal" position.
- Cook on manual high for time associated with the pasta that you are using. Calculate cook time based on pasta of your choice. Look at the box and take the suggested cooking time and cut it in half and subtract 2 minutes. If the box says 10 minutes, cut it in half (5 minutes) and subtract 2. So your total cook time will be 3 minutes.
- When timer beeps, quick release pressure. If a substantial amount of liquid sprays out of the valve, quickly move valve back to seal and wait a minute or 2 and then move valve back to release.
- Remove the lid and add in cream cheese and cheddar cheese
- STIR!! This is when the cheesy goodness magic happens. Stir everything together until it is well combined.
- Garnish with just a bit of fresh parsley.
- IT IS TIME!!! Time for you to indulge in this creamy cheesy delicious goodness! Go for it! You deserve it!
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only.
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Meh, it was ok. Just not enough flavor and the ranch packet was too overpowering. Wont make it again. Thank you for sharing though!!
Easy, quick and wow good to eat
Hi Sharon! I'm so glad that you liked it. Isn't it great when easy things turn out so well! 🙂
Can you use a crock pot?
You can use a crock pot but the process and cook times would be drastically different. I have not tried this recipe in a crock pot but I would recommend cooking the pasta separately or adding it in towards the end of the cooking time. You likely would not need as much liquid either since none would be lost during the release of pressure.
Hello if I don’t have an instant pot can I just boil the pasta in the broth and get the same result?
Hi Rebecca- I haven’t tried making this recipe on the stovetop yet. But, I think you could probably just cook it all in the same pot on the stove instead of the Instant Pot. However, you’ll want to keep an eye on it and stir it while it cooks otherwise it might start to burn in the bottom. The chicken should still be able to cook during the time that it takes to cook the pasta in the broth. Be sure to add the cheese at the very end like in the recipe. Good luck! Let me know how it turns out. 🙂
I did everything the recipe said and it has turned out like soup. Any idea why?
Oh no!...I haven't had that happen before and I've made the recipe a bunch of times. 🙁 It will continue to thicken up as it starts to cool a bit. I would try to turn the saute function on and reduce some of the liquid, that should help. What type of pasta did you use?
did you print the recipe? When you switch to print view the amounts get all messed up.
Hi Emily- did you adjust the number of servings in the recipe card? If so you need to also adjust them on the print recipe screen. I just checked it and everything seems to be matching up on my end.
What if I need to double the recipe should I really double the liquid? Big family lol
Hi Natalie! This recipe makes a lot of food already. But if you do need to double the recipe, double all ingredients except the chicken broth. Use the original 32 ounces of broth and then add in an additional 28 ounces of broth instead of an additional 32 ounces. When I double pasta recipes, I usually double the liquid minus about 1/2 cup of liquid. The additional pasta will need this additional liquid to cook properly.
I see in recipes for pasta to push it into the liquid, but to not stir. I'm new to IP recipes so I'm wondering what stirring does. Also, how do I modify the recipe if I already have plain cooked pasta that I want to use up? This looks so good, I want to try it. Thanks for your help. 🙂
Hi Christine! If you stir the pasta, it is more likely that it will be touching the bottom of the pot. Sometimes, when the starch touches the bottom of the pot during cooking you will get a burn notice. If you already have plain cooked pasta, do not add it in until after you have pressure cooked everything. You can simply add it into the hot cooked mixture and stir it around. This will heat up the pasta without continuing to cook it further. I hope that helps! Enjoy!
Hi! About to make this for tonight’s dinner. Can you use frozen chicken?
Hi Karly- you can use frozen chicken but you need to make sure that it is cut up into small pieces like it is in the recipe. If you don’t cut up the chicken it won’t cook in the same amount of time as the pasta.
My entire family loved this recipe!!!
WE loved this but the ranch was a little salty for us so we replaced with Italian Dressing. After adding cheeses, we also added a bag or frozen peas and a bottle of sliced mushrooms (Drained). Fantastico!
I'm so glad that you liked it! Great idea to add the peas and mushrooms!!!