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Instant Pot Italian Crack Chicken Pasta

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One of our most popular recipes to date is our Instant Pot Crack Chicken Pasta!  The combination of chicken, ranch salad dressing seasoning, cheese, and pasta creates a delicious, cheesy goodness that is easy to make.  I always get asked the question, “What can I use if I don’t like ranch dressing?”  So, I thought that I would come up with a new twist on crack chicken pasta using Italian salad dressing seasoning!  

Italian Crack Chicken Pasta

In addition to the change in the salad dressing, we have also updated the other ingredients to be more “Italian.”  So, instead of using bacon, we have used pancetta which is an Italian style bacon and instead of using cheddar cheese, we have used mozzarella cheese.

Italian Crack Chicken Pasta

Why is it called crack chicken?

We didn’t invent the name for crack chicken and there are many, many variations of this very popular recipe.  The reason it’s called crack chicken is because it is highly addicting.  Once you take one bite, you want another and then another.  

Italian Crack Chicken Pasta


Tips for making Crack Chicken Pasta:


1. Be sure that you use the Italian salad dressing dry mix and not liquid Italian dressing.  Liquid dressing will make a mess when you release the pressure and will not coat the chicken like the powder does.

2. Do not add more than one small packet of Italian dressing seasoning to this recipe.  The Italian dressing packet is MUCH more potent than the traditional ranch seasoning.  I originally made this recipe with (2) 0.6-ounce packets and it was incredibly overpowering.  I re-made the recipe and only used (1) 0.6-ounce packet of Italian salad dressing mix and it was perfect!

3. 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.  All together you would cook for 3 minutes.

Italian Crack Chicken Pasta

Looking for more Instant Pot pasta recipes?  Check out some of our favorites!

Instant Pot Mostaccioli

Instant Pot Shrimp Scampi Linguine

Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta 

Instant Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu

Instant Pot Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo


Italian Crack Chicken Pasta

Ingredients for Crack Chicken Pasta:


  • 4 ounces of diced, uncooked pancetta
  • 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1-0.6 ounce packages of Zesty Italian dry salad dressing mix-I used Good Seasons brand but you can use your favorite brand. 
  • 16 ounces of your favorite dried pasta- I recommend using bowties, penne, or rotini.  If you use long pasta like spaghetti or fettuccini the cook times for the pasta may undercook the chicken.
  • 32 ounces chicken broth– for a lower sodium option, you can use low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 16 ounces mozzarella 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

pancetta
chicken
italian dressing mix
pasta
chicken broth
cream cheese

Directions for making Crack Chicken Pasta:


1Turn your Instant Pot on Saute-high.


2Dice uncooked pancetta into 1/2 inch pieces.  You can also buy pre-diced, uncooked pancetta.  This is what I used in this recipe.


3Once Instant Pot is “Hot” add pancetta and sauté until fully cooked.  Be sure to gently scrape the bottom of the pot with a silicone spatula to break up all of the brown bits.


pancetta


4Depending on the fat content of your pancetta, you may need to remove some of the fat from the Instant Pot.  Ideally, you want to remove all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat from the Instant Pot.  Remove excess fat from Instant Pot with a ladle.


5Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes.


6Add chicken to Instant Pot and stir together with pancetta until chicken is lightly browned.  Do not fully cook the chicken.

Italian Crack Chicken Pasta


7Sprinkle Italian dressing mix into Instant Pot and coat pancetta and chicken with seasoning.

Italian Crack Chicken Pasta


8Turn saute function off.


9Pour in chicken broth.

Italian Crack Chicken Pasta


10Pour in pasta- DO NOT STIR. Try to cover pasta with chicken broth by pushing pasta down in pot- DO NOT STIR. 

Italian Crack Chicken Pasta


11Close the Instant Pot with the lid and move valve to “seal” position.


12Pressure cook on high pressure 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.


13When 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.

Italian Crack Chicken Pasta


14Remove the lid and add in cream cheese and mozzarella cheese.


15STIR!!  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!

Italian Crack Chicken Pasta


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Italian Crack Chicken Pasta
Italian Crack Chicken Pasta

Instant Pot Italian Crack Chicken Pasta

4.5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 563kcal
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Equipment

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces pancetta (raw and diced)
  • 1 pound chicken breasts (boneless, skinless, cup into 1 inch cubes)
  • 0.6 ounces Italian dressing mix (dry salad dressing mix)
  • 16 ounces pasta (Use your favorite dried pasta- I recommend using bowties, penne, or rotini.  If you use long pasta like spaghetti or fettuccini the cook times for the pasta may undercook the chicken.)
  • 32 ounces chicken broth (for a lower sodium option, you can use low sodium chicken broth)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 16 ounces mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • parsley (fresh parsley to garnish-it's ok to skip this ingredient if you don't like parsley or don't have any on hand)

Instructions

  • Turn your Instant Pot on Saute-high.
  • Dice uncooked pancetta into 1/2 inch pieces.  You can also buy pre-diced, uncooked pancetta.  This is what I used in this recipe.
  • Once Instant Pot is “Hot” add pancetta and sauté until fully cooked.  Be sure to gently scrape the bottom of the pot with a silicone spatula to break up all of the brown bits.
  • Depending on the fat content of your pancetta, you may need to remove some of the fat from the Instant Pot.  Ideally, you want to remove all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat from the Instant Pot.  Remove excess fat from Instant Pot with a ladle.
  • Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes.
  • Add chicken to Instant Pot and stir together with pancetta until chicken is lightly browned.  Do not fully cook the chicken.
  • Sprinkle Italian dressing mix into Instant Pot and coat pancetta 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.
  • Pressure cook on high pressure 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 mozzarella 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

Calories: 563kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 1202mg | Potassium: 518mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 591IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 322mg | Iron: 2mg
Have you tried this recipe? Let us know how it turned out in a comment below!

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