Instant Pot Crack Chicken Pasta is so creamy & cheesy. It is loaded with amazing ranch flavor, juicy chicken and crispy bacon. You can make this crack chicken penne in under 30 mins.
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Cracked Chicken Pasta
You can’t go wrong with this cheesy crack chicken pasta recipe! The perfectly cooked penne pasta doused in an insanely creamy cheesy ranch sauce and finished with crispy bacon bites. So good!
You can make this recipe to a dump & start instant pot recipe if you skip sautéing the chicken cubes. Just dump everything in the pot, pressure cook & than mix in the cheeses and bacon.
Picky eaters love this crack chicken pasta instant pot recipe!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Find the Ingredients with actual measurements at the bottom of the post. The list below is just a reference.
- Penne Pasta: You can sub the penne with rotini, Fuseli or bow tie pasta.
- Chicken: Boneless skinless chicken breasts diced into cubes. If you prefer dark meat you can sub the chicken breasts with boneless skinless chicken thighs.
- Seasonings for chicken: Sweet paprika, crushed or ground black pepper and a dash of salt.
- Ranch Salad dressing & seasoning mix: Use 2 tablespoons for a balanced flavor profile that’s not over powering. However, you can use more if you prefer an intense strong ranch flavor.
- Cheeses: Softened cream cheese and pre-shredded sharp cheddar cheese or freshly grated cheddar from a block.
- Cooking fat: Use extra light or light olive oil. You can also use any neutral oil of your choice like canola, sunflower, avocado or vegetable oil.
- Salt: Add according to your own personal taste preference.
- Better than Bouillon chicken base: This stuff is so good. Stir this in warm water to make an instant homemade flavorful chicken stock. You won’t buy again the store bought stock once you try this amazing stuff.
- Liquid: Warm water.
- Bacon Bits: Crispy bacon bites. I already chop my sliced bacon and fry them to make crispy bacon bits. These homemade bacon bits stores well in an airtight container and tastes the best.
- Best Flavor: Sauté the chicken to build more flavor. This process will also help lock the juices and keep the meat nice and juicy.
- Ranch seasoning: Use the ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix from the packet in the powder form. Todays recipe won’t work well with the liquid ranch dressing from the bottle.
- Thick Cut bacon: Choose thick cut bacon for more meatiness to make your own crispy bacon bits. We love to make it over a random weekend and than store the bacon bits in an air tight container in the fridge. It’s so easy to use them up in recipes!
- Extra flavor: If you are like us who love to always have some crispy homemade bacon bits ready in the fridge than do not discard the leftover bacon fat/grease. Store it in an air tight container as well. You can use the bacon fat to sauté the chicken instead of olive oil. This will definitely add an extra layer of awesome flavor!
- Chicken: Well we love to always use fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs in this crack chicken penne recipe. However, if you have some leftover rotisserie chicken do use it instead of the fresh chicken. Add the rotisserie chicken at the end after adding the cheeses.
How to make instant pot crack chicken pasta?
Find the detailed step by step recipe along with measurements + Video at the bottom of the post.
Step #1 Sauté chicken
- Season chicken: Season the chicken cubes with paprika, salt & crushed black pepper. This will elevate flavors.
- Sauté chicken: Sauté the seasoned chicken on sauté mode set at normal heat. Add the ranch seasoning once the chicken begins to turn opaque. Sauté well for 1-2 mins. Cancel the SAUTE mode.
Step #2 Deglaze pot
- Deglaze pot: Pour chicken stock and deglaze the pot very well scraping the sides and the bottom of the pot with the help of a spatula. This will help loosen any stuck food particles and help prevent the BURN error. DO NJOT rush this step.
- Layer pasta: Add the uncooked penne and spread them out into a single layer with the help of a spatula. Do not stir or mix. Make sure that all the pasta are coated with the liquid.
Step #3 Pressure Cook
- Pressure Cook: Secure the lid and pressure cook on high for just 4 mins followed by a manual quick pressure release. Open the lid, cancel the pressure cook mode. Add the softened cream cheese and mix well until the cheese completely blends in. Add the cheddar cheese and mix well until the cheese completely melts to form a creamy cheesy sauce. Finally add the crispy bacon bits and stir the pasta. Serve and enjoy! For a thicker pasta sauce allow the penne to rest for about 5 mins before serving!
You can serve this crack chicken pasta recipe with the following:
- Instant pot steamed broccoli.
- Instant pot beets.
- Instant pot steamed carrots.
- Instant pot green beans no steamer basket.
- Any crusty bread.
- Corn bread.
- French Baguette.
Fridge: You can store this crack chicken penne instant pot recipe in an air tight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.
Freezer: You can freeze the crack chicken pasta for up to 2 months. Use heavy duty freezer safe bags or individual portion size containers to store it. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Note: The pasta always tends to soak up a lot of liquid or moisture when store in the fridge or frozen. You need to add a few splashes of liquid (water, stock or milk) before reheating the pasta to bring back the creamy consistency.
How to reheat
Microwave Oven: Add a splash of water or milk and reheat the creamy pasta in a microwave oven safe dish until warm or hot. Serve immediately.
Stovetop: Reheat the cracked chicken pasta in a skillet or a shallow pan with a few splashes milk, stock or liquid over medium high heat until heated through. Stir gently to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
More Instant pot pasta recipes you might like
- Instant pot pesto chicken pasta.
- Instant pot salmon pasta.
- Instant pot penne pasta and meatballs.
- Easy instant pot shrimp alfredo.
- Easy instant pot baked ziti.
- Chicken tetrazzini instant pot.
- Instant pot rigatoni and meatballs.
- Velveeta shells and cheese instant pot.
- Instant pot chicken mushroom stroganoff.
- Instant pot chicken fettuccine alfredo with broccoli.
I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU! If you try this Instant pot crack chicken pasta recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I would love to hear how it turned out for you, or any changes you make. You can also follow me on Pinterest or subscribe our free NEWLETTER for new recipes every week!
Instant Pot Crack Chicken PastaPrint Recipe Pin Rate
Watch Recipe Video
- 8 ounce Penne Pasta (**uncooked penne pasta. Weigh the pasta.)
- 1 pound Chicken Breast (**boneless skinless chicken breast diced into ½ inch cubes. You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs.)
- 2 tbsp ranch salad dressing & seasoning mix (**use the ranch seasoning from the bottle in the powder form. Do not use the liquid ranch dressing from the bottle.)
- 4 ounce cream cheese (**softened,)
- 1.5 cups cheddar cheese (**I used sharp cheddar cheese.)
- 3 tbsp bacon (**I used homemade crispy bacon bits.)
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil (**use extra light or light olive oil.)
Seasoning for chicken
- ½ tbsp Better Than Bouillon (**chicken base. )
- 2.5 cups Water (**use warm water. Stir the better than bouillon in this water to make an instant homemade flavorful chicken stock.)
- Coat the diced chicken cubes with paprika, crushed black pepper & salt. Set them aside. Set the instant pot on SAUTE mode at NORMAL heat settings. Add oil, when the oil becomes moderately hot gently release the chicken pieces & saute until them begin to turn opaque. Drizzle the ranch seasoning powder on top of the chicken and saute well for 1-2 mins. Cancel the SAUTE mode.
- Add stock and deg;aze the pot very well by scraping the sides and the bottom of the pot with the help of a spatula. This will help losen any stuck food particles and shall prevent the BURN error.
- Throw in the uncooked penne pasta into the instant pot. Spread the pasta in a single layer with the help of a spatula.Gently press down the pasta with the help of spatula so that each pasta is coated with the liquid. DO NOT stir or mix. Secure the lid, seal the valve and pressure cook on HIGH for just 4 mins. Once, the cooking cycle is over the instant pot will begin to beep. Immediately perform a quick pressure release by manually moving the valve from the sealing to the venting position. Open the lid carefully when the floating metal pin on top of the lid drops. Give everything in the pot a gentle stir. Cancel the Pressure cook mode.
Make creamy cheesy sauce
- Add the softened cream cheese and stir well until the cheese is completely incorporarted. Now, add the shredded/grated cheddar cheese and stir well until the cheese completely melts and blend into the creamy sauce. Finally, add the crispy bacon bits and give the crack chicken pasta a good stir. Serve immediately and enjoy! If you prefer a thicker sauce allow the pasta to rest for 5 mins before serving.
- Pasta: You can sub the penne with rotini, Fuseli, bow tie pasta. The cook time and the recipe would remain the same.
- Ranch seasoning: Do use the powder ranch seasoning from the packet. This recipe won’t work well with the liquid ranch dressing available in bottles.
- Chicken: You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts.
- Rotisserie chicken: You can also add rotisserie chicken instead of fresh chicken. Just add the rotisserie chicken at the end after adding the cheeses. You just need to add the chicken and fold it in.
- Spicy flavor: Todays recipe is not spicy. If you prefer spicy flavor add about ½ tsp red pepper flakes while sautéing the chicken cubes.
- Pasta consistency: You can control the consistency of the pasta as per your liking. If you prefer soupy saucy pasta add a few splashes milk or stock at the end. You can also make it more cheesy by adding about ½ cup more cheddar cheese.