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This Crack Chicken Penne is super creamy, cheesy, loaded with bacon and all done in one pot! We’re talking chicken, pasta, cheese and bacon, you can’t go wrong!
What the heck is crack chicken anyways? Well apparently anything with ranch, bacon and cheese is deemed as crack. But there’s a reason it’s called crack and that is because the combo of these 3 ingredients really is addicting.
While these ingredients along with chicken make for a great dip, I thought I’d turn it into a one pot pasta recipe. Super easy to make and so delicious. Trust me, everyone will love this combo.
I only used 8 oz of pasta, but you could easily double this recipe, especially if making in an Instant Pot or Slow Cooker. For myself and my husband, 8 oz is more than enough plus there are lots of leftovers.
This is one of those recipes that is perfect for a busy weeknight. You could even fry the bacon over the weekend and keep it in the fridge. Don’t throw that bacon fat away, place it in a little airtight container and use it when you want to cook the chicken, because cooking your chicken in bacon fat will make it super flavorful.
HOW TO MAKE CRACK CHICKEN PENNE:
- There are many ways of making crack chicken pasta, but my favorite way is to make it in a Dutch oven. You can fry the bacon and then finish the recipe in the same pot. Crack Chicken Penne can also be made in the Instant Pot or a Slow Cooker, see recipe for instructions.
- Make sure to use a thick cut bacon for that extra meatiness.
- I love cooking the chicken myself, but you could also use rotisserie chicken instead speeding up the cooking process for this. If using rotisserie chicken, then all you have to do is shred the chicken and cook the pasta, then combine all the ingredients together until well combined.
CAN YOU FREEZE CRACK CHICKEN PENNE?
Absolutely and it will last up to 2 months in the freezer. To freeze it, simply transfer it to a buttered 9×13 inch baking dish. Wrap it tightly with aluminum foil then plastic wrap. I like to make sure that it won’t get freezer burn, so if you have a large heavy duty freezer bag use that instead.
To reheat, place the baking dish with the aluminum foil in the a preheat oven at 350 F degrees, for about an hour.
OTHER ONE POT CHICKEN RECIPES TO TRY:
- One Pot Chicken Mushroom Tetrazzini
- Chicken Rice Pilaf
- Chicken and Sausage Penne Jambalaya
- Lemon Chicken Rice Bake
- Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Chicken Gnocchi
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Crack Chicken Penne
- 4 slices bacon thick cut
- 1 lb chicken breast boneless and skinless, cut into small bite size pieces
- 1 oz ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix (1 packet or 2 tbsp)
- 8 oz penne uncooked, or pasta of your choice
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth low sodium or no salt added
- 4 oz cream cheese I used Philadelphia
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 tbsp parsley chopped
- Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven until crispy. I used a Le Creuset 3 3/4 quart round braiser. Remove the bacon from the pot and drain some of the bacon fat, leaving about 1 tbsp of fat. Chop the bacon into bits.
- In the same pot add the chicken and cook for about 3 minutes over medium-high heat, until it starts to brown. It will still be pink inside and uncooked.
- Add the ranch seasoning mix to the chicken and stir, making sure each chicken pieces is coated in the seasoning mix.
- Add the penne, chicken broth and stir, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a low heat, cover and cook for abut 15 to 20 minutes or until the pasta is cooked al dente or to your preference. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot. There should still be some liquid in the pot when the pasta is done cooking. Add more broth if needed, though I found that 3 1/2 cups was perfect.
- Add the cream cheese to the pot and stir it in, until the sauce is creamy and most of the cream cheese has melted.
- Add the bacon back to the pot then add about 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheddar cheese. Stir everything until well combined. The cheese should melt nicely.
- Sprinkle the remaining half cup of cheddar cheese over the top and cover the pot with the lid. Cook for about 30 seconds then turn off the heat and remove the lid. The cheese should have melted. Alternatively you can place the Dutch oven in the oven under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and starts to brown on top.
- Garnish with parsley and serve.
- Chop the bacon first into small pieces then set your Instant Pot to the saute mode. It will default to 30 minutes. Add the bacon and fry until it starts to brown. Transfer the bacon to a plate and drain some of the fat if necessary. Add the chicken and saute for 3 minutes until the chicken starts to brown. Add the ranch seasoning and stir to make sure the chicken is covered in the seasoning mix.
- Add the penne, chicken broth and stir.Please note you will only need about 2 to 2 1/2 cups of broth. Close the lid (follow the manufacturer's guide for instructions on how to close the instant pot lid). Set the Instant Pot to the Poultry setting and set the timer to 5 minutes.
- Once the Instant Pot cycle is complete, wait until the natural release cycle is complete, should take about 10 minutes. Follow the manufacturer's guide for quick release, if in a rush. Carefully unlock and remove the lid from the instant pot.
- Stir in the cream cheese until it melts. Add the bacon and all of the cheese to the IP and stir everything together. Serve.
- Fry the bacon as instructed in step 1 above. Add the chicken, ranch seasoning mix, cream cheese and chicken broth to your slow cooker. Please note you will only need about 2 to 2 1/2 cups of broth.
- Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or high for 4 hours. Stir in the bacon and cheese and serve. Add the penne 30 minutes before the time is up.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.