Chicken Instant Pot Recipes Recipes

Last updated on April 11th, 2024 at 03:04 pm

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Instant Pot Crack Chicken [VIDEO]

If you want me to name a meal that is usually a hit with everyone, even picky eaters, and it is perfect for busy moms who want to cook on a budget, most definitely we are talking about Instant Pot Crack Chicken. Tender pulled chicken in a creamy and zesty Ranch sauce, with lots of savory bacon and cheddar cheese! This delectable and simple meal brings everyone together.

Ultimate Instant Pot Crack Chicken

When it comes to cooking dinner, the easier the better for me. Sometimes when the time is on my side, I can spend two hours playing with a recipe. Let’s be real, during the week when I have to feed two very active kids and an always hungry husband, there is no time for that, even when you are a food blogger. 

When looking for quick and easy solutions, I never take delicious out of that equation, I love good food and I make sure to share it with you. I must tell you, this Instant Pot Crack Chicken recipe is a winner dinner!

Making Instant Pot recipes is a staple around here. I love to make quick and easy meals in it, like my most popular Instant Pot Orange Chicken, Instant Pot Mongolian Chicken, and Garlic Sesame Chicken

Why is it called crack chicken

While the name sometimes gets this recipe in trouble, and there is some controversy around it, it is used to highlight that this meal is so good, it gets addictive. The magic combo of cream cheese, bacon, cheddar cheese, and Ranch, a match you can’t go wrong with, is responsible for the famous name of this recipe.

The result is a dish with a soft, tender texture with a savory and slightly salty flavor, enriched with creaminess. The aroma from the smoked bacon adds a marvelous, heavenly sensation to the overall experience as well. You should also try this amazing Crack Chicken Casserole.

Truth be told, once you try this recipe, you will make it over and over again. On top of being delicious, it is also versatile, and you can please everyone by serving it either on burger buns, or on top of pasta, rice, or steamed vegetables. It’s worth mentioning that crack chicken is also low-carb/keto-friendly, and to keep it so, just serve it with lettuce leaves or on top of cauliflower rice.

Instant Pot Crack Chicken ingredients

To make this comfort food I use simple ingredients, that most likely you have on hand. What differentiates it from other recipes, is the use of seasoning, fresh aromatics, obviously the copious amount of bacon, and choosing high-quality ingredients.

Chicken

Well, this one is front and center here, so better use good chicken. The pressure cooker crack chicken recipe can be made with chicken breast or boneless/skinless chicken thighs. 

Bacon

Lots of tasty bacon in this recipe. I suggest using smoked bacon, for the best flavor.

Dairy

To get that luxuriously creamy texture, a blend of cream cheese and cheddar cheese is used.

Seasonings

For extra flavor, and to make the recipe stand out, I use freshly minced garlic, it makes a huge difference. Also, zesty Ranch mix smoked paprika, and onion powder.

Liquid

I prefer to use chicken broth, to add extra flavor, but water works too. I recommend low-sodium chicken broth to better control the saltiness of the final dish.

How to make Instant Pot Crack Chicken

Cook the bacon:

Choose how to cook the bacon, by baking it, air frying it, or on a skillet. Alternatively, you can use cooked bacon and skip this step. 

Pressure Cook the chicken:

Add the chicken breasts to the bottom of the pot and top it with cream cheese.  Cut it into 1-inch cubes or use a cookie scoop to place the cream cheese on top of the chicken. Then, add ranch seasoning mix, ground onion, minced garlic, paprika, and the broth. Cover the lid, and cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 10 minutes + 10 minutes Natural Release.

You can use frozen meat for this recipe. When using frozen poultry in the Instant Pot, just remember to add 5 minutes to the cooking time (for a total of 20 minutes on Manual High Pressure). You can also check my post on how to cook frozen chicken in the instant pot

Natural Pressure Release

A Natural Pressure Release means that the pressure is released gradually. For a Natural Pressure Release, you click on Keep Warm, and wait 10 minutes, after which you open the valve and let any leftover pressure release. Another option is to Turn Off/Unplug the pressure cooker, wait 10 minutes, and after that open the valve.

Shred the meat: 

Carefully open the pot and transfer the chicken to a bowl, using two forks shred it. Next, with the instant pot on Saute, add the cheddar cheese to the pot and whisk it until melted.

Add back the chicken:

Add back the shredded poultry to the pot, and stir to combine with the cheddar cheese mixture. Lastly, add the chopped crispy bacon and stir.

Expert tip

Overcooking chicken in the instant pot is pretty easy, as one can not check the temperature of the meat. Overcooked chicken tastes like a piece of dry cardboard, and no matter how much seasoning you add, nothing can save it. To make sure the chicken is properly cooked, have it submerged under the rest of the ingredients.

Most of the time to cook an average chicken breast you will need just 5 minutes of pressure cooking. That is when you are looking for a smooth, tender, that does not fall apart chicken breast. However, in this recipe, we are looking to shred the chicken, so it needs to be pressure-cooked to tender perfection.

In this case, 10 minutes of pressure cooking followed by 10 minutes of natural pressure release, will result in the best-tasting chicken. The ideal temperature at the thickest part of the chicken breast when you remove it from the pressure cooker should be 161°F – 163°F, measured with a food thermometer.

Recipe Variations:

  • Meat: The chicken can be replaced with turkey, so if you have some on hand, make this recipe!
  • Cheese varieties: Replace the cheddar cheese with Mozzarella, Provolone, Mexican blend cheese, Italian blend cheese, Gruyere or Pepper Jack Cheese.
  • Veggies: While I am not a fan of veggies in this recipe, you can sneak in some for picky eaters. A few cups of spinach, some sweet peas, and chopped bell peppers would make great choices.
  • Smoky: For a more savory and smoky flavor, add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke.
  • Spicy: For those looking for something hot, add some Sriracha sauce, chili powder, or red pepper flakes.

Serve

This dish is such flavorful and filling that it is delicious just simply used in sandwiches or sliders.  If using it in sandwiches is not for you, you can go a step further and add cracked chicken to some of the following:

  • Tortillas/wraps
  • Use it in quesadillas 
  • Serve it with chips for dipping
  • Lettuce wraps
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Stuff roasted spaghetti squash
  • On top of pasta or rice

Frequently Asked Questions

What is crack chicken made of?

One of the simplest recipes you will ever make, famous for its creamy and cheesy texture. Crack chicken is made with vastly available ingredients like chicken breast, cream cheese, Ranch seasoning, chicken broth, cheddar cheese, and bacon. Usually seasoning is added to taste.

Why is my Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Rubbery?

This is most likely because the chicken has been overcooked. Many recipes will recommend pressure cooking this recipe for 15 minutes, which I find a bit too much and on the edge of overcooking it.

I recommend 10 minutes of pressure cooking for small to medium chicken breasts and 14 minutes of pressure cooking for large chicken breasts. In addition, a 10 minute natural pressure release should not be skipped. If you do a quick release, there are higher chances that the meat will have a tougher, rubbery texture.

Why is my crack chicken so watery?

This is usually the result of using chicken breast for the recipe or too much broth. This can be fixed, in two ways. First, after cooking the chicken, set aside some of the liquid, so that when you add the shredded chicken back to the pot, you can control the liquid-to-chicken ratio. It’s better to add it back little by little, this way you can control the volume of liquid used.

Another way to fix it is after you add the shredded chicken back to the pot and realize that the meal is too watery. Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water until combined. With the Instant Pot on Saute add the slurry and stir to combine until the crack chicken thickness. If needed add more, until the mixture is as thick as you want.

Never add cornstarch to the chicken mixture on its own, it will create lumps. Always dissolve the cornstarch in water before adding it.

Store

  1. Store: Add leftovers to a sealed container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  2. Freeze: This crack chicken leftovers freeze very well. Add them to a freezer-safe container or large Ziploc bag. After that, freeze for up to 3 months.
  3. Defrost: When ready to serve, plan ahead of time, and let the frozen meal thaw in the fridge overnight or defrost in the microwave.
  4. Reheat: When ready to serve, add it to a saucepan and heat it. If needed add more cheese or some cream. Stir well until heated through.

More Instant Pot recipes:

Recipe Tips:

  • If possible don’t buy shredded cheddar cheese, but grate yours, for a creamier and tastier sauce.
  • If the sauce is too thick, stir in a bit of broth. Alternatively, if the sauce is too runny, add some extra shredded cheese to it.
  • You can double this recipe if you have a larger pressure cooker. The cooking time will stay the same.
  • Don’t be concerned about adding cream cheese to the instant pot, it should be added at the beginning of the top of the chicken.
  • The bacon however should always be added at the end, to maintain its texture.
  • If the IP gives you a “burn” warning, add a bit more water, 1/2 cup at a time, and try again.
  • I have used a 6-quart instant pot to make this recipe, if you are using a larger one, add more liquid to equal 1 cup in total.

Easy Instant Pot Crack Chicken

Instant Pot Crack Chicken made with chicken, cheese, bacon and Ranch is basically a meal on steroids, so good that you will keep coming back for more.

Pressure Cooker - Instant Pot Crack Chicken
  • Prep Time15 MIN
  • Cook Time30 MIN
  • Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 10 slices bacon cooked
  • 2.5 lbs chicken breast boneless and skinless
  • 1 8 oz cream cheese package cubed
  • 1/2 package Ranch dressing mix use more or less depending on your taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese shredded

Serve with:

  • 6 hamburger buns
  • Chopped green onions

Instructions

Cook Bacon:

  • You can use already cooked bacon or you can cook your own. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line 1 baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay the bacon onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Bake until the bacon is deep golden-brown and crispy, 15 to 20 minutes. Begin checking around 12 minutes to monitor how quickly the bacon is cooking. Remove from oven and set aside.

Cook Chicken:

  • Add chicken and cream cheese to the Instant Pot.
    chicken breasts in the instant pot topped with cream cheese
  • Sprinkle with Ranch Dressing Mix, add minced garlic, onion powder, and paprika. Pour in chicken broth.
    chicken breasts topped with cream cheese paprika and chicken broth
  • Close the lid and pressure cook at High Pressure for 10 minutes + 10 minutes Natural Release. Turn off the heat. Release the remaining pressure. Open the lid.
  • Remove chicken from Instant Pot and place it into a large bowl or onto a chopping board. Using two forks shred the chicken.
    shredded chicken in a bowl
  • Switch the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and whisk the cream cheese mixture until well combined.
  • Add shredded cheddar cheese and stir to combine until the cheese is melted.
    cheddar cheese mixture in the instant pot
  • Turn off the Instant Pot and add the shredded chicken. Stir well to fully combine the chicken with the cheese sauce.
  • Stir in bacon pieces if wanted and serve on hamburger buns with extra bacon, cheese, and green onions.

Nutrition Facts

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Comments

(93)
Megan

Megan

Quick question: Is the calorie count including the buns? Or just the filling? Really yummy!! Thank you!


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

includes the buns

Taylin S

Taylin S

Could you make this with pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, and if so- would you adjust the cooking time? Hoping to make this tonight!!


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

same cooking time, but you can use rotisserie chicken

Tina

Tina

I've made this many times, without the bacon tho. My Tip: just use your electric mixer directly in the instant pot to shred the chicken and Blend the cream cheese ....then add your cheddar. I also add a few dashes if hot sauce or cayenne pepper to give it a lil more spice. Leftovers make great dip.


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Thank you for the great tip!

Mary Ohara

Mary Ohara

That was a funny question 😭

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