Crack Chicken Pasta

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Cheesy, creamy, and loaded with ranch flavor and chunks of juicy chicken, ‘Crack Chicken’ pasta is a dinner that will have everyone raving! And as if you needed more reason to make it, it’s ready in 30 minutes from start to finish!

We’re pretty big fans of Crack Chicken around here. Once you try it you’ll see why! Crack chicken dip, crack chicken soup, and crack chicken sliders are some of my other favorites!

A serving of crack chicken pasta in a white bowl.

Cheddar Ranch Chicken Pasta

If there’s any recipe that’s always a hit with my family, it’s this one. I mean, you just can’t go wrong with penne pasta tossed with bacon and juicy chicken pieces in a creamy, ranchy sauce. Called ‘Crack Chicken’ for a reason, you won’t be able to stop once you have a taste!

The Crack Chicken sauce is a tasty blend of sour cream, cream cheese, chicken broth, onion and garlic, and most importantly- dry ranch seasoning! The flavor is seriously the best. Savory, tangy, rich, and creamy. Crack chicken pasta is a must-make and most definitely picky eater-approved.

Don’t Worry!

This recipe is Picky Eater Approved!

Ingredient List

I love that Crack Chicken pasta uses so many pantry staples. You’ll have a lot of these ready to go! If you’re looking for exact measurements, they can all be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

  • Penne Pasta: Penne’s little tubes are perfect for holding all that delicious Crack Chicken sauce.
  • Bacon: Chopped up bacon adds salty and smoky flavor. Use precooked bacon to save time!
  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts: The main protein in our pasta. Make sure you cut it into similar sized pieces so it cooks evenly.
  • Salt and Pepper: Season to taste!
  • Yellow Onion and Garlic: Chopped to add savory flavor.
  • Chicken Broth: This forms the base of the sauce.
  • Sour Cream: Sour cream adds tang and helps thicken up the sauce. You can also use plain Greek yogurt if you wish.
  • Cream Cheese: Softened cream cheese creates a smooth and rich texture in the sauce.
  • Dry Ranch Dressing Mix: Adds that signature Crack Chicken flavor!
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese: Melts down beautifully and also adds cheesy flavor.
  • Green Onion: Chopped for garnish!
All of the crack chicken pasta ingredients laid out in glass bowls. Listed are: chicken, green onion, bacon, salt and pepper, dried parsley, penne pasta, minced garlic, onion, cream cheese, dry ranch seasoning, chicken broth, sour cream, and cheddar cheese.

How to Make Crack Chicken Pasta

One of the best things about this Crack Chicken pasta recipe is that it’s all made in one pot for easy cleanup! A dinner that everyone loves but is also easy to clean up after is a win in my book.

  1. Cook Pasta: Cook the pasta according to the package directions until the pasta is al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water, then set aside.
  2. Cook Bacon: In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium high heat until it is just crispy, remove from the pot and place on a paper towel.
  3. Sear Chicken: Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease from the pot. Chop the chicken into 1 inch cubes and add it to the pot, season with salt and pepper and saute until it is just seared on all sides.
  4. Cook Vegetables: Add in the onion and continue to saute until the chicken is cooked through and the onion is translucent. Add in the garlic and saute another minute.
  5. Combine Sauce Ingredients: Pour in the chicken broth, sour cream, cream cheese, ranch packet, salt, pepper, parsley, and chopped cooked bacon. Then stir to incorporate everything well. Bring the creamy sauce to a gentle boil then reduce heat to low.
  6. Mix in Cheese and Pasta: Add in the shredded cheddar cheese and cooked pasta, stir to combine. Simmer everything together for about 5 minutes.
  7. Serve: Remove the pot from heat and serve the crack chicken penne pasta with chopped green onion on top.

Crockpot Crack Chicken Pasta

Crack chicken pasta can be easily transformed into a crockpot meal! Just toss the cubed chicken, chicken broth, onion, garlic, and seasonings into your slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until the chicken is nice and shreddable.

Then shred the chicken directly in the pot and add the remaining sauce ingredients – sour cream, cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, cheddar cheese, and cooked pasta. Give it a stir and let it heat through on low for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Enjoy!

Tips and Variations

  • For Easy Prep: To save time you can use pre cooked bacon. Rotisserie chicken is another great way to make prep a breeze!
  • Other Noodles: You can use shells or bowties in place of the penne pasta. Spaghetti, angel hair, and linguine work too, but I find that smaller noodles that grab the sauce really shine here.
  • Add Your Favorite Veggies: Want to add some extra texture? Throw in your favorite chopped veggies like broccoli, peas, or chopped peppers when you sauté the onions and garlic.

Crack chicken pasta in a large pot.

How Long Does Crack Chicken Pasta Last?

Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. You can easily reheat over the stove or individual servings in the microwave for a quick and delicious meal!

Closeup of crack chicken pasta on a wooden spoon.

More Crack Chicken Recipes to Try

Print

Crack Chicken Pasta

Cheesy, creamy, and loaded with ranch flavor and chunks of juicy chicken, 'Crack Chicken' pasta is a dinner that will have everyone raving! And as if you needed more reason to make it, it's ready in 30 minutes from start to finish!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword crack chicken, crack chicken pasta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 551kcal
Author Alyssa Rivers

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions until the pasta is al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water, set aside.
  • In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium high heat until it is just crispy, remove from the pot and place on a paper towel.
  • Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease from the pot. Chop the chicken into 1 inch cubes and add it to the pot, season with salt and pepper and saute until it is just seared on all sides.
  • Add in the onion and continue to saute until the chicken is cooked through and the onion is translucent. Add in the garlic and saute another minute.
  • Pour in the chicken broth, sour cream, cream cheese, ranch packet, salt, pepper, parsley, and chopped cooked bacon. Stir to incorporate everything well. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil then reduce heat to low.
  • Add in the shredded cheddar cheese and cooked pasta, stir to combine. Simmer everything together for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from heat and serve the crack chicken pasta with chopped green onion on top.

Nutrition

Calories: 551kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 994mg | Potassium: 543mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 689IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 263mg | Iron: 1mg



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