Craving a comforting meal that the whole family will love, that practically makes itself? This crockpot crack chicken pasta is loaded with bold, delicious flavors, is creamy, hits all those comfort food notes, and is made entirely in the slow cooker! Kids love it, and the leftovers are great for lunch!
CROCKPOT CRACK CHICKEN PASTA
This is it. The week the kids go back to school! The week I can stop hearing them bicker 24/7 and complain about being bored, while also managing to drag every. single. toy. out of the playroom and ask for snacks every 5 minutes. Parents – you feel me?
But with the magical back-to-school time comes the return of the schedule and the need for quick, easy, kid-approved meals. I’ve got ya covered! This Crockpot Crack Chicken Pasta is every one of those things, and I’m telling you, your kids won’t be the only ones going back for seconds.
I know, I’m not a huge fan of things being named “crack”, but I didn’t come up with this name. “Crack” refers to the combination of cheese, ranch, and bacon. Crack chicken became huge in the low-carb and keto circles, and now it’s a full-blown viral sensation.
Basically this recipe is a version of crack chicken, with additional liquid added to allow the pasta to cook right in the slow cooker with the chicken. This makes the pasta incredibly flavorful, not to mention, less dishes to clean!
HOW TO MAKE CRACK CHICKEN PASTA
- Cook the chicken first. Shred and add back to the slow cooker.
- Add in the cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, shredded cheese, additional liquid, pasta, and let cook until the pasta is tender.
- Top with more cheese, bacon and green onions.
It almost sounds too good to be true, but it really is that easy!
INSTANT POT/PRESSURE COOKER
I know many of you would rather cook in your Instant Pot than in your slow cooker, so the answer is yes, you can cook this in a pressure cooker. There will need to be a few alterations, which is why I’ve detailed everything right below the recipe at the end of this post.
- Add a 4 oz can of diced green chiles (well-drained) or 4 oz can of diced jalapenos (also well-drained).
- Add some extra types of cheeses… pepper jack and colby jack are my favorites!
- Add a cup or two of frozen peas when you add in the pasta.
- Try using leftover turkey (like from a holiday) instead of the chicken.
- Chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts.
- Use more chicken broth instead of water when adding the pasta.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CROCKPOT CRACK CHICKEN PASTA
- Simple Sheet Pan Roasted Carrots
- Cheesy Roasted Broccoli
- Garlic Roasted Mushrooms
- Simple green salad with Shallot Vinaigrette
Okay guys, you know I don’t like to ramble on about personal stuff in my recipes, but I feel like I owe you all an explanation of where I’ve been over the last month. Basically it was a combination of three things.
First, it’s summer, and we’re all pretty laid back and I’ve been in preparation mode for this coming Fall and Winter seasons. I have some FABULOUS recipes planned for you all!
Secondly, there was a Pinterest issue. Pinterest periodically decides to crack down on spam, and every time they do, a lot of good websites get inadvertently caught in their net. This has happened to many of my friends in this food blogging community, and unfortunately, this time was my turn.
During this time period you may have noticed that you couldn’t click through any pins to my website and you also weren’t able to pin from my website. Many of you reached out to let me know, and I truly appreciate it! After a grueling two weeks of back and forth with Pinterest, they released the block and all things are back to normal.
Thirdly, we’ve had some health issues come up in my family. It’s not me, but someone close to me, and I won’t go into detail as it’s not my story or information to share… but as I’m sure you can imagine, family comes first. Always.
But you know, you all are an extension of my family, and I’m back for you guys… for good!
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- 3 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth or stock
- 16 oz dried short-cut pasta (such as fusilli, penne, etc)
- 16 oz cream cheese
- 1 packet ranch dressing mix
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup water
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (or bacon bits if preferred)
- 2-3 green onions, chopped for garnish
- Place chicken breasts in the bottom of slow cooker, add seasonings, chicken broth, cover and cook about 6-8 hours on LOW, until chicken is cooked through.
- Shred chicken, then add pasta, cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, 1 cup of the shredded cheese, and water. Stir well.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 20-30 minutes, until pasta is cooked.
- Top with bacon, remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese, and green onions. Turn slow cooker off, keep the cover on, and let sit a few minutes to let the cheese on top melt.
- Serve hot and enjoy.
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INSTANT POT DIRECTIONS** there will be additional ingredients needed **
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- only 12 oz cream cheese
- additional 1 cup of chicken broth
- additional 1 cup of water
- Preheat Instant Pot on “Sauté” setting; add oil, chicken, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and ranch packet, stirring to coat. Cook chicken 2–3 minutes.
- Add broth and water to pot, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to get all browned bits loosened. Add pasta. Close lid, lock pot, select “Manual” or "High Pressure Cook" setting and 4 minutes time. When time is up, perform a quick release and open Pot.
Stir in cream cheese, cheddar cheese, green onions, and cooked bacon until combined. Let sit 5 minutes to thicken. Serve and enjoy.